We know it’s bad form to quote ourselves. But we have to make an exception here.
We recently watched a panel discussion about the ways in which insurers responded to the effects of the coronavirus and its ensuing shut-down. One comment, from Sean Ringsted of Chubb, jumped out at us:
I draw a distinction between, say, operating remotely and the digital age. For us, the digital age is a much broader perspective in terms of how we think about product and service, and how we think about the customer. By and large, we haven’t moved forward as an industry collectively in that regard. It’s shown that we can operate remotely, but we’re a long way away from being an industry that’s operating and succeeding in a digital age.
To paraphrase Yogi Berra, we had a deja vu all over again.
You Don’t Say
Bad form notwithstanding, we couldn’t help recalling that, on October 8, 2018 we wrote this:
Digital transformation is almost always interpreted to be about technology. It’s not. Here’s why: Unless we manage to experience some kind of once-in-a-millennium event sometime soon, there won’t be any technological transformations. But what we do have is a data transformation. More specifically, with the digitalization of data — and with the technological progress we’re making in storing, extracting, analyzing, and applying data — that’s a transformation worth heeding and on which we should be capitalizing. And it feels like progress.
And on February 3 of 2020, we wrote this:
Objective #1 is to look at things from the perspective of the prospective buyer … But [insurers are] facing the sobering realities of Objective #2 — getting their core systems to function at levels sufficient to achieve Objective #1. If products remain difficult to change, if integrations continue to be a challenge, and if BI isn’t meaningful enough to improve operational decision-making — then customer behavior, responsiveness, accessible information, and self-service capabilities become tough nuts to crack.
Does that make us special? No. Does it make us clairvoyant? Uh uh. But it does make us prepared. And it makes us prepared to help our customers implement the digital platform that will enable them to scale, to accommodate market changes and policyholder demands, and to operate in the world in which their prospects and policyholders already live.
If it takes a worldwide pandemic to get us there, so be it. But we do have to get there.