Next week we’ll be joining nearly 4,000 innovators, investors and insurance incumbents in Las Vegas for InsureTech Connect 2017, the largest insuretech event in the world. We see the event as great opportunity not only to network, but to take the pulse on the industry's direction and better understand the challenges, mindsets, and goals of insurance carriers and how our services can enable innovation into the future.

The conference takes place October 3-4 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A complete agenda of the speakers and sessions taking place throughout the two-day event is available here. Below are a few of the sessions next week that we’ll be sure not to miss.

1. Embracing Change- Plenary Session

  • When: Tuesday, October 3, 11:30-12:00pm
  • Who: Mike McGavick, Chief Executive Officer, XL Catlin

One of the major problems we come across time and time again in our work with large insurance carriers is the temptation to simply digitize business as usual. Rather than embracing the omnichannel world in which customers now expect to engage with brands, insurance carriers mistake “going digital”–simply translating outdated, paper-based processes verbatim into digital experiences–with real transformation. To truly transform, insurance carriers need to think first and foremost about their customers, and be willing to let go of old ways of doing things while being open to the ways in which new technological advancements can redefine their businesses to better serve changing customer needs and expectations.

This is why we are excited about this session, in which Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Catlin promises to discuss how carriers can begin to “embrace the opportunity that data yielding insight is providing and realizing that this will profoundly redefine the industry while benefiting those it serves and society at large.”

2. The Insurance Company of the Future - Vision Pillar

  • When: Tuesday, October 3, 3:00-3:30pm
  • Who: Malika Ghandi, Principal, Deloitte Consulting; Nick Martin, Fund Manager, Insurance Polar Capital; Steven Mendel, Chief Executive Officer, Bought by Many; Kyle Nakatsuji, Founder & Ceo, Clearcover; Asaf Wand, CEO & Co-Founder, Hippo Insurance;

It’s no secret that the insurance industry lags far behind other industries when it comes to adapting to the new digital landscape, in which customers expect to be able to conduct their business in various ways and from various places–whether it be from their phones in their living rooms, or in person with an expert. The first steps toward becoming a “company of the future” involve carriers understanding the customer and defining their true value proposition. In this way, legacy carriers can begin to think beyond traditional markets and the limitations of existing products and services to carve out new spaces in the customer value chain for themselves in the future.

In this session, a panel of experts will explore how carriers can embark on an “innovator path” in which they embrace “new business and operating models” and “challenge incumbent orthodoxies.”

3. Simpler, Smarter, Faster: a Fireside Chat - Plenary Session

  • When: Tuesday, October 4, 8:30-9:00am
  • Who: Benoît Claveranne, Group Chief Transformation Officer, AXA; Ruth Foxe Bader, Director, Investments, Anthemis Group;

As a 15-year-old agency that grew up in the world of ecommerce and retail, Cake & Arrow understands that one of the keys to industry maturation and digital transformation is being able to do more with less. More prototyping, more testing, more product launches, more campaigns, more data–but all in less time, with less people and resources, and most importantly, with less bureaucracy. Another way of putting it is this: insurance carriers need to develop the internal capacity to become nimble, rapid innovators. This is why we are often telling insurers that to be successful, they need to start acting like retailers.

In this fireside-style chat, Benoît Claveranne, Group Transformation Officer at AXA will discuss how, by developing some of these capabilities internally while also leveraging the organization’s history and expertise as an incumbent, AXA is demonstrating to the insurance industry that “incumbent doesn’t have to mean legacy.”

For more on this idea, check out our webinar: “Transformation & Tradition: Re-imagining the Customer Agent Experience in Insurance.”

4. Winning Partnerships: a Fireside Chat - Plenary Session

  • When: October 4, 9:00am-9:30am
  • Who: James Siminoff, Chief Executive Officer, Ring; Telisa Yancy, Chief Marketing Officer, American Family;

Of the emergent industry trends of 2017, insurtech partnerships may be the most important. By partnering with insurtechs, legacy carriers are able to combine their industry expertise and market access with the insurtech innovation and disruption, making such partnerships a win-win for both parties.

Pursuing other types of strategic partnerships will also be valuable for legacy carriers. In a talk our VP of Customer Experience, Christina Goldschmidt gave with John Tramonti of MetLife at this year’s Insurtech Silicon Valley Conference, they discussed how MetLife is replatforming their entire P&C line of business on Guidewire, and partnering with Cake & Arrow to ensure each product launched on the new platform is customized with a design that ensures a superior customer experience. By choosing strategic partners to advance specific initiatives, carriers like MetLife are setting themselves up to be a carrier of the future.

In this session on winning partnerships, James Siminoff of Ring and Telisa Yancy of American Family will talk incumbent carrier - insurtech partnership, discussing “their shared focus on creating value for consumers and the synergies that come from winning partnerships.”

5. Culture of Innovation- Transformation Pillar

  • When: October 4, 9:00-9:30am
  • Who: Andrew Breen, SVP, Digital, Argo Group; Guy Fraker, Chief Innovation Officer, Insurance Thought Leadership; Kenneth Fraser, Executive VP and Chief Strategic Development Officer,Crawford & Co.; Brendan Gallagher, Area President - Manhattan, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; Kathy Melgar, AVP Product Delivery Retirement Solutions Division, Pacific Life;

As we have discussed elsewhere, going digital and being innovative isn’t about technology – it’s about pursuing a fundamental shift in the way you conduct business. Acting like a retailer; being nimble, fast, and agile; learning to do more with less. These things a change not just at the capabilities level, but at the cultural level. It’s something we spend a lot of time on with our own clients – using design thinking and UX methodologies to shift cultural practices and attitudes. In fact, we have published an entire learning model for how to pursue this kind of cultural transformation within an organization.

But one of the biggest hurdles to improving digital culture in the industry is it's age-old allergy to risk. According to a recent McKinsey article, “in a digital world, one of the biggest risks is not taking any risks.” For an industry built around mitigating risk, this one can be a tough pill to swallow.

We are excited about this panel on Cultural Innovation, as it promises to take the question risk head on, providing carriers with tactical ideas for how they can mitigate risk, while also taking risks. “If a culture of innovation is associated with a culture accepting of risk, what can insurers do to reconcile the differences between the incumbent mindset and their future mindset?”

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If you’ll be attending InsureTech 2017 and would like to learn more about Cake & Arrow we’d love to connect. You can contact us here.