This article is part of Carrier Management’s series on the Future of Insurance.

Asked to peer into the future of the insurance industry, Trent Cooksley, Head of Open Innovation, Markel Corporation, included predictions about the expanding InsurTech startup space and the implications of regtech growth.

Trent CooksleyTrent Cooksley, Head of Open Innovation, Markel Corporation
Trent Cooksley is Head of Open Innovation at Markel Corporation, where he leads startup outreach, scouting, investing and strategic partner management. He also serves on the boards of two startups and the Global Insurance Accelerator (@InsuranceAccel) in Des Moines. In addition, he is Co-Founder of Insurtech Midwest. (@InsurtechMW)
As three-time co-founder and multistage investor in numerous industries and an insurance executive, Cooksley has been involved in all stages of company growth in insurance, financial services and real estate. He was an early employee of a full-stack insurance startup that was acquired in 2010 and has held management positions in almost every aspect of the insurance industry.

Q: What major changes do you see on the horizon for the property/casualty insurance industry in the next 10 years? What will insurance companies, insurance leaders, the industry and its workforce look like in the next decade? What risks will they insure?

Cooksley (Markel): We are still in the early innings of the digital transformation of the insurance industry. It is creeping through the entire value chain and will continue to move downstream through simple, easy-to-rate risks to large and complex accounts and on through the entire life cycle of a policy and customer. Everyone is becoming more focused on the customer, which should bode well for buyers of insurance.

Look for continued expansion in the startup space, but I anticipate some consolidation before the next wave of entrepreneurs emerges with higher levels of both expertise and experience. Some true winners from the first wave will also start to emerge as evidenced by growing customer bases, valid industry partnerships and real bottom-line revenue.

The industry is now having to answer to the customer with greater speed and transparency in every price and process. I also believe the idea of coverage and risk at all levels will change, [and that] simpler policy language will come about as the regtech grows. Regulators are coming to the table who want to innovate as well as help. Winners will work together with regulators as regulation has an eye toward customer satisfaction as well as protection.

I am a big believer that blockchain technology will have a significant impact on insurance in the future. The complexity and diversity of blockchain use cases today are growing at such an incredible pace that I believe the impact will happen more quickly than some have predicted.

It will be interesting to see the reaction of new entrants to a significant cat event, specifically in a developed geography. I would also look to see some newer programs start to lose favor as new products loss expectations mature.

Turning to future risks, the idea of auto liability and property is bound to change significantly. Premium dollars will shift rather than evaporate. Cyber risk, still in its infancy today, will mature at a significant rate and will get much better for both buyer and seller. As the workforce evolves, the commercial landscape will have to adjust to a new way of work. It is already here, but products have not caught up.

Q: How will insurance products and services be distributed?

I am a believer in the trusted local agent and the direct model. There has to be a clearer line of sight in the buying process for the customer through to the risk taker, however.
Cooksley (Markel): In the future, you have to expect that insurance products and services will be distributed however the customer demands. I am a believer in the trusted local agent and the direct model. There has to be a clearer line of sight in the buying process for the customer through to the risk taker, however. Transparency will lower friction in the process and should reduce expenses along the way.

Read more Future Insights by person

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  2. Tim Attia, CEO and Co-Founder, Slice Labs, Inc.
  3. Arun Balakrishnan, CEO, Xceedance
  4. Ilya Bodner, CEO, Bold Penguin
  5. Bobby Bowden, Executive Vice President, Chief Distribution and Marketing Officer, Allied World
  6. Andy Breen, Senior Vice President, Digital, Argo Group
  7. Adam Cassady, CEO, Tyche Risk
  8. Chris Cheatham, CEO, RiskGenius
  9. Trent Cooksley, Head of Open Innovation, Markel Corporation
  10. Mike Foley, CEO, Zurich North America
  11. Guy Goldstein, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Insurance
  12. Mike Greene, CEO & Co-Founder, Hi Marley
  13. Brian Hemesath, Managing Director, Global Insurance Accelerator
  14. Russell Johnston, CEO, QBE North America
  15. Dr. Henna Karna, Managing Director and Chief Data Officer, XL Catlin
  16. Tony Kuczinski, President and CEO of Munich Re, US
  17. Rashmi Melgiri, Co-Founder, CoverWallet
  18. David W. Miles, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, ManchesterStory Group
  19. Pranav Pasricha, CEO, Intellect SEEC
  20. Mike Pritula, President, RMS
  21. Kathleen Reardon, CEO, Hamilton Re
  22. Jeff Richardson, Senior Vice President, OneBeacon Insurance Group
  23. Vikram Sidhu, Partner, Clyde & Co
  24. Christopher Swift, CEO, The Hartford
  25. Rebecca Wheeling Purcell, Schedule It
  26. Keith Wolfe, President US P/C—Regional and National, Swiss Re