Insurtech, or the emergence of new technologies that are transforming the insurance industry,  is redefining the common role of insurance as we know it. Leading this shift is generational needs and wants alongside the need for better technologies in the insurance space, to not only lead the insurtech space, but to redefine it.

Customers in this space have shifted rapidly. Millennials and Gen-Zs are overtaking the baby-boomer and the Gen-X generation. And in about five years it will completely flip from a tech-laggard generation to customers who have grown up on, and have fully-adopted, technology. At the very tip of the surface, this will affect everything from the marketing of insurance, to filing claims, and even shopping for alternatives. If your company isn’t ready to embrace these changes, they will fall aside.

In this episode of AMP Up Your Digital Marketing, we meet Denise Garth, the Senior Vice President for Strategic Marketing, Industry Relations, and Innovation at Majesco. She'll discuss the trends and factors, from customers and technologies to market boundaries that are reshaping and redefining the insurance space and the role of platforms in the next generation.

Transcript: 

Glenn: Welcome back to the show. Today we're speaking Denise Garth. Denise, welcome to the show. 

Denise: Thank you. I'm excited to be a part of it. 

Glenn: Denise, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? 

Denise: Yeah. I'm Denise Garth. And I'm a senior vice president for strategic marketing, industry relations and innovation at Majesco. Majesco is a core system provider for insurers in the insurance industry, both, property and casualty, and life, annuity and group. And we have been involved in the industry for well over 30 years. My role is really to really provide kind of a strategic view as to where the industry is going, understand the trend. We focus on leveraging all of that content that we develop at engaging the industry. And so, from a marketing perspective, we're very content-driven but we're also very relationship-driven. And with that then, you know, we've got content in all different channels. My background is, is that I've been in the industry well over 30 years. I started out on the insurance side, inside a number of different insurance companies, both, on the business and on the technology side. I moved over into an industry association ACORD, developing standards, led standards and strategy there. And then moved over to a technology company and eventually over to an industry analyst at Strategy Meets Action and focused in on emerging tech and innovation.

And I came over to Majesco – that will be almost five years ago now next year. And headed up, you know, the whole marketing focus. It was right at the beginning of before InsurTech really became a topic in the industry and it's before a lot of the influx of all of this capital has flown into the industry from an InsurTech standpoint. Funding new startups, both, technology startups, data startups, but also new insurance company startups. And so, it's been a really exciting time to see the convergence of a lot of different changes happening in the industry from, you know, a shift in the type of customers and customer demographics and expectations, to all the different technologies that we call 'emerging technologies,' no more than four-and-a-half years ago, that are now maturing technologies, to, you know, shifting market boundaries. But, you know, we all kind of operated in our little silos. You know, automotive was in its silo and insurance was in its silo. And, yeah, we kind of supported each other but in today's world, you know, we're all kind of involved in each other's silos, you know. The best example I can give is, Tesla, you know, including the insurance with the purchase of the vehicle, because that vehicle is in essence a piece of technology that if it's self-driving, it's probably safer than somebody driving it and it's really tied to the technology and the risk is tied to the technology. So, it's really an exciting time with all of the change happening.

Glenn: So, it's interesting, because there are certainly technologies to look at that can really enhance things, but it's also, you almost have to reframe the way you look at your core business to some degree, is it not?

Denise:  Absolutely. And I think that, I always like to say that we have, as an industry, we underpin basically economies, and we underpin people's lives and their assets and their businesses. And so, insurance is extremely important. I think that really came to bear on 9/11 when the whole number of insurers and reinsurers basically provided the backing to support all of the devastation that happened at that time and really averted a lot of other financial disasters that could have happened. But at the same time, we've had a very traditional approach to what insurance is. We've had that approach for decades in how we process business and how we define a product and how we engage customers has been pretty standard for decades, if not centuries. And with all of the new technologies, and more importantly, a different set of expectations from customers, you know, companies like Amazon and Google and Apple have all changed expectations of our customers and how to engage with them. And they want things now and they want things how they want them. And it's very personalized to them and it's all about the individual or the business.

And because of that, it's really had a dramatic impact in that, instead of kind of thinking that we know insurance and we know how to kind of put things in and develop the products. And that's really from an inside-out perspective, you've got to take it from an outside-in perspective. You got to start with the customer. And the customer, at the end of the day, is very different today and over the next five to ten years than what we've had over the last 10, 20, 30 years. In fact, we have a chart and some of our research that shows that millennials and Gen-Zs overtake the baby-boomer and the Gen-X generation. And in five years – it's about five years – that it completely flips from the standpoint of where Gen-X and boomers, about five years ago, were about two-and-a-quarter times larger in size from a primary purchasing in the marketplace, to in five years it's going to be a complete flip where the Gen-Z and millennials will be two-and-a-quarter times larger than the Gen-X and baby-boomers.

In ten years, just think about that, in ten years you have complete flip in a customer demographic base that you've got people who grew up and were born digital versus those that kind of had to adapt to digital. And it's a completely different kind of mindset, they have a different kind of way they want they want to interact with you and they have a completely different set of expectations on how do they buy anything including insurance.

