Last year certainly threw its challenges, impacting many industries with relatively slow starts. A bright spot was InsurTech with a global investment of $7.1 billion for 2020, the most in any year to date according to Willis Towers Watson’s Quarterly InsurTech Briefing.
Commenting in the report on how the worldwide crisis has forced the insurance industry to realize the value of technology, Dr. Andrew Johnston, global head of InsurTech at Willis Re said, “While our industry is facing extreme issues relating to COVID-19, we also have an unprecedented level of access to technology and technologists who can help it prevail during these times of instability.”
Discovery Founder Adrian Gore is featured in this quarter’s Incumbent Corner where he offers details on the Vitality program and observations of the impact of COVID-19.
A few of the highlights of the Q&A discussion:
On the evolution of technology for Discovery Vitality – In the beginning, we had to rely on more static processes for monitoring healthy behavior, such as gym visits, but the advent of wearable devices has enabled much more accurate tracking of members’ health in real time. We have also invested significantly in systems, processes and partnerships that allow for the automated recording of healthy food purchases, physical activity, driving behavior and other activities. We have also invested in the most advanced analytical tools available, including machine learning and neural networks, to analyze the incredibly complex data we receive. The pace of technological change is constantly accelerating, and we continue to monitor the landscape to integrate the most powerful opportunities into Vitality — for the benefit of members and the business.
Role of technology in the future of life, accident and health insurance – The pandemic has created hyper innovation in the patient-centric digital ecosystem. We see four key trends dominating the healthcare industry: the pandemic has disrupted typical healthcare patterns and upended the supply and demand of healthcare services; global shift to patient-centric care is driving demand for improved quality and outcomes; providers and consumer increasingly leveraging digital healthcare services; and in a time of great economic uncertainty there is a need to focus on affordability and access of healthcare to as many people as possible.
Partnerships with industry leaders – Through our partnership model, we have expanded across multiple countries and industries with a presence in 26 markets over six continents, touching in excess of 20 million lives. Vitality is more relevant than ever given the global focus on health and well-being, and we have seen greater strategic alignment across our partnerships, echoing this sentiment.
Advice for InsurTech startups – Whatever business you are in, it’s critical to have a higher purpose and rethink the way you plan for the future. Most companies rely on scenario planning to determine possible futures in times of uncertainty.
Most importantly, Gore offered insight for getting through the global crisis: “We need to navigate this pandemic prudently, humanely and very carefully — but we should also prepare for a world that may be better after COVID-19.”
The full report can be viewed here.