Cover magazine’s 2018 Insurtech Conference took place in Johannesburg on 6 and 7 June, attracting more than 200 delegates from the worlds of tech and insurance.

It’s undeniable that the insurance industry has to adopt tech – almost on the fly – or risk becoming redundant. The question is how? The majority of speakers stressed the importance of partnership between the “incumbents” (the established market) and the insurtech startups. Also, there’s a widely-held belief that people MUST remain part of the process – no matter how much artificial intelligence you introduce or how may bots you set up.

Here are some of our favourite quotes from the speakers over the two days:

Your insurance company knows you better than your partner or spouse – where you drive, your heart rate, what big ticket purchases you make, and more! Our industry needs to reward good behaviour rather than penalise.” – Ronald Jackson, Genasys Technologies

Take a photo of your dog, or take a photo of your watch, and you’ll be covered within seconds, says the Pineapple team

Insurance is a community of people who pay small amounts of money to protect each other in case something goes wrong. Insurance should be a combination of social and financial transactions.”  Matthew Smith, Marnus van Heerden & Nda Ngulube, Pineapple

Make sure your offering is less about the tech and more about the journey. People must remain part of the process. Tech and big data still have a lot of potential to innovate in the client service space. You’ll never get it 100% right for 100% of your clients unless you ask the right questions.” – Vicky Botha, Discovery Insure

Your clients are going to send you WhatsApps. Make sure your systems are set up to accommodate their preferred forms of communication.” – Pieter Venter, Ctrl

The broker market has been slow to change. But the introduction of tech is attracting younger financial advisors to the industry because they feel more comfortable using the technology. Tech does not equate to disintermediation!” – Pieter Erasmus, Ctrl

You need to go and speak to people to find out exactly what their needs are. Not their wants, but their needs. Knock on doors. Ask the right questions and tailor your products and messages – and the tech you use to deliver them – for your specific market, especially when crossing borders.” – Jeremy Leach, Inclusivity Solutions

99% of insurance products are sold through a call centre or broker. We are trying to shift that stat. Consumer behaviour, old-fashioned mindsets and regulation are hurdles… but that’s where the opportunity lies. For example, point of purchase insurance! All the info the insurer needs is captured when the client buys a product. Cover can be taken out at the till – no need to fill in forms!” – Daniel Guasco, Click2Sure

What I love about the insurance industry is that people are willing to share their knowledge and experience so freely.– Tony van Niekerk, Cover Publications

The value of brands is gone. It’s now about communities. Put the path where people walk. Don’t try and force them to follow the path that you build.” – Anthony Miller, Simply

Of course, Colin could not resist taking a signature #kakselfie with conference hosts Brent and Tony from Cover Publications

Cybercrime is running out of control and could cost the world economy as much as $6 trillion by 2021. More than seven billion identities have been exposed in data breaches since 2010. Users must be proactive and install systems that identify and warn of suspicious behaviour on all their accounts. – Simon Campbell-Young, MyCybercare

The way insurers work needs to change. The rules need to change. Established insurers have created the environment for existing regulation. The government can’t on the one hand say you need to drive inclusion, yet create regulation that makes entry difficult. Step-compliance should be introduced for insurtech companies. The same rules shouldn’t guide companies writing 150 policies as those writing 10 000.” – Avi Naidoo, Fo-Sho Insurance

People are sending videos and photos to their WhatsApp groups – why shouldn’t they send videos and photos to their insurers? Real-time, on-screen information helps in myriad ways. For example, a video or photo can help us to assess the likelihood of consequential damage immediately, rather than waiting for an assessor to visit the location. – Ronald Gall, Claim Central Africa

Fintech and insurtech have moved from being a threat to the incumbents, to being an opportunity through partnership. More than $2bn is being invested into startups globally, mostly in the US, but moving into India and the UK.– Dominique Collett, AlphaCode/RMI

Businesses have to be relevant to the times we live in. They need to have a purpose, but they still need to make a profit. Consumers resonate with businesses that recognise and cater to their behaviour.” – Ernest North, Naked Insurance

Insurtech startups and established insurance companies each bring unique attributes when they form partnerships. Insurtech players have no legacy, are nimble, optimistic and see new needs. Established players have experience, established culture, stability and infrastructure.” – Hendrik Heyns, Brolink

It’s incredibly difficult for large insurers to break away from legacy systems. It’s best to migrate in a controlled process, which is less challenging and less frightening. New technology can definitely contribute towards sustainability for large insurers.” – John Murphy, ClaimVantage

Bots are the way forward. Why spend R25k a month on a call centre agent who takes 45 minutes on a call, followed by another 20 minutes for underwriting, when a bot can do the same job in seven minutes, with a higher conversion rate and incredible client service ratings?” – Richard Marsden, Finchatbot

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Tech has the power to change customers’ lives, but storytelling is still important. When someone phones in to make a claim, they are expecting a fight. Turn it around. Ask the client to tell his/her story.” – Brad Toerien, FMI

Also watch this video, which Brad shared, about a Dutch insurance company that shifted the conversation about death to one about love and family:

The tech is available, through smart contracts, to self-execute a payout to a client who has insurance against flight delays. Using blockchain technology, a system will automatically trigger (and immediately pay) a claim when it picks up that your flight is late and you’ve already checked in.” – Caroline Theodosiou, Norton Rose Fulbright

The most important question is, ‘How do you make the best possible decisions with the information you have at hand?’ It’s as important now as it was in 1944, when allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. However, the tools we have at our disposal today have improved exponentially. – Donald Dinnie and Robert Bennetto, Icepack/Chalcid

Michael Prodehi of Gen Re screened a documentary, The Incredible Curious Global Adventure, that featured input from senior insurance professionals from around the world talking about the shortcomings, current possibilities and possible future of the industry. The video below is the South African version of the documentary:

Our partnership with Sanlam is proof positive that you can set up a business in under six months without disturbing a sleeping giant funder!” – Sean Sassen, Chief Operating Officer, Indie

Insurtech has brought a wonderful change of pace for us and taken us out of our comfort zone of investing purely in traditional UMAs. Relationships with these startups have rejuvenated our business and made us feel younger.” – Valerie Hayter, Lireas Holdings

Pre-populated insurance applications provide good data, which helps to increase operational efficiencies, identify fraud and potential fraud, improve claims ratios and grow underwriting profits. – Nikki Peel, Transunion

Seventy-eight percent of sub-Saharan Africans don’t have back accounts. Ninety-four percent of all transactions are done in cash. This means there’s a heck of an opportunity – if we can get it right. The world needs to go cashless! Everything is being transferred to your mobile.” – Brian Richardson, WIZZIT

Why would your broker of 10 years send you a blank claim form as a PDF for you to fill in? This doesn’t need to happen anymore. Digital self-service puts the customer in control.” – Nick Evans, wiCover

It’s no longer just about adaptation. It’s about how quickly you adapt.” – Tony van Niekerk, Cover Publications

Also read: A small insight into the expanding world of #Insurtech