Last month, Lawrence Harvey sponsored the LMForum’s Technology and Innovation summit. Hosted in the historic City of London Club and attended by a number of people at the forefront of driving change and technology within the Lloyd’s of London market this was an event not to be missed. I was fortunate enough to be invited to sit on the panel of experts talking about my specialist subject, talent acquisition within the sector.

It was a really interesting forum and I assume, like me, attendees came away with a much greater understanding and appreciation of the challenges and opportunities for technology and change in this space.

Here are my key learns from the afternoon.

Technology

The applications for new technologies within insurance is huge. Truth be told, I had no idea just how many fascinating and innovative applications there could be. My personal perception of insurance has always been that, when it comes to technology, decisions are often made reactively and are frequently driven by regulatory demand than out of any real desire to innovate.

“Drone insurance” wasn’t a phrase I thought I’d hear 5 years ago. But now, it’s a reality, with companies pioneering “pay per flight” insurance allowing customers to insure on the go, rather than get locked into a long-term contract which assumes that they are flying their drone continuously. Could this be the future for other insurance products?

You can read more on David Clamp’s thoughts here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wow-how-david-clamp/

Innovation

If you go back a few years, several major companies were setting up ‘Innovation Shops’ in garages in Shoreditch to trial new ideas outside the more regulated corridors of their head offices. Fast forward a few years, and at the LMForum’s event we heard about a brilliant case study of one of the largest London market Syndicates setting up their own Innovation Lab to trial and pursue new ideas.

The idea of inviting in companies from all over the world to come and present their ideas around technology application is certainly a novel idea, and one that would have previously been shunned in its entirety by any Lloyd’s business. But, this is exactly what Paul Willoughby at Beazley has done. Paul and his team scour the globe for new ideas relating to how Beazley can compete in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market. As far as yardsticks go, this a pretty good measure of how far the market has come.

In an age where innovations such as Blockchain, Big Data, drones and Artificial Intelligence are becoming more and more commonplace, it is great to see that London market companies are taking steps to ensure they remain relevant.

Talent

The event concluded with a hosted panel discussion (including me) talking around Talent acquisition within the London market, both attracting and retaining the human capital needed to drive Technological change. In a market which has historically been resistant to risking the addition of new blood, one of the key talking points at present is how willing London market companies are to hire staff without prior knowledge of the domain.

This was a fiercely contested point by the audience, many of whom openly stated that in many cases they were more willing to look at candidates from other industries when hiring to drive technology change within their businesses. Could this signal the beginning of a significant change in the hiring strategy for London market companies?

I wrote a piece recently on Talent Acquisition in the London market (you can read it here) and went into the LMForums summit armed with pre-conceived ideas about what hiring managers within the London markets expected from candidate shortlists. Based on the debate created by the panel discussion around the deliberate tightening of candidate pools, I’m happy to say, there is certainly more open-mindedness within the market around freshening things up.

This was a brilliant and insightful afternoon. Several worries I have had in recent months, around both innovation and talent acquisition, have been alleviated. I am certainly looking forward to seeing these ideas become a more and more commonplace reality in the coming years.