George Stagg is Associate Director, Innovation, spearheading AFL’s ground-breaking Incubator division. We pulled him down from the insurtech cloud to ask about his goals for this year, and this is what he said:
“Everyone is aware that there is an Insurtech wave sweeping the industry, but the AFL Incubator isn’t about being trendy, or just firing buzzwords about – it’s about evolution; survival of the fittest and most adaptable. I have five goals for the Incubator in 2018;
1. Build a unique, sustainable, insurance technology environment which truly benefits our startups (SUs), our core business, and the wider insurance market. We want our innovation hub to be an open platform for the business. AFL is already the broker of choice to develop insurance products in the highly specialised field of tech start-ups. It is crucial to make sure there is no disconnect between the SUs and AFL business units. The SUs will be part of AFL and the opportunity for the cross pollination of ideas within this environment is huge.
2. Bring the right SUs on board! We are not a Startupbootcamp, a Y Combinator, a Plug and Play. We will not be dealing will large cohorts, fleeting acceleration programmes and well-publicised demo days. This will be a targeted, specific incubator which will only help those we feel we can really add value to. Of course we are open to all ideas, but I believe 2018 will only cater for the lucky and tenacious few.
3. Differentiate ourselves from the competition and diversify our offering. We are building something insurance specific from the point of view of an Agent, which is where many insurtech SUs begin. We are established, we are highly skilled and knowledgeable, and we maintain a powerful distribution network through our partners in the Worldwide Broker Network. Agents are crucial in the insurance supply chain, yet very few have committed to innovation and an in-house incubator unit as we have in Lloyd’s Avenue. With partnership being one of the key 2017 takeaways for insurtech, we have embraced this and are here to help.
4. No empty words. Actions speak louder than words, and while I’m aware I am talking right now (the irony is not lost on me), we are backing up everything we say with concrete actions. And we are one of the only independents putting their money where their mouth is to actively support technology and insurtech – and this even includes expanding our office to offer space for SUs to work. We are actually creating something tangible and progressive, so we perfectly justified in shouting about that in my book!
5. Embed ‘innovation’ into the way we do business. The Incubator isn’t just about insurtech, it’s about general tech, idea sharing in our team, and innovation as a key performance indicator for AFL. We are transforming the way we approach being an independent international intermediary, and our different mindset is complemented and enhanced by the 24/7 exposure to the incubator unit. AFL stands alongside all entrepreneurs – in-house or SUs – who are committed to shaping the future of our industry.”