Why Collaboration is Key to Meeting Customer Needs

Rob Schimek, Group Chief Executive Officer at bolttech explains why the insurance industry needs to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and instead embrace an altogether, more cooperative ecosystem in which insurtechs and incumbents can coexist

Many times people say, 'So who are you competing against? Who are you here to disrupt?' We see ourselves as an enabler rather than a disruptor. It is about enabling existing market participants to move faster and serve their customers better. And enabling new market entrants - the insurtechs of the world - to play on a bigger field.

Our biggest competitor is the 'do-it-yourself' mindset that comes frequently with incumbents who believe that they need to build everything themselves when, in reality, they can be part of an ecosystem that leverages other partners. It is all about losing the mindset that if someone else invented it, it isn't good enough.

Once you recognise that all the solutions don't have to be yours, it's a win-win for everyone. You just need to put the customer at the centre of what you do and ensure you're accessing the right solutions in the smartest way possible.

  1. 1. What are some of the biggest challenges the industry currently faces and how can these be overcome?

    The insurance industry is one of the oldest industries in the world and there are many established players who have been playing successfully in the marketplace for many years. As a result of being a long-time player, they will have accumulated a decent amount of technology debt. That's not because they are refusing to get with the times or they're not interested in improving their capabilities. This makes it a very ripe environment for more agile insurtechs like bolttech. We were born as a digital native and we can come in and help those more established players move faster and execute in a way where they don't have to do everything themselves. It's pretty clear that both regionally, here in Asia, and globally, this space is filled with hundreds of promising start-ups. Most of these are not looking to compete with incumbents but instead focused on solving the many legacy issues that exist across the industry.

  2. 2. In terms of insurance distribution, is the pace of change and digitisation happening quickly enough?

    If it were happening quickly enough, we wouldn't have a global protection gap that is larger than it has ever been at US$1.2 trillion in 2018, which has more than doubled since 2000. The accelerating digitisation we've seen in the last two years is creating the ability for customers to access simpler and affordable insurance products, including microinsurance. So it's moving in the right direction. But the protection gap is growing, not shrinking, and so we need to conclude that it's not happening fast enough.

  3. 3. Tell me a bit about the bolttech ecosystem and how you are changing the customer journey?

    As an enabler in the insurance marketplace, our role is to transform the industry in a way that is going to benefit everyone. The key is the power of connection and we have set out to build the world's leading technology-enabled ecosystem to power more connections between insurers, distributors and customers. No matter who we are working with we want to bring three fundamental things - powerful partnerships, more innovation and choice. On a global basis, we connect 150 different insurance underwriting teams to over 700 different distribution partners, offering countless insurance products. That combination creates thousands of opportunities to meet your customers' needs. It's about giving them choice. I don't think you can really appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of the insurance marketplace in Asia unless you live here. I moved to Singapore to be very close to the complex multi-dimensional aspect of insurance in the Asian marketplace. Demand is very different country by country so you have to understand the local nuances, the regulation, the culture and the language to serve customers here in the region.

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