Creating Community to Accelerate Adoption
One of the biggest challenges for the insurance industry when it comes to adopting new innovations is engagement: a firm could have the ideal tool to streamline its business, but it won’t matter if there is little adoption.
BrokerTech Ventures (BTV), a startup accelerator now in its fourth year, aimed to address that issue by creating labs. by BTV, a group of employees within each of the accelerator’s partner agencies meant to evaluate the products coming down the accelerator pipeline and bring to light pain points that may have otherwise gone unaddressed.
Kacie Conroy, senior director of IT at M3, one of BTV’s founding members, has watched the labs. by BTV community evolve and grow since its inception. According to Conroy, the community has proved invaluable as a guide for how they can operationalize and scale innovation within their firms, and not just innovation stemming from the BTV accelerator.
“The accelerator is a really important pipeline and partnership for us, and it does bring a lot of great technology,” she says. “In addition to the accelerator, today’s business climate drives many other innovation initiatives that we’re bringing into our agency. We leverage this labs by. BTV community often to share, learn and grow—as insurtech evolves, we as agencies are evolving right along with it.”
Automation and Employee Benefits Are Key Focus Areas
In response to that input from the community, explains Conroy, three categories of innovation have recently come into focus at this year’s accelerator. “We’re helping create additional efficiencies pertaining to our industry’s payment and invoicing processes and automating the payment flow.” she says.
“The second is what I would call automation in general. We describe the client experience a bit more broadly—it doesn’t have to be something the consumer directly touches. But if we automate an internal process and it gets us the information that’s part of the insurance buying process that we need more quickly, we can now serve our clients in a more effective way.”
The last category Conroy emphasizes is the new growth of employee benefits products. “P&C has long been the dominant representative of insurtech,” Conroy points out. “But over the past year, especially in our cohort, we’ve been seeing a lot of benefits features and offerings ranging from fertility consulting, benefit plan decision tools, and health and wellness offerings.”
Building and Strengthening the Community for the Future
In addition to offering insight from employees into what kind of technology they would find valuable, the labs. by BTV community strengthens participants in less tangible ways. “One additional thing that’s maybe not directly related to technology is the amount of sharing that we do, agency to agency,” Conroy says. “How are you scaling this? What change management best practices are you utilizing? How did you get deep adoption of this product? We share with each other so much, and that has really helped us innovate and scale much faster, because we’re learning from each other, and that makes the learning cycle so much quicker.”
Looking ahead, Conroy believes the obvious next step the community should undertake is bringing in the carriers. “Technology isn’t the hard part—change is,” she says. “How do you get a product to be well-loved, well-utilized, and well-supported? That’s where this community is so vital: teams of people to be that liaison between our business who will use and be impacted by the technology, and the startups who make the innovative technology.
“And so, for me, what’s on the horizon is that we take what we’re doing with the community and engage our carrier partners. They play a vital role in the world of insurance, and so we’re excited about folding carriers into the community and having more conversations with them about the deep, lasting impact that can be made with technology.”