If the P&C industry had a show, equivalent to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where instead of the latest in electronics, gadgets and smart devices are introduced, they would be able to display the latest technology stacks, core platforms and digital components. This year, it would have had to pivot and adapt to a virtual platform, just as CES did. It marked the first time that the most influential tech event in the world was fully digital — no 170,000+ visitors descending into Sin City, no giant stages for global innovators to display the latest and greatest breakthroughs. Instead, as innovators warmed up their webcams, many of us prepared to see firsthand the technology that will dominate the new decade and beyond, and how it will help us shape better futures, across businesses, industries, and society. The overall theme this year was “We are Future Ready”. As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder, just how future ready the P&C industry is.
Kicking off the first ever all digital event, President and CEO, Gary Shapiro opened with a brief keynote, sharing relevant insights, some of which I found to be undeniably applicable to the P&C market. He remarked how incredible it was that during a “time of uncertainty, technology has been a stabilizing, unifying force”. For P&C insurers, this is definitely true, as the shift not only enabled them to rethink technology initiatives, but to begin to reshape their priorities for business continuity — the immediate shift from brick and mortar attendance to enabling the mass transition to remote work — as well as a renewed effort to better meet the needs of their customers. It isn’t simply enough to enable customers to stay connected, but now insurers realized the importance of customers staying engaged. The new digitally connected consumer is always on and ever-ready, demanding P&C insurers exemplify this model too.
Gary also stated “the pandemic has sparked astounding innovation in technology” a fact that has been demonstrated by next-gen devices, like the BioButton, a coin-sized, disposable medical accessory, ushering in a new era of continuous health monitoring and clinical intelligence. The unit enables the effortless remote data capture and continuous multi-parameter monitoring of metrics like temperature, respiratory and heart rate, and can now be used to assess Coronavirus symptoms. A device that is sure to have extensive possibilities for health, life, and group benefits insurers. Imagine being an insurer who can proactively connect with a customer to assist with concerns and better help mitigate risks. It could provide a new frontier for insurers, if only their tech stack is able to connect, collect, and efficiently utilize the data.
Shapiro’s keynote continued and addressed how “digital solutions are changing the way we do everyday things.” This is undoubtedly true for insurers, as they convert from systems, that were architected on monoliths, with siloed data repositories. P&C carriers are continuing to transition to new, modern platforms that are digitally ready, cloud enabled core systems, to unify their operations and achieve a myriad of benefits, like speed-to market and better customer experiences. The next normal of core technology will see insurers making the leap from traditional to modern IT that is on the apex of technology and operational efficiency. The ever-evolving functionality delivered by data, digital, and intuitively designed components, further enhances the positive impact for insurers. Digital will be the differentiator that will allow insurers to reimagine the role that the technology plays with respect to other business functions and future-proof against potential disruption.
The keynote closed with the fact that “we must innovate to survive, not just as companies, but as a species. We must innovate to make life better and safer.” P&C insurers are under immense pressure to innovate, not just to survive, but to thrive. Insurers’ understand that to resonate with customers today and remain relevant with the customers of tomorrow, will take more than state of the art devices and trend setting gadgets. It will hinge on an insurer’s ability to continue to drive forward digitally and consistently to enable their technology to modernize. After all, “the only constant is change” and if the largest and most influential tech event in the world was able to acclimate and demonstrate they are truly future ready, then P&C insurers certainly can do so too.