Swiss Re’s Gonzalez: More to come from insurtech despite “unprecedented” advances

The insurtech industry has made “unprecedented” advances in recent years as evidenced by the capital raised and the innovations launched but the sector still remains some way from fully realising its potential, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ Ivan Gonzalez has told The Insurer TV.

While Gonzalez, the carrier’s regional CEO for North America, said he is “very positive” about the considerable achievements made by the insurtech industry in the past three to five years, the executive also said “it’s fair to ask” how many industry problems have been solved by technology.

“The industry probably still needs to do more work,” said Gonzalez, who was talking to The Insurer TV as the industry headed to Las Vegas for this week’s Insuretech Connect 2021 conference.

“I feel that insurtech has not yet delivered the full potential of what it can do, [and] I think it’s still going to take a little bit of time,” he added.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ interest in insurtech is focused on either making its own business better, or to solve what the executive said are “customer pain points”, explained Gonzalez.

That differs from some of the company’s competitors whose approach to insurtech is more venture capital-focused.

“While that might be a valid way of deploying capital for them, for us [insurtech investment] really needs to be driven by the core of our business and what our ultimate mission is in terms of supporting our clients,” Gonzalez said.

Ivan Gonzalez, regional CEO North America, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions

One example has been the insurer’s partnership with Alphabet subsidiary Verily, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Together, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Verily launched an employer stop-loss insurance venture called Coefficient Insurance Company that has since been rebranded Granular.

Gonzalez also highlighted the struggles faced by some large corporate clients in placing international insurance programs as one of those pain points where Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has been supporting customers with technology-focused solutions.

International programs, Gonzalez said, are “a very complex topic” owing to the large number of countries involved, each with their own regulations and tax rules.

“The industry has struggled to provide an effective and efficient service for these customers,” said Gonzalez.

“Thankfully, technology helps us change a lot of that,” he added. The executive said that technology “has made a big difference” in how his company can support clients in placing international programs.

“Swiss Re Corporate Solutions doesn’t have a lot of legacy systems or legacy infrastructure, so we can actually leverage the benefits of technology very well [to support clients],” Gonzalez added.