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December 06 2019 | Karen Pauli

Journalism 101 classes teach that a provocative headline is necessary to attract readers. Today, many news outlets are taking that to a high art form. Current journalism aside, my guess is that the above headline drew some insurance industry skeptics to read further. Others just deleted the link because their belief is that commercial lines insurers are stuck in the 1980’s and the headline is hype. But, hopefully, more were curious or even down-right happy to read what this headline really means, not only to the commercial insurance industry, overall but to their own company.

2019 CL Transformational Tech BlogDuring the past decade, SMA has conducted a survey to learn how insurers are viewing emerging technology. This year’s technology survey reflects industry changes – because, in the grand scheme of things, some of the featured technologies are no longer emerging. And because the strategic value of the technologies to insurers is maturing, there is a shift in how the research looks at transformational technology. At the end of the day, technology should be about transforming the business and driving better outcomes. The survey results reveal the degree to which strategies are being generated. Are there pilots in the works? What percentage of the activities are implementations? Where do commercial insurers believe impact is at a business-area level? And probably everyone’s favorite, are insurers investing?

This year’s recently published survey showed some predictable results – AI is the insurance industry darling and commercial lines is no exception. But there were also some surprises – IoT activity level fell off from 2018. But why? The reasons highlighted in the report are important – it isn’t lack of value. SMA analysis and experience reveals that there are seven technologies that are supporting commercial lines transformational activity to one degree or another:

  1. AI/Machine Learning                                  5. Virtual Payments
  2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)           6. Wearable Devices
  3. New User Interaction (UI)                          7. Blockchain
  4. Internet of Things

To be very clear, not every insurer and every product line places the same value on each of the transformational technologies. Commercial lines are complex, and insurers are adopting where business outcomes are improved and the technology is within the parameters of strategic plans. The trick for many commercial lines insurers will be to pay close attention to shifts in business outcomes and respond quickly. Unlike past technology cycles, competitive advantage tied to technology adoption is emerging quickly.   

For the skeptics about commercial lines adopting transformative technology, hopefully you are a bit more positive. For those curious, or even down-right happy, hopefully learning curves went up, and you are challenged to understand how the seven transformative technologies can drive better outcomes within your own company.

 For more information, check out SMA’s research report, Transformational Technologies in P&C Commercial Lines: Insurer Progress, Plans, and Projections.

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To learn more, please contact:
Karen Pauli
Strategy Meets Action