Overheard insurance conversations from 2025 (Updated 1/27/2021)

Reporting in from 2025 I wanted to note some of the conversations I overheard while listening to the panoply of microphones I planted in some tables and walls of several P&C and L&A insurance companies. Just snippets really but I thought other insurance industry people might be interested …

Where is our money going? Are we still investing 75% or more of our technology budget maintaining our legacy systems?

Well, we have rationalized some of our legacy systems. We only have at most 10 of each of our core administration systems. We might get down to four billing systems by years-end.

COVID-19 really hit us hard in 2020/2021. How many of your clients really thought we could turn your company ‘on a dime’ and essentially move all of your core administration systems to a (secure) cloud so they could easily and quickly do business with your firm?

I assume that like us, you had to either purchase hundreds of laptops for your staff who had to work from home – did you have any connection issues at all?

Were your brokers or independent agencies really ready for COVID-19? How many of them had moved their operations, including customer-facing and carrier-facing, to the cloud? Did your client satisfaction take a hit? How badly?

We’re punching forward experimenting with AI … at least that’s what our IT staff tells me. But they are having serious problems accessing the data from our business systems. Hell, they told me we still don’t have an agreement about what each piece of data means. How can we analyze data without knowing what the data means even if it seems to take forever to access?

We began using AI for underwriting what we thought were relatively straightforward applications. But some lawsuits have come in saying we are discriminating against some of the prospects. Worse, we have regulators investigating disparate impact. The regulators want us to thoroughly explain our AI-driven models.

The physical infrastructure is being augmented with sensors but we’re not sure how to capitalize on that to improve our underwriting or claims practices. Our auto insurance department keeps talking to me about vehicle-to-vehicle functionality from the car manufacturers. But what does that really mean to us, practically?

Has anyone in our company used digital maps? Most of our claims folks still use paper maps. Aren’t those maps good enough or should we look into digital maps? What’s the learning curve to effectively use digital maps?

Some customers are complaining about how long it gets to reach a person for service … and when they eventually reach a CSR, that person asks for their policy number? Can’t we make that faster by using chatbots or whatever these things are called?

Genetic engineering seems to be getting out of control. Did you hear that some scientists are brazenly helping people give birth to children who will have fewer diseases or medical conditions as they grow older? Longevity is becoming ever longer. This will really switch our life insurance industry from a ‘protecting someone’s life’ insurer to ‘protecting someone’s income stream throughout their life’ insurer.

Cloud ? Yeah, we’ve put some non-customer functionality and data in a private cloud. Public cloud: we remain very concerned. 

Well, we put our Sales & Distribution functionally and data in a public cloud a few years ago. But now we want to transfer all of that functionality and data to another cloud provider and we’re struggling to get the job done.

We’re still fending off hundreds of cyber-attacks daily. How is your company handling this issue?

We’re being bombarded with calls from vendors offering something called ‘cognitive computing.’ I’d be happy if we had more ‘cognitive’ staff.

Our brokers remain upset about our changing risk appetite. I wish they put more energy into offering us more profitable business.

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