Tim Rayner: Digitalisation of insurance is battle of “hearts and minds”

Tim Rayner, CEO of Verisk Specialty Business Solutions, drew inspiration from President Lyndon B Johnson's playbook when he compared the digitalisation of the insurance market to a battle for the "hearts and minds" of the industry, in an interview with The Insurer TV.

Rayner pointed out that certain sectors of the market were sometimes resistant to digitisation due to the fear among brokers and underwriters of becoming surplus to requirements.

However, he emphasised that there was little to fear, as Verisk's mandate was to enable insurance companies to utilise their current human resources more effectively with technology, not to "take away human capital".

Although Verisk has invested significant effort in changing the perception of digitisation, Rayner highlighted that the pandemic significantly altered the industry's appetite for digital trading out of necessity, due to lockdown restrictions.

"The pandemic changed our attitude towards trading in a digital electronic manner," he explained.

Rayner viewed the digitisation of the industry as being in its early stages, comparing it to a newly discovered "proverbial door."

He added, "In terms of its ultimate potential, we're only really scratching the surface."

Whitespace platform

While discussing the latest developments on Whitespace, the electronic trading platform Verisk acquired in 2021, Rayner expressed enthusiasm for the opportunities it presented.

"We acquired them in March 2021 and since then, they've gone from strength to strength. So, as of today, there's over 230 firms trading on the Whitespace marketplace and it's an important differentiator to our other products in the Verisk set,” he said.

Rayner anticipated further growth: "We're forecast at the end of 2023, to have over 300 firms trading on the Whitespace platform and we're now looking at geographic expansion into Singapore, Dubai, and other markets. So, we see no geographic bounds or limitations to what Whitespace is.”

Unforeseen challenges

While Rayner acknowledged the industry's "sea change" in digital trading, he also acknowledged that the transition had not been completely plain sailing.

Verisk's efforts to update the industry's technological capabilities required a corresponding cultural shift within companies, which Rayner noted didn’t always materialise.

As he explained: “The biggest issue or challenge that we come across in projects that we get involved in is putting technology at the forefront of business transformation.

“Technology could perform that role at the forefront. But there is an awful lot of human change, cultural change required in those businesses. So, one of the unintended consequences is that sometimes the technology gets blamed for the lack of cultural change, the lack of adoption."

Watch the 6-minute video interview with Verisk’s Tim Rayner to hear more on:

  • Digital quota shares
  • Automation capability of Whitespace
  • The API-first trading environment
  • How Verisk can solve capital inefficiencies