Episode 7

Forrester Analyst on What the Industry’s Future Holds & How to Prepare

It’s hard enough to plan for tomorrow. What does the future hold for the life insurance industry? And how can we reach new generations who are skeptical?

In this episode of Life Accelerated, Principal Analyst at Forrester Ellen Carney walks through the industry’s major risks and priorities as the consumer, product, and market rapidly change.

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It’s hard enough to plan for tomorrow. What does the future hold for the life insurance industry? And how can we reach new generations who are skeptical?

Ellen Carney, Principal Analyst at Forrester, lives in the data. In this episode of Equisoft’s Life Accelerated, she walks through the major risks facing the industry, how to progress and plan for the future, and what to prioritize as the consumer, product and market rapidly changes. Learn what’s next and how to act now.

Key Takeaways:

    • A major risk to life insurance is marketing to consumers instead of creating lasting, impactful B2B relationships and partnerships.

    • Life insurance’s top priority isn’t to fix past mistakes and bad decisions. Instead, organizations should focus on investing in technology to modernize and achieve goals.

    • The next wave of digital transformation is relating technology back to organic life. How can life insurance help beneficiaries and policyholders?

The top priority for insurance organizations is how do I build for growth? That's what they need to be thinking about. Not – How do we fix up what we made some bad decisions about years ago.

Ellen Carney

Principal Analyst | Forrester

Our Guest

Ellen Carney

LinkedIn Website

Ellen is a principal analyst serving financial services technology decision makers in roles such as CIOs and enterprise architects in the insurance and wealth, investment, and asset management industries. Her research focuses on the technology decisions that financial services firms are investing in, including core platforms modernization and replacement and the integration of emerging technologies with legacy systems to drive better digital experiences and improved operational efficiency.

Prior to her current research coverage, Ellen spent eight years providing strategic analysis and advice to Forrester’s insurance digital business strategy clients, focusing on eBusiness strategies and best practices in digital and customer experience as well as adoption trends for property and casualty, life, group, and health insurers.


Anthony: Hi Ellen. It's great to talk to an old friend and somebody, I respect so much.

Ellen, we've seen some very encouraging conversations or we've, we've heard some very encouraging conversations within the life accelerated series. And the pandemic seems to have been a factor in accelerating digital transformation in the life insurance industry. How would you say the industry is progressing in that regard?

Anthony: Is life insurance moving away from its reputation as a laggard in a laggard industry when it comes to technology?

Ellen: Oh, absolutely. And you know, what's that truism Anthony, nothing like a crisis. Well, you know, that basically was what, what spurred a lot of changed behavior on the part of consumers. COVID obviously we saw record interest in 2020 record new business, double digit sales increases in.

Sadly record disbursements to beneficiaries and all of that put pressure on insurance systems. That pressure is continuing because now we're in a very interesting danger period for the life insurance space. now it's the rare flu. We have a different, attitude towards COVID we're caring about different things.

some of these policies that we wrote back in 2020 are in danger of lapsing and us losing those customers. So, you know, this is gonna be a, an absolutely critical way that we're gonna be able to use data and analytics, you know, to hopefully anticipate and predict, you know, who might those lapses might be.

Ellen: And sadly, this is an industry where we already have, the secret shame of the life insurance industry that we have orphan policies, you know, that's also amplifying this. So technology's gonna play a huge role here.

and what about the effect of the pandemic on the way insurance companies function and the way technology progressed?

work from anywhere, right. We, you know, we, we no longer had swivel chair collaboration or, or engineering to solve problems, solve technical problems, understand how a new, bit of kit actually operated.

Ellen: And so, you know, we obviously saw changes in the role of other kinds of capabilities that were gonna help ensure that we could use the new technology investments that, you know, we rolled out to, you know, accommodate changes in consumer behavior and demand for life insurance in 2020 and 2021.

