Germán Montoya
Chief Exponential Officer
Rokk3r Labs

Data Availability, Understanding New Business Models

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 17:19

The enormous amount of available information is changing the way different industries behave. The insurance sector is no exception, says Germán Montoya, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer of Rokk3r Labs, who touts insurance technologies, or InsurTech, as a key disruptor. “InsurTech and general healthcare are changing mostly because of the amount of new data points available.”
Rokk3r Labs, a business accelerator that supports companies developing innovative and high-technology solutions through a risk-mitigating approach, is betting on healthcare because of the opportunities that technology offers to disrupt the sector for the better. “Disruption in healthcare is coming in a million ways. Everything is changing, from telemedicine to surgery, genetic research and DNA management,” says Montoya. However, unlike previous changes that focused mainly on disease discovery and new reactive treatments, Montoya says the industry’s transformation extends to the way the sector is understood. “The whole industry is being rethought, even philosophically, from a palliative and reactive perspective to prevention.”
This change opens the door for the implementation of new business solutions based on technology and data availability with a preventive focus. “In the past, we could only get data regarding the physical state of a person when they were sick. Today, wearables can generate data on how people live before getting sick.” Data availability has been key in creating a movement that places prevention and predictability front and center. “The arrival of Big Data tools, AI and blockchain, among others, helps us to collect and analyze more reliable data to predict and prevent disasters.”
Montoya says technology also translates to better care for patients and savings for companies. “Patients can now keep track of daily activities, such as sleep or exercise, to prevent diseases. Moreover, blockchain applications could allow for availability of patients’ medical records, making them easily accessible at any moment.” Regarding companies, Montoya says it is easier and less costly to prevent a sickness rather than treating it, especially chronic degenerative conditions that are linked to a person’s lifestyle.
Even though technology and data use have permeated many dimensions of healthcare, Rokk3r Labs sees significant opportunities in the insurance arena, particularly in the implementation of InsurTech. “In general, Latin American countries have very low insurance penetration rates. Life insurance penetration in the region does not even reach 2 percent of the population. Chile has the highest rate at 4.8 percent,” says Montoya. Among the industry barriers he has identified for the industry is the lack of understanding of insurance products and the way the business model has developed. “People tend to see insurance as an additional expense rather than as an investment.” Still, Montoya is convinced the InsurTech industry has significant potential in the Mexican and Latin American market and Rokk3r Labs is making sure it can participate in the industry’s boom. The company has already invested in another player with a portfolio of 18 InsurTech startups as clients. “We are now focusing on how to grow these companies. The idea is to start in Mexico offering life and healthcare insurance and then work our way through the rest of the countries.”
Although Rokk3r Labs has the capital and expertise to help technology-based companies to grow, Montoya says if these companies wish to be successful in the healthcare industry they must comply with three main elements: an attractive value proposition, a feasible project and a team that can deliver. Particularly in the healthcare sector, Montoya says technology players must consider a long-term approach. “Unlike other industries, healthcare requires significant funding to perfect solutions before releasing them to the market.”
Rokk3r Labs is focusing on InsurTech but there are many areas of the sector that are ready for disruption, such as telemedicine and the way the industry is managed, according to Montoya. “There are many opportunities around efficiency that are important and that could help in terms of price and access to healthcare.” An example of this opportunity lies in the 40 to 50 million people who do not have access to healthcare. “The opportunity to provide efficiencies for these people is huge. We just need to have the right partners to build on those opportunities,” he says.