Yesterday's ANZIFF (The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance) Insurtech Conference in Sydney highlighted the enormous opportunities for start-ups in the insurtech space who can deliver platforms that enhance customer experience.  Start-ups from Australia and New Zealand joined with industry representatives to discuss the trends and challenges.

There is no doubt that all parts of the industry will be affected in some way by insurtech. However, there was broad agreement that for most areas adaption was more likely than extinction.  Insurers, reinsurers and brokers will change the way they deliver services but the quality of service delivery to customers will remain the key driver.

One of the key themes that emerged was that legacy systems are holding back the speed of change. In this respect, newer entrants have an advantage in being able to embrace new technology and build their business using modern platforms. The procurement processes in larger insurers are also slowing the take up of insurtech solutions.

The potential application of blockchain technology to smart contracts in the insurance sector was highlighted by several speakers as a trend to watch. As we have identified with the launch of our Clyde Code consultancy, the challenge in using smart contracts is to apply the technology in a manner that provides legal certainty for the parties involved. 

Most of the start-ups were looking to harness global opportunities. While dealing with different regulatory environments around the world was challenging, it was recognised that competition to attract insurtech start-ups was pushing regulatory change. All participants should keep watching the regulators.