We spent 3 days in Las Vegas at InsureTech Connect 2017.

After sifting through pages and pages of notes and new ideas from more than a hundred meetings we had as a team, here are 3 major ideas every insurance professional needs to pay attention to for the next 3 years of insurance business.

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[Video Transcript]

3 Major Ideas from InsureTech Connect

Idea #1

There are a lot more insurtech companies working for independent agents and the independent agency channel than even I had original realized.

That was some really good companies.

1) Broker Buddha.

Jason Keck is the founder. Check out Broker Buddha. Online forms, a lot of retention and renewal value there.

2) Ask Kodiak.

Allan Egbert, Michael Albert are the founders. Awesome guys from Ask Kodiak, more of a market finder type tool, lots of intrinsic value for IAs there as well.

3) RiskGenius.

The founder, Chris Cheatham, but check out Risk Genius as well.

These companies are building products that are going to help independent agents and independent agency carriers do business better, and that’s just the three that I wanted to name.

There were 3500 people at InsureTech Connect and these are just three names out of hundreds that are building products that are going to help IAs do business better over the next three years.

So my advice to you, keep your ears and eyes open, listen, head on a swivel.

Make sure that you know what’s going on in the marketplace, because if you’re sitting on the tools that you’ve been using for the last five, ten years, and you think that those are going to get you through the next three, you’re sadly mistaken.

Idea #2

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none” inject=”#insuretech #insurtech”]Disruption is stupid.[/tweet_box]

No one is disrupting the insurance industry.

I use the word “disruption” to get you to click on my content as well, just like all the other trade publications and thought leaders do, but the truth is no one is disrupting the space.

There is no company at InsureTech Connect that I saw, that I met with, that I heard of someone meeting with or see speaking that is truly disrupting our space.

Now, all 3500 people there in some shape or form are innovating the space incredibly fast. But it’s not until we see something like a real artificial intelligence that we’re going to see disruption. Otherwise, there’s no one disrupting.

And frankly, why would you want our industry to be disrupted?

It works incredibly well, it just needs to be updated. Things need to move a little bit faster.

We’ve got to focus on customer experience.

For the most part, underwriting is still doing incredibly well. So I’m not really sure why you’d want to disrupt it other than you’re just a jerk.

Idea #3

No one has it figured out.

The third and final major takeaway from InsureTech Connect, major idea that I think you need to be thinking about for the next three years of your insurance business, is that no one has it figured out.

Nobody has it figured out yet.

What does that mean?

It means there are a lot of people trying to figure it out, a lot of money being pumped into businesses trying to figure it out, but it’s ultimately wide-open space.

Nobody has this locked down, there’s nobody that’s pulling so far ahead that everyone else can’t catch up.

That does not exist.

But if you are doing nothing because you think no one has it figured out yet and that gives you the ability to wait or pause, that’s going to be where the struggle is. If you’re not in that space moving alongside these players and you can’t maneuver quickly into the best practices that start to form and the technology that starts to become common practice in our industry, if you’re not there running with them, pacing that crew, that’s when the problem is going to exist.

You have to be pacing the leaders and able to make that big move when it presents itself. But being a laggard in today’s world means you’re irrelevant.

That’s just the way it is.

So here’s the rub on this: there are businesses out there that want to help you keep pace, that wasn’t to put you in position so when a big move presents itself, you can make it.

And if you’re not doing that, if you’re going to continue to pay the laggard game, then you are choosing irrelevancy.

That’s what you’re doing.

That’s a personal choice and no one else’s. No one is going to put you out of business other than you. That’s what I’m telling you. That was a huge eye-opener for me.

When I saw the players who were in this space that could help you take your small, seven-person, single location agency in main street America to the next level and be able to provide the same services that some of these “disruptors” are, when I saw that that technology was available today and all you needed to do was embrace it, I realized that irrelevance in the independent industry space is a personal choice.

And I hope that you won’t make that choice.

But you probably won’t, because you’re watching this show.

5 Quick Hitter InsurTech Ideas

All right, here’s five more kind of quick hitter ideas, takeaways from InsureTech Connect that I thought are real important for you guys to know.

1) The Brackish Water is Real

First, reinforce the brackish water idea for me with every company that I spoke to, whether it was a venture capitalist, an insurtech startup, someone who’s focused on the IA channel, off the IA channel, focused on the carrier space, MGA space, didn’t matter.

All of them were working with solutions today that still included humans, and none of them had solutions that I personally felt would be better off with the human removed.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none” inject=”#insurtech #insuretech”]There’s always going to be a human element to insurance.[/tweet_box]

It’s that brackish water idea we talked about two videos ago.

I’ll have it linked up at the end and in the show notes.

You want to check that one out.

The brackish water, live and strong, this whole concept, you’ll hear me talk about it more.

Humans and technology.

How does the technology help the humans add more value to the process?

Huge, huge idea, completely reinforced at InsureTech Connect.

2) The Reinsurers Are Coming

They were all over the place.

The reinsures are diving deeper and deeper into the channel.

