Movers and Shakers: How to prepare as professional?

For the first time in human history, the knowledge of the world is out there. Before it was locked up in libraries and institutions of education. Knowledge was power and a privilege. The internet made large parts of human knowledge available – for all, for free. Just search on Google or on YouTube. Nevertheless to tackle new challenges we need new strategies, tools and tactics.

Therefore I am honored that over 20 movers and shakers of the international insurance and finance industry shared their concrete tipps, how to use the expansion of the internet as an opportunity for the insurance and finance industry.

A big thanks to (in no particular order):

“Beside rethinking their products – simplify the business more and more and establish a proper omni channel environment to meet consumer expectations also with regard to the brand.”

“Decision makers should move from focusing on Minimum Viable Products to Minumum Value Propositions to focus on concrete cooperations with innovative partners producing relevant value propositions for their customers. As a professional I would try to stay updated and regularly consume content on innovation inside and outside the industry and embrace the concept of open innovation to collaborate and co-create with multiple external partners and institutions.”

“It is important to adapt to changing customer expectations. Processes must be simplified, new products have to be developed, the online presence and offering must be rethought, and all possible contact points must be connected. This requires a substantial interest and will to innovate and develop. There is a great opportunity for all financial and insurance companies with adapted business models and upgraded IT systems to be prepared for the markets of the future. One of the biggest challenges for old-established companies is to have the courage to realise these necessary changes and to bring their employees along with them.”

“While customers want more today, many traditional retail sectors have kept up with the technology-driven consumer offering services that are more in line with customers’ personal needs. Traditional grocery stores offer online shopping while most banks are moving towards a mobile first approach today. Finance and insurance professionals need to go digital. There is no other way if they want to stay competitive. Due to that understand the pace the world is changing, think out of the box and not in the box, build a smart team and start your first test cases if you haven’t started yet.”

“More and more banks and insurance businesses acknowledge the fact that in order to be the best choice for their customers, they need to keep themselves at the forefront of innovation and constantly find ways to exceed evolving expectations. As customers become increasingly mobile, financial services businesses need to increase the presence where today’s and future customers live, work, and play and therefore leverage the power of the Facebook Family of Apps & Services.”

“A whole new business vocabulary is emerging for the Future of Insurance with platforms … test and learn, minimum viable products (MVP), incubate new products, niche market opportunities, ecosystem revenue multiplier effect, greenfields, pay-as-you-use, and much more.  We have only seen the beginning of the power of the platform … and it is exciting, amazing and impactful!”

“My suggestion is to become highly familiar with many different functions of the insurance stack. Startups should have better than a basic understanding of how each department functions. What do actuaries do? How do they do it? Are there any flaws in their approach? Is there a better mechanism to provide the value they provide in the system? What do they worry about day over day? If professionals can walk a mile in the shoes of actuaries, underwriters, marketers, claims adjusters, finance, regulation, sales etc, they will have the sort of wisdom that will be very difficult to disrupt. Seek wisdom and insight. Spend time talking to other professionals. Network. Ask questions and listen for subtle clues as to what you aren’t hearing.”

“We do not need a digital strategy but a strategy for a digital world! Having understood this is ready for anything that comes.”

“We are all interacting in a very high-paced environment. I always encourage my team to stay on top of their game and be prepared for constant change. So I would recommend the same to professionals in the insurtech and fintech industries, as this is what drives innovation forward.”

“Really understanding customer pain points and utilizing technology to solve them, will be the main driver for success in the digital age. There, I believe, the key to success will be at the interface of human behavior, customer experience and technology. 

Additionally, the skills & mindset to partner, e.g. with start-ups, & deeply integrate new technologies along the entire value chain in an agile & swift manner will be crucial.”

“Finance and Insurance professionals are two diff markets. Insurance professionals can work more closely in collaboration with realtors and their networks offering add on services. Eg in Dubai no one seems to see the value of Home Contents insurance. There is a huge gap in the market here for this. Finance professionals are having a tough time as less people are buying mortgage and going for off plan. The way in is to collaborate with their networks with agents and make money by referral for now. Banks are struggling for loan business currently as the Developers are now playing Bank.”

