I find it somewhat amusing and somewhat frustrating that insurers are still trying to solve their business problems with new technologies using antiquated methods. It is analogous to trying to use a 1950’s football strategy of just giving it to the running back and banging it up field. They seem to assume that because the players have newer uniforms and better equipment, the old playbook will still work. Other industries have realized that the “west coast offense” is much better, but insurance fails to recognize this. The West Coast offense was first used by the San Fransisco 49ers to utilize short passes in lieu of a running game to control the ball in the mid-1980s. It totally changed the approach to winning football games. Insurers need to realize that the old playbook that they continue to use will only net a few yards with a lot of effort. Newer playbooks exist that allow carriers to move forward at 20, 30 or more yards a clip. It’s time to rethink how to attack your IT problems.
Several carriers have already started to leverage new approaches to technology with great success. The first example is Tokyo Marine. A few years back they moved away from a committee decision process in which little gets done, because committees rarely make big decisions. They took on a strong leadership and accountability approach and used a “Bappan Kaikaku” approach to their IT strategy, which means “going back to the root.” They didn’t use the old playbook to solve current problems. They addressed current problems by evaluating root issues and moved forward incrementally from there. Their focus was on simplifying products and processes, in addition to renovating agency and employee systems. When the tsunami hit in Japan recently, they were able to quickly acquire 1400 terminals and provide immediate support for their claims process due to their investment in mobile and cloud technologies. They never would have been able to respond to this disaster this effectively had they not taken a new approach to IT years before the disaster hit.
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