The world of commerce and insurance more specifically is shifting relentlessly from a paradigm based on tangible assets to one based on intangible assets. Increasingly more insurance companies will succeed with fewer people with deeper industry or functional knowledge and with significantly less dependence on physical artifacts, such as paper.This is not an Internet-era crazed screed about insurance agents disappearing. Rather, my point is that insurance companies themselves must change the way they do business if they are to attract and retain the policyholders and producers necessary to profitably stay in business.

Several technology forces accelerate this shift to intangible assets. It's going to happen. What is uncertain is how many insurers will change at all or fast enough to survive the shift. By 2015 one-half of the life insurers and one-third of the P&C insurers currently in business will be gone.

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