INTERVIEW

How to avoid legacy thinking

“If  incumbents do not adapt in a timely manner it might be a source of disruption

Andreas Nemeth, Chief Executive Officer at Uniqa Ventures

In this exclusive interview with Insurance Innovators, Andreas Nemeth discusses the necessity for incumbents to adapt to changing customer behaviour, the biggest inhibitor of innovation in the insurance industry and how insurers can break away from the trap of legacy thinking.

What is Uniqa Venture’s core purpose and what has it achieved so far?

A.N. UNIQA Ventures GmbH is the venture capital arm of UNIQA Insurance Group AG, a leading insurance group in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Our investment focus is on HealthTeach, Mobility, Smart home and FinTech/InsurTech as well as relevant enabling technologies (i.e. ioT, big data, advanced analytics, blockchain, etc.). In the course of the last 12 month we had a successful exit and recently have announced another 50m FinTech Fund together with Speedinvest and Raiffeisen Bank International AG.

What do you think is the single biggest inhibitor of innovation in the industry right now?

A.N. IT legacy in combination with an industry’s culture of “we can do it ourselves, we don’t need to partner”.

How can insurers most effectively break away from the trap of legacy thinking?

A.N. It’s extremely expensive and time consuming to change the culture and dominant logic. I would suggest to set up new “greenfield” units to drive “new business” opportunities that are clearly separated from the “traditional” organisation.

What developments do you anticipate will most significantly disrupt insurance in the next 5 years?

A.N. I see a slow but steady change in customer behaviour driven by demographic change and a change in customer lifestyle that ultimately will lead to more alienation between insurance customers and insurance carriers. If the incumbents do not adapt in a timely manner that might be a source of disruption.

What does Uniqa Ventures look for in an insurtech when considering investment?

A.N. At UNIQA Ventures we invest in outstanding business models driven by strong teams and a clear vision to shape the future of key industries. Our sweet spot is later seed / early growth stage. Initial investment size is usually between 500k – 2m tickets.

Which of the investments made by Uniqa Ventures are you currently most excited about?

A.N. We have wonderful start-ups in our portfolio. The recent 10m Series A round in Fincompare, the lead in SME financing in Germany, a start-up we invested in at seed stage only 12 month ago, definitely was one of our 2018 highlights.