40 ITAPro // September 2016 // www.emagazine.ITApro.org
Do the changes insurance technology leaders face
today make their jobs easier or more difficult?
WEINTRAUB: In the hundreds of conversations we have had
over the past six months, we haven’t found anyone who has
said, convincingly at least, that life is easier now. I would be
slightly suspicious if someone actually did say that. Everyone
seems unified in the belief that it will get better, but for those
in operating roles this rapid pace of innovation is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that technologies are coming
to market to help improve all aspects of the value chain. It is
a curse because we all know that what we see now is the first
wave. As a result, it becomes difficult to know when to back
a new technology. If you back it too soon, you risk going
through the process again, or worse. If you back it too late,
you risk falling behind your peers in operational gains.
Why are companies from outside the insurance
world suddenly so interested in this industry?
WEINTRAUB: In my opinion, the outside world’s interest in
insurances comes from a collision of immutable forces –
technological, cultural, and monetary. Many ideas we see aren’t new,
but the technology didn’t exist in a way to make executing on
them possible. On the cultural front, we have reached a tipping
point of consumer expectations, driven from Millennials but also
from mass-tech companies like Apple, where customers demand
everything work seamlessly, digitally, and instantaneously. From
a monetary perspective, we are still in a low interest rate environment where massive amounts of money are seeking returns.
internally, and most importantly, money backing them.
What advice do you offer interested insurance companies that are saddled with legacy technology?
WEINTRAUB: Cliché as it may sound, my advice would be
to not lose sight of the core reason for one’s company to exist.
You don’t exist because of the technology stack. The technology stack only facilitates what you fundamentally do. I would
double down in areas that don’t require what may feel like a
complete rebuild, e.g., customer service, if we think externally,
and a culture of innovation if we think internally.
There is plenty of noise in the market with programs such as Insure Tech Connect. What message stands out that you are offering insurers?
WEINTRAUB: The short answer is scale, both in terms of
quantity of attendees and quality. The longer answer is you are
absolutely correct. Seemingly overnight, the landscape of coverage—both online and off of insurance tech—has exploded,
and we are sensitive to the fact that we have helped contribute
to that proliferation. We exist not because insurance innovation is hot, and we thought that was a good enough reason for
a show. We were fortunate enough to have many conversations
with entrepreneurs, investors, and incumbents, all of whom
spoke of their desire to see a more complete picture of the
innovation landscape and get answers to board-level questions. Each had distinct business issues that could be aided
by a larger, global gathering of insurance innovation. Those
conversations and our history of creating category-leading
gatherings lead us to believe that not only could an event like
ours add value, but that we were the right people to do it. ITA
Electronic Chat: Jay Weintraub
The Electronic Chat is a feature of the ITA Pro magazine and ITApro.org. We send a series of questions
to an insurance IT leader or contributor in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues
facing the insurance industry.
This month we chat with Jay Weintraub, founder of
Insure Tech Connect, which he claims will bring together
the largest, most focused, and relevant gathering of
insurance technology entrepreneurs, investors, builders,
buyers, and carriers to Las Vegas from Oct. 5-6. From
distribution to pricing, new product development
to underwriting, claims servicing to regulatory
compliance—no part of the insurance value chain is safe
from change. And, with estimates of $4 trillion in global
premiums up for grabs, Weintraub believes insurers are
at the tip of the innovation iceberg.