This week, I went to the Australian National Insurance Brokers Conference (NIBA) for the first time in a few years. It was great to be reminded how many people I know in the industry – although it is a bit scary how long I have known some of them for!
Events and conferences aren’t what they used to be, maybe I’m just getting old, but the biggest value is still the opportunity to connect with a large number of like-minded people all in one physical space.
One thing that struck me was that this conference, just like every insurance conference over the past few years, is talking about reinvention, digital disruption and new technology.
It is true, there are some cool and useful tools out there for brokers/underwriters. CGU’s virtual reality room designed to help people understand the hazards around them is brilliant – if you have not experienced any kind of virtual reality set up I whole heartedly recommended check-out https://vr.google.com/cardboard/. Other tools like RiskAdvisor’s online Risk Profiling and benchmarking system www.riskadvisor.com.au are designed to help brokers and insurers discuss risks with clients and improve relevance and reputations in the industry.
The biggest challenges to this new world that I see are two-fold. One, where new technology is being developed by an individual insurer, by its very nature it means it is not common across the industry and requires brokers to use multiple systems. Secondly, and most importantly, are brokers in particular actually prepared to invest time, effort and some money in adopting these new tools – or is it mainly lip service.
I fear it is mainly lip service for the vast majority of brokers – but I’d love to hear from people in the industry who can prove me wrong!