New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action —
The pandemic has changed everything. Well, not everything… but it has changed many aspects of the lives of individuals and families and has had far-reaching effects on businesses in every industry. The patterns that represent the ebb and flow of daily life have been altered significantly. Where we work, travel, eat, and buy are quite different than what they were in early 2020. This upheaval of society has important, long-term implications for the P&C insurance industry. Customers, risks, operations, and the workforce all have undergone rapid transformations over the last year. This makes strategic planning a challenge for insurers.
As the new decade dawned in 2020, many insurers began thinking about what the world would be like in 2030, and by extension, what it would mean for their business. Enter scenario planning. Scenario planning is a time-tested tool in the strategic planning toolkit. SMA has been quite busy facilitating scenario planning sessions for insurers over the past couple of years. The beauty of scenario planning is that even though the timeframe is often ten years out, the result of the process is the identification of strategic actions that should be taken in the short and near-term to position for the possible developments in the future. Before the pandemic, many were able to envision the state of their customers and their business model ten years out. Even though there were many uncertainties, there was still a relatively clear line of sight to the future.
Although mid to longer term planning should never be based on straight line projections of the future, they still form the basis from which various alternate future scenarios can be developed. Now it is fashionable to say that 2025 is the new 2030. The predominant theme is that the pandemic, economic lockdowns, and work from home mandates have accelerated digital transformation. There is no doubt this is true, but the reality is more nuanced than just an acceleration of trends in a straight-line manner. It is not just that the future we envisioned will arrive more quickly than we originally thought – it’s that the future will be different than what we all originally thought it would be. In other words, the future isn’t what it used to be.
None of us can predict the future. But that makes the scenario planning approach even more valuable. The value of evaluating different alternative futures in the context of the insurance enterprise is that it stretches our thinking, opens up new possibilities, and identifies foundational capabilities that are required for success in any of the possible futures. Every dimension can be explored in a holistic way, looking at factors external to the insurer such as the industries and customers they serve, the potential changes to the landscape of risk, the nature of the workforce, and the role of automation and advanced technologies. The whole value chain is in play – from how products are conceived and designed to how they are sold, priced, and serviced – along with every part of the business that supports those activities.
What will the world of 2025 or 2030 mean for your business? For that matter, how do you need to adjust your strategies and plans now and for 2022? Feel free to reach out to me so we can explore this together.
About The Author
Mark Breading, a Partner at Strategy Meets Action, is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methods and his ability to incorporate InsurTech and emerging tech into business strategies are unparalleled. Mark also leads SMA’s research program, has overseen the publication of over one hundred research reports, and directed custom research projects for insurer and tech clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, emerging technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him rankings as a “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the 10 finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”
Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM, where he co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.
He is a frequent speaker at industry events; an InsurTech mentor with the Global Insurance Accelerator; and a frequent contributor of articles to Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, LOMA Resource, and many other industry publications.
Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action (SMA) is an advisory services firm offering retainers, research, consulting, events, and innovation offerings to both insurance companies and solution providers. Learn more about SMA at www.strategymeetsaction.com.
SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)