Virtus Blog

Experience-Driven Insurance: Our Revolution is Here

Our founder and CEO, Andrew Gray, shares his insights about what’s on the horizon for the insurance industry and why insurance is poised to have its shining moment in 2023.

Digital acceleration and consolidation of systems, evolving customer demands, and the great race for talent—to name a few factors—are reshaping the insurance industry. And this year, I predict all these areas will converge, igniting an industry revolution.

How We Got Here 

Insurance is not typically considered a bastion of innovation. The history written to date is one of incremental change and status-quo, despite the ever-evolving world around us.

There are not many in the industry fighting for innovation and progress. Aggregation was the game during these last 15 years. The increased investment of private equity was due to a highly fragmented market, an aging demographic, and easy access to capital. This ignited a trend where private equity sponsors consolidated small firms into large ones building large industry bureaucracies that put profit over people; exit strategy over innovation; economics over client and employee relationships. By design, every 3- to 5-years private equity would flip to the next private equity firm, repeating the same play book and causing industry stagnation.

While this happened, the technology community took notice and saw an opportunity to innovate. This gave rise to insurtech, led by self-proclaimed disruptors who promised to outperform traditional firms and disrupt a tired market from the outside. The problem? Most didn’t take the time to understand the industry and in a lot of cases, they solved problems that didn’t exist.

Fast forward to today, and the “disruption” insurtech promised has yet to materialize. In fact, according to TechCrunch, “Insurtech is one of the biggest victims…with valuation declining for those that went public and now, investors are pivoting to pursue more profitable sectors.”

Despite this, a positive impact remains from insurtech. Smaller, more nimble brokerage firms are capitalizing on the opportunity to innovate from within, investing in the right technology, APIs, and tools that fit the unique needs of their clients and employees while big bureaucratic firms quickly become a way of the past.

So, what’s next?

The insurance firms of tomorrow are doubling down on innovation, technology, culture and employee engagement to build world-class experiences today.

Experience-Driven Insurance is on the Rise

Today’s industry leaders are moving business from the golf course to the cloud. Why?

Technology-focused insurance firms increase revenue five times the rate of other companies and total shareholder value returns at twice the rate, research from McKinsey shows. Those that continue to accelerate digital initiatives innovate faster and operate better, leading the industry into new territory: experience-driven insurance.

After all, consumers expect experiences like Amazon—seamless, personalized and convenient. Why should insurance be any different?

From self-service tools and subscription-based models to intelligent communication platforms like Hi Marley, the new darlings of insurance are those that put customer and employee experiences first.

Technology, data, and machine learning tools fuel these experiences. They provide a single source of truth for customer information and turn data into actionable insights. We are now empowered to engage the right person at the right time with the right information. This enhances our ability to deliver better outcomes because we are now fundamentally more proactive, more streamlined and more human, which is critical in today’s world of virtual everything.  

The Insurance Firms of Tomorrow Use Data to Their Advantage Today

The surge in digital interactions is also creating a proliferation of data, which is making personalization at scale and proactive analysis a reality in our industry.

Intelligent communication software not only captures customers at the right time, but it also equips employees with customer information instantaneously. These insights provide a better understanding of the customer’s needs and mindset, giving everyone—from those on the front lines to operations—with intelligence at their fingertips. The result is an integrated customer approach that drives satisfaction and improves efficiencies in customer service.

These platforms also create a continuous feedback loop of information, which can be used to monitor leading and lagging indicators of program performance, inform underwriter decisions, and evolve risk and financials models in real-time. Insurance teams can now operate like portfolio managers at hedge funds, serving as strategic business advisors and consultants who continually monitor risk to maximize the value of insurance programs.

People are at the Heart of These Experiences: The New Race for Talent

While technology, data, and analytics make insurance more streamlined and real-time, the human element must bring all of it to life.

This means thinking outside the box when it comes to talent recruitment and retention. It’s no longer viable to only hire for industry experience. It’s time to widen the talent pool, hiring for function and skillset versus simply insurance knowledge.

More diverse skillsets and backgrounds also bring a more diverse way of thinking, fueling innovation and giving employees the opportunity to work on projects that create new business value.

This also means insurers are now competing for talent with leading tech firms and software companies.

To win the race for talent, culture must be king. Retention is maintained by giving employees the resources to grow professionally and by putting them at the center of everything. After all, people are our greatest asset, and this is our opportunity to make our industry the gold standard in talent attraction and employee development.

The Convergence of Technology and People: Making Insurance Matter

So, what does all this mean for our industry?  

I’ve often said that insurance is the highest calling of mankind. It usually gets some laughs because let’s be honest, we’ve been boxed into a stereotype.

Until now.

Insurance (and more broadly risk management) is incredibly dynamic, and the increased use of technology, data and analytics make it more agile, insightful and real-time.

Insurance is omnipresent. As the saying goes, “All roads lead to insurance.” It’s more than policies and claims. We touch diverse industries, understanding variation by business and vertical, and how insurance, combined with operations and finance, can positively impact the bottom line.

Insurance is sticky. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve hired professionals from outside the industry who have now made insurance their professional home. Our industry is comprised of problem solvers, analysts, technologists, creatives, entrepreneurs, and change makers who get to help so many people make their dreams a reality. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

Insurance is strategic. It’s often said that the three most important pillars to launch, scale and grow a business are a CPA, an attorney and a banker. As technology, data and people converge in our industry, insurance is primed to be the fourth pillar.

Our revolution is here. It’s time to push forward; we’ve got your back.