People vs. technology: Which should drive insurance digital transformation?

Here at EIS, we’ve said time and again that consumer expectations in insurance are changing and the industry is transforming, which means now’s the time to overhaul your old legacy systems and embark on a digital transformation. But what makes digital transformation better, technology or people?

In the next episode of Coretalk, our “late night insurance talk show,” going live on our YouTube channel Thursday, April 28, Ema Roloff, director of enterprise solutions at Naviant, and I had a friendly debate about whether digital transformation in insurance is better when it’s led by people or technology. Ema argued that people make all the difference, while I argued that technology rules.

What’s the recipe for insurance digital transformation?

As I said in the episode, change at an insurance organization is always about the people until it’s not about the people. In other words, insurance digital transformation is all about the technology. 

For example, one insurance carrier I know has been talking about transformation for seven years and still has yet to pull the trigger. Overwhelmed with policy sales, the insurance company made process-oriented fixes outside of its old legacy system. Those changes worked for 18 months, but after selling more policies, the company found itself underwater again. Adding more people didn’t fix its problems. Automating these tasks with new technology, on the other hand, would’ve solved their problem with technology-enabled scalability. Furthermore, greenfield approaches (again, involving technology) also are key to a successful insurance digital transformation. 

On the other hand, Ema pointed out that humans are involved and are critical in every step of an insurance digital transformation, and change doesn’t happen overnight.

“I’m a huge people-driven change advocate,” she said. “There’s always going to be something new and shiny to distract you. The positive momentum that builds behind incremental [people-driven] changes will help to start to change the culture of your organization.”

Ultimately, Ema pointed out that your customer experience is on the line with your technology, and all of your company’s ideas are people-driven. If you don’t appropriately manage change at your organization, Ema added, your people will become frustrated and resist change and you won’t be successful.

It’s a spirited, fun Coretalk debate, and one that insurers can learn a lot from. When it comes to digital transformation, one thing’s for sure: How can you be great if you’re just like everyone else?

So, who wins the debate, and what drives the best digital transformation: technology, people, or a mix of both? Check out Coretalk Episode 5 on April 28 to find out, and subscribe to our Coretalk YouTube channel to get new episodes.

Let us know your thoughts, and book a call to find out how EIS can help with your digital transformation.

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