One of the greatest benefits of Dataiku’s membership in Innovate Finance is the ability to participate in their excellent events that bring together diverse members of the FinTech ecosystem. From century-old established players to months-old innovators, these events give us unfiltered insight into the needs, concerns, and preoccupations of our clients in this space.
Insuring the Future through FinTech
In June, I had the pleasure of co-moderating a panel on “Bigger Data and the Internet of Things” as part of London Technology Week. With my moderating counterpart from Swiss Re (the “establishment” half of our “innovator/establishment” pairing) we led a group of about 15 participants through a varied discussion about how the IoT and the ever larger quantities of data that it generates will transform the insurance industry in the coming years and decades.
The room was a near perfect reflection of the membership of the insurance community of Innovate Finance: startups, researchers, insurers, and brokers.
Together, we walked through the threats and opportunities that these tectonic changes mean for the insurance industry. The sentiments were quite mixed, with some companies (especially the startups) evoking the incredible, new business models that the data will enable. A significant amount of time was spent on discussing a transition from insuring against a specific risk, towards a service-based approach to identify and manage a given risk. The more established players in the room tended to be skeptical of any big shifts in the coming years, evoking the long history of insurance business models and the various revolutions that they have endured.
The truth is likely somewhere between the two. It’s unlikely that the major players in the insurance industry will pull a Silicon Valley-style pivot in the near future. It is, after all, an industry that looks towards the banking sector as being fast-moving. But there will almost certainly be innovations around the margins of the industry, driven by startups, that will sooner or later force the established players to take note and adapt their offerings.
There was general agreement, however, that the latest generation of data tools, from storage technologies to analysis techniques and tools does represent a significant shift from the past. Insurers have never been able to access and exploit data more quickly than today, and as data wrangling software evolves and offerings like Data Science Studio provide companies with a true data science tool book, the ability to innovate has never been greater. The question is, who in the industry will have the courage to be the first to truly innovate at scale?
If you're intereseted in the nexus of big data and insurance, have a look at my colleague's blog post on "Bank and Insurance Industries talk about data science too, but from what angle?"
And if you want to get a taste of the possibilities that big data can bring to these and other sectors, be sure to try the Data Science Studio Community Edition.