“2018 onward it´s time to prove and execute” Florian Schubert and Oliver Werneyer, Customer Evangelists at SwissRE

To give a short personal impression: let us know what are your top 3 books everyone today needs to read and top 3 tech gadgets one needs to have?

  • The Monkey Puzzle (learn about perception and projection of own reality to others),
  • Le Petit Prince (never stop exploring and questioning reality),
  • Dead Poets Society (be a rebel and never reject emotions).
  • An analogue cam (put some effort in and think about before doing),
  • Google´s Pixel Buds (connecting humans with on the fly translation),
  • THE DeLorean (no more comments needed…).

What is your take on the state of the industry? What trends and topics do you see and which ones are overlooked right now?

The insurance industry is undergoing a profound and lasting change driven by high competition, small margins und cost pressure. Low interest rates accelerate the change. More fragmented customer segments, rapidly changing customer expectations and advancing automation all point to a future that will be quite different from anything we have seen before. The trends of digitization, automation, artificial intelligence, deep learning, start-ups, venture capital capacity, personalization and bespoke (potentially data driven) solutions will continue and will gain momentum. We already get a first glimpse of mature applications and use cases of the latest technologies. 2018 onward it´s time to prove and execute. Start-ups are expected to really scale up and show application of their respective business models. We are still waiting for the first mature AI really expanding the boarders of insurability as well as for tailor-made, individualized insurance to prove higher sales success. Cross industry, cooperation and co-creation, even between former competitors, bear the potential of generating new solutions for customer needs and problems. These new partnerships promise to leverage diverse expertise to create something really unique and future ready.

SwissRe is going to attend the Global Insurtech Roadshow in Frankfurt in March. What are you excited about and what did you decide to contribute to it?

We are looking forward to a broad variety of start-ups from around the world, exchanging on latest developments, getting fresh ideas, broaden our perspective and good networking with our clients as well as the various partners in the German market. We support the Goethe Business School and Dr. Moritz Finkelnburg to show our appreciation of their efforts in getting such a broad and diverse set of start-ups to Germany. 

The founder of the GIR Moritz Finkelnburg invited insurtech start-ups from Europe, USA, Russia, Dubai – which ones are you looking forward to meet the most?

We are more than happy to have all these founders participating and want to use the chance “to say “Thank you for coming and sharing your expertise and showcasing your products, services and value propositions!” We have handpicked a number of participants whom we are extremely curious to talk to and to understand their offer. 

Re-Insurers – also Swiss Re – are very active around the world collaborating with insurtech start-ups and tech companies backing their plans. In my opinion the reinsurer are the wild card in the race for the future of insurance. So what is the role of re-insurers right now, and in 5 and 10 years?

We strongly believe in the industry`s ability and capability to change and adapt. Reinsurers are strong partners for insurers across the whole value chain and offer comprehensive risk expertise. New circumstances, evolving technology, social redefinition and regulatory requirements will challenge all players in the market. Over the years, the playgrounds of insurance and re-insurance might gradually merge and we will certainly get more and more data driven. At the very end, the reinsurer can always act as the facilitator between its clients and a broad network of cooperation partners to boost quality of solutions. Strategic partnerships will support a rise of long standing and strong business relationships.

Some senior managers working at direct insurers claim, that insurtech is just a hype and that not too much will change – except the optimization of a few processes. What do you think?

Today many InsurTechs concentrate on a very small part of the insurance value chain and base most of their value proposition on not having legacy systems as well as on young and agile teams. This first wave gave a glimpse of the new times ahead. The next waves will have broader approaches and service offerings and will provide comprehensive solutions to a diverse customer base. Incumbents are already successfully changing and the gap between them and new entrants will decrease. In the future, we will need each other to cope jointly with the ever accelerating speed of change.

Amazon in the West, Tencent and Alibaba in the East are pushing into finance and insurance. What are their chances of success? Is it an advantage for them to enter the market as outsiders or is it a disadvantage?

They all have a chance of success. They are good examples of well-managed companies with a clear innovation driven DNA. Their considerable client base, in combination with a lead in digitalization, bear the potential for differentiation. They have already achieved some success and will manage to become an integral part of the economy, including insurance and finance. Additionally many overlook one aspect: by moving themselves into the insurance/finance space, they are moving us into their space!

What would you advice founders of insurtech start-ups right now?

Don´t believe the hype! Focus, get your value proposition clear, right and executable. Just focus on delivering value to the customer!

Don´t “base” your business model on constant VC financing.

Thank you Florian and Oliver! 

Oliver Werneyer (Senior P&C Analytics Solutions Manager):

Innovator, Serial-entrepreneur, Customer Champion, Keynote Speaker, Mentor. Seasoned innovation and customer champion in the insurance and start-up space. Blending technical insurance experience with more ideation, disruption and developments skill set (agile, Design Thinking, rapid prototyping, user usability engineering) results in the main focus being on helping companies be fit for the future and able to anticipate, absorb or even create disruptive change.

Florian Schubert (Primary Insurance Solutions Specialist):

Digitalist, Innovation Enabler, Startup Mentor & Coach, Event Host, Amazed Searcher & Adventurer. Experienced mentor with a demonstrated history of working in the reinsurance sector and startup ecosystem. Skilled in property & casualty insurance, innovation management, product development, agile project management and creativity skills like Design Thinking and Google’s Sprint methodology. Clear focus on user centered solutions – it’s all about the end user and only! Broad expertise in value proposition and business model design. Strong intercultural capabilities, highly communicative, people´s person with broad industry network.

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