3 takeaways from Insurtech Insights Europe 2024

Matt Teumer
Matt Teumer
Director, Strategic Accounts, Insurance

Last week, I had the opportunity to join 6,000 insurance industry professionals in London for Insurtech Insights Europe, one of the largest insurtech conferences of the year. The exhibition hall was buzzing with constructive conversations. Insurance sector experts shared tons of thought-provoking insights at their sessions, speaking on topics ranging from the impact and risks of AI, to how to build a robust distribution chain, to the potential of embedded insurance and much more. I’ll share a quick take here of what I found to be what attendees were talking about the most.

1. Personalization depends on sharing data, and the industry must continue to build trust

Everyone in the insurance industry is looking to more deeply personalize their products. Many sessions focused on how insurers could better utilize the customer data they already collect to improve personalization efforts.

Sharing data introduces some risk for customers, and customers may hesitate to share more than they deem necessary. Speakers shared how concerns can be assuaged through building trust, and being transparent about how the data will be used. I’d add that strong security and data privacy practices on the part of technology partners is paramount to this conversation. Transparency and assured trust helps build understanding on the part of the customer on the value of sharing their data to build personalized experiences.

Personalization creates complexity, which is another challenge insurers face. Increased personalization requires flexibility, for instance, with underwriting, which can be time consuming. Some of that complexity can be offset by using technology and, if appropriate AI, to handle that process or streamline other processes and reallocate staff to higher value areas.

2. Payments are the missing piece in enabling excellent customer experiences

CX – customer experience with a big digital-first focus – was on the minds of everyone at the show. However, as one speaker put it “digital should be a way of doing things, not a thing to do.” It only makes sense to be digital-first if it improves the experience for the customer, not just because others are doing it. There are still areas when a human touch will be better.

Of the many CX drivers talked about during the show (including AI, embedded insurance, more deeply personalizing coverage), there was very little discussion around a simple, but major, customer experience driver-how customers actually make payments for these products.

As the most frequent interaction between insurers and their customers and the final step on the customer journey, payments are a massively overlooked opportunity for process optimization. Insurance is an emotional purchase and very personal to the customer. There is a quick-win to be had in making the last mile of the customer experience - paying for a policy and premiums - more personalized and streamlined.

3. Emerging tech can be leveraged to drive efficiencies, but balance needed

The hottest topic of the conference was AI – evidenced by more than a dozen sessions devoted to it. Some insurers and partners are already using AI technologies with great success, including to automate more claims processing for products with lower premium rates.

I sensed in these conversations a strong sense of urgency mixed with a “wait and see” attitude. The industry knows it has to get to know what all the buzz is about, but is still confused on whether AI will actually be the differentiator it demands. Overall, the industry has almost a fear of missing out, with companies looking to leverage AI to outperform their competition, tempered with knowing that their core legacy systems need attention first.

That need for balance came through as it relates to AI. There is still demand for human interaction in the buying process for some insurance products. Overall, the consensus was that it was important to weigh the risks, including data protection, security and ensuring regulatory compliance when implementing AI or emerging tech to streamline processes and drive efficiencies.

The critical takeaway for me was this: automate what you can, and let your people handle the high-touch areas of your business. As one attendee put it well, the purpose of insurance is protecting people. It’s important not to let the excitement over AI overtake the basic need for a person to talk to another person when they have a concern.

Payments can power exceptional customer experiences – particularly for insurers looking to personalize and streamline the payments process for international policyholders. Learn more about how Flywire can streamline global premium payment collection to enhance your customer experience.