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Insurance Industry Thought Leaders Speculate on Innovation through 2020

What innovations will transform the insurance industry over the next 10 years? According to industry experts, technologies that debuted in the 2000s will mature during the next decade, driving ubiquitous computing, increasing use of analytics and new levels of collaboration.

Related: Go I&T's Top 10 Innovators of the Decade Gallery

Piyush Singh, SVP and CIO, Great American Insurance Group (Cincinnati)

In my opinion, there are two things that will truly impact the insurance industry in a dramatic way. The first major area will be ubiquity and power of mobile devices, which will replace our traditional fixed set devices. The desktop computer as we have known it will keep getting smaller and the technology that powers these devices will keep getting enriched to the point that companies will succeed in shrinking more power into the capabilities into the new mobile devices.The second prediction is related to the [expanding] accessibility and availability of data on everyone (consumers, businesses, etc.) that will change the way we look at our insureds , as well as the ways we settle their claims.

Scott McKay, SVP and CIO, Genworth Financial (Richmond, Va.)

The next frontier of innovation for the insurance industry will involve moving beyond simply employing a discreet new technology to instead deploying multiple maturing technologies in an integrated fashion. New capabilities will stem from combining technologies that connect individuals, automate processes and drive better business decisions. Imagine teams of actuaries and underwriters collaborating in real time on pricing for complex risks using deep data sets and sophisticated analytical approaches. Imagine high-touch, simple service experiences delivered for a fraction of today's costs. In both cases, integrated technologies will be the driving force behind the competitive capabilities necessary to deliver next-generation performance for both policyowners and shareowners.

Clark Troy, Research Director, Aite Group (Boston)

The next 10 years should be momentous for insurance technology. By the decade's end, as electronic health records (EHRs) and health insurance exchanges drive standardization and transparency of health information, some life and health insurers will begin to price policies by analogy with telematics: customers' premiums will rise and fall with key health indicators, though regulators will constrain this process and fraud will remain a risk. Across all lines, carriers that manage data effectively and embrace and master predictive modeling will price risk better and gain market share. Distribution will splinter between online commodity sales and increasingly bespoke sales to high-net-worth individuals and institutions.

Matt Josefowicz, Managing Director, Novarica (New York)

It's hard to predict the most important technologies of the coming decade. Who would have predicted in 2001 the mobile revolution? But the watchword for information technology in the 2010s will be ubiquity -- non-traditional devices; behavior tracking; and data about people, businesses, governments and risk will achieve a level of ubiquity by 2020 that we can't even imagine today. For insurers, this will mean their added value will shift even further away from finding things (customers or information) and toward analytics, risk management and service. Assuming privacy regulations require it, by 2020 underwriting will consist of one question: "Can I look up everything about you?"

Frank Petersmark, CIO Advocate, X by 2 (Farmington Hills, Mich.)

Two of the most important technology innovations of the next decade already have been invented: information analytics/modeling and mobility/virtualization. The innovation will be in how the industry applies these technologies to future business processes. Today, these technologies don't fit well or easily into long-ingrained business processes. The real innovation will be fundamentally upgrading and rethinking current processes to leverage such technologies. Information analytics has the potential to reshape the industry into a much more effective and predictably profitable world, providing carriers with a view of future risk and reward that they've never had. Likewise, the mobility and virtualization technology has the potential to lead carriers to new products, services and people in a much more efficient and customer-oriented way than currently exists.

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