According to the founders of Digital Insurance Agenda, one of the most influential insurtech conferences, the main trend of 2019 is “Ecosystems beyond Insurance”. The term ‘ecosystem’ indicates an interconnected set of services that allow clients to fulfill a variety of needs in one integrated experience. Basically, a partnership between different players in the insurance market. To better understand how this new approach is changing the industry we touched base with Andrea Craviotto, International Market Director of RGI Group. «Insurers have embraced the digital transformation, investing strategically and planning for long-term innovation. The next step is moving from digitization, the process of changing from analog to digital, to digitalization which means using technology to change business models and provide new revenue and value». Ecosystems can help in the process. Craviotto believes that to succeed, insurers will have to rethink their role and evaluate new opportunities of partnership with new players. Even those considered disruptive for the market.
«Startups are not the enemy. The new industry model will be shaped by the partnership between traditional insurers and insurtechs. That’s why many Insurers are investing in startups to help digitalization and to develop an innovative culture». But the perfect partnership must have a complementary nature: each partner helps achieve the goal based on its own expertise and strengths. So, on one hand, we have incumbents with trusted brands, a loyal customer base, and investment power. And on the other hand, we have insurtechs which are creative and can bring digital skills to the table improving the customer experience and the relationship with the client. «The first trend we are witnessing is the increase in the number of partnerships between players of the insurance market but in the nearly future insurers will explore new opportunities by creating ecosystems with companies that are not offering insurance services». For example, the personal-mobility sector offers a range of opportunities to expand into areas such as ride-sharing or carpooling. «Another example can be a partnership between an insurer and a travel agency which can grant the customer integrated services during his journey. An ecosystem that can also help insurers in terms of customer engagement», adds Craviotto. «Another examples are the so-called regtech, focusing on addressing regulatory requirements in innovative ways, like for example our subsidiary Unimatica, which offers innovative solutions when it comes to digital signature and digital assets preservation».
Speaking of innovation, ecosystems can also be useful for testing new technologies such as blockchain, smart contracts or deep data analytics. «In the future insurers will work together to create not only accelerators for startups but ‘sandbox’ to help the growth of insurtechs in a safe and innovative environment. It’s already happening in many countries from Uk to Israel. In Italy, we don’t have as many investors in this market and that’s why it could be strategic for insurers to share insurtech investments. A way to test technology step by step and with reduced risks».