Digital Insurance Agenda

You can try to protect your own little garden, but then the village will be taken

Written by Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks - Founders The DIA Community on Jun 10, 2021

Last week, we organized a DIA Virtual Round Table together with InsurTech Hub Munich (ITHM) on how to stay on top of all the new developments with limited resources. The key takeaway: leveraging scale through cooperation.

As you might know, we organize these round tables on a weekly basis. They are a perfect opportunity to spark conversations about new developments and new opportunities in insurance, all aimed to accelerate innovation. This past round table with ITHM was a clear example, with many great insights on making innovation more efficient and effective. Interested in having DIA organize a Virtual Round Table with you? At the bottom of the article you can find all the information you need.


A Perfect Storm for Insurance Innovation
Since some key consumer trends shifted into a higher gear, we believe that innovation in insurance is about to experience a perfect storm. In more and more board rooms there is now a digital mindset. Looking at both demand and funding, insurtech is at the turn of a next chapter. Everything is set for a next level in insurance innovation.

But this also introduces some new challenges. How do you keep up with everything that is going on in the global insurtech space? How can you separate the wheat from the chaff – especially if resources are limited? When we speak to insurance executives about the future of insurance innovation, the insufficient scale is something many worry about.

In the round table with ITHM we were joined by executives from all over the globe, from Allstate and Nationwide in the USA to MAPFRE and NN Group in Europe, to Nippon Life from Japan and Sancor Seguros from Argentina. We discussed these challenges, but foremost how they can be solved: how to leverage scale through cooperation. We had the pleasure to give the floor to two thought leaders that day, who were both very open in sharing their challenges, experiences and learnings: Tom van den Brulle, Global Head of Innovation at Munich Re and also the chairman of ITHM, and Atsushi Izu, Senior General Manager, Director at Dai-Ichi Life International Europe and Head of their London Innovation Lab.

Four key takeaways to become more effective in innovation
In this round table we identified four key areas to accelerate innovation through cooperation. Cooperation results in leveraging scale; scale you would not have if you would do everything on your own. This larger scale gives benefits in helping you to become more effective in innovation in the following areas:


1. Establish the most promising innovation themes
It’s important to know the right themes you need to address in innovation. Like Izu said: “What are the right business models? How do you serve social issues? It is sometimes very hard to consider what is important.”
Through cooperation you are able to leverage the valuable opinions of others. Not based on individual assumptions but on the different views in the community. Tom: “Roche for example, which is one of the biggest pharmaceutical and health care companies worldwide, is also an ITHM member. We had quite a large health care program last year, we are going to do a second batch of it this year. We brought together providers, health care companies and insurers. This is the triangle you actually need to come up with innovation.”

ITHM for instance conducts regular survey among its members and partners resulting in a clear view on innovation themes. It’s about cross-company perspectives, exchange and ecosystems. Last year, ITHM had big success with their digital health program called H+. Their current program is NXT:Enterprise, focusing on smart enterprise solutions. Coming next are Financial Home and (again) Digital Health.


2. Efficient and effective innovation structure
Innovation is not about single ideas, but about a coherent pipeline and process. This is where you can leverage the expertise of others. Efficiently – a laser focused approach in bringing innovation to life. Izu: “You need this kind of discussion and they (ITHM, ed) are organizing all that. They structure it for you and different members of the hub will bring shortcuts to what is happening in the industry.”

At ITHM there is a clear focus on enabling Startup Corporate Collaboration – a structured way of working with startups. ITHM lets them know what to expect from which insurance company, who the persons are they will meet. ITHM’s concierge service coordinates, prepares and accompanies the meetings between startups and corporates, it coordinates follow ups and next steps. The corporate curriculum focusses on barriers in Startup Corporate Collaborations and how to overcome them, i.e. technical challenges, date protection issues and procurement topic.


3. Continuous knowledge management and sharing
Innovation is becoming more and more effective if we include learnings from previous experiences; learnings with regard to the innovation process as well as the development of individual value propositions. At ITHM people share knowledge through different platforms: knowledge sharing sessions, best case presentations, alumni sessions etc. – Innovation Circles, Expert Panels, and partner events: Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA), Plug and Play, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Bitkom.

But this doesn’t limit itself to past experiences. Izu: “The insurance industry can benefit much more from input and discussions in the ecosystem. Diverse discussions with many partners, participants within the ecosystem, make it possible to imagine new horizons and to consider new business models for the insurance industry. It’s sometimes very hard to consider this by ourselves. Discussion with high level professionals and peers that have the same challenges as you have may create a new trend itself.”


4. The power of community
Cooperation (e.g. in ITHM) allows to have a 360°, international view of the hottest and latest that takes place, which would be impossible if you would need to do this by yourself. The community gives an extra lens, the valuable opinion of others. Since the community, ITHM, is independent and neutral, this gives access to more and better contacts and information. The strength of ITHM’s community is in its variety; Insurance companies (globally acting firms and sector specialists), world leading tech players (e.g. SAP or Microsoft), cross-industry partners (Roche), the ITHM startup community of 600 global startups, dozens of mentors, around 25 investors and academic partners.

Tom: “ITHM has quite a community of interesting players that can bring totally different perspectives, which is important. You need the full range. There are going to be technologies that will shape tomorrow and that you have to start thinking about today. Communities, hubs like ITHM and platforms like DIA are short cuts to innovation. At some point we can expect big outside players to enter insurance. They will go after insurance in order to make their offering complete. If that’s the case, we will better have a competitive advantage developed together. To use a metaphor: you can try to protect your own little garden, but then the village will be taken.”

Interested in learning more about ITHM?
Reach out to Reinhard Saller, Director Partnerships at ITHM. [email protected] 

Interested in having DIA organize a Virtual Round Table with you?
Please contact Marielle van Jaarsveld, Director Corporate Partnerships at DIA. [email protected]

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