Why the insurance industry needs a new conference
with Prof. Dr. Christian Glasmacher, Member of the Management Board of Koelnmesse,
and Sebastian Pitzler, Managing Director InsurLab Germany e.V.
The premiere of insureNXT|CGN CGN, the new international congress fair for innovation in the insurance industry, will take place on 21 and 22 April 2020. Why does the insurance industry need a new event?
Sebastian Pitzler: The insurance industry is facing its biggest challenge to date, both nationally and internationally The demands of customers are changing, new competitors are entering the markets and the increasing digitalisation of different industrial and life sectors represents both an opportunity and a challenging task. Germany lacks an event that covers all facets of our industry as well as the increasing influence of modern technologies, innovative start-ups and the influence of new cooperation and business models in digital ecosystems. With insureNXT|CGN, we want to take a holistic view of the innovation and digitization of the insurance industry and offer a platform for actively shaping change in the international insurance industry.
Christian Glasmacher: The analysis of existing offerings has shown that there are a number of events that already cover sub-areas of the insurance industry. At the same time, however, there is a need on the part of the industry to take a more holistic view of development. So don’t just focus on start-ups or IT or sales. Because insureNXT|CGN CGN, as the new congress trade fair, wants to deliver this comprehensive approach for the insurance industry, we are challenged to implement it in the conference programme, in the formats, in the Expo and in the entire organisation of the event. If the insureNXT|CGN is to be a platform for the industry to develop a new generation of products, services and business models, we as organizers must be at least as customer-centric.
We have been working intensively on this together with InsurLab for months now, so that Cologne will also become a hotspot for the international insurance and InsurTech scene in the future.
insureNXT|CGN is organized jointly by Koelnmesse and InsurLab Germany. Can you briefly introduce both companies?
Sebastian Pitzler: InsurLab Germany e.V. has been based in Cologne since 2017 and is one of a total of 12 digital hubs of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi). We are a joint initiative of business, science and public institutions to strengthen Germany as an insurance location. We are committed to the digitalization of the insurance industry in Germany and form one of the leading InsurTech competence locations. As the conceptual sponsor and co-organizer of insureNXT|CGN|CGN, InsurLab Germany brings its broad network of start-ups, leading technology and service providers, scientific representatives and experts from the German insurance industry to the congress fair.
Christian Glasmacher: Koelnmesse is already the No. 1 trade fair location for 25 branches of industry. Every year we organise around 80 trade fairs and 2,000 congresses, including well-known digital events such as gamescom or DMEXCO, as well as leading global trade fairs such as Anuga. Our location in the middle of Europe has excellent transport connections and our exhibition grounds not only offer a lot of space, but also individual possibilities for staging. For example, insureNXT|CGN will take place at the Congress Center Nord. There we have modern digital signage facilities, a light-flooded boulevard and rooms of every size and for every purpose. Every year, around 50,000 exhibitors from 123 countries and around 3 million visitors from 209 countries come to Koelnmesse. We are very pleased that these will include decision-makers from the insurance industry in the future.
Who are the persons responsible for insureNXT|CGN on both sides?
Sebastian Pitzler: On behalf of InsurLab Germany, our entire team is working on the new event. I myself am operationally responsible as managing director. In addition, we receive broad support from the members of our association’s board of directors as well as advisory boards, which are available to us with their excellent industry expertise and a broad network of industry contacts.
Christian Glasmacher: And at Koelnmesse, Nicole Endewardt is responsible and in charge of insurNXT as Director. She is supported by a team for marketing, sales and the organisation of the congress fair. As a member of the management board, I myself intensively accompanied the first steps of insureNXT|CGN and also worked on the concept.
Why are you two the right cooperation partners to set up a congress trade fair like insureNXT|CGN?
Sebastian Pitzler: We complement each other perfectly through our different competencies and strengths: InsurLab Germany contributes its industry expertise and an established national and international network of insurance companies, leading service providers, scientists and start-ups. We are increasingly taking care of the contents of insureNXT|CGN…
Christian Glasmacher: …and Koelnmesse not only offers the perfect infrastructure for a congress trade fair in the heart of Europe, but also many years of digital expertise. With gamescom and DMEXCO, we have been the hotspot for gamers, digital marketers and innovators in Cologne for years. We know what users expect in an increasingly digital world and how their behaviour is changing. In my opinion, this makes us the optimal event partner for the insurance industry, which is still facing the digital transformation on a large scale.
