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Buckle Up! … It’s Going to Be a Wild Ride

Karen ImbrognoJuly 07, 2015

For those that know me, they might label me an “insurance geek”.  After spending 25 years in the industry, how could I not be?  I have witnessed many transformations over those two-plus decades, but nothing more exciting as all the new technology presently being introduced.   I would like to share with you a glimpse into the future; specifically, how technology will change the way you think about insurance.  You are going to go on a virtual ride today.  Ready?  Here you go!

Welcome to the Age of Insurance Disruption.  Please step across the moving platform and take a seat in the Smart Car.  If you have any apprehension at all or think you cannot handle the ride, now would be the time to exit.  If not, and you are ready to embrace change, hop in.  We will see you back at the station in just a few minutes.

Without hesitation, you jump into your candy apple red Smart Car – you’re already loving it!  Many of the things you are about to see – well let’s just put it this way: they seem unbelievable and in some cases a little scary.  It all comes down to this: are you ready to embrace the future?  Your car asks you to enter your final destination.  For the heck of it, you enter New Orleans.  You always wanted to visit the Big Easy, and now it looks like you are on your way.  You drive through a town that looks like a hurricane just blew through: trees are on top of houses, wires on the roads, and roofs sitting in front yards.  What’s even more peculiar are these weird things flying around in the air taking pictures of the damage.  They look like drones.  Could it be?  Are we really that advanced in technology?

The next place you tell your Smart Car to drive to is to your house, so you enter in your address. On the way home, you get into a little fender bender.  The car in front of you slammed on its breaks- classic case of someone not paying attention to what’s going on in front of them.  It’s not a problem because you carry Peer-to-Peer Sharing Insurance.  No mess, no hassle, and no insurance company getting involved, which means no rate increase at renewal.  It’s as easy as pie.  You trade information with the driver and go on your merry way.  Wonder if this will become a standard offering for all insurers?  We shall see.

As you are driving away, a message pops up on your dashboard display.  Apparently there is a water leak at your house.  Your sump pump must have failed due to the storm.  You step on the gas knowing nobody is home.  Your heart starts racing and your Apple watch starts beeping.  Surprise, surprise, you forgot to take your blood pressure medication.  You take your pill and hope your basement is not flooded.

Upon arriving home, you pull into your driveway – the garage door is already open.  As you walk into your home, you are greeted by virtual Annie.  She has your favorite Jimmy Buffet tunes playing and the house is nice and toasty.  A suggested dinner menu is also up on your smart countertop.  Annie is always thinking.  You immediately head for the basement to check the Sump Pump- a little water but no major damage.  Phew!  There is also a message on your phone with recommended repair contractors in your area with suggested appointment times based on your calendar availability.  You think to yourself- how did I ever survive without all this connected technology?   Going back to the future, the Jetsons had it right.  George and Jane were obviously ahead of their time.

And now the virtual tour is over.  You are back at the station where you began.  You are fascinated with what the future holds in store.   If you’re convinced that you’d have to travel to the 22nd century to experience these technologies, you’d be wrong.  They are very real, and many of them are already deployed in the market.  Insurance carriers are adapting, developing, and thinking ahead.

As Insurance marketers we need to look at how we will act, react, and adapt.  We also need to ask ourselves some simple questions:

  • Are we aware of all the new technologies currently in play or are on the near-term horizon? 
  • How will all this new technology change the products we develop and the services we provide?
  • Do we have the data, analytics, and measurement protocols in place to assess the effectiveness of these changes?
  • How can we utilize some of these new technologies and features to improve our KPI’s?
  • Do we have the right relationships in place, or do we need to forge new relationships with suppliers and other folks?
  • Have we accounted for the fact that our customers are active in conceptualizing and developing their own products?
  • As a result, what will our future really look like as insurers?

 To be sure, the questions will outnumber the answers.  But it’s about thinking ahead, making sure we have the right people, the right products, the right access to information, and the right technology in place to tie it all together.

In my opinion (and this is just my opinion), those that can fervently embrace and leverage new technologies to provide value to their customers will lead the transformation.  Those that do not may be left on the rotating platform, forever locked in a circular path of innovation absentia.

Don’t be left on the platform.  Buckle up and join the ride!