Their once kind of high mountain position in our industry, they’re sinking down in, they’re investing in insurtech startups, they’re moving into the retail space, they’re moving into the wholesaler space.

The reinsures are coming, and we just need to have our eyes on them. I don’t necessarily think that’s a positive or a negative, it’s just very interesting.

3) Artificial Intelligence is Going to be a Disruptive Force

Of anything that could be a true disruption to our industry, that has any runway that makes sense for most of you listening to his – so this means like autonomous cars 10-20 years from now will be a disruption, but trying to position your local agency or your super regional carrier for autonomous cars today feels like a heavy lift considering all the other things you could be doing.

Whereas artificial intelligence is going to creep up on us and then wipe clean an entire function set in our industry.

This is something I think is going to creep up on us and creep up on us inside that three-year window.

Keep your eyes open, listen, read artificial intelligence.

I’ll have a few really good newsletters for artificial intelligence that I read linked up in the show notes.

You definitely want to know what’s going on with artificial intelligence.

True disruptive force, the first that’s going to hit our industry out of this entire insurtech revolution mess that everyone’s been talking about.

4) There is More Money Pointed at the Insurance Industry than you can Fathom

It’s bananas.

There’s so much money out there, and people are just seeking out the solution that’s going to break free and be the winner.

And this goes back to my third major idea, nobody has it figured out. As much as I love to hear the venture capitalists talk about their sophisticated strategies for investing and how some use numbers. No one knows.

They’re spraying investments across the scene, trying to bet on good founders and good technology.

These are incredibly smart people, but nobody has it figured out, but the money being pumped into our space is incredible.

This goes back to my other point, which is that you can’t wait.

There’s too much money.

When we do start to figure things out, the people with all the money are going to be able to double down in those spaces, and those of you who haven’t tried to keep pace, who just sat back and said, “I’ll invest when everyone figures it out,” you’re going to be too far behind.

So all that money that’s being pumped into our industry today still hasn’t found a winner.

That’s okay.

But they’re eventually going to figure it out, and when they do, you want to be keeping pace.

Keep pace, my friends. If there’s a hashtag for this episode, it’s #KeepPace.

5) Retail Insurance is Hard

My #5 idea, and this one comes from just listening to people talk about our space, some of which have been in it, have played in it, and some of which haven’t but are trying to get in.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none” inject=”#insuretech #insurtech”]Retail insurance is hard.[/tweet_box]

It’s a very hard thing.

Whether you’re selling life, health, property and casualty or personalized commercial, whether you have a special niche, whether you’re selling microinsurance, when you move to a retail model, it’s very hard.

Which means that a lot of companies which started in retail are trying to move to an MGA model, or – and I think this is a really interesting strategy – this hybrid retail-MGA model where they’ll sell direct, but they’re also offering up their products for independent agents like you to have access to them.

So this is like CoverHound and their CyberPolicy brand where they do direct cyber insurance, or you can sign up and use them as a wholesaler and write through CyberPolicy as an independent agent.

Hippo Insurance is another great example of this.

Hippo has made a lot of news writing home and condos in Arizona and California.

I think they have a wonderful platform.

I was actually very impressed by what they have. And I originally just thought it was getting to know D2C player and just knowing who the competition was in the space.

What I ultimately realized is Hippo isn’t the competition.

Hippo does have D2C play, but you as an independent agent can also write Hippo insurance, and they have actually made some really cool, modern adjustments to the standard ISO form, standard HO3, standard HO6, and they’re coming out with a DP3 product pretty soon.

So lots of cool stuff, lots of cool players, a lot of which have started retail are now adding in this MGA layer because selling retail insurance is hard.

InsureTech Connect 2017

I think I’d be a little remiss if I didn’t talk about InsureTech Connect, the conference itself.

It was wonderful.

There was a terrible tragedy, the Las Vegas tragedy which happened just hours before the conference started, and many of the attendees I know considered not attending InsureTech Connect.

Ultimately, they got a very good turnout.

People carried on through the tragedy and did their business.

We were at Caesar’s Palace, it was just a few miles from Mandalay Bay, and even though there was a heavy mood to a certain extent, a lot of business got done, people got to mix and mingle and push our industry forward, and a lot of it was driven by Jay Weintraub and his team at InsureTech Connect.

I give them huge props.

I don’t know what I would have done in his case to push through having the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States just hours before 4000 people descended upon my conference.

They did a wonderful job.

The networking is phenomenal.

The programming is very well done.

Lots of panels if you’re into that kind of thing.

I personally spent almost my entire time in the networking room just meeting people.

And for me, to have all those people show up in one place and be able to meet with them 15-30 minutes at a time, 45 minutes, an hour long in the evenings in the mornings was just absolute value to me.

I’m looking forward to InsureTech Connect 2018.

There are lots of business trends that you can focus on for the next three years.

For my money, living the brackish water, keep pace with the technology leaders. Do not allow them to get too far out.

Being a laggard over the next three years will be to your own demise. Peace.

Thank you,

Ryan Hanley

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