Predictions for 2019

Happy 2019!

Yes! I am a little bit late. This article has been sitting in my drafts-box for couple of months now. I considered a friend’s advise to skip this article and jump directly to “Q1 2019 recap.” Yes, but, well.. I’ll do it in Q3.

I can hope that 2019 will be as exciting as in 2018. I know, it is a bold statement. Let’s face it, the insurance industry turned into an exciting space with brands and semi-celebs. There are several KPI to measure internal engagement in the industry to its various components.
If you see an increase in the number of:

  1. Number of podcasts

  2. Coverager’s subscriptions

  3. InsNerds Slack members and threads

  4. ITC, Dig-In and OnRamp participants in the USA

  5. New conferences and new faces

Personally, it was a year of change. I left Farmers insurance, co-authored the “The InsurTech Book,” founded BOUND, joined the advisory board of DropIn and continued to run InsurTech-LA. Also, I had the honor to take part in Lloyd’s of London’s first Lloyd’s Lab cohort, moderate several panels and have a beer/coffee with many of you.

Other reflection on 2019

I highly recommend reading the 2019 predictions by Martha Notaras, Nigel Walsh and Stephen Goldstein.

Reflection on 2018

I am going to keep this short.


2018 we saw new companies entering the space. There are still coverage gaps and most of the products are on the same path. My prediction was that it is the start of filling substance behind the “buzz.” I’ll mark it as 1/1


No, blockchain did fall -- the excitement did wind down (as we predicted). Two indicators were the slow down to almost a halt of startup pitches that started with “it is an X running on blockchain” and blockchain sessions in a conference. The consortiums and other research institutes are at work and still have funds to continue their work for 2019. I haven’t seen a product that is based on blockchain that reached commercial use. 2/2



The chatter around Smart Cities in the context of insurance started. 3/3


Yes, they are. The question is - do we compare them with a static form as a UX unit or one against the other on AI and NLP capability. 3.5/4

5. API

Application Programming Interface (API) is THE 2018 prediction for me. Carriers know that the marginal cost of adding another "digital agent" can cost them millions if they don't have a modern API management system. Insurance companies want to work and receive business from the new InsurTech startups who registered as agents in all 50 states and with the agents who digitized their own business.


The core entrepreneurs of the insurance industry. The agents will have two paths to take (i) evolve to an InsurTech agency (ii) buy InsurTech services to make their agency more productive and more efficient. In 2018, the agents will be the buying force of InsurTech products.


In 2018, InsurTech startups are going to enter new stages of a venture's life cycle. Scale - startups are going to invest their series A and B and scale their operation, customer base and revenue. Acquisition - for the market segment, technology, and talent. Dissolve - because they had the wrong product, the wrong team, the wrong business model, or that their competitors were better.  

Innovation as a step function

Innovation as a step function

Step Up

The entrance of startups to the insurance industry, nearly four years ago (2015), introduced a change, innovation, that made all the components, whether they are linear or passive, to react. The new teen spirit that the startup introduced acted as a step function that increased the value of the industry. The input may be a nice and clean function. It has a ripple effect that affects the entire pond until is converges on the new and higher level.

Ali Safavi talks about Innovation at a Global scale

Ali Safavi is the Founder and Global Head of Plug and Play Insurtech, an Insurtech-focused innovation platform in partnership with some of the largest insurers, reinsurers and brokers in the world including: Munich Re, USAA, State Farm, SOMPO Digital Lab, Farmers, Nationwide, Deloitte, Willis Towers Watson, Aviva, Swiss Re, and many more. Since its inception, Ali has been a catalyst in building Plug and Play Insurtech to 6 global locations, over 70 corporate partners, 120 accelerated startups, and over 25 insurtech investments. Ali is also a Principal at Plug and Play Ventures, the venture arm of Plug and Play Tech Center where he manages and leads investments in startups in different spaces including insurance, travel and hospitality, and IoT.

We had a lovely InsurTech Talk over wine.

A conversation with Dr. Jay Spence co-founder & CEO of Uprise – Insights on mental health and the role of technology

A conversation with Dr. Jay Spence co-founder & CEO of Uprise – Insights on mental health and the role of technology is breaking new ground in removing the stigma attached to mental health. Paul Muir interviewed Uprise CEO & co-founder Jay Spence.

"An insurance policy that excludes on the basis of mental health is neglecting to recognize that this is a person who has been categorized as having something that is temporary rather than permanent."…

Interview with Dominic DiMarco - Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) QBE

Insurance companies take active steps towards modernization to keep up with customer's expectations and recent entrants to the insurance space who use the latest technology. Carriers introduced new entities into their organizations to champion and facilitate progress. Today there are innovation teams, innovation labs, venture arms, accelerator programs, and the less familiar function -- the Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR).

To understand better the avant-garde insurance that is done by the large insurance companies and their innovation programs I reached out to the leading insurance innovation teams.

Here is a short interview with Dominic DiMarco, EiR in QBE insurance, the man that claims to have the best job in the insurance industry.

"All the big businesses are trying to figure out how to do things "faster, quicker, easier and leaner" and they don't have those skills in their four walls to do it themselves most of the times."

"There is a difference between the IT infrastructure and core systems to the innovative work that is happening on the fringes. You can't replace a core system at once."

"Insurance companies, at their core, are massive financial institutes."