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InsurTech challenges traditional Insurers


At FinTechNZ’s recent Spring Connect Events, we discussed the major disruption traditional insurance firms are now facing and the need for insurers to evolve. The series, held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch explored insurance technology innovation, including Frankie, New Zealand’s first AI health insurance chatbot.

In Wellington, our panellists included Bot the Builder’s Mike Lovegrove, Core Logic’s Richard Deakin, ICNZ’s Tim Grafton, FMA’s Peter Neilsen, FMG’s Nathan Barrett and NIB’s Ben Rose.

Our panel were asked to discuss legal, regulatory and ethical issues arising from the increasing digitisation across the insurance value chain. The panel acknowledged the importance of regulators keeping pace with emerging technologies.

Currently, introduced changes are perceived as recreations or upgrades of earlier technology rather than new innovation. While InsurTech is reshaping insurance, reputational risk remains important. The balance between innovation, risk and customer outcomes was examined. New technology risks need to be managed and not passed onto the customer. Full disclosure is vital in achieving this. The panel agreed that it is good to see the customer experience featuring as the key factor in new technology implementation. For example, it is important to keep a range of options available to customers, as both chatbot and human interactions have different expectations and requirements. Hybrid versions will increasingly be employed to ensure the best customer experience.

The industry is constantly learning the opportunities and limitations of emerging technologies. Liability issues related to new tech are likely to diminish as the technologies are improved over time. From an ethical perspective, due to the nature of the industry itself, insurers are more likely to analyse the risks involved and subsequently evolve. From a social perspective, the panel didn’t necessarily think fewer jobs will result, rather a diversification of existing roles.

In Wellington and Christchurch, FinTechNZ also hosted Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ), committed to zero tolerance of corruption. TINZ’s Chair, Suzanne Snivley requested feedback on the 2017 New Zealand Financial Integrity System Assessment.

“InsurTech is not a silver bullet—the real challenge for insurers is to become more innovative in their everyday business,” The Rise of InsurTech, Accenture 2017

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