The industry shapes fast. No matter how fast we grow or what regulations and new technologies might come: We all should never forget to put the customer in center of everything we do. Like this we always guarantee to offer relevant, customer-friendly products and services that fulfill true needs of our customers.”

“Be flexible in your vision but at the same time have a main guiding line. This will help in keeping the business in line with objectives while at the same time having an eye towards the future. For those responsible with innovation in their companies, be bold in experimenting but only once you’ve identified the specific areas where you think the innovation should be applied and the tools and means you are going to use. Keyword: plan, plan, plan. If that doesn’t work: Plan B.”

“Think creatively about solutions and how to implement change – doing things the same way they have always been done will not be enough in the future.”

“In addition to modernizing and digitizing your infrastructure, create a foundation that helps you better prepare for coming changes with proper data management framework, including collection, orchestration, cleansing, unification, standardization, storage, and security.”

“There is a need for cultural and educational change but also for a general shift in mindset for both parties – executives and employees. The amount of jobs in which creativity, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial skills are essential will tremendously increase over the course of the next decades. Professionals need to have an open mind in this new reality. They have to open up to new business models and be open to new ways of work, methodological competences as well as technology trends.”

Entrepreneurs should question whether they have to build everything, or whether buying actual operations and improving them is a faster route to market. Insurers have many non-core assets, and some insurers are actually non-core parts of non-insurance companies. By separating these assets and putting them in the hands of tech-focused entrepreneurs, an owner of an existing business can create a win-win: obtain upside in a new business, free oneself of a non-core asset, and preserve many more jobs than by selling to a consolidator. Incumbents, what’s in your closet?  Where are the parts of your operation that might thrive if you thought creatively about their future?

“They should be careful not to wind up in a dead end street with their business model. Avoiding this calls for agility and foresight.”

“My recommendation is to go beyond the press releases and conference hype to find trusted and unbiased voices such as and reading my book The End Of Insurance As We Know It to help formulate a tech strategy that allows your firm to be digitally enabled and have the ability to quickly integrate via APIs to stay ahead of your competition.”

“Network, Network, Network! There is much more about our industry than just insurance fairs and newsletters. Being all digital, it’s still the connection that counts. That doesn’t mean real life meetings, it however involves commitment to get in touch.”

“Insurance professionals: Be open minds & curious. Forget about „in our company this is different…“

InsurTechs: Never forget: Implementation is always a major obstacle and can kill the best technical approach. Be prepared for this!”

“Do not become complacent, no matter what your standing in the market. Customers are more demanding than ever before, their lifestyles require exact product and flawless service and they will drop their provider in a moment if experiences are below par. Keep up with your customer’s requirements and meet them by investing in technology, but also people.”

“Be mobile, rather than trying to be agile! Agility is a mean, mobility is a target to be able to adapt to the moving market.”

“First, open your eyes about external innovations, open your doors to promote the emergence of Collaborative Insurtechs ecosystem and work with. It will be powerful to transform Insurance Sector. Second, invest into Insurtechs and Fintechs to capture existing innovation, promote a new culture and to develop radical innovation. Third, train your staff in Data Science. If your are convinced IA and IoT are the future of Insurance, you must train your staff, attract and retain new data scientists talent. Fourth, be flexible about your Digital Transformation Plan and be sure to develop a powerful ecosystem : our clients are expecting solutions and not products.

“It is apparent that insurance professionals cannot ignore any longer the change that is happening in the industry. It is key for them to stay on top of current developments and scout for the latest technologies via industry events, databases and ongoing updates.

Alternatively, some of the leaders in the space such as Axa and Munich Re have their own digital and innovation divisions who sit outside of their normal functions allowing them to put complete emphasis on finding and working with solutions that either solve an existing problem for the organisation or open new revenue opportunities.”

Thank you all. Dr. Robin Kiera

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