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Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Insurance Industry Reacts to Jobs' Retirement

During his tenure, the former Apple CEO has been credited with revolutionizing technology. We reached out to several industry players for thoughts on how those innovations influenced insurance technology specifically.

In naming Steve Jobs one of Insurance & Technology's Innovators of the Decade a few months ago, we pointed out how, under his leadership, Apple set standards for user experience that define the way people interact with technology, both inside and outside the enterprise. After he resigned as CEO of the Cupertino, Calif.-based company yesterday, we asked several insurance technology experts, including CIOs and analysts, how those innovations helped change the industry.

Judy Haddad, EVP, CIO/CTO, Patriot National Insurance Group (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

In the world of insurance, Steve Jobs’ innovation was in many ways a Godsend. How often can CIOs talk about a reduction of support calls because of ease of use; and secure, virus-free environments; or printing built in to iOS instead of dealing with print drivers. The ease of use has to, above all else, be the single key factor. Who on the planet today does not know how to operate an Apple device? Not many, and those who are lagging behind are dying to catch-up .That type of motivation is worthy in any business world.

Matthew Josefowicz, partner and managing director, Novarica (Boston)

While you didn't typically see a lot of Apple hardware inside insurers (at least until the past year or so, when iPads started popping up everywhere), Steve Jobs' innovations have had a tremendous impact on the insurance industry just like every other industry over the past three decades. It's not necessarily his inventions, but his design thinking that pushed the rest of tech industry to take leaps forward. Would there be Windows without the original Macintosh? How about widely available laser printing and desktop publishing? Would there be Android without the iPhone? Or the tablet deluge without the iPad? Jobs' relentless focus on user experience and simplicity has been instrumental in the consumerization of IT.

Mark Breading, partner, SMA (Boston)

For the first few decades of the IT revolution, insurers were in the driver’s seat – innovating and collaborating with technology companies to advance the state of the art. Over the last 25 years, the innovation has occurred outside the insurance industry as the balance of power has shifted from the IT department to the users of technology. Today, we see Jobs' influence visibly manifested in insurers usage and support for smartphones and tablets, but mobile devices and apps are only one dimension of his revolutionary ideas. The innovations of Apple and Steve Jobs have affected customer expectations, channel options, service delivery, and systems design. Insurers must consider not only the expectations and experience levels of customers, but also the implications for employees, agents, and business partners.

Craig Beattie, analyst, Celent (Boston, but based in London)

Steve Jobs' innovations over the years have hugely affected insurers. We shouldn't forget Apple's early accomplishments and their influence on personal computing and the role of computers. Recent innovations have continued this directive of making computers more accessible and getting technology out of the way of enabling customers and staff alike. The key influences haven't been in the latest gadgets, but rather the cultural evolution and the influence on how all industries interact with technology. The greatest impact is likely still to be felt. The iPhone redefined the smartphone as a multi-purpose device with readily accessible software that just works. This paradigm is still sending out aftershocks and the rise of tablets is part of that. Insurers have yet to fully realize the opportunity both in serving their customers, working with partners and finding efficiencies in their organization.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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