Drones, bots, blockchain, AI and machine learning are what everybody is suddenly talking about. Start-ups with cool names like Trov, Slice, Goji and WeSavvy are the talk of the insurance town, yet just a year or two ago core transformation toward becoming a digital insurer was all the rage, and the names of core vendors filled the headlines. Now, it seems like all the cool stuff is happening peripherally to the core and some great examples peppered the lively discussion of Insurtech and next-gen insurance at the recent SMA Summit.
When it comes to benefits insurance market expansion…it’s good to be a “yes” man
What stood out this year at the LIMRA Group and Worksite Benefits Conference was all of the talk around small businesses. Yes, it is an election year. But no, this was not just an echo of every candidate’s familiar refrain about how small business is the growth engine for America and must be supported. For benefits insurers, this is an every year issue. Carriers struggle to make small business a plank in their platform for business growth. The result is that growth opportunities are left on the table while the majority of carriers are forced to battle over the same books of business in the large and jumbo case markets.
How smart do insurers have to be to engage customers? Just how much customer data from sources near and far and how much analysis of customer behavior is necessary to create an effective engagement model? The answer may as well be, “How much money are you willing to spend?” Overlooked, however, is the fact that core systems data is actually customer insight lying in plain sight. How can insurers get at it and use it for intelligent engagement? Why must they?
In part one of this series on rating systems, we looked at how traditional development processes can expose your insurance business to risk. Among the most serious of these are having a single point of failure in your pricing model and the financial risks that result from long development cycles that limit how often you can update pricing. In this post, we take a look at a new approach that enables you to complete a rating initiative by defining and deploying rating models, tables, and algorithms in a fraction of the time, while empowering you to safeguard your margins by revising pricing as often as your business demands.
It’s the ultimate irony. Insurance carriers are in the business of risk management, assessing risk while predicting revenue and expenses and then pricing for that. However, the mechanisms many carriers use to generate the rating systems their pricing depends on expose them to risk.
New technologies. New players. New products. New business models. The clamor of disruption is loud in our ears, but seeing a clear path for adapting to change and implementing new technologies to support change is hard. In their urgency, are insurers force-fitting disruption on old operating models and systems?
Last week I had the pleasure of joining my industry colleagues at the LIMRA 2016 Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar in Charlotte, NC. We spent a fun evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame which also presented me with an interesting juxtaposition because NASCAR is a sport based on speed, strategy and serious horsepower, yet our industry has been stuck behind the pace car for quite some time.
Who is the current pacesetter? It’s the majority of group benefits insurers with legacy systems that lack the horsepower necessary for their business to move up in the field.
Technology can be both a tool and a tyrant, and the theme of this week’s Insurance-Canada Technology Conference—Technology: A Two-Edged Sword—depicted that reality. If designed, implemented, or used incorrectly, technology can divide and weaken rather than unite and strengthen an insurer’s position in the market. Recognition of this fact is increasing as evidenced in the many conversations that took place at the conference reflecting the need for more unified organizations and unified technology to support them. And the key driving force? The customer.
Something is altering the basis of competition in the voluntary benefits marketplace
As we get ready for Super Bowl 50, there’s no better lesson for business than the half-time adjustments made by coaches and players. Teams go into the big game with a plan that they’ve prepared and practiced all week and when they show up, they are ready to execute. This is not too dissimilar to how some of the group benefits carriers have planned and prepared for the shifts within the voluntary benefits marketplace and have been putting up points.
You and I, and the brotherhood of all consumers, enter 2016 firmly in control of our buying destinies. Since Forrester announced it was the ‘age of the customer’ in 2011, our rise has been meteoric. We are a force awakened; our expectations are high and we are emboldened by our new disruptive power.