We had a wonderful experience last week at the InsiderTech event last week here in NYC, hosted by The Insurance Insider. It was a packed day full of insightful industry keynotes, insurtech presentations, and panels from experts in insurtech, venture capital, and the broader insurance industry.

The day kicked off with keynote presentations from Ed Noonan, the Group Chairman of StarStone, and Ty Sagalow, one of the founding members of Lemonade. We particularly enjoyed Ty’s presentation on the founding of Lemonade and how it addresses some of the major issues consumers have with the insurance industry. It was great to hear from him so soon after Lemonade announced its first introduction to the European market through the launch of Lemonade in Germany, backed by AXA.

Following these keynotes, and some thoughtful Q&A, were a panel discussion on Insurtech: Phase 2 and four insurtech presentations from Hippo Insurance, Phinsys, Adapt Ready, and Bold Penguin. From these discussions and presentations, a couple of key themes emerged.

One is that the importance of the insurance industry beginning to factor in and account for climate change is incredibly important. Both presentations from Hippo Insurance and Adapt Ready touched on the use of technology in helping insurers, homeowners, and businessowners prepare themselves for dangerous weather and the damage it can cause. As Aviad Pinkovezky from Hippo pointed out, technology now allows insurance to be ‘proactive instead of just reactive.’

Another theme that was consistently mentioned was the importance of the broker in the insurance world - and how that role will evolve, but not go away. This was touched on by Bold Penguin’s Neil Weiss in his presentation as well as Vindati’s Hugh Burgess, Attune’s James Hobson, and Boost Insurance’s Julie Sherlock in their panel discussion. Julie pointed out that brokers’ roles will change depending on the situation. “It depends who’s bringing the products to market,” she explained. “Insurance is another vertical for some companies, and while some more complex markets will keep using brokers, some will switch to full automation.”

After a brief break for lunch and networking, the event resumed with two more panel discussions on Insurtech Investments: what you need to know and The Power of AI in Commercial Re/insurance before concluding with a wonderful, final keynote from John Swigart, Co-Founder and CEO of Pie Insurance.

The investment panel touched on a variety of points from their collective experience investing in insurance and insurtech. Some memorable quotes include:

  • “Stay focused. What do you do that you do better than anyone else. Stay focused and you’ll get the lion’s share of the market.” - Brian Cohen from Altamont Capital
  • “Team is the most important thing when it’s a new company, including how they treat each other and interact.” - Martha Notaras from XL Innovate
  • “It’s vital to know who is going to pay you and why. This leads back to the customer many people can’t articulate this.” - Jeff Flynn from Assurant Growth Investment
  • “It’s important to clearly articulate command of knowledge and market to investors.” - Katelyn Johnson from American Family Ventures

The final panel on the power of AI in insurance circled back to the growing importance of using technology and AI to predict, prepare for, and prevent loss before a disaster strikes. Ryan Kottenstette from Cape Analytics, which uses aerial imaging to help insure physical property against natural disasters, said, “We can now provide tools to better price risk and properly insure people who are at risk as our circumstances continue to change.”

The panel also discussed the power of AI to help shift through the mountains of data collected by traditional insurers, most of which lies unused, lost, or useless. As Andrew Robinson from Groundspeed Analytics pointed out, “46 cents on the dollar doesn’t go to the customer, it goes to the inefficiency of the industry.”

We had a wonderful time at InsiderTech, and found it a wonderfully organized and thoughtful event. We’re looking forward to diving into some of these topics in a bit more detail on the Insurtech Channel, so keep an eye out.

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