With all the disruption buffeting the world, insurance needs an immutable offering to withstand the lashings of change. Hence the bold theme to exchange banter in Berlin with ‘The Innovation Transformation’.
Innovation in ideas and beyond technology too. Don’t just get caught up with the power of technology. Yes, it is huge and can make processes and people more efficient and optimise marketing reach. But, as the entries to our 22nd Asia Insurance Industry Awards showed, there is a whole world of innovation being implemented in insurance without technology.
This could be a sad indictment that insurance has been so stolid and unchanging that it has lagged behind even non-tech developments – or it could be that insurance is so far ahead and in-sync with a human-centred society that it has moved beyond simply technology. You take your pick of where your company stands.
Believing in Berlin
But back to the message of today, as Berlin beckons with all its cutting-edge in change, the thrust is really how insurance can be responsive to the increasing demands that the economy and society expects of it. This is good news for insurance as it means that people are waking up to the power of what it can do. Insurers must themselves believe that they can deliver on the expectations.
Can they? As the risk landscape increases, insurers, being in the risk business, need to respond with covers for the new risks. Technology and the attendant cyber exposures have challenged insurers the most.
Cyber exposures are said to be three times more disastrous than natural calamities. So how can insurers show their expertise in the risk business? Are there products to cover any risk and offer peace of mind to the clients who want to be protected?
Of course there is a cover for anything but at what price? And insurance has worked, throughout time, through the law of averages. So if you start looking at individualised, customised risk, the whole industry will be rocked on its heels and the pricing will hit the roof.
As one banker recently moaned at the EAIC public forum, “Yes, you offer cyber cover but at such a high price with such limitations that it is un-buyable. I prefer to bear the risk myself with greater peace of mind.” A damning choice but, nonetheless, the reality that insurers have to face up to every day.
Brainstorming in Berlin
Hence the importance of brainstorming in Berlin: how to make the insurance offering so compelling that people will buy insurance as a no-brainer. We know it in our minds that this is the case, yet we can’t get this message across despite the army and brigades of distribution avenues in the real world and online.
Innovation transformation must go deep and beyond just the bravado of how high-tech and high-touch insurance is. CEOs in Berlin must look at the human-centred revolution in insurance, be it technology or otherwise.
The Berlin agenda is indeed ambitiously brave with its extensive spin touching on all the hot irons of the day: be it gender and diversity issues, digital and InsurTech and blockchain, nurturing talent, inclusive insurance and microinsurance, coping with natural disasters through the PPP and IDF and, most vitally, on the expanding duty of care.
Will the GIF leave Berlin in a high-speed Shinkansen/TGV/Bullet train with carriages of strategies and ideas to make insurance save the world, spread peace of mind and encourage more innovation in industry? The GIF is that once-a-year, not-to-be-missed chance insurance gets to do a global self-check on where it is heading.
Will Berlin once again let the wall come down and make the industry stand tall with great ideas to buffer the world through any innovation transformation?