When I was charged with digitally transforming Hilton's global reservation systems technology was the least of my challenges. Internal resistance to change was far more difficult and it took a year to sell the benefits internally and get commitment across the organisation to actually initiate a successful global project. To help, an outsider, me, was brought in to help shake up the business.
The linked FT article below by Oliver Ralph comes to much the same conclusion. There are various technology strategies each with pros and cons: -
- Develop new products and services in-house
- Setting up internal start-ups
- Invest in start-ups via an insurer's own VC fund
- Buy-out a successful insurtech outright
Over the last 24 months insurers have had ample time to experiment and find the best option, or combination but whatever choice they make they need the right calibre of people who are digitally savvy and have commercial nous.
At Legal & General Maarten Ectors was brought in by CEO Cheryl Agius to shake things up and be the catalyst to challenge the risk averse approach of the past. For as Oliver Ralph points out "more business leaders from the sector are concerned about the pace of technological change than any other industry."
The time to still experiment with the options above is now past- time is limited so in addition to hiring digitally savvy staff a practical option is to consider a digital insurance platform already chosen by global insurers that has crossed the digital chasm, is now mainstream and successful across all the major perils.
More reading: -
Whatever the strategy, experts say insurers also have to change their culture and staffing if they are to see off the threat from start-ups. “It is critical for traditional organisations to create an environment where they can move at pace,” says Arjen van den Berg, a partner at consultancy Heidrick & Struggles, which has been working with Aviva.