Argo Group CEO Mark Watson compared InsurTech companies to the dot-com startups from the late 1990s, many of which crashed and burned. He argued that these newer models, however, come with a lot more potential.
During a panel discussion at the III Joint Industry Forum on Jan. 16, Watson recalled that many dot-coms went “poof,” shutting down en masse with the hype not matching their potential. Things are different this time, he explained, because many new technology startups are focused “on helping businesses in different parts of the value chain.”
What’s more, Argo Group sees InsurTech companies as representing enormous opportunities for insurers seeking to modernize their technology, Watson explained.
“We’re using a lot of startups to partner with and we are investing in a lot of them,” Watson said.
Argo Group has outsourced a lot of its business processes both in the U.S. and in other countries in the last decade, Watson recalled, a lot of which now being automated as the insurer uses technology to aid its underwriting and product innovation.
Speaking on the same CEO panel, EMC Group CEO Bruce Kelley said that his company uses technology both internally and internally, but with an eye on keeping independent agents in the picture.
“We are involved with making sure our revenue source, the independent agents, are not marginalized in the technology revolution,” he said.
American International Group CEO Brian Duperreault said that InsurTechs and other technology upstarts will have enormous opportunity on the risk side of insurance.
“That is really, actually, where the biggest change can take place,” Duperreault said during the panel chat. “We are info ration junkies, in a way, taking all this information in to understand a risk, and [then] take it,” or not take it.”