Every company's leadership wants to win the battle for greater market share and profitability, but not all of them can. In any industry, the qualities that will separate the winners from the losers will include good ideas, efficiency and adaptability. In the insurance industry specifically, putting those qualities to work almost always requires the mediation of technology.
In order to stand out above their competitors, insurers need to deliver compelling products in a timely fashion and in a manner that pleases distributors; become increasingly precise in their capacity to underwrite risk; effectively comply with regulations and reporting requirements; prepare for the eventuality of natural or man-made disaster; efficiently administer policies; and deliver customer service on a par with other industries -- especially in the all-important area of claims processing.
Identifying the best means toward these ends, and ensuring that they are effectively and economically orchestrated within the enterprise today, occupies a large part of an insurer's concerns -- and a significant amount of its treasure. It may still be possible for an insurance CEO today to be ignorant of the utility of information technology to the business, provided he or she is surrounded by people who aren't. However, no insurance CEO who expects to originate or identify the best strategies for winning the battle to differentiate one's products and services and to win the allegiance of distributors can fail to make technology an object of study.
Now more than ever, the potential of technology for insurance-related processes and communications has made it an indispensable weapon for competitive differentiation. Technology-ignorant CEOs are a vestige of an earlier time, on the verge of extinction, and Tech-Savvy CEOs are the leaders with the means to shape the insurance company of the future and ensure that their organizations are among the victors, not the vanquished.
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio