(Part one of a two-part series.)
Most within the insurance industry will agree that investments in technology are driven largely by business need. In a self-described risk-averse culture, however, insurers are not known for gambling on IT, especially when it comes to facilitating new, unproven ways to grow the business. Or are they?
If you asked any of the more than 100 industry stakeholders gathered at the CIO Insurance Summit held in Scottsdale this week, you would have heard an overriding theme: “We can’t afford not to.”
Hosted by CDM Media, and led by master of ceremonies Matthew Josefowicz, director of the insurance practice at Novarica, New York, the event provided a host of opportunities for C-level executives in IT to share their concerns, challenges and successes around fostering the type of change required to be a market leader.
Josefowicz opened the conference explaining why the essence of a recent Novarica research note on paradigm shifts was so telling: The insurance industry has experienced two of its most challenging years in history. “As a result,” he said, “you could be looking at major changes in how you underwrite, process claims, and how you grow the business.”
Against “change” as the backdrop, the three-day technology conference focused largely on growth, and how to get there.
“What has happened in the last five years in technology is hugely different than what has happened in the last 25 years,” Josefowicz said. “The paradigm shifts we are seeing in communication, for example, affect distribution, marketing, services, underwriting, claims and more. They also affect organizational design, where people work (remotely), workflow issues and resources.”
During his keynote address, John Golden, who recently left his post as CIO at CNA to start his a joint restoration research and education foundation, LiveActive, offered insurers in the audience an example of embracing change with courage and fortitude.
Terrified of heights, Golden learned to climb mountains after receiving what he called the first human knee transplant. In so doing, he adopted a philosophy that holds motivation and action versus inaction, at its core. “Don’t be too busy to make the decision,” he said, “and don’t say ‘I can’t.’ Rather, say ‘how will I do it.’”
Josefowicz reminded the audience that insurers on the leading edge have a great opportunity if they are willing to ask themselves whether there is a way to improve processes by incorporating the most appropriate technologies, and then executing on that decision.
Editor’s note: Insurance Networking News participated as a media partner in this event.
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