July 7th 2021
The world of insurance is facing radical changes and the players are under strong competitive pressure in an increasingly heavy regulatory context. Industry leaders are noticing the emergence of "French Assurtech", with strong fundraising to support the development of start-ups and redefine the insurance of tomorrow. To learn more about it, we interviewed François Reibell, President of Strada Conseil, a specialist in insurance and reinsurance for 20 years, whose purpose is to secure and facilitate the transformation of its clients through human and digital resources.
What are the challenges in the insurance industry today ?
François Reibell : Like finance and banking, insurance is going through radical changes. We are witnessing the arrival of new players, just like the banking sector with the rise of online banks a few years ago. Thanks to major fund-raising, new start-ups are being created at the cutting edge of new technologies (AI, Data) or new insurance products. They force traditional players to redefine themselves and review their working methods to gain in efficiency, while having to comply with strong regulatory constraints. They must now work with multidisciplinary profiles and various kinds of experts (risk, finance, new technologies and transformation experts). At Strada Conseil, we work on this change management. Above all, it is a question of supporting our clients in their transformations, as the new tools drastically change the pace and transmission of information, as well as the user experience. Our mission is to help our clients gain in agility, as they have to reconcile a large existing customer base with new technologies and new products.
Has the insurance sales model changed with digitization ?
François Reibell : The insurer, the agent, the broker and the banker are no longer the only ones offering insurance. We are witnessing the birth of new distribution channels. The major digital players or retailers have very precise user databases and are experts in managing complex data. In connection with their products, these e-commerce companies can easily offer specific insurance and innovative products, the latest example being Ornikar (the driving school turned insurtech to sell new car insurance products). They address their customers directly via their distribution channel whereas for a traditional insurer, acquiring a new customer via the usual channels remains expensive. This new model will certainly develop: a player with a sales platform and structured data on its customers can potentially become a broker and offer this complementary service. The traditional players are already mobilising to react and keep their market shares.
The "insured" data seems to have become a strategic information, what do you think ?
François Reibell : Our clients need an in-depth knowledge of their insured and their risks in order to match their expectations, and at the same time, optimize their portfolio, prevent claims, hence gain in profitability. New technologies precisely meet this need and allow to bring complementary consulting and more personalised services (prevention, claim payment). To shorten their transformations, insurance companies call upon our supporting assignments, which can either be punctual or on the long run.
What are the specificities of your consulting job ?
François Reibell : 60% of our job consists in speaking our clients’ different languages (from business , technical, IT or digital teams) and make sure their needs are aligned with the solutions that are implemented. We believe it is a key factor of success to secure and facilitate their transformations (optimization of organizations and information flows, digitization). Our job consists in being focused on the success of our clients’ projects. Our knowledge of their job, of their ecosystem and the experience we have been acquiring for 20 years are as many assets to achieve this goal.
What are your challenges at STRADA Conseil, as an insurance and reinsurance consulting firm ?
François Reibell : The first challenge is to meet our clients’ needs with multi-skilled consultants, able to apprehend the complex business of insurance and to talk to IT departments. Human capital is therefore essential to our activity’s development, which is especially true regarding reinsurance, since it requires specific expertise. We are constantly looking for double-skilled profiles (both business and technical). Our job needs assertive tempers, designer-creators. Today’s consultant must indeed bring an added value, propose solutions and be proactive. We hire experienced and curious people who want to work on exciting projects and support their clients’ changes. We develop training courses, technological watch and provide knowledge bases on our intranet in order to help our consultants anticipate their clients’ needs. They are enriched, inspired and constantly in connection with STRADA Conseil to stay ahead of the game. For instance, in terms of prospective, we care about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), new constraints, regulations, products … Insurers are indeed more and more involved with CSR impact in their field, in particular on the impact of climate change on claims, hence risks pricing. It is a strong issue on which we can also support them.
How would you define your corporate culture ?
François Reibell : Our corporate culture is first focused on knowledge sharing and team spirit, where everyone can play his or her part. We favour initiative, allowing each collaborator to carry a subject, and gradually acquire an expertise on one of our services fields. These initiatives have led us to create complementary activities. For instance, we have opened a subsidiary in London, invested in a start up specialized in insurance risks prevention, and developed a center of expertise on reinsurance business issues.
Source : Forbes Business Inside