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Giving Thanks for Insurance Technology

Robert Regis Hyle | November 25, 2014

This traditionally is a week of reflection amidst the hustle and bustle of getting home for the holidays or preparing a feast for a bunch of relatives. I hope that your Thanksgiving doesn’t reflect any of the comical celebrations of friends and family that we see on TV and in the movies.

There is much to be grateful for this year if you are a part of the insurance technology community. For many years, IT people were just thankful they had jobs. Somebody had to keep the lights on, after all. About six years ago, though, IT had even more to be thankful for. The business community finally turned to their technology partners and asked for help as the insurance world faced the enormous challenge of picking itself up in the aftermath of the recession of 2008.

Today there are still some holdouts, but for the most part IT leaders are looked upon as key strategic forces within the halls of insurance carriers throughout the world.

Some will say, “Be careful what you wish for.” But that doesn’t describe the IT leaders I have dealt with in covering this industry for 16 years.  The IT leaders I know were champing at the bit for this opportunity and relished the challenge rather than shirked away from it.

I recently interviewed Stuart Tainsky, CIO of PURE, for our cover story for the December issue of ITA Pro and he reflected the enthusiasm that insurers and insurance IT people have displayed in recent years.

“To me insurance is one of the most interesting and impactful industries,” says Tainsky. “I think our industry is fascinating, but it’s not viewed as the most glamorous, particularly in technology.”

It’s going to take a few more years for the insurance industry to escape the stodgy image it has embraced over the years and who knows if it will ever be viewed as exciting by outsiders. But today it has a fighting change and that is something to be thankful for as nearly every insurer sweats over where the next generation of insurance IT leaders will come from.

There is much work to be done, but the resources to make improvements have never been more available than they are today. Now it is up to IT leaders to share their vision of what technology can do to make insurance more than just something people are forced to buy, but rather a partner in the life journey of every policyholder.

So let’s all be thankful and enjoy the holiday this week. There is plenty of work ahead, but also some time for fun. And remember, this is the insurance industry, so don’t let any of you get caught deep frying that turkey on your deck. Happy Thanksgiving.


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