VivaTech 2023: Reflections on the future of technology and insurance

You are here

During 14-17 June 2023, Europe’s largest technology showcase – VivaTech – hosted more than 150,000 visitors and 450 speakers from 174 countries in Paris, France. VivaTech accelerates innovation by connecting startups, tech leaders, major corporations and investors who are using technology to respond to our world’s biggest challenges. Speaking at VivaTech, French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced his country’s bold plans and investments in positive-impact startups (nearly €6 billion) and artificial intelligence (€500 million), respectively.

For the second year running, Viva Technology and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) organized the AfricaTech Awards, a pan-African initiative aimed at recognizing and supporting the most innovative startups in the Climate Tech, Health Tech and Fintech industries based in or working with the African continent. The winning startups were: Kubik for Climate Tech, Curacel for Health Tech, and Waspito in the Fintech category.

Another highlight of VivaTech 2023 was an engaging panel discussion on the future of insurance, specifically focusing on the role of technology in insurance (insurtech). The session was moderated by Aymen Mtimet, Partner and Strategy & Innovation Leader for Deloitte Afrique Francophone. The panelists who brought the theme to life tackled various dimensions of insurance and insurtech in agriculture and other sectors in Africa. The panelists were Fatou Assah (Manager, GIIF), Henry Mascot (Co-Founder and CEO, Curacel) and Shehzad Lokhanwalla (Chief Technology Officer, Oko Finance).

The dimensions included the landscape of insurance and insurtech in Africa, the impact of technology and AI for a better insurance industry and regulation for microinsurance in the rural areas.

“We at IFC are investing in mapping insurtech investment opportunities, running insurtech challenges to identify innovative startups, and working with regulators to support the development and scaling of insurtech. We have worked on an initiative to support the development of regulatory sandboxes in Africa including Bima Labs – which has helped Kenya to become an insurtech leader through ensuring the regulator is up to date on insurtech trends,” said Fatou Assah.

Highlighting the role of technology in enhancing data quality, Shehzad Lokhanwalla said: “We use satellite and field data on the weather patterns, combined with interviews with farmers on weather conditions on their farms. Our challenge is that the farmer data may not always be accurate, but technology is helping us to generate better quality data.”

Embedded AI is helping to streamline the insurance value chain, creating more seamless engagements between insurers and clients. “At Curacel, we are using AI to enable large insurers to process claims at a fraction of the time they used to take. We also use AI in generating models that can help insurers adequately price their products, therefore making underwriting more efficient,” said Henry Mascot.

Some of the key takeaways were:
• Insurance education can stimulate the growth of the microinsurance customer base in Africa
• AI will continue to help increase insurance uptake by reducing costs in enrollment, speeding claims’ processing and restoring consumer trust in insurance
• There is increasing investor interest in African insurtechs because of early success stories
• Governments can create a favorable business environment for microinsurers by regularizing the tax regime for insurers and consumers
• Insurtech expertise in Africa will continue to grow and attract collaborations with major insurers for technology solutions
• The future of insurance and insurtech in Africa is bright with great momentum to close the protection gap

At VivaTech business meets innovation. It was only fitting that IFC and GIIF were part of this high-energy convening in disruptive tech innovation, technology breakthroughs and avant-garde entrepreneurs to contribute to shaping the future of insurtech in Africa.

Photo Credit by the Global Index Insurance Facility