By: Robert Cohen, Chairman & CEO ofIMA Financial Group
On my daily commute, I drive from my home to the office in a vehicle with all kinds of technology embedded in it. Many of the vehicles we drive today have navigation capabilities, traffic-aware cruise control, auto-park, and some even have auto pilot features. The cars turn themselves on by utilizing a key fob. These technological advancements, which would have seemed highly unlikely a few years ago, are becoming increasingly prominent in vehicles today and are a feature that many consumers hardly give a second thought to.
Our country has self-driving (though not quite fully autonomous) cars, and yet, the insurance industry has remained years behind for quite some time. But, for the first time in a long time, I am watching our industry coalescing around the need and desire for change, especially as it relates to technology.
We have all seen the shifts taking place in the banking industry, where value-added services are now performed in a self-directed way, freeing up the industry to focus on bigger issues and problem solving for clients. There is hope on the horizon for the insurance industry, too, even with our industry’s complexities.
There are three primary areas where the application of emerging technologies can drive far superior results for our industry: harnessing the power of data, minimizing human touchpoints to drive efficiencies, and enhancing the overall client experience.
Being an owner-partner of BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) positions our company to better navigate the thousands of insurtech companies globally. Through BTV’s Accelerator program, in conjunction with the other 28 BTV broker, insurer, and wholesale partners, we have unique access to evaluate and recommend the top insurtech companies to move forward into the program.
For the 2022 Accelerator program alone, there were over 100 applicants with only 12 moving through to the Accelerator, and we know the number of applications will continue to increase.
When evaluating insurtechs for acceptance into the accelerator, BTV partners look for technologies that can be piloted or deployed within each of our organizations to address the need for better analytics, efficiencies, and customer engagement. And we are seeing those impacts firsthand.
Our focus on changing the insurance landscape started with the development of BTV-backed Highwing, our own insurtech startup that now operates as a standalone insurtech company, connecting brokers and carriers with open data. We’ve also seen BTV-sourced insurtech pilot programs within our organization turn into full-scale implementations of technology that has changed the way we do business for the better.
Several of the technologies we are using now that were part of the BTV Accelerator program harness the automation of the claims process and workflows, are modernizing submissions, as well as instantly underwriting and issuing surety bonds — all of which are supporting client retention and new business acquisition…and they are just the beginning of what is to come.
While the insurance industry might not be quite as advanced as self-driving cars, thanks to the efforts of BTV, we are well on our way to changing the landscape.