"I am sure that the insurance industry will also recognize the advantage of specialized suppliers like ELEMENT."
Magnus and Christian have a lot in common: Both are from Pforzheim, both have a passion for startups. Both have their hearts set on digital health products - and both are committed to the potential of digitization in the insurance industry. Christian spoke with Magnus about his role at ELEMENT and his vision.
MAGNUS: You are the CEO of ELEMENT. The young technology company is the first and only one with a licence from BaFin, which enables it to be a primary insurer for property and casualty insurance. What makes Element different from comparable InsurTechs or existing insurances and health insurance companies?
CHRISTIAN: As a white label product factory with a pure B2B2X approach, we are unique in this market. With our proprietary product platform and insurer license for property and casualty insurance, we can develop innovative insurance products for our partners in a very short time - for any industry and within weeks, not months. And this is tailored to the respective target groups.
MAGNUS: A year ago, you gave up your position as a consultant and investor and moved to ELEMENT, where you are responsible for management and strategic orientation. How did the company score points with you?
CHRISTIAN: In addition to its approach as a product factory for insurance companies, the team at ELEMENT convinced me. This is where expertise from the insurance industry, technology and business comes together - for me the best prerequisite for a successful company in this field. What I never could have imagined before ELEMENT - I like being an insurance director!
MAGNUS: You are based in Berlin. What does Berlin have that other cities do not have?
CHRISTIAN: The booming start-up industry has found an interesting new business partner in Berlin
location also made for InsurTechs. The city is a sought-after centre for national and international talent, especially in the field of technology. At ELEMENT we have employees from almost 25 nations - I don't know in which other German city this would be so obvious. Besides Berlin, we also have offices in Lübeck and Nuremberg.
MAGNUS: What are your three top learnings in the health & insurance industry?
CHRISTIAN: Contrary to the common image, the insurance industry can be absolutely exciting and innovative. As a young company, the industry has seldom seen us as a disruptor. On the contrary, they appreciate and use the added value that InsurTechs like us offer. In the end, however, it always depends on the team: with dedicated, competent and experienced employees, even the impossible is possible.
MAGNUS: Could the cooperation between young companies, such as InsurTechs like ELEMENT, and established companies and insurance companies therefore become the rule rather than the exception in the future?
CHRISTIAN: In other industries - most established for example in the automotive industry - division of labour is common practice. Everybody does what they do best, nobody tries to map everything themselves. I am sure that this will also become established in the insurance industry. This is the only way to create digital, customer-centric and sustainable products.
MAGNUS: Private health insurance meets public health insurance: Anyone who has followed the development of the digital health record will see that now, for the first time, private and health insurance companies are also working together. How do you rate such cooperation, especially in the area of digitisation?
CHRISTIAN: Technology has pre-defined the rationale for collaboration here - and it will also lay the building blocks for future collaborations. I firmly believe that a lot will happen in the field of Digital Health within the next 10-15 years. As an outsider, as I would describe myself in the field of health insurance, it does not seem unwise for this progress to be processed by several players together and for changes in the industry to be brought about cooperatively.
MAGNUS: What have been the most significant steps in the past two years to drive the digitization of the industry and who were the key players?
CHRISTIAN: I only see really good approaches and role models in the USA - Livongo as an example. There, strong investors are drivers of progress - e.g. General Catalyst. Let's see what of this can establish itself in Germany!
MAGNUS: You develop your own insurance models and thus support insurance companies in equipping themselves with digital offers or in expanding them. What are the current obstacles preventing a comprehensive range of digital health and digital prevention services?
CHRISTIAN: In my work with ELEMENT, I have found that what we are doing there is really innovative - some established insurers still work with legacy IT from decades ago. This, of course, extremely hinders development in this area. This is also where we start with our fully digital products. On the other hand, the established insurers are also very well positioned. They have customers, sales know-how and a high level of trust in the population. At ELEMENT we have found a very good solution for the property and liability area. I can imagine that something similar could also become established in the health sector.
MAGNUS: What do you wish for the (near) future of the industry? Where do you see untapped potential?
CHRISTIAN: To date, the industry has hardly exploited the opportunities created by modern technology - for example, insurance products could be tailored much more closely to the needs of acute target groups. If I look up to 2024, I am sure that the insurance industry will also recognize the advantage of specialized suppliers such as ELEMENT - a concept that has long been established in the automotive industry and can work equally well for the industry.
MAGNUS: With us, of course, the question must not be missing: How do you manage to stay healthy and balanced and still pursue your passion for your job intensively? How do you integrate breaks and sports - and do digital offers like our YAS App help you?
CHRISTIAN: My wish would be to do yoga after getting up and have a vegan breakfast. Then I would love to spend an hour playing with my daughter or going swimming. In reality, however, I am already at work at 8 o'clock. YAS helps me not to forget the sporting balance - I was surprised, for example, how many steps come together in one day when I do without lifts and car!
MAGNUS: Who would you like to swap days with?
CHRISTIAN: Nick Jacobsen, the crazy kite stuntman, or Aaron Hadlow, a 5-time kite world champion. I have no idea how they do what they do. I would like to experience that for myself!
About Dr. Christian Macht
Dr. Christian Macht joined ELEMENT on 01.05.2018 and is chairman of the board of directors of the white label product factory. Prior to that, he held several top positions in the digital industry, most recently as a consultant and investor. As CSO Europe at the technology company Rakuten and as a member of the Supervisory Board of Rakuten Europe Bank and previously as Managing Director at a tencent/groupon joint venture, he has acquired broad international expertise in the technology and digital sector.
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