WHAT INSURERS WANT AND GET FROM INSURTECH PARTNERSHIPS

Remember the scene in the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally? During lunch with Harry at a deli, Sally very publicly fakes a wild orgasm. A nearby patron, when asked what she’d like to order, signals in Sally’s direction and tells the waitress, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

That was 30 years ago (when some insurtech entrepreneurs were still in grade school) but today’s insurance executives are like the unnamed customer. They see what other carriers are doing with insurtechs and want some of what they’re having.
What carriers want is a date that will lead to a mutually beneficial relationship and they are even willing to pay for it, according to speakers at the Property/Casualty Insurers Super Regional Conference. Carriers want to solve problems. They want to improve the experiences of their customers, both agents and end users. They want to understand change that is happening. They want to move faster. They want a more innovative company culture. They want to save money and make money.

What carriers do not want and are not expecting is to transform their entire business or the industry overnight. This is good because contrary to public relations messaging from a few, most insurtechs aren’t promising to do that. Insurtechs, too, are looking to solve problems, improve customers’ experience, build relationships, foster an innovative culture, help change the industry over time, and save and make money. And have some fun.

Dan Reed has as much insurtech fun as anyone in the insurance industry as managing director of American Family Ventures, the early-stage venture capital arm of American Family Insurance that started investing in 2010.

“We look for strategic options. The strategic options, essentially, are a way for us to transform our business over the long term in response to the great uncertainties of our industry,” he said.

AmFam organizes its investments around three themes: innovation, advanced analytics and connectivity. Its current and evolving portfolio includes CoverHound, hometap, Bunker, Wireless Registry and LeaseLock.

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