Opening comment from the chair
Twenty years ago we were grappling with Y2K, scratching our heads about a thing called Napster, trialling our first e-commerce purchases and had yet to hear of the iPhone, App stores or Facebook – all still a good 10 years away. The stock market was dominated by retail giants, banking and mining, whereas now it is trans-global tech companies. Data is the new oil and old models of value creation are now completely changed through the power and reach of new technology. Clearly, insurance is a part of this fast changing world and faces challenges (and opportunities) going forward.
So, as we prepare for 2020 and wonder what is coming our way in the next decade or two, we already know trust, transparency, digitisation, regulation and changing customer expectations are significant short-term influencers. We also know that insurance will always be with us, but what will the world of insurance look like a decade from now and who will really own sales and distribution?
Perhaps the majority of insurance transactions will go via personal insurer chat bot, via well known digital platforms, maybe the call centre and insurance brokers have already become a distant memory? Who will win and who will be disrupted?
Helping address change and generating value is where, I believe, InsurTechNZ has an important role to play.
So what does this mean for InsurtechNZ in 2020 and beyond?
When we started InsurTechNZ with FinTechNZ just two and a half years ago, at the time Insurtech was barely a ‘thing’ in New Zealand. We had little engagement with incumbents, regulators, technology vendors or investors and had just a small pool of Insurtechs leading the conversation. If this last year is an exemplar of sector engagement and momentum, then the following activities come to mind;
- The commitment and growth of organisations supporting Insurtech via FinTechNZ.
A particular shout out goes out to AA, FMG, Suncorp, IAG (new) and also Minter Ellison, Bell Gully, Delta Insurance, Centrality, Augen and many others.
- The welcoming and supportive engagement with the likes of FMA, MBIE, ATEED, NZTE, RBNZ
- The collaboration with important member groups namely ANZIIF, FSC, YIPS, AI forum, NZ Actuaries and the many other speaking engagements we have collectively participated in
- The consolidation and success of New Zealand InsurTechs. At my last count, there are approximately 25 active companies who between them have approximately $40M in investment. Nearly all are actively collaborating with insurance incumbents in New Zealand – and many are rapidly expanding overseas. That’s quite an achievement compared with the usual ‘start-up’ world.
- InsurTechNZ has delivered six of our own events, collaborated in at least four others and always had good attendance. Next year we already have the event calendar booked until July. (Hint: if your organisation would like to host a themed topic and event, then let’s talk soon)
- InsurtechNZ has been involved in the EY/InsurTechNZ landscape report and more recently with AI Forum’s, New Zealand Insurance report. Both provide insight on the expansion of the market’s insurance innovation.
It’s not always smooth sailing
Like all voluntary organisations, we do have some challenges. Next year we need to address some important structural and pragmatic delivery issues to help keep the flame burning brightly. In my view, this includes grappling with our true purpose and intent as an organisation, reviewing the nature and scope of events, how we expand cross-sector collaboration and create both the means (and time) to help the InsurTech leadership to be more impactful. The reality of any voluntary organisation is that we all have our ‘day jobs’ so this is an ongoing challenge.
Despite these considerations, the foundations are in place for expanded growth and influence. Fortunately, we have the immense support of our members and the backing of FinTechNZ and the NZTech infrastructure. To this point, I would especially like to acknowledge the valued support and leadership of James Brown and some others who have really helped make a difference. Firstly the InsurtechNZ support team, Susan, Georgia, Jackie and Laura, all of whom are ably backed by the likes of Mitchell, Graeme and the FinTechNZ board.
Thanks to all.
Start your planning for 2020
Next year we anticipate expanding our market engagement and new opportunities. In the meantime here are a few updates to share;
- Events – The event calendar is being confirmed shortly with our first InsurTech event hosted by Faraday and BNZ. This is a focus on business enablement, accessing funding and accelerating market penetration. Watch this space for February
- Overseas delegations. We are keen to promote international market opportunity. At this point we invite you to participate in the following;
ANZIIF Insurtech conference in Sydney 20-21 Feb
Singapore InsurTechConnect conference June 2-4
- Some future focus points include; business acceleration, customer expectation, regulation and compliance, InsurTech funding, claims tech, innovation centres and much more.
Finally as a wrap up
A quick shout out goes to our FinTechNZ and InsurTechNZ leaders, our hosts, sponsors, guests, supporters and FinTechNZ members. Without your participation, we would not be ‘a thing’.
I trust and your whanau have a fabulous festive holiday season and a brilliant new year. Bring on the new decade – it should be an interesting one!