Glenn: And I think, to some degree, you all are seeing the tip of the spear, if you will, in terms of challenges that you're going to be facing, not only from a packaging point-of-view, but also, how do I communicate and interact with this group of customers? I'm curious, on the engagement side, I mean, we've seen things out there, like, you know, aggregation sites, where you put in your information and then it's quasi-competing for who's going to get the business. What do you see is the game-changers out there for dealing with the Gen-Zs and millennials?

Denise:  I think it's all about rethinking what an engagement means. You know, I look back, and you're right, we have aggregator sites out there. Today, now, you've also got comparison sites and you've also got marketplaces. And those marketplaces – there are some of the startups that are marketplaces that insurers can put out there some of the information about their products and small businesses, as an example, can go out and try to search this marketplace for 'who can provide this type of insurance?' Because sometimes it's very difficult if they're not in a location where they've got access to an agent or a broker that has a good understanding of the types of needs that they have.

Yet on the other hand, probably the last five to ten years, the industry has been all about, oh, let's just put a portal up on the website. And that portal is a one size fits all, it's an out of the box type of a thing, and it gives – you know, you can go out there and you can maybe do a quote and you can maybe issue a policy type of thing. But it's really very basic in comparison to what you can see on an Amazon site. You know what you need to do is you need to have a site that is really very dynamic in that it really adapts to the customer, it understands that customer and has the capabilities that an Amazon site has. Gets to know you so if you come back, they know what you've looked at previously. And if you want to start out on the portal, say, off of your computer, you can quickly move it to the mobile or maybe you could go to Alexa and you could finish it out. You've got to be able to kind of adapt to different kinds of channels in a really rapid period of time and be able to really kind of have that very personalized engagement kind of process. And going from that out of the box portal to having a very personalized journey that can be very dynamic at pulling in different kinds of information or using different types of devices is really what the expectation is for customers today.

And most insurers are not prepared to be able to do that because that requires you to have a whole different kind of almost infrastructure. You got to really be up in the cloud to be able to use a lot of these different types of really innovative capabilities, you've got to have an API enabled kind of infrastructure, you probably have to have microservices, there's a lot of things that you've got to be able to have that you may not be really – that prepared to be able to do, if you know what I mean.

Glenn: Does that mean there's – at least initially it sounds like there's going to be a heavy reliance on a third-party provider of some sort. Do you foresee the insurance companies ever trying to do it all or is the path through partnership?

Denise: Path is absolutely through partnership. And it starts with partnerships with other technology providers for their core systems. And we've had replacement and modernization of the core systems over the last 10 to 15 years on the property and casualty side. The unfortunate thing is most of those went to on-premise type of an environment whereas today most of them that are new startups or may have delayed their replacement process, are moving directly into the cloud. And they have an advantage for that.

What's interesting is the life and annuity and the group side of the segment of the marketplace has been behind the property and casualty, but they're now going to be at an advantage because they're now be getting their modernization process and they're going to go directly into the cloud and that gives them a leap over many other companies. So, what we're seeing is that you've got a partner that is helping with the core systems. At the same time, you've got partners that are going to be able to help you create that digital experience. You know, they are called digital experience platforms. You know, Majesco has one called, Digital1st. And they're just emerging into the marketplace.

And then you've got true no-code/low-code platforms. You've got companies that have been out there providing that on a more cross-industry perspective. And we provide that, that has more insurance-specific content. So, you're beginning to see those types of technologies come out that can really help you create those kinds of personalized experiences using those types of technologies, and then they integrate in with that core.

But at the end of the day, the other piece that is really critical is building an ecosystem. And that really is an ecosystem of partners. Now, you've got your partners, as I said, around core and you've got your partners maybe around some other technologies that you're using that begins to create some digital experience, but what are you going to have as a partner that is going to be able to give you some capabilities around artificial intelligence or maybe chatbots or maybe an integration with different kinds of communication options such as Alexa or texting or maybe access to new sources of data. You want to be able to do that in a pretty dynamic way through APIs that can integrate into your digital experience platform, that can integrate into your core to be able to give those personalized types of processes. And to do that, you've got to start building out an ecosystem of partners that you develop those API integrations that are very dynamic and not a point-to-point integration to be able to do that.

We're starting to see that with some of the insurance companies that were very early on some of the startups, but some traditional insurance companies are rapidly developing that as well – ecosystems that are going to really begin to differentiate customer-by-customer and market-by-market what is that they want to do. And it's pretty exciting time, because it really is a playbook out of an Amazon or an Apple type of a platform play.

Glenn: So, insurance companies, by their very nature, tend to be very, very conservative. And conservative organizations tend to think more about control, controlling the information that they have, maybe not letting it out, maybe not allowing other people to get involved in this. That sometimes flies in the face of doing things from a technology point-of-view, like, API and sharing and things like that. How have you seen – just kind of that mindset evolve, has it fully evolved to that place where what you described is something that they're pretty open to now or are we still in the process of that evolution?

