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The Digital Insurer’s 2016 year end review and 2017 forecast

2016 in Review – the rise of InsurTech

2016 has been a year of tremendous growth for digital insurance around the world. We have seen an explosion of new startups as well as programmes by insurers and reinsurers looking to accelerate digital strategies and incorporate new technologies.

Certainly the “InsurTech” label has become the moniker under which much of the change in being corralled. There are an increasing number of events and sites covering the issues, information sharing is increasing along with the pace of innovation in the industry.

2016 – Highlights @ The Digital Insurer

Without doubt, our first Digital Insurer conference was one of the highlights of the year. We were so pleased to get positive feedback from the Digital Insurer Asia conference in Hong Kong in November – and strong support from both attendees and sponsors. The engagement and buzz was inspiring.

this is the review link for the conference site including the highlight video can be found here.

It has given us the confidence and momentum to plan for 2 conference in 2017.  The feedback we had from the conference is that attendees really like the small size and intimate but relaxed atmosphere that we created so we intend to keep to that format.  Our plan is to repeat the Asia Conference in Singapore and we are also hoping to have our first European event in London.

Other areas of progress during the year that we are pleased to have achieved:

  • The ongoing Digital Insurance Library service which remains the world’s largest repository of whitepapers on the topic of digital insurance
  • The growth of Digital Insurance in Action including the webinar series which has grown in popularity over the year
  • Andrew Dart joining The Digital Insurer as our head of Australia and New Zealand as well as our thought leader on The Connected Insurer
  • The launch of our third party daily Newswire service supported by a volunteer news correspondent network of almost 30 people from around the globe that will keep us close to the latest news in Digital Insurance
  • Participation in and promotion in more than 10 conferences and events
  • Collaboration with The Raconteur on the Future of Insurance report
  • More than 100% growth in the number of subscribers and website traffic. We now have more than 15,000 subscribers of which more than 50% have also joined on the The Digital Insurer LinkedIn Group

Our 2017 Digital Insurance forecast – We will see some consolidation

The pressure will be on in 2017 for the new InsurTech companies to deliver revenues and for the labs and incubators to deliver on their innovation. The process will involve some celebration for the successes as well as commiserations for those that don’t make it.

My personal forecast is that we will see investment slow down a little and more focus on making existing investments work.  There could be an InsurTech valuation bubble forming and the external macro environment is highly uncertain.

I expect more focus on digital insurance models , including digital distribution, as well as organisational design / change management as these are both at least as important as the technologies being deployed. It is hard to see pure “insurance technology” in isolation to the broader sweep of changes needed to successfully digitise insurance.

Other trends and issues we will look at more closely over the coming year include:

  • What can we learn from China’s leadership in digital insurance distribution?
  • How quickly will the adoption of machine learning be in the insurance industry?
  • How many more new entrants into the industry will there be? Particularly those who can deliver scale and digitally connected customers
  • Will more regulators take Singapore’s example and be willing to relook at legacy regulations (based on face-to-face models) that are providing process barriers to industry change?
  • Will we see Blockchain applications at scale in the insurance industry in 2017?
  • How fast, and how radical, will the reinvention of face-to-face insurance models around the world be?
  • What step changes are we going to see in customer experience in the year ahead?

I think we are all looking forward to 2017 as a year of execution and further excitement

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