American entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes described diversity as “the art of thinking independently together”. This art is forever being tested and fine-tuned among Munich Re’s digital partners, which combines the best expertise of reinsurers, insurers and insurtech to drive the insurance experience forward.
Digital Partners was established in 2016 as an independent entity of Munich Re. Incorporated into Munich Re Specialty Insurance (MRSI) in 2018, it continues to offer comprehensive marketplace partnerships for insurtechs and digital distributors to deliver innovative insurance experiences.
“We all bring different expertise and perspectives. When you put reinsurance and insurtech together, it’s a good definition of diversity of thought — it’s important,” said Digital Partners North America Courtney Hill (pictured) said. “As a reinsurer, we are very risk-centric; we think in terms of business scope, capacity constraints and policy-level constraints.
“At the same time, insurtechs are good at seeing what customers want and capturing that buying behavior in new ways. We’re seeing a lot of insurtechs go direct to consumer and play embedded, and I think there’s a lot of Value. These players reach customers at a time when they really need insurance, and they do so through the digital ecosystem.”
Digital Partners works with InsurTechs, FinTechs, Scalers, Disruptors and Established Companies to innovate and digitize insurance across the value chain. It provides insurance capabilities, product expertise, data, analytics, technology, execution and operational expertise – but only if all parties share the value proposition and are willing to collaborate and learn together.
“We want to work with people who are reaching customers in a different way than traditional markets […] And people who can build technology to acquire and serve customers digitally,” Hill said. Underwriting.
“We also want our partners to hire leaders in the insurance industry. This is very important because it helps us transfer knowledge and vice versa.
While Digital Partners has managed to bring together some of the best minds and ideas in reinsurance, insurance and insurtech, Hill believes the collaboration can be optimized. Reinsurers must move away from traditional ways of doing business, and insurtechs must draw on the years of insurance experience of their traditional forerunners — even as they try to change or disrupt what they do, she said.
“Collaboration is really about understanding each other’s roles and responsibilities,” Hill told Insurance Business. “What do we want to bring to each other? Insurtechs need to understand that not all aspects of the value chain can be handled through some sort of online device or online mechanism. Sometimes you need people, and those people need experience and expertise.
“The best collaborations happen when we think about the entire insurance value chain. Insurtechs are good at understanding pain points, and they’re experts on the customer side. But their insurance partners are really good at understanding things like rate versioning and accounting Traditional insurance infrastructure. Collaboration at its best recognizes everyone’s strengths and uses transparency to determine roles and responsibilities.”
Improve customer experience
There will always be a competitive element to digitization, but Hill doesn’t think insurtech will hold back traditional players. Instead, she sees them as elevating the customer experience and offering customers a different way to buy insurance — something that ties in with Digital Partners’ commitment to delivering an innovative insurance experience.
“Insurtechs are attracting customers who want to buy online. They want a digital experience, but that doesn’t completely replace the need for agents, wholesalers or retailers,” she said. “There will always be business that needs to go through these channels because you can’t write them digitally—either we haven’t figured it out, or we choose not to fully digitize it because there are so many manual touchpoints to improve efficiency, and in some cases Now, customers just want a non-digital experience.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t deploy digital efficiencies at certain pain points in the process; it just means it won’t all go online at once and cut off agents. Even for people buying online, a lot of them Still wish there was an option to pick up the phone to make sure they got it right. In my opinion, insurtech and digital enablement doesn’t replace agents or traditional distribution channels; it just enhances the customer experience.”
Aside from digital acquisitions — which Hill believes insurtech is “pretty awesome” right now — the opportunities for insurtechs and digital distributors to transform the insurance experience are endless. Vendors across the InsurTech ecosystem have exploded in recent years, especially service and data providers looking to partner with InsurTech to solve new pain points.
Hill sees a huge opportunity to innovate in claims because she still sees too many cumbersome manual processes. She said: “This is the biggest gap in this digital value chain. How do we further digitize and optimize the claims process to be more equivalent to the acquisition and service experience that these insurtech companies are really good at?”
Digital Partners has grown over the past six years, but its intrinsic value proposition remains strong – supporting and partnering with InsurTechs and digital distributors. Hill added: “As part of MRSI, we repositioned our digital partners to take a more balanced top-line and bottom-line approach. Our pipeline is open and we are looking for partners that align with our value proposition.”
To learn more about Munich Re’s digital partners, visit: https://www.munichre.com/digital-partners