Anthony: Okay. And on, on back to the topic specifically of accelerating digital transformation, one of the things I like talking to people about is how they experienced this in their it shop and whether the fact that, work went remote and the fact that there was more pressure to deal with customers, on a remote basis, whether that accelerated their digital journey, shall we call it?

Ellen: oh, well, I, I wouldn't say it accelerated the digital journey, Anthony. I think it changed some of the things that they prioritized. Certainly some of the things that we're seeing, in, life insurance, technology priorities is, you know, how can we speed up underwriting?

and granted, this is functionality that, the pyramid doesn't have to show up and, you know, draw blood and stuff like that.if you couldn't meet face to face, you know, how were you gonna be able to do that? And that was being driven by the technology organization.

Ellen: Thank you. automated life insurance, underwriting applications from, you know, the, from many of the reiners. So, you know, this is certainly one of the ways that, you know, it?

stepped up to, Speed up underwriting in a time where we couldn't meet face to face. And, that was also fueled by, capabilities and artificial intelligence in RPA. Also APIs and things like that as well. So, I mean, it was this kind of perfect storm of capabilities. Both in terms of technologies that were coming to market Anthony, but also in terms of, use cases that,COVID forced for life insurance to invest in.

Anthony: What are some of the other technologies that are very important to the life insurance industry? Now, I I'm thinking of things like cloud infrastructure. You've talked a little bit about data and, and we'll talk in, in more detail as we get into some of our topics. But, what would you say are the most important types of information technology for the life insurance industry?

Ellen: I gotta say Anthony. And you're hearing the same thing in your conversations with clients as well. I mean, who talks about on-prem? The number one inquiry we have from any life, from any insurer here, whether it's PNC life, group, involuntary, even brokers is their cloud strategies. So cloud first and foremost, how can we move faster?

How can we be more agile and take advantage of all the capabilities that, come in the latest release and you know, not have to worry about how it's gonna map to our data and stuff like that. It's going to happen. So cloud is huge APIs. I mentioned them before the glue that, integrates, systems with our data, but also external data, external, solutions that, you know, drive better experiences for our customers, for our agents, our advisors, and our brokers.

And then finally, you know, something that's taken the place in terms of the Sexiest technology out there, Anthony, the best way to describe it. low code, no code. So how can we move faster? How can we put the ability to, you know, configure in the hands of the business teams. But, you know, careful here governed by, you know, the technology organization too. So low code, no code, huge area. But I also would say, Anthony, it's not just, in terms of configuration of existing commercial off the shelf systems, it's, let's use.

You know, a low code or a no code platform to build something that's gonna let us test new products, get to market faster. Before we make a decision, do we bring it over to the mothership? So those are some of the use cases that we're also seeing around, low code, no code. Would you say that the low code no code opportunity also has a future proofing dimens?

Oh, absolutely. And part of the reason for that now, too, Anthony, is this came from some research we did back in 2019. Is that when we asked insurance, application development teams, their thoughts on. Building versus buying, you know, of course, is which is now composed versus customized the level of interest in, you know, let's, let's build something ourselves.

We can manage it better. It'll be less expensive for us than going out and doing a forklift replacement of what we have. So, you know, obviously what we're seeing is, you know, how could low code no code be used to. Extend the capabilities of our existing investments, but also, give us a competitive advantage with being able to create capabilities that, you know, aren't in the marketplace that we can manage less expensively.

Anthony: Well, let's look at some of the major market issues affecting the industry, and then talk about how technology might help insurers to respond to them. First of all, how are demographics changing life insurance?

When it comes to consumer behavior, be that owing to age or cultural differences.

Ellen: well, a couple of things, Anthony, it's probably not a surprise to you who were their big buyers. I mean, you know, obviously we saw big changes. Thank you. In MIB data, you know, back in 20, 20 and 2021 in terms of who was buying, but it was obviously your younger customers first time. Potential life insurance buyers or people who are looking to add to the coverage that they already had. So millennials. So how do we, create an experience for them. That's digital first, And then, you know, the other.

applying were people 71 and older. So, you know, Perhaps, I didn't have enough coverage. I didn't have any coverage, So those are the two areas that I see, you know, first time millennial buyers, and older population that may be underinsured or uninsured.

