Sunday, January 29
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Is it safer to join an incumbent than an insurtech?

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Given the current challenges, business insurance I asked insurance stakeholders and experts to share their opinions on whether it would be better to join a well-established insurance company than to join an insurance company right now.

Stephen Mendel, Co-Founder and CEO, Many Pets Group (pictured above): As the leader of a fast-growing insurance company, I believe we offer a much more fulfilling and progressive workplace than many incumbents. If you want to join an exciting game-changing insurance company, take a closer look at Business Sustainability. Does it have a proven track record with investors? When was the last funding round? Is it transparent about how the money is used? Is building an economically viable long-term business the core of its strategy? What evidence of this can they provide? If these fundamentals look strong, not only will stakeholders and investors continue to trust the business, but its teams will most likely be protected from market pressures.

Laura Drabeck, Chief Evangelist of Guidewire Software (pictured above): What’s happening in the insurance tech world is predictable, while funding drops, mergers and acquisitions are up 60% as the market consolidates. For those who are considering working for an insurtech company, my advice would be to do your own research into the market position and value of the prospective company. Those insurers who partner with insurance companies and others to solve the real problems in the industry would be where I would look. The great thing about working at a startup is that you can take on so many different roles, which can be great for your career growth. Just because the IT space is going through a tough phase doesn’t mean that people should overlook a career in it, you just have to choose carefully.

Jennifer Linton, founder and CEO of Fenris Digital (pictured above): Go where you feel passionate about the mission, the people, and your potential contribution (your role).

All business activities are subject to fluctuations and fluctuations, and there is no “safe” place. I’ve lived to the extreme – launched three startups and worked with the biggest insurance companies. Your decision should be driven by your happiness, not any current market shocks.

One caveat I share is to watch yourself for burnout; Startups move at breakneck speed, and that in and of itself can be a factor in where you will find the one that works best for you for the next stage of your career.

Christian Wiens, CEO of Getsafe (pictured above): We don’t see any layoffs in German insurance technology, quite the contrary. Staff numbers are rising. We are only seeing fintech companies suffer layoffs. What we can see now is that health insurance companies are going after the larger fintech companies, as their business model is long-term. Customers with new insurance companies pay from day one for their coverage, unlike free or free forms with new banks. So the answer to your question is “no”, insurance experts, at least in Germany, are managing the crisis well and may come out stronger in the end.

Adrian Jones, HSCM Ventures Partner (pictured above): Insurtechs is increasingly recognizing the need for expertise in the fundamentals of insurance and is hiring experienced executives. This move can make sense for executives eager to drive change in a small, fast-growing organization. One trade-off is less support – the difference is smaller, and the financial prospects may be less certain than the 100-year-old incumbent. For people new to insurance, startups often give an early responsibility and an exciting task, but established companies can be better places to learn the basics. My advice: think of both established companies and start-ups, find what works best for you, and don’t try to set your cycle time.

George Kiselman, Chief Commercial Officer of ZA Tech and President of InsurtechASIA (pictured above): The decision to join an incumbent with an insurance company depends on how much risk people can take at this point in their career. The incumbents have a lot to offer in terms of stability, but innovation may be slower. Insurtech companies are often more resilient but come with greater risk, especially in the current uncertain economic environment. Ultimately, if someone is interested in in-house technology but can’t take the risk, another viable option is to volunteer their knowledge as a consultant to tech startups.

Andrew Johnston, President of Global Insurance Gallagher Re (pictured above): There is no simple answer. Collectively, it will be difficult for insurers to raise capital over the next 24 months, and if their model runs at a loss, there is unprecedented pressure to tighten their belts. To that end, it can be argued that joining a proposal carries more risks than it did 12 months ago.

However, this ignores many income-generating insurance companies more than being able to attract and retain talent, plus incumbents are not immune to layoffs.

Evolution plays a role. The current Darwinian machete removes insurance tools through the survival of the fittest. So joining one now isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the company proves resilient.

The quality and suitability of the filter is also relevant. Job incumbents tend to offer broader employment options—luxury insurance companies don’t usually have them. They should be smaller and more efficient than ever before. Everyone will count.

Rahul Mathur, CEO and Founder of Verak (pictured above): My answer will depend on the candidate’s role and seniority. For beginners with less than three years of work experience, working in sales, business development or operations recruitment – I would still say it’s worth the risk to join insurtech; The acceleration of learning and the scope for developing responsibilities makes it attractive.

For experienced candidates – who previously viewed well-funded insurance companies as a “retreat” from the corporate world – this is not safe anymore; As we all know, total written premium is not ARR. Experienced employees must be committed to the corporate world.

Dale Smith, CEO of JAVLN and Co-President of InsurTechNZ (pictured above): New Zealand insurers are recruiting and providing industry professionals with rewarding career paths locally and internationally. It is a thriving market for skills and the number of insurance technology is increasing in this country which has one of the highest insurance penetration rates in the world.

Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO of Tapoly (pictured above): It has never been a better time to join insurtech, because the need for innovative, custom-priced digital insurance solutions has never been stronger. For those who are keen to take calculated risks, joining an insurance technology company is a good way to get a taste of entrepreneurship and a more dynamic work environment. If you join early enough, you may be entitled to share the options and other benefits that the founding team will have. It is a great opportunity for career advancement. Many incumbents create their own innovation departments to advance digital technology. If you join one of those instead, while you might benefit from a lot of resources at first, you won’t experience the entrepreneur culture and smart processes you might get in a startup environment.

John Warburton, Co-President of Insurtech UK and Founder of Konsileo (pictured above): If you are very excited about taking on an operational role within the incumbent, this is a good place for you. If you’re trying to drive change, the in-house tech sector is an even more exciting place. Some people say a year at a startup is worth five years in a traditional job in terms of experience you gain. It’s a “no regrets” move, even if this star eventually doesn’t turn out as successful as he had planned. I would invite people to look at the in-house tech sector and think, “Yes, I can really achieve my personal development goals here.”

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