This year I was lucky enough to find the time to listen to the New Year’s concert at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, one of the oldest (although it underwent renovation works a few years ago after a terrible fire that had damaged the building in 1996) and most important opera theatres in the world. I was impressed both by the singers’ brave choice to sing wearing an FFP2 mask and by the profound appreciation of the performing team for the participation of the audience.
I also wondered how the singers’ choice and their reaction to the audience’s appreciation could translate to the insurtech industry and how they might somehow turn into key values to drive the business?
First and foremost, the performers’ attitude made me think of resilience and spirit of collaboration: if a singer or a musician can perform while wearing a mask, then there are plenty of opportunities for our industry to reinvent itself in the post-COVID-19 age.
One of the most relevant opportunities the pandemic has positively forced into our working lives is “smart working” – or remote working if you like – which has disrupted our routines and habits possibly forever. On the one hand, smart working gives us more freedom, more flexibility and a different way to manage our time, adding several benefits to our work-life balance. On the other hand, it really challenges personal interactions – with our clients, with our colleagues, with the new employees joining the company, and with our friends.
Both the benefits and drawbacks of smart working require us to embrace the idea of a new, mixed model that cannot be fully remote and that somehow reinvents the social contract of the company by focusing more on the “family” model.
Besides, it is important to keep in mind the blockers to smart working and collaboration, and act accordingly:
• Leaders must lead by example: the whole organisation will quickly catch up if a leader also works remotely
• Everyone in the organisation brings its own value: it is important to understand and enhance the value brought by each individual in the organization, with a strong impact on the delivery model in terms of localization and nearshoring
• A new social contract is needed: the organisations should require more collaboration and drive/initiative on their collaborators’ part, to create a new social contract that is shared by each and every one of the people in the organization.
But there’s more; the amazing performance of the orchestra also made me think of the concept of partnership, which is one of the main drivers in our industry and key in the strategic plan for our Group.
When the Orchestra thanked the audience for attending the concert despite the COVID pandemic, I caught the very special sense of partnership stemming from that experience.
Linking this back to the insurtech industry, partnerships are starting to be developed among all types of players – from clients, through user clubs and dedicated events, to ecosystem of tech players supporting the industry, up to working with other players, as we are doing in our recent collaborations with large SI and BPO players, who bring us their expertise, scale to the service of projects. Finally, emerging collaboration with the regulators, such as the Regulatory Sandbox project promoted by IVASS in Italy.
However, it is also important to consider the blockers to partnerships, which I’ll define as:
• Financial short-sightedness: it is important to identify the sources of value creation and focus on them; for example, long negotiations with the Purchasing office might save money on the project cost to a client, but also cause delays in the implementation of the different projects, which often result in delaying by multiple months the associated revenues and competitive advantages.
• Embracing too much: collaboration can enrich the client experience; therefore, evaluating and selecting the best partners to work with is fundamental. In our case, RGI focuses on the specifics of continental Europe.
All things considered, the New Year’s concert at La Fenice was a great example of resilience and collaboration which will be my North Stars for 2022. I hope you have already identified your own North Stars for 2022. If not, I hope you will soon. Enjoy the new year!