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Insurtech: Word of the Year

Robert Regis Hyle | November 29, 2016

This is the time of the year when we discuss an important topic, at least for people who write for a living, and that is the Word of the Year. Several dictionaries make selections in what has become a crowded competition. In the insurance world—if we were to give out a word of the year—there is no doubt what that choice would be.

The winner, of course, is insurtech. What exactly does it mean? In the September issue of ITA Pro, Jennifer Overhulse wrote the following definition: Insurtech includes any insurance-focused business driving a majority of revenue from the sale of technology products and services or which actively engages in research and development (R&D) efforts to find technology that can have a transformative effect on the industry, or which has used or is using technology to drive a change in business model, distribution channel, and the industry at-large.

Admittedly, that’s a rather broad definition and conceivably includes just about any company involved in insurance technology.

A year ago, insurtech was not on the minds of many insurers and today, as we close out 2016, it is top of mind for carrier, solution providers, and, most important of all for the industry, venture capital companies and private equity firms that have money to spend on technology to change the way we do business.

The ITA has looked closely at how this development is affecting the insurance industry. Our regular new feature, Launchpad, written by Overhulse, is designed to keep you abreast of what is going on in this rising field. Our annual conference, ITA LIVE, which will be held in March, will have a considerable focus on insurtech for sessions.

Are there other areas of insurance technology that deserve discussion? Of course. The number of carriers with modern systems is nowhere close to being complete. Tools such as predictive analytics are far from widespread.

We should all be excited, though, that so many companies—carriers and others—are studying the needs of the industry in terms of technology. Such attention brings insurance into the spotlight at a time when there are more than a few questions about where the industry is headed in terms of distribution, compliance, and even entire lines of business.

Word of the year? It’s a pretty easy choice.


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