It’s hard to ignore the energy and attention that InsurTech startups have brought to our industry over the last several years. And with that energy, more insurance carriers and MGAs looking for a competitive edge and new revenue streams are turning to InsurTech startups for ideas and innovation.

Executive Summary

Relationships with InsurTech startups need to be partnerships based on equitable exchanges of value, Arrowhead General Insurance Agency's Ted Stuckey tells carriers and MGAs. Stuckey, who spent half of his 10-year insurance career in underwriter innovation roles working with InsurTechs, explains that the co-creation journey to success is a long one that starts with honest self-reflection and careful partner selection, followed by problem solving and development along with some failures along the way. He provides checklists for carriers and InsurTechs, advising both that it doesn't make sense for either partner when an InsurTech aligns too closely with a single carrier.

What’s often overlooked, however, is an understanding of how working with startups is different than working with traditional vendors—a distinction that could be the difference between success and failure. The carriers and MGAs that are finding the greatest success are those forming true partnerships with startups.

What does it mean to partner with a startup? And how do you set yourself up for success in a partnership?

Partnership Is Co-Creation

When we talk about partners, it’s important to draw a clear line of distinction between an InsurTech partner and a vendor. Entering into a partnership means building a relationship that provides as close to equal an exchange of value as possible. Sure, vendors also deliver business value, but a vendor relationship is transactional.

True partnership is co-creation, and a commitment to co-creation makes both parties better. It distributes the responsibility equally in that each participant makes an investment and brings complementary advantages to the table. For the carrier or MGA, that means leveraging its marketplace insights, data and other resources to bring the InsurTech’s offering to life. When done right, this co-creation model can be extremely energizing and motivating. (Article continues below)

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