Insurtech ecosystems could accelerate the spread of innovation throughout the insurance industry.

Imaginative insurtech firms have the potential to accelerate innovation throughout the insurance industry. Much of this potential, however, is being blocked.

Many insurtech start-ups struggle to gain access to big insurers. They can’t demonstrate or test their applications at scale. Funding is therefore scarce. What’s more, plenty of insurance start-ups are isolated from other innovators addressing similar problems. They find it difficult to secure the resources and information they need.

The surge in insurtech innovation hubs and accelerators around the world is bridging some of these gaps. But greater collaboration between insurtech firms and big insurance providers is vital. Without such co-operation much of the promise of the insurtech boom is going to be lost.

Insurtech ecosystems, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, would provide an ideal springboard for the spread of innovation throughout the insurance industry. They’d not only foster closer ties between insurance providers and smart tech start-ups. These ecosystems could also provide a stimulating environment where insurtech firms could work together to develop solutions to some of the big challenges facing the insurance industry.

“Most insurers have ties with only a few insurtech firms.”

Through my involvement in the FinTech Innovation Lab in New York, where I am the executive sponsor for the insurtech workstream, I’ve witnessed the surge in the development of innovative insurance applications. Insurtech ecosystems would enable the developers of these, often niche, applications to collaborate more closely with key partners. They could work together to build comprehensive offerings that would be more appealing to traditional insurers. Major insurers participating in these ecosystems would be close at hand to provide much-needed advice, regulatory information and IT resources. They would benefit from participating in insurtech ecosystems by gaining early insight into emerging technology and new business applications. They’d also get a close look at potential long-term insurtech partners before committing themselves to investing in these companies.

There’s another upside for traditional insurers. By working closely with a bunch of start-ups across an insurtech ecosystem, they could spark innovation throughout their own organizations. Today, most insurers have ties with only a few insurtech firms. Their involvement with these start-ups tends to be limited to a handful of very specific projects. Closer, on-going, contact with a diverse group of motivated insurtech firms is likely to encourage insurers to adopt start-up attitudes and approaches. Their strategies, cultures and structures would benefit by becoming more agile, flexible and responsive.

Insurance executives I’ve spoken with are enthusiastic about participating in insurtech ecosystems. Now, what’s needed is a combined effort to start building these ecosystems. Companies such as Accenture are well placed to drive such initiatives. We’ve built strong relations with the world’s leading insurance companies and have access to large numbers of promising insurtech firms through our involvement in the FinTech Innovation Hubs in New York and London. What’s more, we have extensive experience and knowledge of digital technology and business practices through our research facilities, labs, studios and innovation centers around the world.

I’ll be promoting the potential of insurtech ecosystems in my work with clients in North America. I’m keen to hear your views on the subject. Please get in touch.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how insurtech ecosystems could help insurers unlock the trapped value in their businesses.  Until then, take a look at this link:

The rise of insurtech: How young insurance start-ups and a mature industry can bring out the best in one another. The Rise of Insurtech: How young startups and a mature industry can bring out the best in one another.


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