This article is part of an original series written by Livegenic CEO Olek Shestakov. In this article, Olek shares some insights on insurance innovation and disruption, based on his 25 years of experience in the technology industry.
I really enjoyed John Wysseier’s recent series of articles on disruptive innovation and the importance for organizations to have an innovation-focused approach to their business. Quoting John, “… the future of business is going to continue to feature disruption as a way of life. The companies of today are likely to fall into one of two categories: the disruptors and the disrupted.”
The “disruptive innovation” trend in Insurance is now stronger than ever, and is, in many ways, ahead of the game when compared to other industries.
This has not always been the case, however – Even five years ago the status quo held that Insurance organizations were resistant to change and skeptical of innovation – often set on the far side of Everett Rogers’ “Innovation Adoption Lifecycle” with the other segments like Healthcare, Finance, and Government.
The Innovation Adoption Lifecycle
By the mid 2010’s, rumblings of change were beginning to make their way through the industry. Startups and other tech-focused organizations were cropping up across the Insurance space, disrupting long-held standards by offering better, more efficient ways of doing business.
New technology quickly took over sales, marketing, claim processing, actuarial analysis, and even something that had been previously unheard of: direct communication with policyholders.
But the changes didn’t stop there – ever more radical innovations continue to emerge and transform the industry to this day, a far cry from what was predicted three to four years ago. Following companies like Lemonade and Root, more and more Startups are pushing to become fully functioning, end-to-end Insurance carriers. By offering policyholders an insurance experience that is quick, easy, and customer-focused, these organizations are at the head of the next wave of market disruption.
The entire paradigm of what an Insurance organization is is radically changing. Carriers of the past were organizational behemoths, offering hundreds of products and driven by thousands of people. Conversely, the successful Carriers of today are those that strive to be lean, agile, and efficient in order to keep up with the evolving market.
So - how should Startups and other tech-focused companies work with Insurance organizations? How can they best embrace the industry’s dizzying rate of change and support their clients as vendors, partners, and advisors?
To answer this question, let me take a small step into my own background: I’ve been building software products all my life, from mainframes and Java 1 to modern distributed micro-services and highly scaled platforms. Over the last 25 years, I’ve personally seen drastic changes in the ways that businesses choose new products.
At the dawn of Digital Revolution, companies were simply looking for Products. What a Product could do (and what it could not) was analyzed along with its perceived strategic fit, and the result was the Product Roadmap.
The next stage in the Digital Era brought a focus on Solutions and Solution Roadmaps. Encouraged by a rapid rise in the popularity of the “Solution-Based” sales approach, Product offerings were updated to reflect not just what the Product could do, but more importantly how the Product was able to specifically address the client’s problems.
Over the years, the Digital Era evolved into the modern Era of Global Integration. You’re lucky if you don’t remember CORBA or SOAP - the “older” ways that software solutions were integrated. Nowadays, thanks to lightweight and efficient REST API’s and Event Queues, it’s easier (and more important than ever) to provide Integrated Products and Solutions. These integrated offerings enable a wide array of products and services to work hand-in-hand, providing organizations with bespoke solutions that are unified, easy to use, and interconnected.
With all this in mind, the question remains: Is offering customers a “good Product, the right Solution, and a solid Integration” enough in the current marketplace?
As we enter a new Era of highly integrated, developed solutions, Innovation and Disruption have become the new standards for forward-looking companies. The Joint Innovation Roadmap is now a critical component of every technology offering – a detailed breakdown of how the technology provider and Insurance organization will jointly grow and transform over the next one, two, or five years.
What a provider sells and delivers today is simply the first stage of their offering; a year from now there will be another stage, and then another after that. Not just small iterative steps, but innovative new ideas, products, and solutions that have not yet been adopted. These stages represent the ever-expanding number of ways that providers evolve to help their clients stay at the forefront of a changing industry.
To put it simply, if your solution is AI - bring Claims collaboration as the next stage; if it’s Claims collaboration - bring business intelligence; if it’s business intelligence - bring fraud prevention. As a technology provider, what you can offer today is only half of your value, it’s your responsibility to help clients make a single decision today that will continue to bring them success throughout the coming years.