InsurTech has emerged on the insurance landscape as a disruptive threat. Insurers are considering their response and reassessing the digital capabilities and infrastructure underpinning their businesses. Oxbow Partners has been at the forefront of insurance technology thinking over the last 18 months, amongst other things designing the technology ecosystem and operating platform for Digital Partners at Munich Re (Bitesize profile).
In this post we describe the scalable, future-proof technology ecosystem that all personal lines and SME insurers should be building.
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1. The insurance technology ecosystem of the future is modular
We advocate building technology ecosystems using “best of breed” components. These components could be:
- Third party software licenced by the insurer (with or without customisation);
- Components designed and build in-house;
- Third party integrations.
2. Modules are connected via API Gateways
It is essential that these components can be connected to form an integrated system. To do this, insurers need to build “API Gateways”. Non-technical people should think of these as standardised plug boards, which allow multiple components to be “plugged in” without having to build custom integrations for each one.
3. Focus on areas of differentiation
Every business has different requirements. For example, Digital Partners at Munich Re wanted to be able to build non-standard products quickly and deliver them through InsurTech distributors such as Bought By Many (Bitesize) and Trōv (Bitesize). Another business might want to build an SME product platform accessible to traditional brokers which has different success factors.
It is critical to isolate areas of strategic differentiation when designing a technology ecosystem and focus investment on these areas. Where a component is strategically differentiating insurers should consider building their own technology or customising third party technology; where it is a hygiene factor a “good enough” solution should be found.
4. The ecosystem changes with circumstances
Because business circumstances change, technology requirements change. API Gateways allow components to be swapped out swapped out when they are no longer fit for purpose. This is a big advantage over traditional systems, where it is often hard to upgrade specific parts of the proposition without changing the whole system.
5. Start with the problem you trying to solve
Technology is, and always will be, an enabler of your business. At Oxbow Partners, we start with the problem we are solving for end clients and work back from there to design the technology ecosystem that solves those problems.
Oxbow Partners helps clients design and deliver digital businesses. If you are thinking of transforming your business, please do get in touch.