How insurtechs can keep partnership momentum going despite pandemic

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In the famously networking-heavy insurtech sector, no one is out on the town at conferences right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. That might mean you’re not thinking much about seeking out partners, but i’s time to start prioritizing those connections again.

As an industry, insurtech has more to partner on than compete on, and we all have a greater chance of success when we find ways to work together. Whether it’s in the form of cross-selling or other opportunities to support each other, partnering helps us to meet our longer-term commitments in really dynamic and exciting ways.

Collaboration in action: where to begin
Incorporating collaboration into your business strategy is as simple as identifying others whose models intersect yours, sharing what you’re each doing, and instead of identifying as competitors, finding opportunities to partner. This new mindset can take some getting used to, but it has become an integral part of insurtech culture precisely because it is such a mutually beneficial strategy.

I’ve seen this come together very effectively in both formal and informal settings, but one of my favorite examples is the conference "speed dating" sessions that are not about demos, numbers or results. Instead, they involve a rapid series of “I am so-and-so, this is what I’m doing, who are you” conversations, emphasizing frequency over severity. This faster, easier, “soundbite over prospectus” format is extremely conducive to finding that common ground on which to further a connection. You can initiate your own version of these conversations through LinkedIn, Zoom, or even simple email introductions.

Collaboration in practice: opportunities to consider
Where should you begin when looking for collaborative opportunities? Here are some examples of partnership in action to get you thinking about where your own business synergies may be found:

  • Sharing distribution with another insurtech: No one needs to do it all! Through API & white labeling, it’s not just possible, but actually beneficial for insurtechs with aligned products to share distribution on each other’s platforms for the products the other doesn’t offer.
  • Sharing distribution with a carrier: Increasingly, an insurtech MGA is really the perfect partner for any organization looking to automate its simpler business, freeing internal resources up to focus on properly addressing the needs of increasingly complex business.
  • Data integration: Bringing in external data sources can be a great way to optimize efficiency. My own company, Vindati, recently did just this: integrating Equipment Watch data into our quoting system enabled us to offer a seamless 3-question quoting process for our Motor Truck Cargo product.
  • Additional functionality integration: Sharing services can play a vital role in a variety of functionalities. Billing is a perfect example of this: the tech sector has already disrupted financial institutions and now have existing plug and play functionality at insurtechs’ disposal. There’s no reason to build a payment system from scratch when you can get PayPal or Stripe to do it!
  • Broker collaboration: There are huge collaborative opportunities when it comes to offering services through an Agency Management System, or AMS. Integration into an AMS makes it possible for companies like mine to shop their data, push quotes that weren’t even requested, and essentially operate the whole quoting process in reverse.
  • Broader tech collaboration: The tech industry’s success stories are what underly insurtech. Be creative and think of tech more readily -- including the Facebooks and the Amazons and everything else that’s available for creative collaboration as the world changes!

An industry call to action: let’s embrace collaboration over competition
The opportunities to work together come from listening to each other, and that means coming together regularly to network and engage. In today’s COVID-impacted world, those opportunities may be a little trickier to come by, but virtual conferences, online introductions and good old-fashioned networking can still play a key role in helping us to uncover opportunities to partner with one another.

What does your business need to grow? I urge you to focus on partnering rather than building to fill in the gaps.

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