In a recent video interview Inga Beale referred to Digital Natives and how the insurance market needs to embrace them and their new ways of thinking.
In this article Robin Merttens is suggesting that many insurance companies are not doing this because the people at the top are scared of the change.
Early 2016 has seen a fantastic focus on the role of the younger generation(s) on shaping the future of insurance: Lloyd's has defined a key role for the U35s in the TOM programme and the innovation incubator; the LMA is communicating to the U35s community about Insurance Technology (InsTech) events; an "introduction to InsTech" is planned by the London InsTech group focused specifically at those digital natives who need to identify which technologies are here to stay and which are flashes-in-the-pan; TINTech is creating a TINTech U35s community; the Market Minds group is engaging with StartupBootcamp InsurTech to allow young underwriters and brokers an opportunity to see how innovative start-ups are thinking.
These opportunities for U35s to get involved fits perfectly with the new drive around digital and InsTech as demonstrated by events such as InsTech London's sold out 'Show and Tell' event and the creation of Charles Taylor's new InsureTech business.
Thus two sides of the triangle are in place - vendors and start-ups with ideas about how to better use technology, and increasing enthusiasm and awareness of the future leaders. This has the potential to make a real difference - if the ideas and enthusiasm created are not lost through the simple process of senior management in incumbent firms cutting of the oxygen by agreeing to review innovative ideas as part of an eighteen-month review cycle, or saying "fine, let's do some digital innovation, but we require 100% success else we won't do any more"
Robin proposes a simply idea. Don't even try and change your core business; simply start building a new one along side - with the tools, the leadership and the mindset being digital from the start, unencumbered but the analogue parent.
That part of the business grows, the core shrinks and in an ordered process the next generation takes over. We see glimmers of this: Beazley with myBeazley.com, Hiscox with Hiscox Trader, Atrium with the volume of e-only business it is doing. But are these simply examples of new, digital distribution on an otherwise analogue company, or the first examples of true Schumpeterian creative destruction?
It is now widely accepted that disruption in insurance is inevitable, but ‘analogues’ hope that it doesn’t come on their watch. This dynamic is doing serious damage both to the relationship that the insurance industry has with its customers and with the UK’s ability to compete in an international context.