2014 Prediction: The Dawn of a New Future

0 March 3, 2014 at 11:48 am by

Without a doubt, 2014 will be a pivotal year for the insurance industry – the dawning of a new future, reshaped more quickly than expected by powerful influencers such as customer-driven expectations, outside industry impact, and the increased speed of introduction and adoption of next-gen and emerging technologies. We will see the acceleration of these influencers affecting the touch points of the insurance value chain, with a focus on empowering the customer.

This pace of technology change, challenging decades of business traditions and assumptions, is unprecedented in the history of the insurance industry. The industry’s biggest technology disruptions and changes usually came along every decade or two, from the introduction of mainframe computers in the 1950s and ‘60s, to the personal computer in the ‘80s, to the Internet and e-business in the late ‘90s early and 2000s, and the first iPhone/smartphone in 2007.

Now, changes are coming every month, with new technologies, the mash-up of technologies, and new uses for these technologies. From next-gen technologies such as mobile, cloud, data and analytics, telematics, and collaboration to emerging technologies such as 3D printing, the internet of things, drones, driverless cars, and wearable devices, the speed of experimentation, innovation, and adoption will intensify. Insurance will begin to be redefined and reshaped, from the inside as well as from outside the industry.

As other industries have experienced, from retail to books, music, and movies, the insurance industry is finding the very foundations of the business being challenged, requiring new thinking, experimentation, innovation, and adoption of the new technologies. To respond to this accelerated, continual disruption, insurance leaders will create a culture and model around ongoing collaboration and ideation that extends outside their organizations. Legacy business assumptions, operations, systems, and culture will begin to fall away.

Increasingly, insurers will recognize that tracking and assessing the potential and use of next-gen and emerging technologies (both within and outside the industry) will be paramount to their competitive advantage and long-term survival. But insurers often lack the time, expertise, and resources to track details of technology trends, follow outside industry perspectives, find and access research and case studies, and stay current on trends outside the US market. Insurers will increasingly look at creating and participating in an ecosystem of outside experts and resources to capture the potential; inspire their leadership; and enable their journey of change, transformation, and innovation.

The innovation journey toward reinventing, reimaging, and rethinking the business of insurance has started, whether you are on the road or not. No business, regardless of its size, can go it alone and expect to completely take hold of all the possibilities. It will be interesting to see the innovation ecosystems that emerge to help fully capture the potential, change legacy cultures, and enable the ideas and technologies to be uniquely operationalized within each insurance organization. SMA is looking forward to being a part of those ecosystems, the changes, and the dawn of a new era for insurance.

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