The word on everyone’s lips during the BrokerFest 2020 panel was open insurance 

Open Insurance could change everything for brokers and insurers.

This was the message of Brendan McCafferty, chief executive at Brightside during a panel debate on digitalisation at BrokerFest 2020 on 11 February.

He said he was increasingly concerned about open insurance, because it has a strategic dimension to it that could change the market rapidly with data being seen as a commodity.

“That could change everything for brokers and insurers and that’s the big threat,” he said.

This is because of regulations around GDPR and data privacy. 

Open Insurance applies the same principles as open banking did, it looks to turn traditional methods of data sharing on its head to save the industry both time and money.

Meanwhile Joe Sultana, chief operating officer at Applied Systems said that he sees digitalisation differently as an opportunity and believes these threats are not visible as yet.


For Christian Young, chief executive at Brokersure digitalisation is a journey that some brokers have gotten further with than others, but it is one that everybody has to undertake.

But it is one that will continue evolving and an opportunity to become aware of competitors.

McCafferty agreed adding there’s a “terrific amount of potential to get to know your customer”.

For larger businesses this may seem like an impossible ask he said, but there is a lot that can be revealed from the way customers choose to interact and the habits they have.

“It is about people – it is about technology but [it’s also] about how you talk your customers. If we look at the front end its about having very slick websites, customer journeys,” Young said.

This is because customers want communication.

“It’s about having very slick interactions with your insurers, and your other partners and claims partners. It’s about taking [frictional] cost out of your business, making the business efficient so you can serve your customers a very cost-effective quick journey that suits their needs. And it has to touch everything – the web, artificial intelligence,” Young added.

Agreeing with McCafferty, he continued that everyone in the business needs to be looking at it as a way of delivering efficiency.

He said that a lot of the “tools and techniques“ have been around for a while, however with the creation of the cloud as well as the processing power that is now available to businesses, it makes it all that much more affordable for businesses.

Nick Pester, general counsel at Zego reference the rise of Uber as an example of digitalisation.

“I think the main opportunity for me is differentiation, the legal market is no different, there’s this huge frontier where people are competing with each other to be visible and I think with brokers for differentiation is ‘true differentiation’ and offering their customers something of real value,” he added.