Anthony: I would imagine that with regard to millennials also, there's a, a challenge and an opportunity to reach them when they're younger to yeah. To find ways of convincing them to buy life insurance. Because, obviously it's grim to say it, but someone can die at any age, but also it's much more economical to start getting life insurance when you're.

yeah, we are absolutely seeing, lessons, coming to the incumbents, from the new insurance startups that are, you know, how do we create a better experience for, you know, a first time buyer.

Ellen: But I, as I said before, I think one of the things that we need to pay attention to is, those millennials may be breathing a sigh relief. You know, I didn't, you know, develop long COVID or I didn't. COVID or, and, I'm now moving forward, but you know, we still need to engage with them.

We need to engage with them in our systems to make sure that, you know, they don't fall off, they don't lapse and they're continuing to see the value of the relationship that they may have with their life I insurers. So, you know, there's a bunch of ways, obviously that we're seeing life insurance firms kind of focus on that.

Anthony: Yeah, and it occurs to me now to think that, there's also a great opportunity to close the insurance gap and life insurance is notorious for failing to reach the significant segment of the population. And, no doubt automation can help to make it easier to distribute lower value policies.

Ellen: Oh, absolutely. And, and again, you see even, you know, progressive dipping its toe in the water with, you know, their one year term policy to let people basically try it out. on a digital platform. we'd be interesting to see how that, plays out, but, you know, that was, you know, a very interesting move on Progressive's part.

Anthony: So let's explore a little more deeply the effect of longevity on the life insurance industry. If, if 60 is the new 40, I'm not sure if, if that's the way they're saying it, if those are the numbers, but let's say that's the number. What does that mean for how life insurance is underwritten and sold?

Ellen: Oh, Anthony, you're so, you know, glass is half empty. 100 is the new 40. That's how you have to think about it.

Anthony: If you say so.

Ellen: You say 100 is the new 40, and of course that's having, you know, huge implications in terms of, you know, the kind of. Products that we're gonna be packaging. Who's gonna be doing the buying. We have a report that's gonna be coming out around, what changing perceptions of old age are going to mean for the digital experience for, you know, The products that we're going to be developing, but also for, basically the surround roles, around this.

So, you know, obviously, you know, a lot of term life policies, they end when you turn a hundred, maybe they end when you're 120 something or other maybe, we do something really interesting where, we, do this anticipatory shift of Ellen Carney's life insurance away from. Benefit to the cash accumulation may go into something that's like long term care or something that might keep me independent in my home longer. So we're gonna see products change and that's gonna have some really interesting implications on, how we underwrite this moving forward.

And of course, you know, all the moving pieces technically behind are gonna enable that to happen. I don't know if you've seen this book from Joseph Coughlin who runs MIT's age lab, but he's basically sized the market for what he calls the longevity economy in the us.

It's $8 trillion globally. It's $15 trillion. So a big market to pay attention to a big market and a variety of ways

Ellen: That's exactly right. sadly I'm not necessarily sure that this market is going to be something that's gonna be served by kind of the existing state of our distribution intermediaries.

I think we're gonna see something different happening in the future. As we think about, 10 years out, how we're gonna be buying, and underwriting life insurance.

Anthony: Now, let's talk a little bit about the customer experience. We're seeing that shift away from an emphasis on the policy holder's mortality and toward their wellbeing. Longevity. So what are your views on the shift and the importance of technology and recasting the customer relationship in that way?

Ellen: Well, part of the problem here is, you know, the intent of the carriers are really good here, you know, let's increase and improve your quality of life. Let's not think about life.

