By Don Desiderato
This is a transformative moment for technology entrepreneurs to partner with the insurance industry. More than ever before, insurers are combining awareness of technology’s benefits with an openness to embracing technological change. That’s because heightened customer expectations and advances in technology are converging to create an extraordinary opportunity for those insurers ready to exploit constructive technological change and partner with the insurtechs ready to help them succeed.
The scale of opportunity is enormous for insurtechs with creative ideas. After a decade of easy access to information that makes doing all sorts of business fast, consumers are used to transacting in ways that are more immediate than in the past. Customers look to insurers for a similar experience, one that makes major strides based on tremendous amounts of decision-making information that could not be managed as precisely as we’re able to with today’s breakthroughs in data analytics. Every day it appears strides in mobility, digital, data, cloud infrastructure and AI, to name a few, are adding a dramatic new dimension to the insurance business.
Life insurance revolves around data analytics and the ability to make intelligent decisions. Property and casualty insurance is driven by real-time behavioral information that takes advantage of the internet of things—sensors, smart homes, wearables, telematics. At New York Life, we regularly examine every dimension of data and analytics to assure we bring insights externally to our customers and internally to our business.
- Advances in the cloud, for instance, are making it far easier and faster to analyze large blocks of data and provide customers the immediate information they expect.
- In underwriting, we’re adding speed and precision through advances in AI and access to electronic health data.
- We’re equipping our agents with new insight and intelligence to harness the power of data.
The Fintech Innovation Lab fits into all this by delivering benefits on a two-way street. New York Life, by way of our corporate venture capital arm New York Life Ventures, is eager for good ideas from the insurtechs we meet at the Lab. That’s true for all the sponsors. There’s a camaraderie that comes from being a mentor in the program. For the insurtechs mentored at the Lab, rigorous and systematic feedback sharpens their chances of success by targeting messages and products to tangible business needs.
The more grounded an insurtech is in an insurer’s core businesses, the greater the likelihood of success. And the Fintech Innovation Lab — based as it is in New York, the epitome of creativity, broad thinking and diversity — is perfect preparation for long-term success.
We’re still at the beginning of a process of technological change that will transform the insurance industry. The potential in this year’s class at the Lab will be critical in the development. All of us associated with the Lab look forward to mentoring the insurtechs we meet, and working together to energize the community of innovation in our businesses and industries.
Don Desiderato is a CIO and Senior Vice President for New York Life Insurance Company.