In advance of the Insurance Times Disruption Conference, I’ve commented on Innovation in this weeks Insurance Times magazine, 26th March 2015 Edition. I have included below my article. Enjoy!
I’m lucky enough to meet many organisations across the industry, from small start-ups to brokers to Tier 1 leaders and everything between. What I see and hear makes me even more passionate and excited about the opportunities both now and ahead for insurers.
It’s not without risk. Almost everyone has one eye on today – doing the best they can – with the other on the future. But how far can our crystal ball help us? Twenty years ago, nobody would have predicted we’d have self-driving cars, that we’d talk to our watches or that we’d no longer require map-reading skills.
This has been a big month for innovation, with the announcement of the Apple Watch, which will no doubt have fans of the company lining up for the first release. It will be interesting to see how the insurance industry moves to offer cover as the divide between gadgetry and high-cost jewellery come together.
I was also excited to see the latest Mazda MX5 on Top Gear, not because I particularly like the car, but the way in which presenter Richard Hammond talked about how the Japanese had gone for what British Cycling coach David Brailsford would have called ‘marginal gains’.
It’s a car that’s 25 years old but continues to innovate. The latest model is 100kg lighter than the previous model but combines all the updates and new specifications with the same great performance. For example, those parts of
the glass that you don’t see behind the metal and plastic styling now has large holes in it to reduce the car’s weight.
But there are many more examples like this when you get into the detail. Mazda hasn’t done anything radical to the car: it’s been broken down to the smallest parts, each of them have been improved and then brought back together to create a great driving experience in a lighter car.
So what can we in insurance learn from this? I love as much as the next guy the shiny things that could disrupt our world tomorrow, but we should not forget the basics.
Innovation in so many ways can be the simplest of things. We just need to be doing it better and quicker than anyone else, working the most effectively with what we have.
As the Formula 1 racing season started recently in Melbourne, it reminded me of how an F1 team makes thousands of changes to the car during a race. Just imagine that in a production car: the manufacturer could update your driving efficiency on the way to work or while the car was parked overnight. For some manufacturers this is already a reality, with Tesla leading the way.
Nigel Walsh | @nigelwalsh