While it may not seem like the most obvious analogy, the adventure that Alice goes through when she follows that infamous white rabbit into the great beyond speaks to the journey that the insurance industry is going through as it races into the digital age. Lewis Caroll’s much adored book touches upon lessons and themes of identity, curiosity, and growth, as Alice’s experience fundamentally changes both her and her world view.

In the very same way, successful InsurTechs like APOLLO Insurance are redefining the identity of the insurance industry. This article will dive into this, as well as what it means to have true curiosity and why that is a necessary ingredient in meaningful innovation within an InsurTech. We will also reassess what growth means in the context of an InsurTech, where the number of employees and offices has no direct correlation to true progression in the digital age.

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Identity and the evolution of insurance

There is a commonly held myth in the insurance industry that the adoption of technology alone will keep our customers satisfied and hold back the potent threat posed by massive Silicon Valley tech companies. However, technology should only be seen as a tool for innovation. On its own, it cannot truly evolve your value proposition nor the industry’s status quo identity.

Rather, the key is to use technology as the vehicle for evolving all aspects of the insurance industry. Challenging commonly held beliefs in areas including, but not limited to, work culture, leadership, risk appetite, and business tactics.

The most successful InsurTechs are adopting and molding the very essence of technology that made companies like Amazon, Shopify, Google, and Apple so dominant in their segments. InsurTech organizations are able to do this by internalizing and owning the development of technology, when so many other established insurance organizations are choosing external sources for their technology. The latter is making a mistake.

The real magic, specifically the forces that transform an organization from an ordinary insurance company into an InsurTech, happens when the world of technology and that of insurance learn how to work in synergy. This new identity is the foundation for innovation in products, underwriting, claims, and distribution.

The power of curiosity for InsurTechs

Curiosity is another vital characteristic of an InsurTech and is an important element when driving innovation.

InsurTechs are letting go of the old by challenging the insurance industry’s assumptions and biases. Technological tools open up new opportunities in areas that are commonly overlooked or neglected by the industry entirely. Successful InsurTechs are investigating and exploring the possibilities that technology can unlock.

Focusing is the key, and not boiling the ocean is essential. It’s difficult to innovate when your scope is broad. Amazon started with books and Google started with a search engine. InsurTechs concentrate on one aspect of our industry to ensure focus, such as claims, digital distribution, or embedded products. Their foundations are later expanded on into a wider range of customers and products.

Curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge, and learning through data are all complementary components to success. The insurance industry has always collected lots of data but, in many cases, has been guilty of neglecting those metrics when making decisions at both a desk and strategic level. InsurTechs spend the time, review the data, question assumptions, and create strategies from that information. The data doesn’t lie, always listen to it.

Curiosity will lead to experimentation. This is how InsurTechs can validate new ideas and innovations. Experimentation creates data that validates new ideas or strategies, and without it, you’ll never be able to answer the very questions that lead to different ways of doing things.

Evaluating growth in the digital age

A traditional assessment of an insurance organization’s progress is measured through standard metrics, such as employee count, locations, number of customers, and revenue. InsurTech organizations are challenging those traditional growth assessments by focusing on data quality and quantity, total technological capital, and customer adoption rates.

Underwriting, customer, and claims data is critical to fuel the transformation of an organization from a follower to an innovator. Developing a technological platform is no different than constructing a building, in the sense. The more work that is done, the more the value and utility grows as continued progress is made.

Adoption rates, also referred to as utilization rates, is another way an InsurTech can measure the current and potential utility of their platform. Both the frequency and number of customers who are using the technology are key performance indicators (KPIs) and are important data points for future growth potential.

Change is inevitable and innovation is assured

InsurTechs will be leading this journey to the future where insurance organizations are identifying more closely with the most prominent technology companies of today.

Decision making and strategies will be focused around experimentation and data. Progress will be measured in new ways, which will evolve the values that the industry has previously held close.

Instead of simply acquiring a customer, the evolutionary journey that InsurTechs have embarked on will serve to push the industry as a whole to measure engagement. Companies will also need to focus on innovating processes in an effort to drive more value to the customer through digital platforms.

Just as Alice emerged from Wonderland forever changed, so too will the insurance industry as it continues to embrace the opportunities for innovation and evolution presented by InsurTechs and the digital age.

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