Working in insurance is great. That’s why I joined Celent last week, after 13 years of working as a trade journalist and editor covering insurance digital transformation. After that time, I came to think of myself as an insurance expert first and a journalist second, and I’m looking forward to being able to apply my knowledge as the former, along the writing and editing skills I needed as the latter, to deliver value to our clients.
When I started writing about insurance, some of my sources practically apologized on behalf of the industry for being “boring.” I quickly realized that it’s anything but. Shortly before I started my insurance reporting career, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had exploded, permanently altering the perception of risk for offshore energy extraction. In writing about the insurance response to that incident, I realized that this industry sits at an important nexus in a changing world. A wide range of risks means that insurance services are crucial to keeping the machinery of society moving.
The components of insurance that made it feel “boring” were not long for the world after that. Today, insurance feels more dynamic than dull. In the past seven years, I’ve moved house three times. Each time, my homeowners’ insurance experience has been more modernized and digitalized. In December, when we settled here in the Charlotte area, I performed my first mobile self-inspection from my smartphone; in March, I helped my father install a telematics device as he converted to usage-based insurance. There’s a rewarding feeling to seeing the advances I’ve watched develop from conceptualization to operationalization trickle down to insurance policyholders in real life.
I believe that across insurance, from the carrier side to the vendor side, we are uniquely positioned to envision our solutions from the customer in. Insurance innovators must picture themselves in the shoes of the end user. For carriers, that could be a new homeowner nervous about protecting their most valuable asset, or a small business owner trying to figure out what they’re covered for in the fraught post-COVID world. For vendors and service providers, that might be a claims leader struggling with how to deploy limited resources after a CAT event, or a product leader trying to launch new coverages to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
We must remember that the customers across the value chain are doing their best to live out insurance’s noble purpose, to put people together on one of the worst days of their lives. By beginning from that understanding and finding use cases from the rapidly advancing world of technology, we can build an industry that always delivers on that promise.