The insurance industry has previously not been keen to innovate but has now woken up, says Konsileo co-founder John Warburton

John konsileo

A few weeks ago I was very privileged to be, along with the irrepressible Paolo Cuomo, a judge for theInsurance Times Tech and Innovation Awards. Paolo and I judged four categories and saw presentations from around 25 different entries.


To read stories from the nominees click here.


Lucky us you must think – a full day of the insurance industry playing bullshit bingo! 


But that’s the thing – the entries were really good. Really, really good. 


I’ve been involved in trying to innovate the industry in various guises and various countries for at least the last ten of my 20+ years in the industry. But I’ve never witnessed such consistency about what needs to be done and the means of doing it.


There are four things going on:


1. The industry has woken up. In my experience, it was always extremely challenging to get business cases approved in insurance organisations where the benefits relates to improvement in customer experience. Yet we saw numerous examples where significant investments had been made by large companies and/or into small companies/ startups.


2. The “lean startup” method is becoming ubiquitous. Management theories come and go but the latest fad might actually be of some use. The good thing about “lean startups” is that they represent common sense. They legitimise the idea of starting projects or ventures where results are unpredictable from the beginning. They do this by literating and seeking constant feedback from customers rather than ploughing on just to satisfy the boss. Smaller and larger companies have clearly been using these methods. And the results were excellent.


3.The enabling technology is in place. Core technologies such as CRM systems, cheap and highly secure hosting, sensors for “Internet of Things” and more are now in place. This means people can get on with thinking up new insurance applications and services without getting bogged down in technology blind allies.


4. Insurance people are great when unleashed. The vast majority of people we saw were real experts in their area of insurance, whether they were actuaries, claims people, underwriters or process people. Historically, many of them would not have considered themselves able to affect the “way things are done around here”. But now they feel empowered and have found ways to create new value.


Overall, the whole experience was inspiring and convinced me that Insurance Times are right to bring this focus to disruption and innovation. I’m looking forward to the shindig on 21 September to celebrate the worthy winners.