As the re/insurance industry gathered in the south of France for the 2018 Monte Carlo Reinsurance Rendezvous, Drinker Biddle partners Andrea Best and John Finston were on the ground and shared their thoughts with industry publications Reactions, GlobalReinsurance.com, Re-insurance.com and Monte Carlo Today.
In “Taking a Byte of the Insurtech Pie,” Reactions noted that Drinker Biddle made a splash last year when former California chief deputy insurance commissioner John Finston joined the firm’s San Francisco office. Andrea Best, head of the firm’s London office, noted that Finston’s proximity to Silicon Valley is ideal for the firm’s insurtech capabilities as traditional carriers partner up with tech firms at an increasingly rapid rate. “There’s going to be more development in the insurtech and blockchain spaces, with things that sounded like science fiction not long ago, now coming out,” said Andrea. “Companies that aren’t getting on board with these new trends may fall behind, as innovation is the name of the game.”
In an article titled “The Next Lemonade or Just Lemon?” published in GlobalReinsurance.com, Andrea discussed the common theme that she has observed in successful insurtech ventures: early and continuous cooperation between all parties involved. She traces the progression of a cooperative relationship, from choosing partners to rollout, and notes that flexibility is key as ideas may change along the way.
In a think piece for Re-insurance.com titled “The Perils of Driving Blind,” published on Day 1 of the Rendezvous, Andrea noted the risks that go hand-in-hand with new opportunities for insurers and reinsurers. From drones and autonomous vehicles to the burgeoning cannabis industry, re/insurers need to be aware of the legal and regulatory implications of entering these markets.
Andrea and John also spoke to Monte Carlo Today—a collaboration between Intelligent Insurer and Bermuda: Re + ILS to report on the Rendezvous—for an article titled “Early Regulatory Guidance Essential for InsurTech Startups.” They noted that regulation is a common weakness for insurtech startups, especially considering the pressure on companies to scale platforms quickly. John said that startups are becoming “more sophisticated, at least in recognizing that they have to be more attentive to regulatory issues,” but that they still are at risk of implementing methodologies to increase their markets in ways that aren’t compliant with regulatory requirements with respect to either sharing revenue or providing inducements. “They might not realize they or their partners need a license,” Andrea added. John noted that it is important that companies seek advice on these issues early, because “it is much more expensive to redesign the system later if the regulatory component is not already included.” John also noted that insurtech startups need to consider their acquisition and use of data at inception, as “[t]here are a growing number of regulatory constraints on how data can be used and maintained.”