Innovation Spreads in U.S. State

Two examples of innovation, one on the East Coast and one on the West, show how ideas can be tested and then spread across the country.

Innovation can start simple. It does not always have to start with a big bang. We all know that doing anything in insurance across 50 states is often complex and expensive and a long process, but it is possible to begin with an idea around a new model, product, channel or line of business. Decide on which state(s) to start with, and then run with it. What a great way to launch and experience innovation.

This past year, we have seen new distribution models springing up on both coasts -- auto in California and life in Massachusetts. Let your imagination take over, and you can envision innovation spreading across our industry... across every state in our nation... and beyond.

We have two great examples of East Coast and West Coast success stories. The West Coast example is Google Compare. Google is essentially acting as a partner for insurers -- helping them become more customer-centric by taking distribution capabilities to where the customers are, on the platforms that customers are using. With a history of being very accurate at predicting what customers want, Google is bringing that strength to the insurance industry. Google Compare started with personal auto, for the state of California, and with only a few insurers -- all with the goal to add more states, more lines and more insurer partners.

The East Coast reference to innovation in Massachusetts involves Haven Life. Haven Life is offering a totally-online customer service experience for buying term life insurance. In addition to 'instantly' quoting, Haven Life offers information and tools that help take the complexity and the complications out of the process of buying life insurance -- making it a much quicker process and simpler decision for the customer.

The East/West examples demonstrate how creative thinking and novel approaches are delivering new, profitable and productive business models that will reshape tomorrow -- by starting simple.

At SMA, we regularly track solution investment trends and the progress of maturing and emerging technology. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see or hear about something exciting and inventive taking place in our industry. That wouldn't have been true five years ago. This is a critical time for our industry -- a time of great opportunities. It is a period when the possibilities are endless -- thanks to a formidable combination of technology capabilities and changing customer expectations and behaviors.

Deb Smallwood

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Deb Smallwood

Deb Smallwood, the founder of Strategy Meets Action, is highly respected throughout the insurance industry for strategic thinking, thought-provoking research and advisory skills. Insurers and solution providers turn to Smallwood for insight and guidance on business and IT linkage, IT strategy, IT architecture and e-business.


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