’They have a real role to play,’ says product manager

Insurers and brokers have been told they need to embrace those who fear innovation for it to have an impact.

A webinar hosted by law firm Kennedys yesterday (28 March 2023) saw panellists examine the challenges of innovation in the insurance sector.

Joe Cunningham, a product manager at Kennedys, said one of the bigger problems was that the “internal thought and progress on innovation was still lacking”.

He felt the mistake many made was to build innovation delivery groups from those who were already on board with the need for change.

“People invited to work on these groups are all too often the enthusiastic, forward thinking and positive members of the staff,” Cunningham said.

“You tend to find those who are deemed not to be open to the change – the chief resistance officers if you like – are not invited onto the groups.

“However, they have a real role to play and they can often see things that others cannot.

“[They] can identify issues where the plans are too ambitious or the timetable will be difficult to achieve.

“We have to remember it is about what we want to achieve rather than how we will get there.”

‘Work together’

Meanwhile, Katherine Crisp, founder and director of Social Innovation for All, felt the type of culture that needed to be in place for innovation was one where every member of staff felt free to come up with ideas and were confident they would be heard by senior management.

“It does not matter what is written down on a piece of paper, it is how people work together to achieve your aim that is all important,” she said.

Richard West, partner at Kennedys and global head of liability defence, added: “If you do not have a swashbuckling entrepreneurship culture, innovation will not grow.

“You have to put innovation as part of the DNA of your company’s strategy, it cannot simply be seen as an add on to the strategy if it is to work.”