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It’s Time to Bury the Phrase ‘Close Followers’

Robert Regis Hyle | February 17, 2015

What’s new?

We all ask that question, probably several times a day, unless you’re totally self-absorbed with a complete lack of interest in what is going on with the people around you.

In the insurance industry, though, that question means something more than a, “How you doing?” because it has become increasingly important for carriers to keep an eye on what others around them are doing and how this affects their own business.

In a column published by ITA Pro magazine for our February issue, Denise Garth, a partner with Strategy Meets Action, points out that many insurers are looking around at what businesses in other industries are doing to bring insurance into the 21st century, but failed to come up with any new ideas of their own. The list of most innovative companies in the world does not include one insurance carrier.

I suppose that’s not much of a surprise, but it speaks to the fact that insurers are reluctant to invest their money to turn their business into a market leader, preferring to be a close follower.

Certainly the number of small and midtier carriers in insurance can’t be expected to compete the long list of large companies that seek to be truly innovative. But don’t blame it on the insurance product. Garth points out that Procter & Gamble can be found on the list of innovative companies in this country and their lineup of cleaning and beauty supplies can hardly be considered sexy.

Progressive may come closest to being an innovator with their early head-start on the rest of the industry in the form of user-based insurance, but that is just one small aspect of innovation. There is plenty more work to be done.

Those attending ITA LIVE, the Insurance Technology Association’s first-ever event from April 12-14 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will find out firsthand what insurers should be doing to become leaders rather than followers. Garth and Bill Hartnett, of Hartnett Advisors, will lead a session on emerging technology. I hope to see you there.

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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.


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