Encouraging innovative talent
Innovation as one of the main pillars of the insurance business
The first ever insurance contract was signed in Genoa in 1347, although the origin of what we now know as assurance came about many years before, given that both the Greeks and the Romans engaged in practices to mutualize risks, which means it can be claimed that insurance has accompanied humanity since its very beginnings.
These days the concept of “innovation” is very fashionable, which is also linked to the digitalization of society in a connected world. Yet innovation is as much linked to the origins of humanity as is the concept of insurance itself. Fire, the wheel and more recently the steam engine and the internet are nothing other than innovations that have allowed society to move forward and develop at each point in its history.
In the future we will doubtless see a robot coming out to our homes to replace a broken window, but as of today, despite the whole digitalization process, when the glass in a window breaks, it’s the insurance company that sends someone to replace it in the shortest time possible.
Does that imply that insurance companies are on the fringes of the connected world? Quite the opposite, they are at the forefront where they have always been, supporting their customers and protecting their risks, back then in Genoa insuring commercial sea expeditions and these days, for example, covering the risk of launching a rocket into space.
What has changed is the relationship model: customers are looking for more open relationships relying on increased levels of trust, permitting processes to be as simplified as possible and, without doubt, based on the benefits of technology
For some time now, insurance companies have been assessing damage remotely. Innovation in insurance has also allowed for victims of an accident to be handled more efficiently and we are moving towards a connected vehicle that will “speak” to its insurer independently to request a service or to manage a policy. We are progressing to telemedicine through which the home becomes the most efficient hospital for dealing with many medical matters, etc. It’s a world in which insurance is rewriting itself together with the society it wishes to continue serving and for which it is, and will continue to be, prepared for the changes that arise no matter what they may be. This is one of the secrets that have enabled this industry to survive over so many centuries.
But the advances that society is constantly in need of happen with greater intensity if they are encouraged. This is the objective of the Fundación MAPFRE Social Innovation Awards: to encourage solutions and initiatives for many of these needs to achieve advances that allow the quality of people’s lives to be improved and thus fulfill the main objective of the Foundation.
About the author:
Mercedes Sanz is an Industrial Engineer Specialist in Mechanics and Intensification in Construction from the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and has developed all her professional activity at MAPFRE where she joined in 1984. She is currently Director of the Insurance and Social Security Area Social of FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE, an entity that has, among others, the objective of promoting and disseminating the knowledge and culture of insurance and social welfare.