ITL FOCUS puts a spotlight each month on a different topic that is driving innovation in risk management and insurance.
A collection of curated content from our vast library, each month's FOCUS includes webinars, featured authors and more to offer a comprehensive look at the topic of the month.
ITL FOCUS: Smart Home
In all my years covering all manner of technology, telematics may have caught me off-guard the most. When I first wrote about ProgFor nearly 30 years, I’ve been hearing about smart homes. Even before a commercial version of the internet browser was invented in the early 1990s, the rich, geeky types I dealt with in my travels at the Wall Street Journal were figuring out ways to wire their homes to ward off possible intruders.
ITL FOCUS: Telematics
In all my years covering all manner of technology, telematics may have caught me off-guard the most. When I first wrote about Progressive’s auto telematics program, Snapshot, in 1998, it seemed like a slam dunk. Of course, it made sense to monitor how people drove and to price their insurance accordingly.
ITL FOCUS: Catastrophic Weather
In the face of catastrophic weather, insurers are doing what insurers do: helping identify, quantify and mitigate the risks, while making customers whole when disasters strike.
They are also increasingly digging further into the roots of the problem. As you’ll see in the articles we’ve highlighted for this month, insurers are focusing more on how to raise the alarm about climate change and on how to make the world more resilient in the face of the challenges that we face today and that are surely coming.
ITL FOCUS: Life Insurance
"…It seems to me that the lines will increasingly blur between life insurance and financial management, given that life insurance is an important financial asset; people often think about their finances, and life insurance can become a natural part of that focus. I could also see the trend toward embedded insurance expanding the life insurance market — why couldn’t a term life policy be, for instance, embedded in a mortgage when someone buys a building, to make sure the purchase is secure even if something happens to the buyer?
Over the years, I’ve had people tell me life insurance is boring. I don’t see it that way at all."
ITL FOCUS: Cognitive Technologies
Cognitive computing is a funny beast. Every time you hit your target, you find that another pops up off in the distance.
When I first saw a demonstration of speech recognition, some 30 years ago, I was mightily impressed that the computer understood a few words. If I had seen what would be possible today, I’d have been stunned. But now? Oh, that’s just Siri or Alexa. And why didn’t auto-correct guess exactly what I wanted to say?
ITL FOCUS: Customer Experience
Insurance companies are finding that they have to reinvent chunks of their businesses to really get the customer experience right. Yes, they have to focus on the ways that they touch customers, through agents and brokers, through call centers, through adjusters and through an increasingly broad array of electronic means. But a customer doesn’t just experience a company through a direct communication. Customers also experience, for instance, how long and painful an underwriting process or a claim is.
And here’s the thing: This emphasis on customer experience requires a revolution for companies.
ITL FOCUS: Workers’ Compensation
The world of work turned upside-down and inside-out beginning 15 months ago, as the pandemic shut down offices and forced so very many of us to work from home.
Now that we’re beginning to reverse this process, insurers will have to sort through all sorts of new issues. Here’s one: When is the place where a worker works a “workplace,” and when is it not? Welcome to the new world of workers’ compensation
ITL FOCUS: Cyber
In high school, a friend of mine had a poster on his wall that read, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”
That pretty well summarizes how the world of cybersecurity and insurance works. Companies may feel paranoid for looking over their shoulder all the time, expecting something back to happen, but we all know that there are plenty of bad guys out to find all the victims they can.
ITL FOCUS: Agents & Brokers
Mark Twain reportedly once responded to a rumor of a serious illness by saying, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Insurance agents and brokers could have said the same thing over the past decade and will likely be parrying those rumors for years to come. There’s no doubt that agents & brokers inhabit a world going digital and not every agent will migrate easily into the ever-more-digital world, but those who do will find the work more rewarding, both for themselves and for their ever-more-loyal clients.
ITL FOCUS: Strategic Innovation
Strategy is what you don’t do. That was the dictum of the late, great Mel Bergstein, who way back in 1994 founded the pioneering digital strategy firm Diamond Management & Technology Consultants. (It became part of PwC in 2010.) I heard Mel’s line a lot, as a partner with Diamond from 1996 through 2003, and I think his are words to live by in the insurance industry these days. Everyone seems to have gotten the memo about the need to digitize insurance and to explore innovative ideas, but the present typically creates a real drag that slows movement toward the future.
ITL FOCUS: Blockchain
Blockchain has held out promise for some time now and it may finally be coming into its own, with some uses starting to move into production. We’ve collected our thought leaders’ latest thinking on the topic in this month’s ITL FOCUS, as well as an interview with John Sviokla about the future impacts and strategic implications of blockchain, the ITL On Demand ‘Future of Blockchain’ webinar series, and more.
ITL FOCUS: Commercial Insurance
Much of the focus on innovation has related to personal lines. That makes some sense: Policies tend to be more cookie-cutter than in commercial lines, and individuals, spoiled by Amazon and other online resources, have demanded a better experience from insurers. But don’t sleep on commercial lines. As businesses see what’s changing in personal lines, they aren’t going to be left behind.
What We're Focusing on in 2021:
Commercial Insurance | January
Blockchain | February
Strategic Innovation | March
Agent and Broker | April
Cyber Risk | May
Workers Comp | June
Customer Experience | July
Cognitive Technologies | August
Life Insurance | September
Catastrophic Weather | October
Telematics | November
Smart Home | December
Interested in sponsoring a topic or submitting content for ITL FOCUS?
Send a note to Adam Lachowicz, Lachowicz@TheInstitutes.org
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