Insurance is something that you know, is gonna provide a beneficiary to somebody other than you. So let's think about the ways that we could improve the life insurance policy holder experience through wearables, or, you know, even things like infrared, around how we live in the home. And, just in increase the quality of life.

So, it's a laudable objective that a lot of life insurers have. The problem is, for policy holders, you know, there's this kind of interesting thing where you know, we're talking about it from the future of insurance experiences where, you know, as I had talked about the policy might morph around Ellen Carney, moving death benefits into long term care coverage.

But you know, it also suggests the requirement to, make a more intimate experience. So you know, wearables is a great example. we're even now seeing things like soft botics and embedded ships that, would collect this information about us. So, that's kind of some of the scary things. At what point do we cross the line in terms of technology that makes. People feel uncomfortable about being surveilled. And that's unfortunately, part of the problem that we're seeing with some of the wearables is the goal is good. You know, count your steps, watch your eating and you're drinking and all that kind of stuff. And you know, how do I say this at the end of the day? No one wants to be surveilled.

Anthony: Yeah, but are they willing to trade that for the benefit that they get?

Ellen: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yep, absolutely. Trade it for a discount in their life insurance coverage. We see that obviously, you know, in, in the trade for your driving data for telematics car insurance, it's no different.

So I'm willing to, share my data with you. To some extent provided I get something in return and that something in return is. Typically a discount, but would it be really interesting if a life insurance company did something really, really interesting, in terms of what that swap might be.

So, you know, we, talk about digital transformation. I think that, you know, the kind of fourth wave is gonna be this really interesting synthesis of digital and, things that we think about as, living in organic I

Anthony: I want us to talk more broadly about how insurers can gain a competitive advantage through better customer experience. And, you know, I, I can't help thinking, when you mentioned the wearables, that there's the question of having more interaction with the life insurance customer. Right. I mean, there's no renewal, the policy exists until the person ceases to, but maybe there are all sorts of services that you could have fir first of all, you could have more frequent communication, but you could also offer all sorts of services that relate to wellbeing that help a person to have a, not just a healthier life, but a more enjoyable life.

Ellen: That's right. Absolutely. And certainly one of the things that we're seeing here is just the overwhelming interest in all things omnichannel. this is certainly one of the ways that we can improve customer experience for our life insurance policy holders. And frankly, you know, we're now seeing that extension, Before death to the beneficiaries, Hey, let's loop the beneficiaries in as part of this, experience with who's gonna be looking out for them, you know, and their quality of life. So anything from an omnichannel perspective, Anthony is. Crazy scorching hot.

Anthony: Yeah. So that makes me wonder about, first of all, about the technological challenges of achieving omnichannel. This is a, you know, Herculean integration effort. I would imagine to get all the data flowing in the right directions. I'm wondering about the importance of process reengineering to achieve customer centricity. We talk about customer centricity, and this is an exciting conversation, but I wonder how far along the industry really is. and whether legacy culture is still standing in the way of digital transformation in the ways that we're describing.

Ellen: Isn't it a wonderful aspirational goal, right? Process reengineering.

Anthony: I'm still being the pessimist here.

Ellen: Well, I mean, what is the classic insurance, euphemism about the way we think about process here, you know, we're gonna pave the cow path and that's basically what we've tried to do is instead of like really engineering, our poor. Processes to improve customer experience, improve agent and advisor experience take out steps in our processes, we put our heads down and there's also something in that kind of legacy culture, no one really likes to talk about Anthony. And I'll be kind of curious about your perspective here.

There's also this cultural factor in the business of insurance. He who has the most toys wins. if you as a business leader or a tech leader have big budgets, have big headcounts are responsible for lots of revenue coming in, or frankly, lots of costs to the organization. Well, you get to pound your chest a little bit. You're kind of a big deal. And, you know, In some senses kind of preserve some of this status quo is the fear of losing something here. in terms of power and stature, I hate to say. But it exists. So, you know, I think some of this gets manifest in, the reluctance to make the right changes in terms of our, our slow, clunky batch oriented processes here that, stand of the way of delivering seamless real time customer experiences but the bigger danger is the innovator's dilemma, right?

