United States: Insuretech Connect 2017 - Six Key Takeaways

Keywords: Insuretech, Connect, industry, Artificial Intelligence

The 2017 Insuretech Connect conference was a melting pot of perspectives, ideas and approaches to transforming the insurance industry. With the October 1 tragedy in Las Vegas heavy in mind, participants discussed ways that the insurance business—a business dedicated to protection from risks—will be affected by technology in the months and years to come.

Drawing more than 3,500 participants (up from 1,500 in its inaugural edition last year), InsureTech Connect offered a wide array of perspectives, viewpoints and opinions during seminars, panel discussions and one-on-one sessions. Following are some key themes that cut across the deep pool of ideas—big and small, mundane and revolutionary—shared at the conference.

1 Cooperate to Innovate > Disrupt to Displace.

While there is still a healthy tension between start-ups looking to upend the industry and incumbents seeking to protect their well-earned market leadership, all sides acknowledge that the transformation of the industry will not be done quickly and will not be done by a single participant. Partnerships may arise between and among incumbent carriers, start-ups, alternative sources of funding (for insurers), venture capital and growth financing (for start-ups), established businesses in different industries seeking to expand into the insurance market (Airbnb, Amazon and Tesla) and regulators (more on regulators below).

This cooperation will result from aligned interests with common themes, and these partnerships may take different forms and evolve over time. To be sure, today's partnership may be tomorrow's springboard into independence and direct competition, and many of the players in this space may not exist in five years due to disruptive competition.

2 Balance Innovation and Regulation.

In addition to commercial cooperation, collaboration with regulators will be crucial to the success of initiatives to change the insurance business. Regulators are clearly focused on technology and its impact on the industry, and while they are moving faster than they have before, they understand that the industry and pace of innovation continues to move faster.

Cooperating and collaborating with regulators to help them understand new products and processes in the industry will go a long way toward helping necessary regulations keep up with the pace of innovation. In an information vacuum, a regulator may be inclined to take a more negative or conservative approach to a new idea than is necessary. For example, proactive discussions with regulators about new sources of data or methods of analytics may help regulators be comfortable that these innovations will not be proxies for prohibited practices.

In addition to placing new ideas within existing regulatory frameworks, the industry and its regulators will need to define new standards and rules that apply to novel questions. For example, will the owner of the autonomous vehicle have the right to decide whether to share or give others access to the data collected by the vehicle?

In addition, the emerging field of "RegTech"—technology-enabled solutions for compliance and regulatory requirements—is an area ripe with opportunities to increase efficiencies. While RegTech may not make the biggest headlines, these types of solutions could be critical bridges for new products and other innovations to enter the market.

3  Focus on the Nexus of Problems and Solutions.

To put it simply, not every problem has a technology solution. Each market participant needs to ask itself: is this a problem that requires a technology solution? And if so, is the solution relevant to its business?

Insurtech itself is not a market—it is (sometimes convenient) shorthand for technology-enabled solutions to issues and problems that arise in established insurance businesses due to changing risks and consumer preferences. The most effective insurtech players will stay focused on the ways that these technology-enabled solutions can address real problems in the industry.

4 Customer-Centric Focus Will Drive Priorities across the Value Chain.

Customers' priorities are driven by the nature of the risks they experience and the way they experience risk, both of which may change over time. In response, insurers and markets will need to adapt to these priorities and offer products and services to address them. This adaptation can involve, among other things: Re-creating the customer experience: Insurance market participants are competing against other service businesses such as Uber for the attention of their customers, not just against each other. People increasingly interact with each other and service providers within an ecosystem and it may be more effective to offer insurance in that context rather than as a stand-alone offering.

Customers' priorities are driven by the nature of the risks they experience and the way they experience risk, both of which may change over time. In response, insurers and markets will need to adapt to these priorities and offer products and services to address them. This adaptation can involve, among other things:

Re-creating the customer experience: Insurance market participants are competing against other service businesses such as Uber for the attention of their customers, not just against each other. People increasingly interact with each other and service providers within an ecosystem and it may be more effective to offer insurance in that context rather than as a stand-alone offering.

Blurring the lines of traditional insurance: By shifting focus from selling products to solving problems, insurance products may be bundled with services such as roadside assistance.

Playing a more active role in the lives of the customers: Insurers can actively manage risk by sending signals to customers to influence behavior and manage risks. For example, through signals and incentives, an auto insurer can communicate to a driver that driving during a snowstorm is more risky than driving on a sunny day. This is more intimate than typical insurer/customer relationships; it requires trust and very different skills.

Addressing new risks: With high-profile breaches of Equifax and Yahoo (and others), emerging risks related to cybersecurity and privacy are becoming more relevant to a wider segment of the population. Insurers will be called upon to provide solutions that address both risk protection and risk prevention.

Not all customers will experience risk in the same way and not all customers will seek the same type of experience. Some customers simply want their coverage and a passive relationship with their insurance company. Other customers will seek a more active relationship with their insurance company if its offerings are consistent with their interests. Still other customers will seek a more traditional interaction due to the size and nature of the risk being insured—for example, a web-based platform and an automated underwriting process may not be appropriate for a multi-billion dollar asset.

5 Artificial Intelligence Has the Potential to Revolutionize Many Areas of the Business, But It Won't Be Easy.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data have some of the greatest potential to impact all aspects of the insurance industry. However, gathering data is just the first step—using it, integrating it into products and processes, making things more efficient, and doing all of this in real time is much more difficult. And of course, all of this activity must be done within the industry's evolving regulatory framework.

This is not just a problem of technology, but a problem of adoption as well. Implementing innovations is difficult in any business; doing it in an industry that is notoriously slow to change is an even greater challenge. As a result, changes to the business will need to focus on people as much as—or more than—the products and innovations themselves. Which leads to the last point...

6 Talent Will Drive Everything.

While innovation is exciting and change may be inevitable, these trends run headlong into decades-old processes, systems and routines that can create tensions in organizations. Talented individuals—from the C-suite through middle managers and across organizations—will be critical to managing these tensions and integrating new ideas into existing businesses. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked and is the single biggest reason why transformational programs fail to achieve their intended goals. The culture of an organization needs to embrace the talent that will enable it to better serve customers.  Whether an organization is large or small, the right culture is essential to keeping interests aligned and maintaining focus on a common goal: to meet the needs of a dynamic and diverse customer base.

Visit us at mayerbrown.com

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2018. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions