COVID-19: A Catalyst for Digital Transformation

I recently had the pleasure and the privilege of participating in Insurity’s Connected 2020 virtual conference. This conference was originally supposed to have taken place live in Dallas in late April, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in plans. While the conference location and content delivery method shifted, the core mission of providing useful information for attendees remained the same.

I served on a panel with two other industry experts—Ram Veeramani, a vice president of Technology Services at Everest Insurance, and Jeff Rielly, a product solution consultant at Insurity. Over the course of the panel, which was moderated by Clyde Owen, vice president of Industry Solutions & Business Development at Insurity, the three of us discussed characteristics of successful digital transformations and explored how digital automation and data can impact insurance processes across an organization. My specific role was to set the proverbial table for my fellow panelists by outlining what I believe are the five obstacles that could derail digital transformation efforts at insurance carriers:

  • Failure to align priorities
  • Lack of executive buy-in
  • Weak and resistant culture
  • Fragmented strategies
  • Legacy systems

Here is a link to a snippet of my presentation (provided courtesy of Insurity) that fleshes out these points a bit more.

The broader point that I made in the presentation was that even though digital transformation was always going to be necessary for P&C carriers to compete in the future, it has become even more critical for carriers to consider digital transformation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, digital transformation has moved from being a great idea to kick around at an industry conference to becoming a necessity for carriers to operate effectively in a different environment. While carriers will likely still be able to conduct business on an analog basis, it will be more difficult than before. For example, if claim adjusters are not able to (or are not welcome to) inspect property damage in person, carriers will have to resort to a different approach.

The long and short is that carriers no longer have the luxury of waiting around to see if other carriers’ digital transformations are going to work. The future that many carriers believed would take some time to arrive has gotten here much sooner than anticipated. Carriers will have to commit to this path and ensure that they are doing any due diligence with all deliberate speed.

Digital transformation is not impossible. To wit, firms such as Insurity that were scheduled to host conferences this year have been able to pivot quickly and take what were supposed to be live, content-driven, networking-heavy events and turn them into successful virtual events. To be certain, transforming insurance operations to digital is likely more complicated than producing a one-off event such as a conference. But still, with the proper mindset and perseverance, carriers can make digital transformation happen.

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