Krista Griggs is the head of financial services and insurance at Fujitsu, She is passionate about creating a better and more sustainable future through the use of technology and the collective expertise of her team. She was also the winner of the Transformation Leader of the Year Award in the Women in Tech Excellence Awards 2021. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her in insurtech.
Q: Tell us about your role in insurtech - what does it involve - and how did you get there?
I lead a team of domain experts and account leaders. Within Fujitsu, we form the conduit between trends in the insurance market, our customer’s needs, and develop the services that can address those. I’m responsible for overseeing how technology-driven innovation will disrupt the insurance market, and how we can help our customers stay ahead of this wave of change.
Unlike many of my peers, I come from a technical background, rather than a sales background. That reflects how the insurance businesses are increasingly becoming technology businesses. Customers are no longer looking for standard technology services. They need to know that we understand both their business and their technical challenges and that we can help them to be successful in delivering their business outcomes.
Q: What attracted you to insurance - and the sector you are currently in?
I’m really passionate about how technology can be leveraged to deliver better experiences for all the people involved in the business. I believe insurance is about to hit the major disruption that challenger banks brought to financial services 10 years ago. This provides the potential to turn the industry into one that helps its customers protect their businesses, their personal belongings, and their lives. I’m personally really excited to be part of making that happen.
Q: You were a finalist in the Women in Tech Excellence Awards: Transformation Leader category, 2021 and you also co-chair the Fujitsu UK Women's Business Network. What's the secret to your success, and what advice would you offer young people considering entering a career in insurtech?
In recent years, I’ve really connected with my personal passions and beliefs. And as a result, I’ve developed a personal and authentic leadership style. I look at people’s individual strengths to deliver better outcomes for our customers and our business. This has resulted in a strong team committed to delivering their best every day. My recent successes are as much theirs as they are mine. So for young people entering a career in InsurTech, I would say be true to yourself, be confident in your strengths, and bring the best of who you are every day.
Q: If you weren’t in insurtech, what industry would you have chosen to work in, and why?
In my career, I’ve worked across many different industries, which has given me a broad set of perspectives and experiences. What’s interesting now is how the move to digital customer services is affecting all industries. Insurance really touches on many areas – from health and manufacturing to transport and space exploration. It’s a very dynamic industry with huge potential to deliver value to society.
Q: Is diversity a problem in the insurtech space - and if so, what should we be doing about it?
Like many industries, diversity is a problem that needs addressing. Having said that, organisations, specifically in insurance, have been finding ways to address this. For instance, 30% of insurance companies in the FTSE 350 Index have women on their executive committees, up 10% from 2020. What’s more, we’re seeing organisations, such as OBE, publish their ethnicity bonus report (an act that isn’t mandatory). Often, this is an organisation’s way of holding themselves to account so they prioritise and commit to improvement – we took a similar approach by publishing our Gender Pay Gap well before it became a legal requirement for large organisations.
It’s important all insurers focus on diversity. Increasing diversity will bring new thoughts and perspectives to an industry that is drastically set to innovate and evolve. New skills will need to augment the immense expertise required to work in the industry. Finding the right balance to hear everyone’s voices will be key to navigating this revolution that is already affecting the industry.
Q: How do you see the insurtech space developing over the next five years, with particular reference to your specialty?
I believe the Insurance industry is about to change drastically. Historically the customer touchpoints have been limited to placement, claims, and settlement. A combination of the move to digital customer experiences and various innovative technologies maturing has brought us to a point of mainstream change.
We’re now seeing a wave of technologies come to the fore. Firstly, the growth of 5G and IoT will enable the availability of near-real-time data to augment the ongoing risk assessments to feed prediction and prevention. We’re likely to see an increased use of Earth Observability and drone imagery, expanding the data available to insurers that helps them deliver improved insights, both on individual risks and across portfolios.
There will also be a democratisation of identity data, like digital identities. Digital identity solutions allow us to manage data in a secure way and protect the privacy of client data thus increasing trust. We are already seeing many insurers collaborating to use these innovations to experiment and deliver new services. For example, data trusts offer a structure whereby data is placed under the control of a board of trustees with a responsibility to look after the data and who it impacts. The next five years will see these experiments grow into mainstream services. The industry is set to change from a protected model to a predict and prevent model, with an Insurance-as-a-Service mindset.
Finally, there’s much, much greater demand for digital customer experience. It will drive legacy modernisation and the uptake of cloud technologies. And if insurance is set to make the most of “Composable Platforms” – a platform designed for the expectation that they will be integrated with other products. Insurers looking to innovate and improve the consumer experience will almost definitely be looking to use these technologies.
Q: What inspires you in insurtech today?
I love the innovation that is happening, and the re-imagining of what the purpose of insurers really is – to protect our customers. This focus on the customer and how we can deliver better experiences is what I find most inspiring.