Happy New Year


Happy New Year!

As we gear up for what will surely be an eventful 2017, one of my first resolutions (other than really and truly getting into shape this year -- really -- truly) is to provide some more commentary on how I see the industry evolving, based on my three decades of experience watching technology develop and transform just about every other industry. 

I'll begin with a baby step, pointing you to an interesting article I read over the break about The Ugly Unethical Underside of Silicon Valley, which should be a cautionary tale for all of us as we watch insurtech take off. I've either lived in Silicon Valley or within shouting distance of it for more than 20 years and admire the ethos greatly, but there is a duality to innovation. The great thing is that the best innovators break all the rules. The bad thing can be that the innovators break all the rules.

The trick is to think creatively while staying ethical. That's harder than it sounds. Every innovator is a relentless salesman, so there's always going to be some shading of the truth. And, once money is invested, the pressure escalates. Maybe a little lie will keep the investors happy and the momentum going...but then maybe a slightly bigger lie is needed to cover when the next problem hits...and then a bigger lie...and, voila, you have MCI or any number of other major frauds.

Insurtech represents a profound change for insurance, but Zenefits has already shown how easy it is to go astray by thinking that rules are just there to be ignored. There will be others.


Paul Carroll,

Paul Carroll

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Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership.

He is also co-author of A Brief History of a Perfect Future: Inventing the Future We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050 and Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years and the author of a best-seller on IBM, published in 1993.

Carroll spent 17 years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter; he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He later was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.