Some Thoughts – Insurance and Otherwise – Triggered by COVID-19

As some of you know, I’ve begun writing a book about insurance and technology. I’ve got a more descriptive title which I plan to keep under wraps until the book is finished near the end of September 2021. I’m grateful to Wells Media Group for agreeing to publish, market, and distribute it. They are quite aware how irascible I am.

Yesterday I finished drafting what to me is a ‘major section’. Very little ‘white page desperation’ for that section. I realize that the dreaded writer’s blog (or white page desperation) will strike me many times over the months ahead.

As I have begun thinking through the next section, some thoughts about our current COVID-19 crisis have bubbled up to the surface. Some are related to the insurance industry; some are more general.

Comments are welcome about any of these thoughts:

  1. The insurance industry should have been operationally unscathed when the crisis hit. We all know that there is no tool-and-die, no actual machinery to swap out to meet the current crisis, and really, no need for any physical infrastructure other than mobile, web-enabled computing devices.
  2. The spaghetti code that is insurers’ legacy systems have become even more like warped steel rods dragging down and inhibiting insurers from easily enabling employees to WFH, producers to easily interact with clients, and clients to easily conduct commerce (including service) with the insurers. (BTW Insurers don’t ask their clients to provide policy numbers anymore on service calls, do they?)
  3. COVID-19 has quite obviously shut down economies throughout the globe. Thinking only of the US, I think that our Federal Government will have to distribute extremely large sums of money to people that have been terminated now and directly after this crisis is behind us. I don’t think it would be wise for our Federal Government to request / want / expect any of that money to be paid back whether the funds went directly to people (and I mean directly) or to businesses (regardless of the size of the business).
  4. The growth of mobile, digital commerce didn’t motivate insurance firms to move quickly from their legacy processes to interact with their producers or customers or claimants.
  5. No, a few insurers here and there does not count: there are thousands of insurance firms in the US. How many of those thousands have actually moved their operations to a portfolio of systems – whether deployed on-prem, on a hybrid cloud, or a public cloud – that enables easy and quick interactions with customers?
  6. I’m really skeptical that post COVID-19 that insurers are going to accelerate their ability to support clients, producers, and employees using web-enabled mobile, digital devices. Really skeptical. I think I have better odds buying a winning lottery ticket.
  7. More companies in more industries will look to software solutions, whether AI-enabled or not (like chatbots / virtual assistants, robots, machine learning algorithms) to get back to speed or once back to maintain operational speed.
  8. One big question: will an increasing number of companies – in more and more industries – consider, identify, and adopt the technology applications they need to operate during the next global pandemic before it happens? Will insurers be at this table? (I think you know my answer.)
  9. Whatever happened to scenario planning? Seems to me this is a perfect time for every company in every industry (yes, including the insurance industry) to get into it now. (I mean NOW!)
  10. ??????

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