Getting ready for the next normal

With ‘NXT: Enterprise” InsurTech Hub Munich is launching its seventh Innovation Programme. The first half of 2021 will be dedicated to matching startups and corporate partners to collaborate on Smart Enterprise solutions.

NXT: Enterprise seventh Innovation Programme

Large, successful organisations traditionally are good at standardizing products and services and at planning ahead. In fact, insurance companies are masters in this game. After all, their business models largely rely on making the unpredictable calculable. This may explain why the industry reacted quite smoothly when the pandemic hit last year, enabling large numbers of employees to work remotely and keep up commerce and customer services. But that’s only one side of the story.

Now, after almost one year spent in pandemic limbo it’s getting more and more obvious that what was embraced, sometimes exuberantly, as the ‘new normal’ basically means to operate in a constant mode of uncertainty. Insurance may be good at preparing for unforeseen events, but of course, one can only survive in an alarm mode for a given time. Even more so if one’s business is (for good reasons) built upon conservative values as trust and reliability. This said, it will take some serious effort and resilience for the insurance industry not to remigrate to old habits too soon or rest on one’s oars but to retain and expand an adaptive mindset. Customer interaction for sure won’t ever return to a pre-pandemic procedure but largely rely on new platforms and real-time access to data. Insurers need to become smart enterprises, that are ready not only for the ‘new normal’ but the post-pandemic ‘next normal’.

NXT: Enterprise seventh Innovation Programme
InsurTech Hub Munich partners working at a pre-Corona event.

Catering to timely challenges

To find out how this magic can happen and to provide its partners with applicable solutions, InsurTech Hub Munich (ITHM) is launching NXT:Enterprise, the seventh edition of its Innovation Programme. International Smart Enterprise startups are called upon to apply for the 30 seats in the three-month-long programme before end of February. When NXT:Enterprise officially kicks off in April, the participating entrepreneurs will meet mentors, investors and above all the decision-makers from ITHM’s more than twenty partners from the insurance and tech industries and talk business development.

“Both our last Innovation Programme, H+, focusing on Digital Health and now NXT:Enterprise cater to very timely and urgent challenges”, explains ITHM’s Programme Director Esther Eva Prax (also read “What’s NXT:, Esther”). She specifies: “We have broken down our definition of Smart Enterprise into the core fields of People, Process, Product and Tech. All four are interconnected and none is a virtue of its own: Insurers have the opportunity to become more than just the ‘necessary evil’ they are often seen as today, but a real partner to customers when they need it the most.”

Prax explicates: “Imagine being offered simple and transparent insurance directly embedded in products, offered just at the right time or even anticipating your needs. Or a full, worry-free service experience with instant payout in a claims situation – as easy as returning an item bought online. This can only become reality if insurers have speedy, efficient and automated processes to quickly process customer needs. Which will also empower their well-skilled employees to really serve their clients – and maybe even reposit them with the time and creativity to innovate instead of following repetitive tasks. Underlying and a prerequisite for all this is the access and processing of the right data to form a full and real-time view of the customer and an inevitable modernization of legacy systems.”

Esther Eva Prax, Programme Director of InsurTech Hub Munich

Tried and tested “Concierge Services”

“With six successful batches under our belt”, ITHM’s Managing Director Christian Gnam says, “we have developed a tried and tested methodology which largely relies on matching the right people, moderating the exchange and fostering actual co-creation and concrete next actions. This is what we call our ‘concierge services’- the very core of our offering to shorten sales cycles for Startups and enable new opportunities for our corporates. We do a lot of research and vetting and constantly poll our partners to learn about their challenges and emerging trends. Our ever-growing network now consists of more than 25 venture capitalists, over 100 mentors and 200 alumni. For our last Innovations Programme, we screened and talked to more than 2,000 Digital Health entrepreneurs. But,” Gnam explicates, “the most obvious validation for our work are the many collaborations between startups and our cross-industry partners, more than 75 of which we’ve been able to convey in 2020 alone”.

ITHM’s Managing Director Christian Gnam
Christian Gnam, Managing Director of InsurTech Hub Munich

Once the applications deadline for NXT:Enterprise is met end of February, ITHM and its partners will start a thorough selection process to identify participants for the Innovation Programme. Kicking off on April 12 and comprising multiple business development sessions, a curriculum and pitching opportunities, NXT: will culminate in a large Showcase on July 7, 2021.

Text: Markus Walter