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Digitalisation

InsurTech Hub Munich – five questions to Tom van den Brulle

The German government has chosen Munich as the location for an InsurTech hub as part of its Digital Hub Initiative. Tom van den Brulle, Global Head of Innovation at Munich Re, explains why Munich is an excellent choice and what our clients can expect.

20.07.2017

Besides the key impetus provided by Munich Re’s CEO Joachim Wenning, a large number of Munich based German and international insurers, along with universities, contributed to the region’s successful nomination. Munich-based insurers and research institutes have already been actively working on digitalisation of the industry at WERK1, a digital incubator in Munich. The city offers a perfect combination of insurers, technology companies and an outstanding academic biosphere for the new InsurTech Hub Munich.

Tom, the advent of InsurTech is a disruptive force in the insurance industry. What are the biggest changes you expect to see?

InsurTech is one facet of digitalisation, a development that is fundamentally changing how insurance is produced, how it is experienced and how the solutions are delivered to consumers. From a reinsurance perspective, I see data analytics as a key aspect – what can we learn from data? How can we use data to develop different products with more flexibility and better focus? Automated processes and artificial intelligence will play a huge part. Risk selection and pricing will become much more precise, efficient and self-learning. 

As for InsurTech itself, I think we will see a massive transition from traditional insurance to digital products. Just think of mobility and pay-as-you-drive or pay-how-you-drive concepts. Digitalisation enables us to reach new levels of individualisation and create products with service components. Wearables linked to life and health products are a good example of how digitalisation and innovation are changing business models. Customer experience will also be revolutionised, with applicants no longer needing to fill out long questionnaires, but instead simply answering a handful of straightforward questions and agreeing to an online footprint check. Any gaps in the risk profile will be filled using stochastic models – with amazing accuracy.

What can Munich Re bring to the table?

For one thing, we have already acquired a great deal of experience in various hubs around the world. We also have a real-life track record in InsurTech, with products like the Chinese FlexiSafe, a WeChat-based non-life insurance solution that enables policyholders to adjust their various insurance covers as desired at any time, and Cindy Renminby, which allows Chinese policy buyers to invite friends and family to contribute to premium payments for better insurance coverage. Munich Re has also established its Digital Partners start-up, which strives to win the confidence of and subsequently partner with disruptors who are changing the way that customers experience insurance. 

Our expertise in the field has most recently been recognised by the global start-up accelerator Plug and Play, which honoured Munich Re as the most innovative corporate in the InsurTech space.

How can our clients benefit from this initiative?

Ideas, technology, new business models. The whole point of our involvement is to create benefits for our clients. InsurTech Hub Munich wants to be the preferred partner for our clients seeking to enter the InsurTech space.

How can smaller insurance companies prepare for the changes?

InsurTech Hub Munich is a golden opportunity for smaller players with a regional focus. They can cooperate with partners to leverage their superior customer intimacy and develop winning InsurTech concepts.

What are the next steps?

First, we need to concentrate on sending a clear message to all stakeholders that the InsurTech hub is up and running. In the months ahead, I think we will be busy processing the suggestions gathered from this network and planning individual projects. Above all, I’d personally like to remind everyone involved: keep up the momentum once work with the InsurTech Hub Munich becomes routine – and don’t forget to innovate!

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