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SA insurtech alive and kicking

15 May 2019 Steve Symes, founder at Genasys Technologies

Following the establishment of offices in the UK, South African-based Insurance Technology company Genasys Technologies says South Africa’s insurtech sector is certainly no slouch.

While the South African insurance industry often views international technology companies as the leaders in the field, South Africa has some of the best financial technology solutions in the world, especially when it comes to insurtech technology, says Genasys Technologies founder Steve Symes.

The company decided to venture into the UK market as it has been providing UK insurers with South African-built insurance technology solutions since 2005. “We identified an increased demand in the UK for the kind of insurance technology solutions we have been supplying to South African insurers for the past two decades. In 2018, we decided it was time for a fully operational UK office, which operates as a separate unit to our main South African branch.

“While abroad, we found that we were able to offer many solutions that the international legacy technology providers weren’t providing their clients,” Symes says. “This includes online product configuration tool and zero-code configuration technologies, which enable us to build and release products through core applications and third-party digital platforms almost immediately,” he explains. “The key aim of these technologies is adaptability and being able to deploy quickly,” Symes adds.

“We quickly realised that the entrenched global legacy technology providers weren’t offering their UK clients agile solutions that can be built and released to market within a very short space of time. There are high levels of frustration as insurance providers are effectively being limited in their ability to adapt to market opportunities by their systems,” says Symes.

Symes says the venture into the UK market has served Genasys Technologies well with international experience and some broader perspective of the international insurance industry but stresses that the company stays committed to the South African insurance industry, where its roots lie.

Same but different

“The UK insurance industry is very similar to the South Africa industry in some ways, but there are distinct differences,” says Symes. “In South Africa, a handful of large players dominate the market, whereas in the UK hundreds of insurers offer products much simpler than ours” he explains. “There is a UMA for almost every insurable item, which increases competition and levels the playing field,” Symes says. There is also pervasive outsourcing of specialised services, and we can learn from the UK industry in this regard.

“The outsourcing of services has led to a proliferation of insurtech startups that specialise in everything from real-time GPS claims analysis, AI pricing techniques, to amazing user journeys, essentially making insurance quite cool,” Symes says. These third-party services all require integration to the core policy administration system (PAS) via application programming interfaces (APIs) to streamline these integrations, which is where Genasys stepped in.

“We’re very happy with the successful launch of Genasys Technologies to the UK insurance sector, taking both our own and other SA partner products into the UK, but I’m equally excited to bring our international experiences and insurtech to our South African clients,” Symes says. “This is, after all, the home of Genasys Technologies.”

 

 

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