For the insurance industry, the future has finally arrived. In this future, as described by technologist Nicolas Negroponte in his 1995 collection of essays entitled Being Digital, bits have replaced atoms, distance is irrelevant and constant connectivity is the norm. Organizations are flatter, commerce is global, and companies increasingly rely on their ideas and imagination to compete rather than their size and their stature.

Even so, many insurance companies remain burdened by the past. “Some insurers still have some catching up to do,” observes Mark Breading, a partner at Strategy Meets Action, an insurance technology consulting and research company. “The big trend is the ‘digital insurer:’ moving toward digital strategies across the enterprise and creating digital platforms,” Breading says. But while insurers have created portals for agents and customers, built mobile apps and exposed core systems to the outside world, many have erected these capabilities as silos. “Now it’s more about utilizing all of these capabilities in a unified way. That’s the overarching trend,” he notes.

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