Apropos digital transformation, what challenges does the insurance industry in Germany, but also worldwide currently have to face?
Sebastian Pitzler: Over the past weeks and months, we have held many intensive discussions with experts from our industry in order to hear where the shoe pinches, and three areas have clearly emerged from the discussions:
- Customer centricity: customer behaviour changes, demands rise, needs change. New technologies and the experiences of people in other industries play a major role.
- Technological development: The smartphone as control center, sensors and the Internet of Things as well as artificial intelligence. New technologies are creating new opportunities to adapt products and services more closely to people’s behavior and to better meet their needs. In some cases, completely new security needs and possibilities arise, such as in the area of cyber criminality or smart home.
- Ecosystems: In the areas of health, mobility or, for example, smart homes, there will be increased cooperation between different industries in the future: Insurance industry, manufacturer, telecommunications provider. New ecosystems for new services will emerge. The customer takes centre stage, ecosystem partners develop holistic offers and open up new market potentials.
What distinguishes insureNXT|CGN from other trade fairs in the insurance industry – such as the DIA or the DKM?
Christian Glasmacher: The insureNXT|CGN is all about “innovation in insurance”. We offer a platform and a holistic approach to develop a new generation of business models for the insurance industry. Other existing offerings often only focus on individual aspects of the market, e.g. on startups or on sales. Together with strong partners, we want to create a more comprehensive offering that focuses on innovation and the digitization of the entire value chain of the insurance industry – from startups to technology and sales to cross-industry partners.
You also say that the time has come to rethink the term “insurance”. Why?
Sebastian Pitzler: Insurance can be so much more than just a cost reimburser who pays as quickly and easily as possible. We want to develop our industry into an active lifelong companion that understands its customers better and better and focuses on them. And therefore not only helps in case of damage, but even better avoids the occurrence of damage and inconvenience through preventive services. With the insureNXT|CGN, we want to offer a platform to advance this development. Our mission is: What’s next? insureNXT|CGN!
Who should come to insureNXT|CGN as a visitor?
Christian Glasmacher: With insureNXT|CGN, we are addressing national and international executives, decision-makers and topic-specific experts from the insurance industry as well as innovators from related industries. But also students and graduates, for whom we offer special offers for career and professional development in the program. We have designed a programme that offers tailor-made networking, inspiration and deepening opportunities for the various personas, from board members to brokers and actuaries.
What will be the central topics of insureNXT|CGN in 2020? What formats and content will the congress offer?
Sebastian Pitzler: In numbers: The insureNXT|CGN will offer over 50 hours of program in 2020 with about 100 speakers. We will go into some ecosystems in depth in terms of content: In 2020, for example, these are the areas Smart Home, Health/Life and Mobility. In addition, there are important technological developments that we will examine more closely: the Internet of Things (especially in industry) and Artificial Intelligence..
We ask the question what these developments mean for a customer-oriented offer. And derive the business models and products of the next generation from the answers. For example, offers that are more strongly based on people’s behaviour, i.e. usage-based insurance.
In addition, all aspects that are necessary to drive change and transformation in the insurance companies themselves will be highlighted. Hereby, HR and employee development play an important role.
And last but not least: Sustainability will also play an important role, as it is increasingly becoming an issue in our industry.
How many stages will there be at insureNXT|CGN? And who will be among the top speakers?
Christian Glasmacher: We will dress the wide range of contents in very different formats. There will be three stages: A large center stage for keynotes, panels and other highlights. A Trend Zone for pitches and the deepening of topics as well as a Demo Arena for project and product presentations. We will also be offering Work Labs and have the opportunity to show Use Cases at the Expo Area.
The wide range of content, we will dress in quite different formats: In classic keynotes and panels as well as in short startup pitches. There will be workshops and an Expo Area for knowledge transfer. But also more exclusive formats in a smaller circle like the Captain’s Dinner and the C-Level Lunch. It will be a varied mix that offers something for everyone
Which exhibitor clientele do you want to win for insureNXT|CGN?
Christian Glasmacher: We are a platform for all players in the ecosystem. This is why we address national and international exhibitors from the insurance industry, technology companies, service providers and service partners of the insurance industry as well as institutions from science and research. And of course also start-ups that are helping to shape the future of the industry.
And how many exhibitors and visitors do you expect to attend the premiere of insureNXT|CGN on 21 and 22 April 2020?
Christian Glasmacher: Our goal is to welcome 600 or more participants to the premiere of insureNXT|CGN – including more than 50 exhibitors and sponsors.