5 Reasons Insurers Are Embracing a Greenfield Approach to Innovation

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If you could start over, knowing what you know today, what would your life look like? Where would you live? How would you spend your time and money, and with whom?

It’s fun to let your mind wander this way. For many of your competitors, though, it’s serious business. In fact, to better focus on growth and innovation, many insurers are simply walking away from the burden of systems conversions. More than half of insurers recently surveyed told Celent that they’re increasing their investments in greenfield startups and launching new lines of business, and even new companies, on new and separate technology platforms. The desire to be unconstrained by legacy thinking, processes, distribution models or rigid and disconnected technology is just that strong.

A greenfield approach liberates them to innovate around customers, products, processes, and new data sources in ways that old-school insurers simply can’t. And to do it quickly. Greenfields start small, test, learn, and adjust until they are ready to launch. They combine this agility with the capital, resources, and know-how of the parent company. When the time is right, they launch and scale-up, leveraging the advantages of the cloud. 

You can learn more in The Greenfield Field Guide for Insurers, but if you’re wondering whether a greenfield approach is right for you, start by considering these questions:

  1. Are our speed-to-market and ability to invent and deliver winning new products hindered by legacy processes, attitudes, skill sets, distribution systems, or technologies?
  2. Are our core systems technologically capable of engaging with the emerging ecosystem economy to access external innovation and partner with insurtechs?
  3. Could we benefit from a test-and-learn platform, where we could experiment with new ideas and business models, explore new types of partnerships, and take advantage of new opportunities quickly with players both inside and outside the insurance industry?
  4. Would it be helpful to test drive a contemporary insurance core systems platform before we convert our entire books of business?
  5. Is our growth impeded by the commoditization of our products?

It’s a myth that greenfield initiatives are all about insuretechs and technology. The reality is that winners and losers are going to be determined by the customer experience and the products you offer. Done right, the technology platform simply supports your business goals by being open, flexible, and easy to maintain.

To prepare for the future and leverage disruptive innovation, you have to untether your company from all the legacy aspects of your business. Essentially, you’ve got to step outside the constraints of legacy systems, processes, and thinking and start anew. Greenfield offers you a powerful strategy and framework to do exactly that.

To learn more about greenfield, download The Greenfield Field Guide for Insurers: Is Greenfield the Right Approach to Your Digital Transformation?

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*Insurance Innovation Outlook 2019, Celent, page 12. “The final notable area from the investment expectation data relates to greenfield startup activities. Just over half, 51%, reported that their investment would increase.”