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Now is the time for InsurTech to “cross the chasm”

Craig Foster, CEO of HomeServe Labs 

A clutch of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), have got insurance boardrooms excited all around the world. But how much of the hype is warranted? When will any of these technologies really cross the chasm to widespread adoption within the insurance industry?

There has been a big change in the last 2 years according to Craig Foster, CEO of HomeServe Labs. This is evident by the sharp rise in InsurTech investments – 148 per cent YOY growth according to Accenture. It is also evident in the traction that certain technologies are gaining with insurance companies, with HomeServe Lab’s LeakBot as a good example.

What is the key to crossing the chasm? According to Foster the first condition is that the InsurTech needs to focus on solving real problems: “The technologies themselves do not matter – what matters is finding real high-value problems that the new technologies can solve in new ways.” LeakBot is one such solution – designed specifically for the insurance industry, it is a small clip-on leak detector that can be mailed to a customer and can detect a leak anywhere on a mains water system. The device is cheap enough for many insurers to give the device away for free, reaping the benefits of the escape of water claims that are prevented.

Foster also believes that any InsurTech, even if successfully solving a high-value problem, will also have to go through some growing pains to round out the whole product so that it is able to make the move from “interesting invention” to ”industry standard solution”.

Another consideration is whether the insurance company itself has the agility and internal culture to successfully integrate new technologies into their business model. Craig Foster: “Speed will win the future – the winners will be the insurers that are agile enough to put InsurTech to work first.”

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