Expert Interview series: What insurers must do to prepare for post COVID-19 era
What do you expect to be the short and long term effects of COVID-19 on the insurance industry?
I would answer in threefold. I can share with you what is my dream, what I wish that is going to happen, both short and midterm, and then I will tell you what is my fear that’s going to happen short and midterm, and then we can talk about different insurance products.
My dream is that, actually, the insurance industry for the most part understood that COVID-19 is their wake-up call. Now even the most conservative person finally understands that digital transformation is not just for the young and a passing fad, but it’s a substantial part of the future of the industry. Today, if you don’t have a digital signature, you cannot do sales right now. I think that’s something super important to understand. Digital transformation is an opportunity.
Now we are all so excited that we were able to go to remote in a few short weeks, or even a few days. But when you see the opportunity that exists in this industry, the great people who work here, who are finding solutions to change decade old processes in days and not in years. What I would love to see is that we now take this momentum and we build new products, we become partners in the lives of our clients and customers, we change everything. We beat Google and Facebook and we become the new tech giants of the world.
That is my dream.
My fear, on the other hand, is that we see a restoration. Over the course of human history, we’ve seen restorations many times. Here in Europe in the 19th century after revolutions the old dukes and earls took over power again and stayed for a few decades.
That’s my fear. I have already talked with senior decision makers that say, “Oh, finally our staff can return fully to the headquarter.” I immediately think: but that’s the past. Why? Why should a person living one and a half hours away from your headquarter actually drive every day there?
It makes no sense.
So, my fear is that we see a restoration. That a lot of senior decision makers have not learned their lesson.
And that we will go back to pushing senseless products into the market, continue building hierarchical organizations, focusing on optimizing the value chain and doing this and this and that, and not coming up with a whole new business model or coming up with innovative solutions or platforms. My fear is that we will not go out there into the world and work with other industries and think about how we can actually work together.
The truth probably will be somewhere in the middle, even though I dream.
I think that there is a tremendous opportunity, and actually the obligation of everybody in the insurance industry, not to complain about the restoration trends, but instead see it as an opportunity.
It’s our duty as insurance professionals, to work hard every day to make our dream come true.