Denise:  You know the industry – at the end of the day, the industry is all about risk and managing risk. And so, it tends to be a little bit risk averse, you know, because that's really kind of the basis of what they're all about. Yet on the other hand, they put themselves at risk if they aren't able to adapt really rapidly. And I think increasingly leaders within the different companies are beginning to recognize that. [inaudible 00:14:53] had a research last year at the end of the year that they published that leaders from various different insurance companies, I think it was nearly 90% of them indicated that innovation is absolutely important for the strategic viability of their organizations going forward. The problem was, is that only 25% of them thought that they should disrupt themselves.

And so, there's kind of a gap there between leadership and action. And we've actually – in our research over the last four years, and we're getting ready to do it again, we've identified this, what we call the knowing-doing gap. Everybody knows what's happening out there, some are planning and some are doing. And what ends up happening is that, those that know and those that do, that's where that knowing-doing gap really exists. And it's beginning to kind of differentiate leaders versus followers and versus laggards. The problem is, is that with the pace of change of technology and customer demographics and everything around us, you can't just effectively be a fast follower anymore, if you're not a leader and you're not stepping out there to be on the leading edge, you could actually be well behind and it may be – it will likely be more difficult to catch up if you're able to catch up at all. And on top of it, it's going to be more costly, because you're going to have to throw more resources at it to try to kind of catch up.

And so, I think increasingly we're seeing some leaders in the industry really taking hold of that and recognize that. And it requires a little bit of a redefinition of what's going to be a priority within organizations, it's required maybe some new leadership within those organizations and it's required them to really kind of embrace individuals who are outside the box thinkers that previously might have been thought of as a rabble-rouser, because they had these really crazy ideas. And quite frankly, those crazy ideas are the ideas that you want and we've got to be willing to fail at some ideas to be able to succeed at those that really matter. And I think that the leaf has really kind of coming through.

And I think what's really kind of driven that is the whole InsurTech movement and the influx of capital. And, you know, the first startups were around technology but now we've got full-stack insurers and we've got MGAs that are given a lot of capital that, I think – I'm just writing a new report – there are now six unicorns in the insurance space of startups. And those unicorns – the definition of that is that they're worth – they're valued at over $1 billion dollars. That's more than a lot of insurers are valued at. And most of these unicorns are less than eight years old – there's a couple that are a little bit older than that, but most of them are less than eight years old.

That begins to really give a different financial perspective to CEOs and CFOs of traditional insurance companies that if a company that's a startup like this with a really innovative new business idea and different kinds of products and how they're delivering them to customers, can get a valuation like that, when they've been around for 50 or 100 years and they don't have anywhere near close to that valuation, that begins to kind of give a stand up call that, hey, we might need to begin looking at things a little bit differently.

Glenn: Can you give us an idea – you don't necessarily have to mention any names, but can you give us an idea of the kind of technology that's getting that valuation, just to give people a sense?

Denise:  Yeah, well, it's actually public. There's been a couple of articles out there with regard to those unicorns. That includes, you know, companies like Lemonade and Root, Clover Health – Next Insurance just became the most recent unicorn with a new influx of capital. Those are just some examples that are out there. And they are public; there's been articles about all six of those out there being the first unicorns in the InsurTech and in the insurance space. No different than in the FinTech space where it's been around payments and banking and all that. There are about 40 unicorns in the FinTech space.

Glenn: So, most of our audience tends to be on the digital marketing side, and if there was one thing that they should be either looking at or doing today to really have an impact on what they're doing today or where they're going, what would that one thing be?

Denise:  I think that one thing would be is, it's going to be all about the data. You better be having data to understand how your marketing is really engaging with your constituent base. You know, one of the things that I did when I came into Majesco was really kind of look at how do we leverage our data around our customers and around our potential customers and how do we really market to them? And you want to be able to be a free flow of information and so, you know, content marketing was absolutely critical in putting that content in lots of different channels, whether it was in our thought leadership report, if it was a blog, if it was a video, if it was a podcast, if it was through social media, you can kind of reach them in lots of different ways. Because people read and interact differently and they kind of gravitate to things that they're more comfortable with and they also kind of use different kinds of channels. And so, you really have to have that multi-touch perspective in a digital world. More importantly then is really tracking how that interaction is really working. And so, knowing for customer, did an individual – say with an account you've got ten people within an account that are interacting with you, of those ten people, they are all probably in some form or fashion influencing any kind of business decision on a purchase and you want to know that kind of interaction. And so, track if they're engaging you with regard to downloading of thought leadership, if they're attending a webinar, if they're reading your email and if they're clicking through to the information? Having that information and tracking it from a data standpoint can really give you a sense of who is really interacting with you, what are they interacting with you about, so that you can better target that. And so, at the end of the day, it's all about lots of different channels, many of them digital, and it's also about data and understanding that data and tracking that data to be able to identify when you should kind of begin to engage with people and what are they really engaging with you about?

Glenn: Denise, it's been a really insightful conversation. If people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way to do that?

Denise:  Just get in touch with me via LinkedIn or Twitter. I'm out there on both. And I would love to have a conversation.

Glenn: Awesome! Denise, thanks for being on the show.

Denise:  Thank you.

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