Digisurance: Start-ups meet the insurance industry


Digitalization & innovation, 11.07.2018

Rethinking insurance sales: This is the aspiration which linked everyone attending Digisurance which was held in Berlin at the end of June. This event, which was defined as a platform, was intended to accelerate cooperation between insurtechs and insurers. ERGO attended the event and presented the subject "Voice assistants in the insurance industry". 

The fourth Digisurance 2018 took "Facts and figures instead of the future and fiction" as its theme. It therefore focussed on the potential offered by collaboration between start-ups and insurers, Companies attending the event presented progress reports on functioning or partially functioning projects. "Genuine learnings can only be achieved in exchanges with people who have already completed a project and garnered experience from it", stated Felix Anthonj, founder and CEO of "Flexperto," at the beginning of Digisurance 2018.

In line with this theme Gregor Wiest, Innovation Management Manager at ERGO and Tilmann Böhme, founder of the start-up "Future of Voice GmbH" provided an impression of their "Voice assistants" project which they had very quickly established. During their presentation they particularly stressed the challenges encountered in this dynamic and growing area for the insurance industry - mainly proof of concept, data protection and project organisation.

ERGO is engaging with voice assistants

Current statistics show that in 2020 about 50% of the population will use voice searches in their quests for information. Google also indicates that 20% of their mobile searches are already activated by voice. These figures encouraged ERGO to go down the path of voice assistants. When the audience was asked how many of them had already used voice assistants in their everyday life, about half answered "yes". "This is the reason we want to help shape this voyage of discovery. Although only in its infancy at present, it will not be long before this project gives us even more  to talk about," stated Gregor Wiest.

Staff drawn from Europäische Reiseversicherung (ERV), ERGO Direkt, the Sales Department and the Call Center are working together on the project. During an intensive workshop at the outset of the project the team agreed that they should first develop a travel-skill for ERV. Tillmann Böhme presented this at Digisurance.

But before embarking on the demonstration he emphasised that "As an insurance company ERGO is able to delight its customers with a very special level of service and bring a smile to their faces. Emotions are needed to impress the user and get close to him." Visitors to Digisurance were able to experience what this meant for themselves - and in real time.

Success eludes Pokemon Go insurance

Two further start-ups presented their projects involving major insurers: With its "Flix Check", Denkpark enabled the communication process with the customer to be optimised intelligently but without an app. They found a solution for a very simple method of exchanging data with the customer, irrespective of the customer's location at the time - and without registering and other technical hurdles.

In 2016 the second start-up "KASKO" developed the first and only Pokemon Go insurance which they "laid to rest" at Digisurance. "The first day went by ... no policy ... the second day went by ... no policy... two years later ... still no policy" explained Nikolaus Sühr, joint founder and CEO of "KASKO". What these entrepreneurs learned in particular was to examine the economic viability of a new product in advance and in greater detail. "The product was intended to prompt a discussion with the young target group about accident insurance" said Sühr. Even though the product was not a success and did not find acceptance among the target group, it did not fail to attract plenty of attention, at least in the press.

As well as presentations by the start-ups, Digisurance also included panel discussions, for example on the future of the insurance industry. Two Management Board members, Christian Glanz (Deutsche Vermögensberatung) and Paul Stein (Debeka Versicherungen) were joined by Ramin Niroumand (co-founder and CEO of the Insurtech FinLeap) and Pascal Reisen, operator of a digital agency which has digitalised 99% of its agency processes.

The conflicting priorities of the insurance industry became apparent in the discussion: on the one hand the demand for increased perseverance in the fields of innovation and digitalisation in the competitive international arena, and on the other hand the concerns relating to feasibility. Digisurance offered a platform to both points of view as well as the opportunity of giving further impetus to one's own projects by means of new input.

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