Tech-Tock #1

Feb 11, 2019
Mike Bridges

Tech-Tock is a new column where we address the cyber world connection to Life Insurance and the channels. Several Thought Leaders will discuss the latest technology trends and why you should care about mobile/marketing, web/new business, document management/compliance, security/risk and more; basically, technology, its business effect, and its trends. At the end of the day, we want to intrigue you and give you a sense of urgency to integrate with change.

I think the way to start is to identify our players and their technology. Our players are the Millennium and Baby Boom Generations. The Boomers represent the institutions and the Millennials are the new middle management of these same institutions. As Millennials grew up in the digital explosion, the way they learned access to information behavior is so different that it affects the way they approach problem-solving. At age 30, Boomers would have to call a travel agent to book a flight, today Millennials can hold a portal in their hand and in less than 60 seconds do the same. At age 30, Boomers would have to drag their finger in circles listening to clicks to order a pizza, today Millennials holds up their portal and says, “order pizza”. Millennials have different experiences with transactions today and the process of selling and processing life insurance will evolve and integrate with their portal; point being it will be a marketplace app.

Technology thinking has already changed whereby Millennials are all about outsourcing. I’ve seen in my 40 years of technology a cycle of on-premise to outsourcing cycles changing every 10 years. The new generation has adopted outsourcing and it will never change again. The advent of Cloud computing and soon the new Quantum computing, third-party platforms will host all the applications, and internally all the institutions will host are their portal interfaces (mobile, tablet, desktop & IoT devices).

Recently attending the Nexus Insurance Show (Chicago, Nov 2018) the startup companies presenting powerful new applications understand the demand for hosted applications because the Millennials are the buyers. Artificial Intelligence leads the day with every one of the 40 exhibitors talking about their unique application and benefits of AI. One showed how eights pictures of a damaged car could produce a repair estimate in less than a minute. One showed smart home AI whereby water leaks could be detected and turned off saving millions in claims. One showed a Machine Learning process flow application which could display the real-time movement of the company’s workflow and measure their efficiencies. Many of the companies will be acquired and continue to expand the tool bag of larger established vendors which will be the winners. Winners because with so many startups building out a solution to solve a specific problem, integration has always been the challenge. In the past, the institutions supported standard organizations for supply chain integration but this remains labor intensive with ongoing expenses. As larger vendors acquire technology and accept the responsibility of tight integration, only then will they emerge. The last thing to do is ask a Millennial to key information in, over and over again.

Boomers, no matter the size or number of people in your institution, the message is keep your technology fresh, exciting and outsourced. It’s time to turn off that server in the closet and to start finding outsourced tools to help train, sell, process, deliver and store your business all from a portal. Millennials, you need to be patient. I have not seen much change in technology in the life insurance industry over the last 20 years, for example, independent life production comes in on paper 80% of the time even today. The good news is you’re now in charge and I see the change coming very fast. Congratulations!

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