Almost everyone who knows me, knows I am a Jersey girl through and through. A true Garden girl, who adores the products and produce of my state, from blueberry and apple picking to pork roll (sorry Northerners). It’s also a state where a self-professed insurance geek can readily access state-regulated insurance information, to help me be more proactive when it comes to my personal insurance choices. I can easily see all of the insurers licensed to operate in NJ, get early insight into some of the conditional requirements that many consumers are often unaware of and even see consumer reports and complaints filed with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. I prefer to arm myself with information, especially lately when brand loyalty is no longer enough to stay committed to one insurer.
As consumers, we can be selective with our choices, opting to leave the insurers we no longer feel an attachment to or for cheaper policies. Shopping for the best coverages at the most competitive rates was practically unheard of in the last 20 years, and people relied on word of mouth or an actual visit from their agent. In fact, for some of us, it took working in the industry before we even began to understand some of the terms and conditions, let alone how our policies were priced. It’s no coincidence that the birth of the internet gave rise to the era of the well-informed consumer, and now technology continues to drive our choices.
Recent times however have shown us that insurers also can be more selective, not just with who and what they choose to insure, but also how. For the past decade, the lens of innovation has continued to point to the insurance industry, with transformational technologies enabling insurers to become faster, more reactive (as opposed to simply being reactive), and able to personalize products and services to cater to their customers. However, unlike consumers, insurers have to rely on more than just a simple checklist, especially when it comes to sizable investment in core technologies, like digitally-enabled platforms for policy, billing, claims and customer management. However, as with apple picking, sometimes it’s the look and feel that actually matters more than what’s put on paper in an RFP —especially since one bad apple for an insurer, can spoil more than the bunch, it can damage an entire brand.
As the summer begins to ebb, I am reminded that soon apple picking season will be here, and while I reminisce about the tart, crisp taste of a freshly picked Golden Delicious, it made me want to further compare apples to… insurance.
- Both have a wide array of varieties
- Both are available in all 50 US states (and numerous countries around the globe)
- Both have a wide array of uses
- Both take time to grow successfully (one perhaps a bit faster than the other)
- Both deliver immense value
- Both help mitigate risk (one perhaps more securely than the other)
- Both rely on an (agile) core &
- Both can leverage cutting-edge, cloud, and digital technologies
(For that last one, I was referring to the one that as of January 2021 was deemed “world’s most valuable company”).
Apples, Apple and insurers have benefited by replacing outdated, manual practices with modern technology, and all will need to continue to leverage innovative solutions in order to remain relevant. Whether it is selecting the latest Apple© product, Apple produce or a core suite, it takes more than a checklist to prevent one from ‘embarking’ up the wrong tree trying to pick the best option. Although when it comes to selection, it’s easier to spot a bad apple, than it is for an insurer to spot a poor core (solution). And even if a solution ticks some invisible boxes, tomorrow’s challenges may not be met by today’s technology, so from a technology perspective, it’s important that your core is as versatile as, perhaps an apple.
For insurers, autumn is a perfect time to avoid “falling” through the technical cracks. Whether it’s upgrading an inherited legacy system, enabling your current with a digital layer, or transforming your entire enterprise with intuitive decisioning, advanced data and analytics, or an AI-enabled, cloud-native digital platform, take your time gathering your own requirements, and leave the checklists to the Q/A and Dev teams. Don’t let bad apples, buggy software solutions, or incompatible platforms bruise your brand. While smart marketing and clever sales pitches may get you on the calendar, it’s going to be the technology, architecture and UI that will get the door held open and calls returned.