This is the fifth of eight every-other-week blog posts excerpts from my book: “Stone Tablets to Satellites: The Continual Intimate but Awkward Relationship Between the Insurance Industry and Technology”. The publication date for this fifth post is May 4, 2022. The fourth blog post excerpted from my book was posted April 20, 2022. The last blog post of excerpted content will be June 15, 2022. Wells Media will publish the book on June 28, 2022 as a hard cover, paperback, ebook (Kindle), and audio book.
The excerpt of this 5th post is from the Insurance Commerce Section of the book. This section includes seven chapters which encompass a discussion of risk landscape perspectives; of customer perspectives; of carrier perspectives; of product development perspectives; of channel management perspectives; of producer productivity perspectives; and of claim management perspectives.
Let’s get to the excerpt …
Currently, in the fifth Technology Era with wireless, web-accessible, and cloud enabled digital infrastructure any person has immediate and easy access to an increasing number of life’s activities replete with a set of rich media – text, IM / chat, voice, pictures, video – most of which can be stored as well as used for collaboration purposes or supported by complex analytical capabilities all available on ‘smart’ mobile devices. Note that readers of the book will find that I describe five technology eras including select technologies of each era, my chosen symbolic technology of each era, my chosen symbolic technology application of the era, and select technology applications of each era.
Information, products, services, communication and collaboration processes are accessible to any person when they want rather than the other way around to initiate or fulfill an activity of life.
The reality brought about by the fifth Technology Era is that every person is increasingly becoming the center of their own economic and social activities. Access to products and services, whether analog or digital, are increasingly available at a person’s fingertips or at a person’s voice using a mobile, web-accessible wireless device enabled with a voice assistant.
Eight product and service categories available to use with mobile apps
I show eight select product and service categories that are available to each person using a mobile, web-accessible wireless device in the visual below. The categories to the right of the dotted red line represent information, socializing, entertainment, and shopping services. The categories to the left (or ‘south’) of the dotted red line represent economic participation, remote learning, and tele-medicine. I’ve separated them into two groups to more easily focus on the ‘left / south’ group in my discussion of COVID-19 later in this chapter.
Most products and services within the categories on either side of the dotted red line are available at any time. However, a few products and services, such as within the tele-medicine and entertainment categories, are only accessible at select times due to healthcare professionals not being available at any hour of the day or entertainment restricted due to contractual time limits of a particular streaming video.
This changing of the intimacy / awkwardness dynamic between people and technology applications proved to be extremely fortuitous throughout 2020 as COVID-19 permeated every country in the world. The ability for people to use mobile, web-accessible, cloud-enabled apps to accomplish many objectives of daily life from the categories to the left of the dotted red line became abruptly more critical than society would have thought at the end of the year 2019.
COVID-19 shoves society over to the ‘left’ (‘south’) side of the dotted line
There have always been segments of the population that needed remote access to information from their employers: sales people, management consultants, industry analysts, employees traveling to and attending conferences, field operations people, and others. However, the ability to access a wide array of information, products, services, as well as communications and collaboration capabilities using mobile apps or web browsers became essential to almost every person on the planet when the COVID-19 global pandemic swept across the entire world in 2020. Living ‘normally’ replete with its vast panoply of frequent face-to-face interactions was quickly brought to a stand-still by the highly infectious virus.
COVID-19 is a lens that magnified a mandate for companies from all industries to provide their services and products to customers and employees alike through smart mobile device apps or web browsers. The virus pressured governments and companies from all industries to support ‘crossing to the left – or south – side of the red line’ and offer citizens, customers, and employees the ability to easily: telecommute, learn remotely, conduct on-demand work safely to minimize the likelihood of becoming infected by or exposed to the COVID-19 virus, and to use tele-medicine instead of going into a healthcare provider’s office.
Note: Readers will find that I spend some time discussing the Digital Divide in the book. It is an issue that is obviously critical for society to solve but also critical for the insurance industry to solve as it strives to get-and-keep customers.
The next blog post will be published on May 18, 2022. I will excerpt content from one of the other chapters within the Insurance Commerce Section. Specifically, I will excerpt some content from the chapter titled Carrier Perspectives. The last blog post of excerpted content will be published on June 15, 2022. The book will be published on June 28, 2022.