This time 12 months ago I was just coming to grips with the fact that there was a group of people out there who were actively trying to achieve that which many incumbents in the insurance market had failed to: Progress!
I had attended Insurance Day's Insurance Technology Congress (ITC), met the then future and now current MD of StartupBootCamp's 'InsurTech' programme, and begun forging new relationships with a diverse group of entrepreneurs, innovation evangelists, and frustrated insurance professionals that wanted to fix what many in the sector are still refusing to admit is broken.
I've commented previously on my love for the insurance sector. In many ways it is a vibrant, engaging, and exciting market to work in and support. I believe my own enthusiasm for the market and it's participants is what has helped me become a successful head hunter. People respond to passion, and they crave opportunity, and I feel that I offer the first and deliver the latter through my job. But this has not blinded me to the challenges faced by the sector. It is perceived by many as a staid, dull, aloof marketplace that only ever seeks to serve itself and not it's customers (an image that is perpetuated by the media). I mention this because the InsurTech community make me optimistic of a continued relevance and hopefully improving profile for the market that is my passion.
For those sceptics that still perceive external innovators as wannabe Disruptors with little hope for success, please open your eyes to what this talented community of innovators can do for the sector with their unencumbered thinking. Most InsurTech startups now aren't seeking to disrupt the market and take business away from incumbents, rather they are looking to partner and collaborate with businesses that are in need of an alternative perspective.
As with all 'new' things, there are a pile of buzzwords associated with the activity, in this case: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Telematics, Robotics, Blockchain, and Internet of Things, are just a few. Most of these aren't aligned with taking business away, they are focused on process optimisation, enhanced analytics, improved customer journey, reduced costs, and ultimately delivering more profitability. I will admit that further enhancing the profits of (Re)Insurers and their Brokers might not initially have been the thinking of the entrepreneurs, but many of their innovations will deliver it nonetheless.
What is becoming increasingly obvious is that the new breed of thinkers that are entering the market are able to tackle problems that are ignored, mainly because they haven't had to get used to 'making do' like those waiting for the next roll out from IT. They see a problem and they come up with a solution, not a workaround as is often the case otherwise...
So, whilst before my passion was to enhance the sector through helping to better position talent, now I am just as enthusiastic to raise the profile of the value (not just product-) innovation can truly add.
If you haven't yet, just take a look at what's out there - I can almost guarantee something will spark your interest...