Have you ever dreamed big?  Ever imagined a game changing idea that would revolutionize the Insurtech industry?  Perhaps it’s a new product, or you have developed a new technology?  Perhaps it’s neither of those, and you have identified a different way of looking at what currently exists, applying a new lens that radically changes how the market perceives your industry.

The most important aspect of dreaming big in this way is that your idea has to prosper and be revenue-generating.  In order to be successful, there is an element of having to cater to the Tier 1 insurers because they dominate the markets.  Entrepreneurs and venture capital groups alike are starting to understand this concept more.  Historically they thought that insurance was an industry that was ripe for opportunity, and as a result, insurers were ready for the Insurtech revolution.  More often, however, this has proven not to be the case.  How, then, do we bring the insurance industry into the 21st century? Also, how do we ensure that the Insurtech sector is able to survive and thrive?

Meeting these Tier 1 insurers where they are and patiently nurturing them along the revolutionary journey takes time, money and maybe even therapy.  There are industries that progress quickly. There are industries that progress slowly, and then there is the insurance industry. Unfortunately in most cases, organizations in Insurtech move to the beat of their own drums.  Some great startups struggled, not because their idea or tech wasn’t great, it was simply that their audience wasn’t ready, and they didn’t have the patience or vision to slow down and meet their investors, clients or customers where they were. Tier 1 insurers epitomize the evolutionary process of roll over, crawl, walk and run, which can be frustrating to visionaries or innovating solutionists.  We have seen time and time again that those Insurtechs that have the vision to slow down are better able to create more sustainable and profitable businesses, which leads to scalable and meaningful growth.  For some, however, (normally those with extraordinary early levels of VC funding and exaggerated valuations), this is simply not fast enough!

The same concept applies with customers.  You have to meet them where they are if they are going to buy your product or service.  We think Nora DiNuzzo of Pitcher, a brand consultancy that specializes in helping small businesses unlock their next phase of growth, is spot on in her philosophy.  Her number one pitching advice is that people need to KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you – in that order – before they will spend a dime.  This concept applies not only to people but to organizations like the Tier 1 insurers.  Getting to know you, growing to like you, and, ultimately, trusting you takes time.

What can you do while you are in this know, like, and trust journey?  You optimize and ensure your infrastructure is solid and sound for scalable growth.  You work what we call the 5 P’s to innovation success: Ensure that your product, policies, procedures, processes, and people are locked and loaded.  Time and time again, organizations run before they crawl, and if said organizations keep kicking the proverbial can down the road, they will not be ready when that growth hits.  Sure, one can build the car while trying to drive it, but it will be at the expense of the organization’s team and product.

It’s important to consider that internal and external work streams move in parallel, not necessarily in sequence.  The best analogy for the internal work stream is building a house.  Essentially, you plan, lay the foundation, build the walls, install the core features within the walls, and then you put the cosmetic touches on it.  For the external work stream, you are relying on the art of storytelling and vision-casting to share the dream of what the house will look like, what features and functionalities it will provide.  You have dripped on potential buyers for so long that once that house is completed, buyers are ready for a showing and to sign on the dotted line.  If you don’t optimize these work streams in parallel, the house will stay empty with no potential buyers but costing you money.

The movie Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard, is a dramatization of the events that surrounded the technical difficulties of NASA’s 1971 lunar-landing mission. It is a story of courage, quick-thinking and composure under life-threatening pressure. In one of the scenes Gene Kranz, the chief flight director played by Ed Harris, has just called a meeting, and he is trying to understand the capabilities of the systems they have. He says to the team: “I don’t care about what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do.”

This type of thinking, challenging the status quo and pushing your teams and organizations to think outside of the box is exactly what is needed to solve the problems that our Insurtech industry is facing.  Whether your impossible situation is bringing a new product to market or transforming your decades-old technology stack, don’t think about what technology was designed to do but what it can do.  Dream big.  Think outside the box.  Approach from a different lens, but don’t forget to meet them where they are and be patient.  They may need to live out their own transformational journey to buy into this new product or new technology.  By slowing down to complete the know, like, and trust milestones while simultaneously building out a sustainable organization, you will be able to accelerate towards exponential growth.