InsureTech Connect (ITC) is revered by the insurance technology industry as a must-attend event for tech entrepreneurs, investors, and insurance incumbents. Held annually, global industry experts leverage the forum provided by ITC to discuss trends, evaluate the state of the industry and strategize the path forward for insurtech.
Sure’s Senior Partnerships Associate Leonardo Cardone attended this year’s event, held for the first time virtually. In this two-part blog series, Leonardo shares insights about the event itself, key takeaways from prominent sessions, and what to look for as the industry continues to evolve.
The event landscape is predictable — when held in a conference center, there’s literally a map that tells you where to go to find what, and who, you’re looking for. Yet, when you take away the conference center and replace it with a computer screen, it’s a whole new world.
This was the first virtual ITC event that I have attended and I was pleasantly surprised by its overall quality. Selecting sessions that aligned with my interests was easy using the intuitive user interface and the live video streaming quality was impressive.
While I missed the excitement of attending sessions, networking parties, and meeting customers in-person, I found the virtual event allowed me to maximize my time. The networking portal was equipped with features that enabled a quick prospect search based on interests giving me the opportunity to easily schedule back-to-back meetings and still attend sessions.
A session that really stood out to me was conducted by State Farm. Titled, “Why customer experience matters more than ever,” the session answered the question that so many of us have — “What are insurance carriers doing to meet the needs of modern customers?” State Farm’s innovation team addressed this question head-on as they led us through their digital transformation journey in pursuit of becoming an “experience-led company.”
According to State Farm, a positive customer experience begins by leveraging technology and developing digital strategies to better collect customer feedback, understand customer needs, and drive retention. Chief Digital Officer Fawad Ahmad is leading the charge for State Farm’s digital transformation and emphasized the need for speed during these challenging times. It’s worth mentioning that the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated digital transformation in every industry. However, the insurance industry had some significant catching up to do prior to the pandemic. This put carriers at an even greater disadvantage when they realized they didn’t have the infrastructure to support a fully online customer base — making this topic extremely relevant to the current times.
According to Ahmad, the first step in the journey to becoming an experience-led company is finding the right insurtech partners. State Farm strategically matches carefully researched insurtechs to the right internal business unit. From there, they connect each and every touch point to operationalize fast progress against the digital milestones with the greatest impact on the customer experience. They then proceed to capture customer feedback, evaluate and share insights across the organization in real time to facilitate levels of agility that we don’t often see in the insurance industry.
I’m fortunate enough to see the profound impact of a strong partnership between an incumbent carrier and insurtech in my everyday work. I also know that a carrier’s success starts and ends with the customer, because I am that customer. Legacy systems put a strain on the customer experience and the relationship between the carrier and customer that can be fixed using the right technology. Listening to Ahmad stress the importance of the voice of the customer in his presentation reinforced that there are carriers that know change is needed — and they’re doing something about it. State Farm is the perfect case study for driving fundamental change with technology.
Read Part II of this blog series here.