Guidewire boss Marcus Ryu says insurers should embrace insurtech - but pick ‘process improvers’ above ‘digital attackers’

Guidewire chief executvie Marcus Ryu says insurance firms should pick ‘process improvers’ over ‘digital attackers’ on insurtech. 

Ryu, pictured speaking at the Guidewire Connections conference in Las Vegas, says there are two insurtech camps - ‘digital attackers’ and ‘process improvers’.

Ryu said the digital attackers had triggered skepticism in the UK, and a better option was for incumbents to embrace ‘process improvers’.

Ryu said: ”Insurtechs have come in many shapes and sizes, but we divide them into two categories: first, digital attackers, as many call themselves.

”Some focus purely on distribution, betting that a superior digital experience for comparison shopping will create liquid insurance marketplaces.

”Essentially they propose that insurers should trade control of some customer relationships in exchange for new leads.

”Given the very mixed experiences that they’ve had with personal-lines aggregators, such as in the UK, it’s not surprising that insurers have approached them with some skepticism.

”Other digital attackers compete directly with primary insurers by offering novel products, such as Slice and our customers Metromile in California and FRI:DAY in Germany, who have focused on usage-based products and on serving the sharing economy — which is estimated to grow to well over $300 billion in the US alone over the next decade.

”While some of your companies have partnered with digital attackers, we believe the greater opportunities lie in the other category  — process Improvers — who focus on specific challenges in the insurance lifecycle, often applying horizontal technology.”

Ryu said many process improvers were part of the Guidewire Marketplace, and revealed new plans to bolster that part of his business.