Top Tips for a Successful InsurTech Proof of Concept

Top Tips for a Successful InsurTech Proof of Concept

23-May-2017 by Chris Smith

5 tips for a successful InsurTech startup proof of concept from PwC’s Chris Smith [Tweet this]

As part of my secondment here at Startupbootcamp InsurTech I have been working with insurers and startups to help them improve the way they work together.  Specifically, I focused on running proof of concepts – it was fascinating to hear the experiences of insurers and startups and also clear that many of the struggles they had faced when partnering previously could easily be overcome.

Working with colleagues at PwC and the insurers and startups themselves we put together a range of advice and materials to help facilitate proof of concepts as well as some general top tips (those below are aimed at startups – top tips for insurers can be found here) that I will share with you now.

But before I do…

What’s in it for Startups?

  • You are able to validate assumptions by working with live/real data
  • You are able to begin to quantify the potential impact your product could have for a business
  • You will gain valuable feedback and learning to further refine your product and offering
  • If you impress then it can be the start of a fruitful relationship

TopTips for startups

  • Understand the difference in cultures – I often liken InsurTech startups to speed boats and insurers to oil tankers. They are fundamentally different beasts. Be aware of this, don’t expect the insurers to respond as you would. Be prepared to have to manage a range of sakeholders and for things to take longer than you would like. Be patient, stick to your guns and just be conscious of the pressures and goals of the people you are dealing with.
  • Understand what you want from it – before you embark on the proof of concept, be clear about what you want from it. Is it to test a particular assumption, to enable you to refine your product or ultimately to drive a sale? If you know what you want from the start you are more likely to get it!
  • Be clear what you need from the insurer for it to be a success – you have limited time and resource so make sure the insurer pulls their weight and provides you with everything you need to succeed, whatever that may be. They will want the PoC to be a success too so it is beneficial for everyone if you’re open about what you need.
  • Agree scope, success and next steps – one of the most common causes of PoC failure is that things are not agreed upfront. Make sure they are. Know who is responsible for what, what needs to be delivered and when. Importantly define what success looks like so that everyone is clear about what is trying to be achieved and then try to make sure that there is some agreement on what the next steps will be if you are successful.
  • Build the relationship – regardless of the outcome of the PoC, make sure to build some strong relationships. You never know when they might come in handy in the future!


Chris works in PwC's Financial Services consulting practice, where his focus is on insurance and specifically InsurTech. He sits in the Customer and Digital team where he has built experience in customer strategy, customer experience and data analytics. Recently, he was part of a PwC team supporting an asset wealth manager to create their own robo-advisory proposition.