I have attended all three InsureTech Connect (ITC) events, and each one seems to define the insurance and technology environment of that moment. There seems to be a consensus that InsureTech has today, become much more collaborative and cooperative. The early days of the techies knowing how they were going to “disrupt” the legacy insurer has matured.
In a sense, this year’s ITC, can be seen as Insuretech 3.0. Insuretech 1.0 and 2.0 were focused on bringing to the forefront the need for change (1.0) as well as identifying and filtering the categories of tech change that would be major impact drivers (2.0).
From my experience so far, succeeding in Insuretech is driven by the leadership and the company culture.
These two recent articles clearly state what is needed in today’s transformational focused insurance environment:
This article by George Brooks really gets to the tension point between industry knowledge and innovative thinking. It is titled, “Select Leaders Based on How They Think, Not What They Know”.
“As reported in the Global Leadership Forecast 2018 study conducted by the EY organization, with DDI and the Conference Board, many company executives doubt they have the bench strength to meet their future business goals.”
When companies drill down on this, they are not looking for more experienced and nuanced insurance experts but someone who has a special mindset.
“The most effective leaders today think about the world differently than traditional leaders. They:
- Embrace disruption as a welcome innovator
- Become a super-connector who brings everyone together
- Never lose their intellectual curiosity
- Inject energy and inspiration
- Practice empathy to understand others and lead with a broader sense of purpose
These five key differentiators define leaders who are most likely to adapt for future success. They are particularly needed if merging companies are to be transformed successfully.”
Suffice it to say, if you can bring in an experienced insurance individual who has these attributes, bonus! However, you can surround a non-insurance, connecting-collaborator, with insurance professionals who can complement this leader. Of course, they too must share many of the above attributes, or you need to find those who do.
Terence Mauri’s article, “Want to Make Faster Decisions Like Amazon? Jeff Bezos Asks One Simple Question” builds on the prior article. Only transformative leaders will ask this one question.
“Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently became the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $150 billion. What's the secret of his success? Every day he asks one simple question: "Are we a Day 1 or Day 2 Company?"”
“A Day 1 Company makes the decision that every day will be a new day where experimenting, inventing, and innovating is the norm. Day 1 companies are obsessed with their customers and with not becoming a prisoner to process. They embrace new trends and weak signals early to stay ahead of the curve and practice high speed decision making, where 80 percent confidence is enough to act.”
“A Day 1 Company has a CEO of tomorrow rather than a CEO of yesterday, always disrupting the status quo and anticipating change before a crisis forces it to change.”
As you would expect, “A Day 2 Company is the opposite of Day 1. The mindset is "business as usual," and the way of thinking is Industrial Age and 2C leadership (command and control). A Day 2 Company is still obsessed with efficiency before innovation.”
There are a lot of Day 1 insurance companies, but there are more which are Day 1.5 or Day 2 companies. Considering the size and quality of the ITC events, year after year, you really NEED to be present. Not only should you be present, but there needs to be multiple people from the organization in attendance. It is impossible to capture all the quality sessions, talk to most of the exhibitors or have 20-30 face to face meetings with out at least 3 to 4 attendees.
I spoke to many attendees at ITC, I think we squeezed in 45 meetings, and it was easy to pick out the Day 1 companies. They had a visible approach that was driven by a culture, probably driven by their leadership, which just shouted out curiosity, connection and innovation.