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Why insurance is at the heart of the digital revolution

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I was on holiday in Berlin when the competition winners were announced, so I actually found out that I’d won a ticket to Web Summit Lisbon through a Facebook message. Mo Skyped me to tell me he’d won too, so I was really excited that we’d be going together.

It was a great opportunity for me to go there but also a good chance to get to know Shak and Dan a bit better too – as they were joining us on the trip.

After checking out who would be speaking at Web Summit, I was really interested in hearing what a few of them had to say, especially the talks around home automation and smart homes. I earmarked some talks by Google engineers too, as it’s always good to hear what they’re up to.

I went with two main goals in mind: to learn about all the cool, cutting edge stuff like self-drive cars, drones and Hyperloop; but also to meet interesting people, network and scout for new ideas.

First impressions

When we landed we pretty much went straight to the arena. The size of it was impressive and the queue to get in was absolutely mad. It reminded me of a science convention from a US sitcom.

In between talks we walked around the venue, visiting different stands and watching demos of new products. There was so much going on; it was really fascinating just checking out the new start-up stands.

It’s so inspiring to meet people who are so passionate about their products.

Drones and self-driving cars aren’t ‘new’ technologies as such, but what is interesting is the way that now they are coming to fruition, they’re throwing up a lot of questions for our industry, like drone insurance – is this something we should offer?

We’re only just dipping our toes into driverless cars at the moment, but need to consider so many things like, if driverless cars crash, who is liable?

Direct Line is already leading the way with another initiative involving drones called Fleetlights, so it’s right up our street. It’s very cutting edge at the moment, but cutting edge can very quickly become commonplace these days.

The Summit threw up so many fascinating issues. As everyday products and services are becoming automated, how will that affect the insurance industry? How will it affect us?

I expected all the speakers to be CEOs and big cheeses. People that weren’t necessarily on my level. So I was very impressed at the variety of speakers sharing their experiences with the world, and the topics they spoke about.

I would never expect to see an engineer like me speaking at such a huge event. I just hadn’t considered it. They were really good too, which made me think – maybe this is something I could do one day.

One big takeaway is that everybody’s talking about Blockchain at the moment, it’s a very popular technology. Not sure if it’s relevant to us, but it’s something I intend to read up on and be aware of. Even if it’s not immediately useful to our business, you never know when it could be.

We’re in the middle of a huge digital revolution and it’s really exciting to be part of it.

We work in the kind of industry that touches every area of people’s lives, so keeping up with new technology is essential for us to stay relevant.

The Web Summit really opened my eyes to the technology industry as a whole, so I learned to pay attention to what’s happening not just in our company, but also in the outside world. We’re in the middle of a huge digital revolution and it’s really exciting to be part of it.

If DLG Digital run another competition this year, I’ll enter for sure, but I’m not sure I’d get that lucky again!