The Future of Insurance Podcast – Nigel Walsh

Managing Director, Insurance, Google Cloud

Season 4, Episode 8, March 28, 2023

Guest Bio

Nigel is the Managing Director for Insurance at Google Cloud, responsible for leading the firms approach to Insurance, leveraging the best in market capability from Google’s Cloud proposition, addressing mission critical Insurance challenges, from claims and underwriting to leveraging our AI and ML know how – driving better business outcomes.  Nigel also works with the broader Alphabet companies to bring their experience and insights to partner with our existing insurance customers.

Prior to this, Nigel was a Partner in Deloitte Digital where he led on a number of areas for the firm including Global Future of Insurance and InsurTech.  He has contributed to a number of books on insurance and technology including The InsurTech Book and the AI Books published by Wiley. He also co-authored a report on the Sharing Economy and the opportunity for Insurers for Lloyds of London.  He has a background in end to end technology transformation from core systems through to digital transformation initiatives including helping clients to identify and launch new products to market and establish new businesses from scratch, for insurers and more recently non insurers.

You can find Nigel talking about Insurance regularly online as Co Host for InsurTech Insiders Podcast – here, through his articles and PoV on LinkedIn here, or regular conversation on all things Insurance & InsurTech on Twitter here.

Highlights from the Show

  • Nigel sees his role at Google as being at one of the largest companies on the planet with the task of changing one of the most important industries on the planet
  • There’s a pressure to move forward faster in the industry, and occasionally it’s driven by major forces, like COVID, that show us the need but also our ability to actually do it
    • Many companies now have digital indigestion, where we raced forward so quickly but didn’t learn how to keep moving forward
  • Nigel sees knowledge and innovative moves like milk – you can put it in the fridge, but it still has a shelf life; you can’t just buy it once and expect it to be good for ever
    • It doesn’t mean what we’ve done is wrong, but there might be opportunities to do things in enhanced or different ways
    • Sometimes, we focus on digitizing something we do that we fail to ask if we need to do that thing in the first place
  • How to achieve this is a question of what’s the inside-out view to see what could be done, but that can be limiting
    • You might find something that’s possible to do, but isn’t fit for the market necessarily, where Nigel uses an example of trimming so many questions in an application that the prospect is left questioning whether your price and coverage is actually appropriate for them
  • Nigel shared an experience where he was asked questions during the quote process that were not only burdensome, but he was not positioned to answer them, such as the value of the battery in your EV, the type and age of locks in your home, etc.
    • This information may be necessary for pricing the risk, but is the customer actually positioned answer it correctly, and then are you using this flawed data in your pricing?
    • We end up doubly worse off for the bad customer experience and bad underwriting decisions made from it
  • This is ultimately a question of self-service
    • It’s a great thing that can be a much-preferred, simpler customer experience
    • But self-service can’t mean doing other people’s jobs for them
  • Five years ago, Nigel thought InsurTechs were poised to dramatically disrupt insurance as has been the case in other industries
    • More recently, he thinks there are pockets where there is room for a lot of change (especially in commoditized products)
    • But overall, he sees more room for collaboration or learning from each other and moving the whole space forward
    • Going a step further, with reinsurance capital directly connected to distribution, especially since they don’t have the agent or broker relationships they need to be careful about
    • He thinks about how this all links back to societal changes around car or home ownership, etc., and that is very different in different countries

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This episode is brought to you by The Future of Insurance thought leadership series ( from Bryan Falchuk.

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