At another panel Tuesday afternoon, John Drzik, President of Global Risk and Digital at Marsh, and Greg Hendrick, CEO of AXA XL came together to discuss the different areas of innovation at play in the insurtech space, including the study of new risks and bettering the customer experience, as well as the best path forward to move on from the legacy systems so pervasive in the industry today.
Highlighted at the panel was the fact that insurtech is not one solution or one segment, and there is opportunity in both the small and large risk segments. And the reason innovation is hard, said Drzik, because the insurance industry is so complex, and tying new innovations into legacy systems poses a number of challenges—not to mention the fact that outside players often do not understand the regulatory aspect of selling (re)insurance. However, Drzik emphasized that making the transition to digital would allow for streamlined communication and connectivity; and that transition would be easier, added Hendrick, if startups, carriers, and brokers all worked together to help achieve it, thus bringing the discussion back around to the ongoing theme at ITC of “collaboration over disruption.”
Drzik and Hendrick were then asked if they thought any areas of innovation suffered from the curse of too much hype. Both agreed that the one area that stood out in this case was blockchain: AXA XL is working on a blockchain cargo product, Hendrick said, but it’s hard to use blockchain across all industry segments. While blockchain may be overhyped from a “timing” perspective, explained Drzik,technologies includingblockchain,AI, telematics and machine learning can all have an effect on the industry. Nonetheless, blockchain is likely a“longer term bet” in contrast to AI, which could have an immediate impact in the next year.
Nevertheless, “no matter how much tech we have and how we evolve, we will always be in a people business,” Hendrick said. “We will be investing in and focusing on talent for a long, long time.”