Insurance is sold, never bought and you will agree with me that unlike other things necessary for life and living, one does not wake up in the morning and go “I need to get home insurance before lunchtime”. If anything, you have probably been accosted, borderline assaulted by a sharply dressed gentleman or lady in the parking lot of your favorite mall as you loaded your shopping. A cursory glance at your shopping payload triggering a sales pitch on the latest education policy informed by the diaper brand that can be seen through the flimsy packing bags and let us not forget that life is fickle and we can check out anytime and therefore need a life policy. If you are like me, you probably ignore them because woe unto you, if you dare share your business card, as incessant calls and follow up emails will be your potion. For the discerning though, insurance is an important part of life and business but the ways of work by the purveyors of cover must change and adapt with the times.
Insuretech operations the world over are gaining visibility and securing funding from new comers and incumbents alike looking to ride the new wave of opportunity from current and new market segments unearthed by digital ecosystems, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, block chain, behavioral science and hardware in the context of the internet of things. The innovation and disruption touches all parts of the insurance lifecycle; marketing, profiling, distribution, onboarding, management, risk analysis and fulfillment; also running the full gamut of insurance flavors from health, property, wealth, education, marine, motor vehicle, work place and more. According to CB Insights global data report, “Two of every three insurance tech deals in 2016 took place at the early-stage ~ Seed or Series A with $1.7 billion spread across 173 deals from US, Germany, United Kingdom, China, India, France, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Australia, UAE and others.” The Jumia AXA partnership was the most visible from Africa where AXA invested Euro 75 million for approximately 8% stake in Africa Internet Group, parent company of Jumia.
As East Africa’s Second Annual Insurance Conference goes live this week in Mombasa, I am keen to hear and see what the c-suite is up to and expect to hear chatter pointing to bold moves and plans for solid capital investments in both technology and strategy. I suspect that beyond tasking in-house teams to think up and create what could be the next big thing, we will see well thought out partnerships and equity investments in promising third parties who have the benefit of a second pair of eyes, from the outside looking in. Coo-petition will likely be seen in the form present in the financial sector where the different players collectively invest in a common vehicle that delivers the promise of refreshed data and insights which provide a baseline for building out future services.
It is time for change.