Message from the Chair

Technology and me

At the beginning of my insurance career, the ubiquity of technology as we know it today, did not exist!

Now, that isn’t really true – insurance companies all managed their businesses on mainframe computer systems. That meant different things to different companies, but the vast majority of work done between underwriters and brokers, or adjusters and claimants, involved some level of data entry for financial and accounting details, while everything else related to policies and claims was captured on paper. And, if something needed to get to the ‘top of the pile,’ it was delivered overnight in a courier bag.

The property & casualty world operated very similarly to other service industries, pushing information around on paper, and if something needed to be dealt with urgently, it was handled over the phone.

As we look around our industry today, we sit in an absolute vortex of technology that has the potential to vastly improve our value proposition to the customers we serve, and, at the same time, completely disrupt and render obsolete various elements of the insuring process. Within the array of industry roles and positions, these technology impacts stand to fundamentally alter the duties, priorities and requisite skills of our industry.

The historical context of many of our industry’s jobs of collecting and moving data on customers and loss events continues to shift, from insurance workers doing the bulk of the work, to the customers themselves.

Predictions are all around us: chatbots with AI (artificial intelligence) will build up insurance knowledge and will soon displace many insurance professionals of today. Really? Do our customers want and value non-human interactions? Maybe some, but very likely not all.

Early adopters of new technology interfaces exist in every realm of business. There have and will continue to be changes in what insurance consumers expect from our industry. And while we may have been behind in offering a smooth online experience, as an industry we are now adopting better digital tools for the purchasing, servicing, and fulfillment of the indemnification obligations of p&c insurance.

Most importantly, we continue to put emphasis on building personal relationships with our customers. This will continue to be a key factor for our industry as we figure out better ways to label and categorize our policyholders into like groups, segments and risk types.

The technology threats and what can I do about it?

Thankfully, most p&c insurance organizations, particularly larger ones, are quite aware of the trends and are quickly moving towards technologies to improve our offering of indemnity and trust to the consumer.

Speed of delivery of all aspects in our process of finding, selecting, buying, changing and keeping our insurance protections must continue to accelerate. Our systems and means to moving all of these consumer processes faster and with less friction are going to have to improve.

In your current role as an insurance professional, are you noticing the same? Do you feel the pace quickening? Are there new tools and resources at your disposal to help you make the transition?

One of the things that can help you is to get an understanding of where your organization stands and is going in these areas. Get all the training and development you can on the technologies you have to work with. However, where the professionalism of p&c insurance providers will show is not to fight the rise of AI or machine learning or any of the new technologies that consumers will want in their insurance experiences, but to refocus ourselves on reaffirming the organic intelligence that’s firmly rooted in the people serving people in our business. This means that you need to continue to demonstrate your people skills, as well as your leadership and organizational skills in the workplace. It’s been said that to ‘future-proof’ your skills you need to heighten your emotional intelligence, be curious and search for solutions to problems, turn quickly or pivot your focus as needed, and keep your base level digital skills up to speed.

The CIP Society is also looking to help you keep your pulse on new technology and the changing workforce. Upcoming this May, the CIP Society is hosting a free webinar, Career Planning with mycareer: In-demand skills for the p&c insurance industry. The webinar will include an introduction to initial outcomes of the 2018 demographic research, such as insights into how roles and skills in the industry are changing, and what new roles and skills are in high demand today and into the future.

In the fall, the Institute will publish its latest demographic research report, and will follow up with a sister report that delves into the intersect of demographics and technology in the p&c insurance industry workforce, with this year’s Emerging Issues Research Report.

While the industry is changing fast, we hope that you can look to the CIP Society and the Institute to help guide you and your organization through the changes we’re facing, together as an industry.

Mike Kosturik, BA, FCIP

Chair, National CIP Society