A little more delayed than my usual round-up after attending a conference, partly due to jet lag, and partly due to the chaos that spending a week out of the office inflicts on one's schedule! So was it worth it...?
In short - Yes.
I was unsure what to expect from an InsurTech focused conference in the United States - when looking across the Atlantic I see a heavily intermediated market where the agents and brokers have a huge amount of control. I also see a protectionist environment, where those same intermediaries fight hard to maintain the status quo, and continue to try and convince both their customers and the market of their relevance and importance. I don't mean to be antagonistic, I honestly believe that there is a role for the broker in the Risk market of the future, and certainly the many regulators in the States are ensuring that in the short term at least. However, there has been some very combative rhetoric from some senior figures in the US broking market in response to the InsurTech evolution, which I believe to be short-sighted and counter-productive. All of this makes the US appear like a tough nut for the InsurTech entrepreneur to crack.
What I met at the conference (admittedly from an enlightened delegate base), was a huge amount of positive sentiment and confidence about what could be achieved - although perhaps in the immediate future of the US market this is slightly misplaced. Organisations like Lemonade and Tröv are essentially digital brokers, and the level of investment support they have received is, in my opinion, representative of their drive to capture relatively untapped markets. So this is basically a digital re-hash of the current structure (not exactly disruptive), and not really set to take business away from the incumbents. However, they do demonstrate what can be achieved, and are flag-bearers for a new digital approach to trading and customer engagement. Few of the truly ground-breaking propositions that I saw were US based, however, and whilst many have the States in their sights for the future, it is likely only to be once they have gained scale in more supportive environments elsewhere in the world.
However, with over 3,500 attendees from 48 different countries around the world, what ITC drove home was that innovation in the insurance sector, true innovation, is actually happening in abundance.
One of the great things about conferences of this scale is that there is so much opportunity to make unexpected connections. I am a great believer in serendipity, and I got so much from those meetings that happened randomly over the course of the event.
There have been several other write-ups of the event, (such as this one which I really enjoyed), and I will not go over again the many topics that are covered elsewhere. What I will say though, is that ITC should be on EVERY insurance professional's calendar for 2018, if for no other reason than to (re)gain some excitement about the Insurance market's future.