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Insurtechs, established companies increasingly collaborating


LAS VEGAS — An insurtech revolution that started with intentions to wrest business from long-standing incumbents has morphed into more of a collaboration between technology upstarts and established companies. 

Panelists at the 2022 InsureTech Connect conference were asked Tuesday how the insurtech sector had changed from five years ago. 

“I think it’s still disruption, but we’re disrupting together in a more collaborative way,” said Jillian Slyfield, global chief innovation officer in San Francisco for Aon PLC. 

There are now more strategic relationships between and among established insurers and reinsurers and technology businesses, said Rick Zullo, U.S.-based co-founder and general partner with Equal Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. 

Technology is playing a larger role in the commercial insurance space among global brokerages than it did five years ago, said Farooq Sheikh, global head of insurance in New York for financial services firm Unqork. 

However, there is still substantial room to innovate in large commercial, according to Boston-based Arun Balakrishnan, CEO of Xceedence PLC. 

Collaboration with the tech sector can help invigorate the commercial insurance business, panelists said.

“The industry needs to be open to perspectives from new entrants. It brings new ideas to the industry,” said Bill Peroni, New York-based CEO of Accord, a global standards body for the insurance industry.