Here’s another energising column from Andre Symes at Genasys Tech, who draws upon the many useful lessons that can be gleaned from the 80s action classic, Top Gun. Most important of all of course, is that everyone at next year’s BIBA show should high five their Wingman – or Wingwoman – and feel the need for speed, as they head towards the buffet lunch area.
I was recently asked at an insurtech event how long it takes to onboard a new product on to our platform. The audience was pretty surprised when I said that following the significant investment our business has made in building our zero-code product configuration tool, we can launch a simple single line product in a week.
As a huge fan of Top Gun, I’ve always felt the need for speed – and I feel that need has never been more pressing than in today’s insurance market.
Markets around the world have experienced a host of disruptive new businesses, offering new products or packaging existing ones in more flexible way, distributing them to customers in a way that resonates with the customer – you name it, it’s probably out there. They’re small and they’re agile – and they’ve made the larger MGAs and insurers sit up and take stock.
The bigger players probably look at these emerging new companies with a degree of envy as they don’t have legacy systems and big IT departments with a never-ending to-do list to contend with when it comes to bringing out a new proposition. Nor do they probably have a board filled with Stinger like characters, naturally concerned with balancing the investment required by a young insurance Maverick with the potential profit that a successful new product could bring before signing an idea off. Hmm, I wonder if the immortal line “son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash!” has ever been said in an insurance board meeting…
Top Gun nostalgia aside, while the bigger players know they need to come up with a way to compete with the more agile emerging companies, the question of budget is always an issue. It can cost millions to develop and launch a new idea, so maybe that’s why many markets have seen the bigger players investing in or partnering with these smaller new companies. It’s simply cheaper.
But I’d argue there is a simpler, speedier and most cost effective way to test a new product idea. Build and launch it on an innovation platform hosted outside the business. Leverage the agility and flexibility a modern tech stack can provide to test and fine tune a new product idea. The cost would be way less than either building on a legacy system or acquiring a product from an emerging new player. And when the product is successfully performing as hoped, it can always be migrated back on to the legacy system to bring it back in-house, if you choose to do so.
This idea might seem more unrealistic than being inverted, but that’s not to say it hasn’t happened.
In a dynamic insurance market that is constantly challenged to innovate whilst containing costs, testing new products where some will of course fail is a hard call for any business. But it’s a call they have to make as if they don’t, they may well crash and burn. That call can be made a whole lot easier if there is an agile, business focused solution that any insurance company regardless of size can tap into.
If you’ll indulge my geeky adoration for Top Gun a little further, I’ll close by paraphrasing the words of wisdom that Viper passed on to Maverick when he was considering his options after the fatal spin that killed off Goose. A good insurance business is compelled to evaluate what’s happened so they can apply what they have learned. They have to push it. That’s their job.
Whether they choose to is, of course, their option but I hope that there are some Mavericks, Goose and Icemen among the current crop of insurance CTOs who do feel that need for speed…
This sponsored article was produced in partnership with Genasys Technologies