The title of the March 5th 2012 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference (ICTC) was “The New Landscape”. The underlying theme, driven by presenters, panels, hallway conversations, and awards were 4 Ds: Data, Disruption, Discovery, and Dynamics.
We’ll spend some time in this space reviewing a number of the presentations over the next while, but here are our immediate observations.
Data – Information overload is not an affliction, it is the new normal. The advice from the ICTC: Get used to it. In one of the opening sessions, Neil Isford, VP – Business Analytics & Optimization, IBM North America cited a 2011 Sloan study which found that that 58% of organizations saw analytics as a competitive advantage, which was up from 40% in 2010. The role of IT is changing from being the keepers of data to that of providing tools for users to access big data sources for needed information and knowledge.
Disruption – To quote Yogi Berra: “The future ain’t what it used to be”. Celent’s Craig Weber noted there are good reasons for organizations to promote (not inhibit) activities which creatively disrupt current routines. While insurers are normally risk averse, the current market conditions and availability of new tools demand and enable non-traditional responses to promote growth and profitability.
Discovery – We must get used to learning how to solve I Don’t Know Squared problems; i.e., “I don’t know what I don’t know”. Concreted examples came in the Telematics Panel. It is clear that we can’t know with certainty that using data produced by vehicle use for Pay-As-You-Drive or Pay-How-You-Drive Schemes are going to be better than traditional underwriting and rating data, but there is strong intuitive knowledge that suggests it behooves us to try to find out.
Dynamics – All of this is happening in real time. In her keynote presentation, Gartner’s Kimberly Harris-Ferrante noted while we are in transition to full digitalization of insurance now, the transformation might be complete and considered ‘business as usual’ for leading firms by 2014 or 2015. She presented recent Canadian research that suggests Canada has work to do in some key areas.
it was an exciting, challenging, stimulating day. Insurance-Canada will be publishing material from the event over the next few weeks, and we will highlight it in this space, perhaps with the help of some presenters.
Meantime, you might want to see some of the pictures, courtesy of the Conference’s media sponsor, CI Top Broker.