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REUTERS EVENTS - 'Beware of the hype' says German regulator BaFin on 'astonishing' insurtech investment

By Reuters

LONDON – The huge sums being invested in insurtech have yet to disrupt the insurance sector in the same way that fintechs have changed banking, Germany’s BaFin markets watchdog said at the Reuters Future of Insurance Europe conference on Friday.

“It’s a little bit astonishing that people are investing so much money,” said Frank Grund, chief executive director, insurance and pension funds supervision at BaFin.

So far insurtech has had no revolutionary impact on the insurance sector but it has brought “agility” to the sector, particularly in upgrading technology as incumbents struggle with ageing IT systems, Grund said.

Global investment in insurtech start-ups totalled $10.5 billion in the first nine months of 2021, a record level for the period, reinsurance broker Willis Re said last week.

Germany has one of the largest insurtech markets in Europe with just seven licensed firms whose total gross written premiums in property and casualty insurance last year were up to 0.02% of the total market, Grund said.

“They are growing, they are improving, but let’s be careful there is no…hype,” Grund said.

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Fintechs have made inroads into banking activities, particularly in payments.

Michael Oberste, chief financial officer at insurtech Getsafe, said he was focusing on keeping customers happy and was “very optimistic” that insurtechs will have an impact in years to come as younger consumers get on board.

“Revolution? No, not yet. Might there be a revolution? Maybe yes,” Oberste said.