Is Tech Innovation Optional for Insurers? 

Marketing statistics tell us that about 80 percent of people will read at least one email today on their smartphone or tablet. Ten years ago that number would have been significantly lower. Have you ever considered the changes that technology has made in your life over the past ten years? If you’re over 35, you may remember a time when all of your business was done differently. When you used the yellow pages to find a plumber, when you had to fax applications and forms, and when a landline conversation was the only alternative to a written letter.

At some point we all have to face the fact that technology is aggressively intrusive. It’s boldly inserting itself into our lives and disrupting the way we communicate and conduct business. In many ways, insurance companies have been quick to embrace this disruption, introducing online account access as well as paperless policies, benefit summaries, drug cards, and claims statements in recent years. But those steps are just the start of what insurers should be doing to continue evolving with technology. Here are a few other changes that your company should consider making:

  • Streamline the sales and underwriting process
  • Automating the renewal process
  • Ending the reliance on manual proposal generation
  • Improving the accuracy of rate calculators in the field
  • Implementing a system for automatic rate quotes and revisions

We all like to think we have some control over the changes we make to our business and processes. We like to weigh the costs and the potential savings, evaluate the potential for increased profits and measure the scalability and potential risks.  This gives us the idea that the changes are voluntary—that we can implement them only after we decide that the benefits outweigh the costs and risks. But when it comes to technology and insurance, these decisions are no longer optional. They’re vital because technology is quickly becoming the only tool that allows insurers to:

  • Stay competitive
  • Keep up with and integrate regulation changes
  • Stay connected with clients and brokers
  • Change rates and offering of insurance products without IT dependence
  • Quickly disseminate information to policyholders

Tech innovation is not an option, instead it should be embraced in the same way consumers embrace it. Let’s look at it as an enduring partner providing the means to ensure our future success. As an industry, we have spent hundreds of years evolving—from those ancient maritime policies to fire policies underwritten in London coffeehouses to million-dollar policies issued on famous body parts. Why would we ever stop?

What kinds of technological improvements would you like to see your company make?