Auto and home insurance bundles, umbrella policies, constant arguments about paying for healthcare (especially during a pandemic), and thousands of streaming and social commercial advertisements pushing different providers as being the best option for the average Joe and Jane.
Yes, we are talking about insurance and its many pros and cons. But what Flo from Progressive, the Geico Gecko, and the ever-popular Jake from State Farm may not be able to tell you is where the insurance industry is heading. And truth be told, you do not need them to do so — you can use your own Anticipatory mindset to decode the disruptions that will change the insurance industry from this point forward.
As a consumer, this general concept may strike fear into your heart — or, conversely, bring much-needed relief. It is no secret whatsoever that the consumer-facing side of the insurance sector is complicated, no matter how easy advertisements and salespeople try to convince individual consumers the process of obtaining insurance will be. Disruptions — and better yet, digital disruptions — that turn the insurance industry on its head are meant to ease the common pain points customers face.
And as an insurance professional or a business owner in the insurance industry, digital disruptions should bring you joy — your life will be easier, your customers will be happier, and most importantly, new doors will open to better opportunities to help the masses and scale your organization. However, those who fear these new digital disruptions do so because they feel them to be unpredictable and earth-shattering.
Getting in front of any type of digital disruption is easy, as has been demonstrated by my Anticipatory Leader System. But those in the insurance industry, just as in all other industries, who do not embrace the principles of an Anticipatory mindset are frequently left to dread disruption and change.
One of my favorite principles from my Anticipatory Leader System is the Skip It Principle, because it is a straightforward way to start to peel the onion of an issue that shakes up your reality. With the Skip It Principle, we shift our focus from the perceived problem to the actual problem that a digital or other disruption introduces.
In the case of the insurance industry, the real problem is not that accelerated digital technology is transforming how we buy, sell, and implement insurance — it is the fact that change happens in life, period!
Think about that for a second: Insurance is an industry built on the very idea of constant, variable change. Unpredictable change is why we have insurance, is it not? Because we cannot literally use a crystal ball to see what is coming, we pay money to be covered if something goes wrong. The very concept of insurance is Anticipatory, in and of itself! So digital disruptions are not the problem here — the real problem is just a mindset issue.
Insurance agents and other professionals do not actually fear change in general, as the promise of change brings them business — but they do fear change that could disrupt them. Similarly, many customers of insurance fear change in the industry because they worry that these changes will make the process of acquiring insurance even more complex and convoluted, leaving them with lackluster coverage despite their best efforts and investments.
As a business professional in insurance, it is your job to ease the minds of your customers — and, moreover, to follow through with ensuring that your promises of more efficient and accurate experiences with insurance hold true. To perform these tasks, you must use an Anticipatory mindset to identify exactly what digital disruptions are impacting the insurance industry going forward, and how they impact your customers.
Let’s identify a concept and an applicable disruptive digital technology that is transforming a multitude of industries already. This way, we can pre-solve any customer and organizational problems this technology will bring to the insurance industry and prepare for what is to come, just as you do for your clients in creating policies that anticipate and help them to meet their insurance needs.
Omni-Channel Claims Experience — I interviewed Richard Berkman of IBM’s retail technology about omni-channel intelligent commerce. The convergence of a business’s digital technology user experience and its customers’ experience in the physical world is not solely constrained to retail, as evidenced by the ways the principles of omni-channel intelligent commerce are impacting insurance providers and their consumers.
Creating an omni-channel claims experience with an insurance agent or agency means streamlining the interactions that follow an actual, physical incident, when the need to file an insurance claim arises. Everything sounds wonderful on paper when the risks discussed are purely theoretical, but when an incident occurs, the integration of the policy, the insurance agent, and the resolution following an incident must be as seamless as the customer’s experience buying a product online or in-person at a physical location.
There are several technologies already disrupting the likes of retail and service-based industries, designed to create connected and seamless experiences, both virtual and in-person. Disruptions in the insurance industry surrounding this concept are already under way, driven most notably by Internet of Things (IoT) applications and telematics.
Internet of Things (IoT) Risk Assessments — With edge computing, 5G connectivity, and the ability to process more and more data in real time, we are reaching a point in the insurance industry where we can adjust rates by the minute! For example, what was once simply a perk of having a tracker in your car measuring your driving habits and ultimately helping you lower your premiums by making you a safer driver is now finding its way in your home, place of business, and more.
The proactive way insurance companies are already using IoT applications in homes and commercial spaces, for instance, includes predicting when an issue is more likely to take place, like a pipe bursting or a fire starting. This technology alerts the customer of the elevated risk and enables him or her to actually prevent the incident from happening to have them avoid filing a claim for damage to begin with. Talk about pre-solving using anticipation!
Overall, the point of a seamless customer and insurance agency experience is found in a connected experience, whereas legacy systems and legacy mindsets of insurance agencies reflect a passive product that a customer is simply required by law to have. Now customers feel interactive with their insurance, and it removes the top-down emotions once commonplace in the industry.
Naturally, with every digital disruption that improves the customer’s experience, there is the pertinent fear that your status quo will be upended — or, in some cases, eliminated completely. I’d love to tell you that this is not true, but it is a Hard Trend future certainty that you cannot avoid.
However, the beauty of anticipation is that you stay ahead of these disruptions and foresee many of the idiosyncrasies that can and likely will disrupt you as an agency owner or insurance representative. In this case, knowing that increased connectivity is causing the disruptions we discussed in this blog, what aspects of your operation can you pinpoint as likely to be transformed by IoT, edge computing, or autonomous technology that processes customer data?
Insurance, like every other industry in the commercial world, is a Both/And industry, meaning that legacy systems are not completely irrelevant in the wake of new, transformative technology, much as human beings will not be replaced by machines. The skills you have developed as a professional in the insurance industry are still extremely valid, and an Anticipatory mindset will teach you how to help them converge with the new systems and changes coming now and in the future.
Learn to be Anticipatory with my Anticipatory Leader System today!
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.