25 February 2021 — Irina GHETU, Alexandra GUZUN
The 2021 edition of the Insurance in the DIGITAL World Conference"DIGITALIZATION between ups and .... Traps" was LIVE on our YouTube channel. Several top-notch speakers delivered their presentations.

Here are the topics of the two panels of discussions:

Panel 1 - Visions of the future: business and digital services providers

In the chair: Daniela GHETU, Editorial Director, XPRIMM

  • Jason LAU, Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurship, CORE Strateji
  • Gerke WITTEVEEN, Vicepresident UNSAR, Member of the Board NN Asigurari
  • Madalin ROSU, President BAAR
Panel 2 - How to successfully translate business needs in digital solutions for the insurance industry

In the chair: Jens KAWELKE, Teamlead Business Analysis, Insurance Solutions, NTT DATA

  • Berk BACAKOGLU, Chief Information Officer (CIO), SBM - Insurance Information and Monitoring Center, Turkey
  • Desislav DANOV, Fintechguardian; Founder of InsurtechBalkans Hub, Bulgaria
  • Tanja BLATNIK, Digitalization expert, Slovenia
Jason LAU, Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurship, CORE Strateji declared: "Covid-19 has changed mobility behavior: 72% of drivers that use their vehicle less than pre-COVID-19 or do not use it anymore and this trend continue as 35% of respondents expects to plan to make changes to their vehicle ownership/use in 2021 and 37% of respondents that would choose to work at home in 2021. In Turkey a number of companies have already announce that they were forced to remain at home. From the digital transformation perspective, the Covid had a positive effect: it accelerated digital transformation by an average of six years globally."
On the insurance side, Jason said: "The Pandemic is shifting the traditional insurance stack: brokers are leveraging the MGA model to move down the stack. Primary Carriers are ceding less risk to Reinsurers, while at the same time exploring new distribution channels up the stack. Reinsurers, hurting from competitive alternative capital, are looking up the stack for new revenue channels". 

Gerke WITTEVEEN, Vicepresident UNSAR, Member of the Board NN Asigurari declared: "Digitalization was here for many years, so this is nothing now. In my view there are few reasons why 2021 will be the digital year. First, when we look at the more structural reasons, we see technologies are developing in terms of AI, in terms of blockchain, and these technologies are becoming cheaper as they consolidate and we gain more experience with them. The other reason is the regulatory environments very clear. In insurance, also regulatory have to adapt to this new reality of digital consumer contacts, and regulations are not always prepared for that. Second, on the Covid-19, digitalization become a necessity, for the consumer and for the company. The customer is now ready to embrace the digit. In insurance, we still figuring out what are the things that the consumers are really looking for."
According to Gerke, the pandemic has increased the interest of people in insurances: Home (mandatory + optional) 31%, Health 28%, Life, with component for unemployment 20%. Health insurance in Romania is still small, but by far the fastest growing sector in our industry. 
He added: "Digitalization in Romania, is not just about the technology and providing the right solution to the customer, is also still in these markets very much about the customer understanding what insurance is, being open in managing their own risks. Here again, Covid-19 had a very positive impact, making them more awareness."

Madalin ROSU, President BAAR also commented on the subject: "We are still experiencing somehow this hybrid solution between physical and digital. I will refer to the service side because in the acquisition we have done many steps. There are a lot of solution to issue a policy electronically. The most important is the claim management and the pandemic showed us that we had to change our processes in very short time. Also, give us an insight about the cost that we had in the formal classical version which for the insurance companies might be a moment of reflection on how to optimize this cost and also the processes, making the experience for the customer much smother than in the past. From my point of view, each day is an example on how to adapt in such a way to be faster in services that we are promising to the client from the beginning. Looking at the motor insurance industry, there was a tremendous change, and this change will not stop here. For sure we will see a lot of movements by different players in different directions, but the focus is to serve faster the client if we will succeed as industry to simplify the procedures. Be fast means that you solve two things: you might have a better management of the cost of a claim and also the operational cost for the insurance company which all together deliver to the client a better experience and a faster answer. We are still learning, but are adopting much better and much faster the solutions."

Berk BACAKOGLU, Chief Information Officer (CIO), SBM - Insurance Information and Monitoring Center, Turkey stated: "What do we mean by saying digitalization for the insurance industry: insurance products are not the easiest products to emerge. They are very complex and often need to be disclosed to the customer and yet these are not at least the insurance problems. Insurers also had to go through many other factors like: change in customer expectation because they are influenced by other industries; new technologies delivered by Insuretech and Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Tesla. So, these were the common problems even before 2020. But the pandemic crisis and the associated economic downturn, and the significant change in the customer behavior accelerated this trance for insurers. So, insurance companies faced tremendous change thanks to COVID-19. Meet these challenges of the insurance industry turns into digital transformation."

Talking about the beginning of the Insuretech and the main challenges that it has faced, from the lack of understanding of the concept, to outdated corporate architecture and business processes, Desislav DANOV, Fintechguardian; Founder of InsurtechBalkans Hub, Bulgaria said: "For the insurance companies, Insuretech used to be the future of their activity. For good, or for bad, Insuretech is their present now and they had to adapt very fast to what is going on. In the Balkans, many of us faced a lot of common reference framework, especially when it refers to business. People here understand in different places, different thinks under the same work. So, it is a huge culture of challenge and not only Insuretech and insurance faced it, but also every company that tries to be present and to be active across the Balkan area." 

More declarations will come soon. Stay online and follow us on for other opinions of the speakers.

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