I have been thinking: what is the difference between an entrepreneur in an insurtech startup and an executive in a major insurer? Why can't they both just get on and do the same thing - make insurance a sexy, high profile industry?

They can both see the scale of the problem and they can both see the vision of what a fully functioning Digital Insurer would look like - the Target Operating Model (TOM).

The executive starts with legacy IT but also a bank of existing customers and is hindered by having to prove the ROI on a project (that has never been done before) in advance of committing funds. The journey to get there has to "keep the plane flying" as the company passes through a series of interim operating states that keep the existing customers happy and the revenues/profits rolling in while they move towards their TOM. They are  not allowed to make mistakes and have to bring their people with them and change individual behaviours and company cultures along the way.

Entrepreneurs start with no legacy IT but no customers, can try and fail to build the minimum viable product and change direction to learn and refine from initial failure. They have to win seed capital to build their idea but don't have to keep customers happy while they build their dreams. Their teams are small and the culture is driven from the founders right from the outset.

So, both have their challenges but being innovative is still easier in a startup. It is just less financially comfortable.