Julien Descombes is reporting back on Swiss Re's 3rd Next Generation Insurance Customer (NGIC) - Bringing it to Life - event which took place last week at CGD in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. We saw very intense discussions on the implications of digital transformation on the life insurance industry and speakers taking us on a trip to the digital edge.
Q: What is your personal impression of the two days "Next Generation Insurance Customer" event of Swiss Re?
Julien: In my eyes, it was an excellent mix of speeches and discussions, of information and exchange. I saw so many open and transparent dialogues. Our clients like the networking opportunities with insurance experts from all over the world in a very open environment. When we started the NGIC series 2 years ago, only about half the clients we have today registered then. This year we welcomed more than 170 participants! This shows digitalization is on top of our clients' agenda and the format is highly appreciated! Swiss Re is perceived as a thought leader in insurance related new technologies and therefore an event like NGIC is the first choice for our clients.
Q: NGIC was very much about new technologies. Is the digital future of our industry just about data and new devices?
Julien: Of course, our processes need to be digitalized. Technology and data analytics will be crucial for life insurance but I think the beauty of the topic lies much more in the new way of customer engagement! Digitalization empowers the customer. He becomes potentially sovereign of his own data, of processes and the interaction with the insurer. This is new to us but has a lot of potential for insurers who are willing to adopt digitalization for products, processes, distribution channels and communication with the next generation of insurance customers. At the same time, I'm sure the personal aspect of our business will become even more important in the future due to new ways of interaction with the customer. A personal touch can't be digitalized!
Q: Succeeding in the digital age requires a lot of digital skills. Do we have those?
Julien: I think it's not so much about technical skills. We needn't become IT experts. This can be solved by partnerships with external providers. What we need is the right mindset. We all need to develop a digital DNA and more entrepreneurial behavior. Although our business model is to manage risks we are quite risk-averse when it comes to trying out new ways of doing business. Either we can predict something perfectly or we refrain from it. Let's become more courageous for trial and error – and accept that we will fail from time to time. In other words, let's start bringing it to life.
Q: What does insurance industry have to do to remain relevant in the digital age?
Julien: It's important to change our perception in the public. We are not just there to pay when a loss occurs. We could play a much stronger role in health prevention or as financial and consulting partner for all important times in our customers' life. Insurance will be necessary at all times. Let's make sure we insurers will be, too.
Q: What is your personal message to the life insurance industry?
Julien: Start dealing with digitalization! Understand what it means to your company and take the new generation of customers in the focus. I remember what Greg Bailey (front right of picture) said in his keynote: The business model of our industry hasn't changed much for 25 years while the world around us dramatically changed. High time to improve our digital understanding. But more important is to start experimenting and setting up some digital pilots. Outside of our industry, new players have already started. Adapt now or wait to be disrupted, that is the question!
Category: Funding longer lives