Earlier this month, my colleague Monique Hesseling wrote about the power of asking the right questions in new product development. That practice is just as useful with respect to new technologies. As we have seen with social media and smartphones, what were once “emerging” technologies can become widely available and widely used in a very short period of time. Insurers have developed ways to use both of these technologies in new products and services, although plenty of untapped opportunity remains in both areas. But as new technologies continue to emerge, how do we, as an industry, continue to incorporate them into new or existing products and services?

The conversations about using new technology in insurance have typically centered on two questions: Why? and Why not? The Whys, as we shall call them, are reluctant to adopt new technologies because the status quo works (or works well enough). The Why Nots, on the other hand, jump at the opportunity to use new technologies because of their novelty and the desire to be among the early adopters of new technology, even when the benefits are not necessarily clear.

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