World Economic Forum: Why aren't insurers leading?

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23 January 2015
Tom Scales
As you all likely know, the World Economic Forum is this week in Davos. I have reviewed much of the information, as the world economy interests me, and one area was the list of 100 strategic partners. I clearly do not know every company but it appears that 13 of the 100 are banks. That makes sense, given the topics. So I look at companies whose focus is insurance. We are a huge part of the economy, so I thought we would be equally represented. Just six. Two are local Swiss insurance giants -- Zurich and Swiss Re, so you would expect them to be involved. One is a huge world-wide insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting firm -- MMC (full disclosure, Celent is a part of MMC). That leaves three insurers:
  • Aetna
  • Old Mutual
  • Prudential
I obviously don't know why other major insurers are not involved, but it does seem interesting. My perception, having been in this industry for over 30 years, has always been that insurance companies are followers, not leaders. You only have to look at our research on online customer service in the life insurance industry to see that, as an industry, we are not very advanced. What is really keeping insurers from leading in multiple areas? We have experts in risk and financial management. We have experts in technology. We know everything there is to know about mortality and morbidity. Shouldn't we be leading?

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