Day two of the LIMRA Annual Meeting continued on the themes of transformation and innovation of an industry looking toward the future. Christopher Young, Director of Industry Strategy for Financial Services for Adobe, opened the day with a presentation on digital disruption in the financial services industry, focusing in on the experiential focus of the consumer today. Systems today are becoming increasingly immersive, personalized, and interconnected. Furthermore, this demand of anytime, anywhere experience is reaching a fever pitch. But while consumers have seen examples of interconnected experiences in retail, they demand, but haven’t seen the same seamlessness on a broad scale from financial services companies.

Most notable, Young made the point that experience is more than just the user interface and clean, fast websites. Creating a positive experience means knowing when your customer is unhappy and not cross-selling other products. Listening to the data that is collected in a dynamic way to understand what their needs are from the brand at any one point in time.

A time of exponential growth for technology

Salim Ismail, CEO of ExO Works and Director of Singularity University, built on this idea of experience further through his exploration of what the future will look like thanks to advances in technology and research. Pulling from the experience of entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Ismail emphasized that in today’s world anyone can enter a legacy industry, assess the industry from the bottom up, and disrupt the business model.  The question every brand must address is “what business are we really in?” Rather than seeing it from a product perspective, Ismail focused on the value proposition and how inventors and innovators in other areas are set to have unintentional consequences on the insurance industry.

Can vs Should: the ethics of data usage

With all of the talk of advancement in data analytics and the use of big data, the question does arise: while we can get the data, should we be using the data? One of the tenants of the industry, reiterated throughout the two days is that is a noble industry, created to help consumers during their time of need. An industry built on a foundation of trust and crisis management, often faces the dilemma, while this information is incredibly beneficial, does it have the potential to erode trust?

Sheila Colclasure, Vice President for Privacy and Public Policy at Acxiom addressed this at length in her Tuesday morning workshop. In a world that is moving to pseudo-anonymous, passive data collection, companies must recognize that use of this data must be carefully calculated. While there is no one governing set of rules or expectations today, as more data is collected, additional ethical review boards are likely to pop up that will have direct implications for how insurers use this data.

A voice of a generation

Tom Brokaw, legendary newscaster, closed out the conference in the same way that Dr. Rice started: a look at the generations of today and how public affairs has a direct impact on individuals. Mr. Brokaw used his experience reporting on the headlines to address the challenges we face as a nation and the changing face of tomorrow’s consumer.

What we think

The lessons from the conference were varied and poignant. It’s clear from the conference that there is a microscopic focus on innovation and the future of the industry among insurance leaders. Some feel this is best suited through small changes to current business models and product structures, while others see a more seismic shift ahead. But all clearly focused on the same thing: Tomorrow’s customer looks vastly different from today. Either way, the crucial element will be staying focused on transforming the industry so it is better suited for tomorrow’s customer. Regardless of brand or industry, the challenges and opportunities that exist are exponential, and taking a look back at our history can provide clues of how to continually focus on the ever changing “new normal” to best serve market needs.  

Stephanie Roy is the Director of Insights, Insurance at Mintel. She is responsible for providing internal and external stakeholders with insights and analysis on trends in the Life, Health and P&C insurance industries across North America.

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