with Bob Brown, CEO, VIPR
Could you explain how your business model is disruptive?
Our business model is centered around our customers – they are what drives our innovation and opportunities for product development in order for us to be disruptive. Although we offer ‘out of the box’ solutions, our software systems are tailored for each client based on their needs. We listen to them and forge strong relationships from the very first meeting. We get to know what they do, their processes, their struggles and build solutions based around this information.
Even after product implementation we maintain our relationships and invite our clients to regular user group meetings so that insights can be shared – it is often the case that these meetings determine new future innovations.
Although our products are the very best, made to simplify processes, manage data efficiently, and to ultimately boost profitability, without our customers and their insights product disruption is hindered. We recently worked with new Managing General Agent, MGAM to deliver a core systems package of three products; bordereaux, data and coverholder management and reporting.
Our client also wanted us to create a completely bespoke Insurance Broking Accounts platform that was faster, more intuitive and user-friendly than anything else currently on the market. They also wanted all systems to be integrated and avoid any mishandling of information through the software. Working with them and IBA experts we developed an innovative system shaped by our customer to get the best of the best on the market.
In addition, our customer-centric culture extends to the digital realm. We recognise opportunities to connect with them by offering helpful information on our website and through the use of social media (an area that is slowly being adopted by the insurance industry). Tapping into the customer at every given opportunity is pivotal in creating and sustaining growth and increasing our business advantage amongst the competition.
What do you predict will be the future impact from technology on your sector?
The insurance industry depends heavily on technology adoption to modernise, although some of the market is investing in new technology, others are slow to make the change from age-old manual methods. As we are witnessing, increasing regulations, such as Solvency II, mean the industry is forced to make changes and introduce new processes through technology in order to comply. We foresee that this pressure will continue. Technology is growing and sitting back and waiting for long-term change isn’t an option. New technology innovations will provide far greater visibility and accuracy of data in a fast and efficient way allowing the industry to understand its business and keep up-to-date with industry regulations.
Data is an ongoing challenge as the amount of data received is vast and ever increasing. Thousands of spreadsheets are being presented each month, containing information on premiums written, premiums paid and claims made. Each spreadsheet can contain thousands of rows of data with multiple columns, so a single document could contain millions of individual cells of data. Technology can and will therefore have a profound effect on the industry.
What would your advice be to other companies about how to survive disruptive periods?
As new technology innovations come to the market new disruptive trends will become apparent in the insurance industry – it’s happening and will continue to do so. These changes shouldn’t be avoided otherwise there is a good chance of failure. To survive, see innovations as catalysts, adopt new technology and change in order to spur growth and create better business practices. If you don’t do it then your competitor will gain the edge they need to get ahead.
Ensure your business strategy is looking forward rather than focusing on the ‘here and now’ and plan accordingly before new innovations take over in the blink of an eye and you miss out.