"There's nowt as strange as folk" my first director told me as an explanation as to how the most logical sound, practical and common sense ideas are rejected by people.
James Harding, using a life spent working with insurers claims as experience, states:
"For many years now, I have been introduced to various technology solutions that claim to address a specific issue for a certain type of claim. Great in isolation - but try them at scale, in tandem with legacy technology and we found they over promised and under delivered."
Maybe this is why insurers are typically described as being slow to anticipate the disruptive threats from new digital distribution channels like Amazon and upstart digital full-stack insurers like Lemonade.
Frederik Bisbjerg, EVP Qatar Insurance Company is hardly a digital slouch yet makes the forceful point that most insurtechs will fail because they neither know nor seem interested in the practical issues facing insurance companies.
Yes the truth, as is usually the case, is somewhere in between. Insurers do not have a clean sheet of paper. They have inherited legacy systems with mergers and acquisitions. One Digital Transformation Director of a large carrier told me that he has 15 different core systems to manage none of them inter-operable with the others and all creaking at the seams of legacy operating systems and hardware
The technology partners and insurtechs that insurers need are those that understand that and are willing to help overcome the hurdles without charging requiring a hundreds of millions of dollars, taking an age and requiring a hoard of developers and consultants to bend an inflexible solution to an insurer's needs.
But, there also needs to be an open mind, some courage and a change in attitude in many insurers. Back to James : -
"What I’ve seen recently is a change of attitude, leadership style and priorities that are complimentary to the emergence of new technology and business models and I embrace that. We all should, as, whether you like it or not, it’s the only way our industry stands a chance."
He sees Harry and Meghan as a catalyst to change that insurers should emulate. They will remould legacy attitudes and processes for a modern world. Shouldn't we do the same?
The initial response to change usually focuses on automating existing processes, rather than transforming them. But technology advancement is happening right now. The increased demand for digital claims management over the next five years is already here. The conversations I’ve been having lately clearly show the shifting claims landscape will revolutionise insurers’ customer service strategies. Real time interaction and digital data transactions are happening in almost all industries, and consumers are increasingly demanding a similar service from their insurance providers. Increased use of digital technology offers a tremendous opportunity to improve data quality, provide greater administrative efficiency and speed up processes. In claims, going digital enhances cost control, shortens timescales and helps combat fraud. Yet, within claims services there is still a reluctance to accept that fundamental reform is taking place.