Parallel battles – but who will win?

Think of an electric car, you think of Tesla. Right now though, the world’s motor industry’s opinion of Tesla is divided in the extreme.

There are those who see Tesla as the great new upstart that will take on and vanquish the fat, lazy, combustion engine-led incumbent manufacturers. In the other corner there are those that regard Tesla as a prelude, an appetiser, an overture to the main act that will feature those same incumbents who, through their scale, presence and experience will inevitably own the electric car space in the very near future. 

Is it scalable?

They view Tesla as a short-term tease that has shaken the industry out of its fossil fuelled torpor but, once roused, they expect that industry to fight back and claim the eco-friendly crown.

Many would say that a Tesla is the electric car most of us would WANT to own, but the truth is it’s most likely to be an electric car made by Ford, Toyota, VW or BMW that we’ll ACTUALLY be able to afford in the next few years.

Now let’s look at the world of insurtech.

Over the last couple of years there has been a proliferation of tech being brought to the market that has showcased some unbelievably clever talent and products. Some of the intelligence sitting behind this early innovation could not have been imagined even 5 years ago. 

Is it scalable?

Naturally this tech has appealed to anyone tuned-in to the industry – whether that be insurers keen to learn and benefit from such bright minds, or others in the supply chain eager to see how costs could be reduced or services improved.

And then there’s a segment of the consumer-base for whom technology is a passion (I’m one of them). They’re happy to queue up to try something that might save them time or money or that is simply different to the humdrum way they’ve always been forced to work with motor or home insurance until now.

But will it be the intelligence of the tech alone or how easy, accessible and useful the end product is that decides whether one vision of insurtech wins over another?

Where does the true value of insurtech lie?

Is it in the column inches of adoration for the hugely sophisticated algorithms or AI that have gone into its creation, or is it, like Apple did for the smartphone, in the fact that, in the hands of the user,

it.

just.

works?

Like Tesla, there is some very bright and enticing insurtech out there, kicking up a storm and seemingly turning the world on its head. But for my money, it’ll be the ones that harness all that intelligence and turn it into something that people immediately recognise as addressing a real need or shortcoming in their lives that will win out.

Innovation in insurance is incredibly exciting and there is no doubt that insurtech is invigorating an industry that has lived for too long on the profits of a world long left behind. However, true longer-term success lies squarely in the hands of the end user ACTUALLY using it, and so just like Tesla, it is the accessibility and relevance of the product or service rather than solely the intelligence behind it that will ultimately forge the winners and losers.

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