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Innovation: Laying the road ahead!

Jan 12, 2021

Rather than crystal gaze early in the year, I opted for some wishful thinking. That a favourite innovation continues to stay on the top – made it 50% easier – since I was seeking for two. Allow me to begin with this moving story of a young cancer patient, in the UK, whose last wish was to swim with dolphins. The parents were equally determined. Not only InsureCancer underwrote her travel but also did whatever they could in ensuring the dream came true.

Numero Uno

So who is this unique provider? The website is crisp and comes straight to the point: “InsureCancer specialises in providing travel insurance to those with advanced cancer and we routinely provide cover for those with active, metastatic, relapsed or terminal cancer. We are also able to provide travel insurance to patients participating in cancer drug trials. Our sole purpose is providing specialist cover to those affected by cancer. Our policies are therefore specially designed for those living with cancer and provide full cover for the cancer diagnosis. Each case is individually underwritten and with specialist knowledge of the treatment and management of cancer, we are ready to consider individuals undergoing treatment such as chemo or radiotherapy. A key requirement is that holiday makers should be clinically stable and be travelling with the consent of their attending specialist Consultant”.

InsureCancer specialises in providing travel insurance to those with advanced cancer and we routinely provide cover for those with active, metastatic, relapsed or terminal cancer.

The Queen bestowed the country’s highest corporate honour The Queen’s Award for Enterprise on InsureCancer and Medi TravelCover Ltd. in recognition of: Pioneering insurance underwriting innovation for those affected by cancer. You get a sense of the intense emotional energy that goes into underwriting this class of business when you sit down for a conversation with Dr. Krish Shastri. Each story he shares is, amongst other things, a remarkable case study in empathy.

InsureCancer was founded in 2004, well ahead of Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning becoming synonymous with innovation! So innovation is not just about tech. It is about human ingenuity. InsureCancer is an insurance solution provider that deploys science to further quality of life for a growing segment of the population.

If InsureCancer tops my list of insurance innovations till date, VaccineGuard is my ‘means to an end’ candidate for the future. Unlike Dr. Shastri who persevered and earned a doctorate in Oncology as his offering blossomed, David Piesse is a techie who continues to dabble with frontiers of tech. He also brings the unique applications to insurance and risk management. The specialisations range from Cyber Risk, ERM, Blockchain, AI to Disruptive technologies. Borrowing from Ted Levitt, David is gifted not only with ‘creativity in the idea-creating sense but putting ideas to work’. Hence my wishful expectations from him not just in terms of what he has delivered on the back of tech to the industry but what he can! This is not about AI/ML, which continue to hog limelight in terms of accelerated analysis, pattern recognition and predictive analytics. It is about a longitudinal application of VaccineGuard thereby consolidating the diverse fragments of insurance practice into a unified body. Not only would that make the industry more inclusive but more influential. But first things first!

Beyond VaccineGuard: Unbundle & re-bundle! 

VaccineGuard is a digital platform that provides end to end attestation and verification of data and actions across the many systems involved in vaccination delivery. The overall goal of the product is to enable travel both within and across national borders and reduce restrictions to social interactions. In order to successfully deploy the Covid vaccination program and equip citizens with trustworthy Certificates, authorities overseeing, and companies involved in the vaccine distribution and administration need trusted and real time situational information and assurance about: 1. The creation of each Vaccine Certificate for an identifiable person, 2. The authenticity of vaccines being used, 3. That Vaccine Certificates are being based on authentic vaccines, 4. Progress to target vaccination goals, 5. Possible Overuse of authentic vaccines for counterfeit Certificates. VaccineGuard delivers these goals via a set of functional components to help different actors throughout the value chain as all of them benefit from the same distributed data management platform. These components empower each other significantly when working together, but each module is also valuable independently. All in all a dedicated digital “trust framework”, howsoever elementary for what I am proposing. A handy and transformative tool for insurers. Needless to mention the efficiencies and momentum that it brings to globalisation.

Be it prevention, wellness or cure – response to these calls for a paradigm shift like never before. Status quo will only lead to a dead-end. Innovation may not always mean tech. Yet, tech can take as far as imagination can.

My wish list starts with ‘horizontalising’ the life-science segment – commencing with say clinical trials, bio-pharma liability, thereafter, stretching and bundling it with healthcare, travel, medical malpractice liability and other possible components. All the related ‘unbundled’ components that evolved per se – be bundled? Can this process then cross-over to the life side and dismantle the barrier (non-life versus life) to recreate a ‘composite’? With the Planet under a dual siege – climate crisis and not last of the pandemics – human well-being has never been under such a threat. Be it prevention, wellness or cure – response to these calls for a paradigm shift like never before. Status quo will only lead to a dead-end. Innovation may not always mean tech. Yet, tech can take as far as imagination can. If only the likes of VaccineGuard bridge the gaps, cover the sweep and deliver the dream by disrupting the business as usual?

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