By: Robert Regis Hyle
When someone asks you what you do and you respond, “I’m in the insurance business,” do you think they have any idea what you mean? This is a confusing industry since there are so many aspects to it—from the different lines of business to the different ways policies are sold, to the different tasks within any of those specific fields.
This may be a bit self-serving, but those differences are one reason why PropertyCasualty360.com has been so successful over the last two years as we present stories from the many different vantage points in insurance, at least on the property & casualty side.
I bring this up because currently on our website is a slideshow featuring some interesting opinions on what 2013 holds for agents and brokers. One of those slides holds the views of David Bidmead, the U.S. CEO of Marsh Inc. He says:
“The insurance industry is a reflection of the world generally. For me, the new normal—something that we’ll all need to adjust to—is living in a state of perpetual change where there is no steady state. The insurance industry has historically operated on the perception that the past is a reliable indicator of the future, and yet we have suffered natural catastrophes that are described as “1-in-500-year events” occurring every year at a time when the global economy sits on a knife’s edge and companies around the world are trying to do more with less. In this environment, the ability to lead and successfully manage change is going to become an increasingly notable difference and a competitive differentiator.”
Bidmead’s take on the future comes from a brokerage perspective, but addresses the challenges insurance IT leaders face every day. We do live in a world of perpetual change and sometimes the only people who can translate those changes are the IT leaders. It is not enough for them to understand it themselves, though, they must communicate those changes as well as offer plans for the enterprise to address those changes.
Bidmead also points out that challenge insurance faces in managing events that go far beyond what the predictive models have laid out for underwriters in terms of coverage. Models are never going to predict every storm that comes our way, but they do offer guideposts on how insurers need to address possibilities.
Knowledge is the key and that can only come from the data insurers have compiled over decades of doing business. It is impossible to “manage change” without information. We are reminded of this every day when we see bad decisions made and then followed by shoulder shrugs that indicate no one knew any better.
Insurance data won’t tell you everything you need to know about catastrophes and coverages, but reasoned guesses beat shoulder shrugs every day of the week.