Navigating the ongoing digital transformation in insurance is like building with Lego blocks, according to Silicon Valley Insurance Accelerator CEO Mike Connor.

Connor delivered his remarks at the Strategy Meets Action Summit in Boston this week. In the same ways that Legos provide young builders many options, insurers "have the capabilities to combine technologies together, blurring boundaries between industries to deliver services in new and different ways,” he explained.

The Internet of Things, smartphones and computer web access present key touchpoints for insurers to better understand consumers, he added. Those same points of interaction set the stage for the new connected world, according to the former Apple executive.

Insurtech companies live in this new world and are creating products geared towards policyholders’ changing preferences. More than 140 companies are involved in insurtech in Silicon Valley, ranging from insurance outposts—venture arms—to established startups and newcomers, Connor says.

In all, there are more than 1,200 startups alone worldwide focused on big data analytics, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity—standing as the most popular areas insurtech companies innovate in, according to Connor.

“It’s important for insurers to learn about new technologies,” said Connor. “Because they will either partner with these companies or compete against them [in the future].”

Other technologies evident in insurance’s new ecosystem are connected auto, connected health and smart homes. Each is leveraged by carriers to create consumer value as customers shift preference to the sharing economy and mobile.

“The next-gen of insurance is personalized, contextual and transparent,” he says. “You have to play around with these technologies. Launch pilots. Keep them simple. Validate the product works and then build on it.”

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