Insurtech Is Hot in the Cold North

At inaugural InsurTech North, executives and experts from Canada and U.S. lay out key issues in transformation

The inaugural InsurTech North conference that took place in Gatineau, Quebec, last week brought together leaders from insurance and technology to discuss key issues facing the industry.

Global insurtech investments reached $2 billion in 2017, forcing insurance executives to look at how these investments will affect their organizations. That is what a host of industry leaders discussed at the conference. Issues included the investment landscape and where innovation is happening, integration with incumbents and the challenge regulators face to keep pace with technology.

“State of the Union” panelists agreed it is an exciting time for insurance. C-suite executives have the opportunity to leave valuable legacies if they choose to ask the right questions and act on the answers. A key one: what does your organization need to do to create a significant shift in your business?

Customer expectations, emerging business models, and new lines of business such as cyber insurance and on-demand coverage are driving the need to transform. Artificial intelligence and automation will assist insurers on that journey, but challenges exist around disparate sources of data and the need to create homogeneous pools of data to work from, they said.

The panelists were confident that the steps needed to establish data veracity will come, at which time the market will make huge strides. In the meantime, panelists advised insurers to watch for disruption not just from upcoming insurtechs, which are often collaborative, but from industries outside of insurance.

Guy Fraker, Chief Innovation Officer at Insurance Thought Leadership, highlighted the 100+ investments Jaguar Insurance has made, showing that real disruption often comes from outside the industry. Fraker suggested insurers expand their views when looking at market trends and be prepared to respond quickly.

A startup pitch competition gave five up-and-coming insurtechs the chance to present their companies to a cast of VCs and gain valuable insight from experienced innovation leaders. Conference attendees connected using the Insurtech North Marketplace, an app to schedule and manage networking meetings, take notes on sessions and learn about the speakers and sponsors.

With so much going on in the industry, Insurtech North was an opportunity for meaningful discussion on the complex issues facing insurance. It also provided insurtech startups with a chance to make the right connections and support organizations through the transformation they seek.