With a year of breakthrough innovation under our belt, we’re anticipating great things from our 2018 InsurTech programme

Extraordinary how time flies. It’s been a year since we opened the Accenture FinTech Lab doors in London to the rising wave of InsurTech innovation. And from the startups applying to the programme right through to the final cohort, one thing’s been obvious throughout the past 12 months: InsurTech’s certainly not short of technology diversity.

The startups we’ve seen during 2017 run the gamut from social media to AI-driven chatbots, enhanced IoT telematics to whole new insurance ecosystems and API platforms. But despite their diverse nature, they all have one thing in common: these startups have all gone on to secure significant investment and market opportunities with some of our insurance partners.

And most of them have also been working directly with Accenture over the course of this year to integrate into the Accenture Digital Insurance platform. If you want to find out more about them, you can listen to their pitches here.

What about the year ahead? As you’ll have seen by now, startup applications are currently open for our 2018 programme. And it’s clear that InsurTech will once again be a key part of the Lab. I can’t wait to get going again.

Among the trends I’m expecting to see in this year’s programme, a few stand out. There’ll be a continuing focus on AI, the IoT and analytics, that’s for sure. But with a difference: the maturity of technology offerings is increasing incredibly rapidly. Given how fast tech is moving, that may seem obvious. But it doesn’t make it any less exciting, particularly in AI.

We’ll see more activity in the ecosystem space. Open Banking is starting to transform the banking industry, and I expect the same trend to play out in insurance. More InsurTechs will be targeting opportunities in Open Insurance or crossing over into BancAssurance.

I’ve no doubt our Insurance Partners are chomping at the bit, even more than last year if that’s possible! There have been plenty of successful InsurTech offerings and an increase in partnering activities in the first half of this year, and that’s likely to continue.

I’m hoping (rather than expecting) that we’ll see more non-GI/Personal Lines offerings. 24 percent of the H1 2017 deals have been PL-related. But the Commercial Lines business and agent/broker areas remain largely undisrupted.

It’s a huge opportunity: this is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s ripe for the taking. I’d love to see our Partners in this space latching onto some of the interesting startups that are focusing on CL/Brokers (or that could easily pivot in that direction).

Now’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve learnt about startups and insurers working together. A number of lessons stand out from experience:

  • Develop your overall innovation agenda, then determine where InsurTech sits within it. InsurTech cannot be the only arm of your innovation plan. For us, it’s one area in an organisation that prides itself on having innovation in the DNA and the same should hold true for everyone in the insurance world.
  • Develop a culture that fosters innovation, driven from the C-suite, with effective incentives. This sponsorship from decision-makers/purse-string controllers is critical.
  • Create an innovation strategy that places a high priority on data, funding and partnering. Accenture’s own partnering with InsurTechs has been incredible – not just for the experience, but for what it’s meant for the startups and for our own business developing leading-edge capabilities.
  • Draw inspiration and learning from those who are further along their fintech journeys, especially their ability to look beyond financial services. If anyone is interesting in seeing what we’ve done, let me know.
  • Don’t feel threatened by startups whose cultures or working practices seem radically different to your own.

If you’re still considering applying for our 2018 programme, do it now. You won’t regret it. I’d be delighted to answer any questions, so get in touch if you need anything else.

Thanks for reading.

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