Because we’re incorrigibly curious — and because it’s part of our professional responsibility to stay abreast of things in the industry we serve — we recently conducted an experiment on Google. We entered the phrase, coronavirus insurance industry, and searched. The search returned 496,000,000 results. The sheer number surprised us. But what surprised us more was the chronology of the results. Out of the 13 results on the first page of our search results — other than one CBS news story dated September 21, 2020, that dealt with the evolving definitions of interruption coverage — the most recent of the remaining 12 stories was from July 23, 2020.
Beyond the number and the chronology, we were struck by two other consistent aspects of our Google search results.
First, many of them had to do with the new normal and hybrid operating models. Wow. The clarity of hindsight notwithstanding, it’s amazing how quickly things have changed, even as the coronavirus pandemic has seemed to slam The Big Brakes on everything. Since July, of course, we’ve realized we can’t wait for a new normal, even if there will ever be any such thing. And we’ve also realized, from the precautionary measures required to gather people in one (work)place to the cautionary tales coming from commercial real estate, that hybrid operating models have already morphed into work from home and even given us a new abbreviation: WFH.
Second, many of our search results had to do with the insurance industry’s lack of foresight when it comes to digitalizing their operations. Most insurers were relatively well-equipped for hybrid operating models and even WFH. But meeting the needs and expectations of their policyholder and prospects who live in a highly digital world? Not so much. The question for us now is: What’s next?
Let’s Do It
As they said on The Six Million Dollar Man, we have the technology. We just haven’t fully adopted it yet. But given the rate at which we’re adapting to the new rules of the coronavirus game, we also have the aptitude. All we have to do now is acquire the determination to make the necessary changes and commit the budgets to getting it done. Everyone from our WFH employees and our policyholders will thank us for it.
There’s no need to panic. But we can’t afford to hurry up and wait.