Innovating Insurance


Over the past few years, insurtechs have emerged in the insurance space. These disruptors actually have a huge opportunity to partner with insurance companies,  who are now asking how they can stay relevant and competitive in today’s digital world. This can be quite challenging when dealing with a conservative, highly regulated industry that typically has old legacy system.    The Shoreditch>TLV Meetup, held by the UK Israel Tech Hub, brought together Aviva, one of the oldest financial institutions in England, with Israeli startups and disruptors in the insurance space to discuss the challenges and opportunities of insurance innovation.  

Over a hundred guests attended the event at WeWork HaZarem to drink beer, shmooze, ask questions, and gain insight from the all-star panel:  Chris Wei, Group CMO & Chairman of Digital, Aviva Insurance, Dorel Blitz, Head of Fintech, KPMG, Orly Stern Izhaki, CDO – Head of Digital & Innovation at Menora Mivtachim Insurance, Oded Barak, CEO and Co-Founder, Five SIgma.

The Challenge: Disrupting Legacy and Untangling Policies

Chris Wei opened the night, discussing the well-known issues within the insurance industry: customer experience and legacy systems. Insurance companies tend to have convoluted policies that are delivered via separate functions, (marketing, distribution, underwriting, claims), and along different touch points (website, sales call center, service department, etc). This structure may have its purposes for large insurance companies, but how do you make sure the customer has a great experience across that entire journey? Aviva was born out of hundreds of mergers and acquisitions, which means they have dozens of legacy systems.  How can new digital architectures enable insurers to innovate while helping them with the issues with legacy?

These are tough challenges but  Wei sees a tremendous opportunity for innovation. “We’re trying to be the world’s oldest disruptor. We’re trying to reinvent how our industry operates and we’re looking at every single pain point within our customer’s journey, how we actually do business….There is now tech that didn’t exist a number of years ago that allows us not to worry about big system migration. Tech is really really important to us. ” says Wei.  (Read until the end to find Wei’s tips to Israeli startups.

What did the panel have to say about how we can address these challenges?

Anthony Belin, Head of Innovation, Aviva Insurance, moderated the panel discussion, touching upon  AI, autonomous cars, and what role insurance companies will play in our increasingly hyperconnected world. Below are some highlights from the evening.

“AI can do magic for any industry, especially the insurance agency. Insurance is very ancient and heavy with a lot of products and different processes, a lot of logic that is unwritten. When I look at claims and the underwriting process I believe AI can do a lot of the customer-facing side but also shorten processes. “ -Orly Stern Izhaki, CDO – Head of Digital & Innovation at Menora Mivtachim Insurance

Imagine the amount of data you have,  only a fraction of it is being utilized.  Using AI to tie front end to the back end will create a totally different pipe journey or life cycle or experience for that claimant.” – Oded Barak, CEO and Co-Founder, Five SIgma

“If you’re selling trust or managing risk, how can you still be relevant to the customers in a platform world.  It’s a lot about having the right strategy and organizational structure, and supporting the infrastructure….How can you make sure that you can provide proactive engagements with your customers. Nobody really cares about insurance — they just want things to get done. We just want someone to embetter our lives or protect ourselves from harm. This is where the pendulum is shifting to other financial systems. Instead of selling product, selling protections. And they can help their customer avoid hazards. That’s the only way to stay relevant for your customers in the future.” – Dorel Blitz, Head of Fintech, KPMG

The Opportunity: Innovators should focus on these 4 pain points

Chris Wei was impressed with Israel’s dynamic technology ecosystem along with its outstanding capabilities on data, AI,  cyber and beyond. But he left the audience with some important value-add feedback: Be clear and concise about your USP  and how it can be applied. He advised that innovators should try to attack the pain points of UK corporations., asking  how their technology or solution can reduce or eliminate those pain points.

He summarized the top four needs for Aviva:

  1. Help enhance a customer experience. In a digital world it’s about a share of time.  How can Aviva make insurance “sexy” and win share-of-time?
  2. Help with legacy systems.  Can we build frictionless digital infrastructure to move data into the cloud?
  3. Help manage data and bring insights. Companies like Aviva have tons and tons of data. But that’s not enough. They need better ways to enhance closed loop data with external insights.
  4. Help improve the front end.  While Israel’s not known to be the best at marketing, the ecosystem has the ingredients to help identify target customers, segment customers, identify ROI maximization, how to convert leads into sales, convert leads into engagement.

Read more

The UK Israel Tech Hub works to make tech collaborations happen, matching UK businesses with Israeli innovation.  Shoreditch>TLV is a meetup series created by the Hub to deepen conversations around technology and innovation between UK corporations and Israeli startups. Make sure not to miss the next event. Join our meetup group.




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