Anthony: You're talking to people who don't need to be told how to succeed. They've done it.

Ellen: To people who've done it. Yeah,

Anthony: Right. And so it's a very difficult thing to let go of your wisdom there's a danger of fighting the next war with the last war's tactics.

Ellen: Exactly right. And the benefits that the insurer techs have had, you know, this, they started with a clean page, you know, they don't have to go back and fix the past mistakes that drive tech debt. and I think we'll see more attention to this now, as we look at this, uncertainty in terms of, the economy moving forward, but, people don't think enough about, you know, if I had to start the business over again, what would I do differently? What would this look like now? And that's really how they should be thinking about it.

Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I like to think that it's very important to conserve what is essential to insurance, but that's not necessarily a process issue. Right. Okay. Let let's shift over to distribution and about insurers relationship, not with customers, but with their distributors. So the question to ask then is what is the future of the insurance intermediary?

In a technological age, how much will technology reinforce the insured distributor relationship and how much will direct to consumer grow?

Ellen: Yeah, well, we're at a, kind of an interesting tension. between carriers and distributors. I was at a insurer, here in new England, for the day yesterday. And we had this interesting conversation at lunch. It's like, why wouldn't. A young person want to come into the business of insurance.

Why wouldn't they want to be an insurance agent? You know, you spend two, three years building your book and then you can kind of kick back a little bit. Thank you renewals on the PNC side, it just chugs along. And so we were kind of marveling over the fact that, know, for some reason, this very cool business of insurance, taking care of customers, work hard for three years.

And then, you can, enjoy the benefits of your labor, why that hasn't taken off. And, you know, unfortunately the challenge is, is that we've seen. Digital and agent as either, or when, in fact, they need to come together and you're seeing, smart agents and advisors doing really cool stuff where they're making the investments themselves in technology to improve the experience for their customers.

And of course, what you're seeing, you know, from the insurance distributor relationship is, how can we. take friction out of the distributor's day, share information with them. And again, you know, it's a little bit, I scratch your back, you scratch mine and you know, perhaps you're gonna share some information if you're an independent about, you know, your book and who those customers are and, you know, maybe, that's gonna help me as a carrier.

So, you know, I think we'll see. how do we improve the, you know, the agent advisor, broker experience using digital capabilities. And of course, part of the way we're doing this is, gluing our, our mutual systems together with APIs.

Anthony: What are some of the more interesting and possibly overlooked insurance distribution channels there. And there's been a, there's been a lot of talk about embedded insurance. What's your take on that

Ellen: Oh, yeah. Well, that's a, that's another scorching hot topic. Believe me from an inquiry perspective. Seeing less, a little bit on that From the life insurance side in terms of,the broader market Anthony, but that's gonna come, you know, bestow published their API just a couple of weeks ago.

So it enabled, you know, frankly the farm stand down at the end of your street to be able to sell life insurance They become insurance companies in a box. And, you know, you have new distribution channels, you know, with embedded insurance.

So, you know, who knows this may be something from your mortgage originator. Yes. You're buying a new house. That's certainly one of their trigger events that we see that precipitates, the investigation and the purchase of life insurance. I've had a life event. I've gotten married, had a baby bought a house.

So you could see some of those, trigger opportunities, you know, as an opportunity to embed. a life insurance quoting or sale opportunity?

the other really interesting area is, we all remember from, you know, the 1980s before the internet.

Ellen: The only way we could get discounts on any of our insurance coverage was through a membership organization or an. Partner program,

So, you know, we may see. a swing backed and that pendulum to affinity and industry marketing partnerships moving forward, thinking along the lines in of what ADP is doing for their, payroll processing customers. Oh, by the way, you know, not only will we process your payroll and do your taxes, but will help you manage your, human resources. We'll sell you insurance as well.

Anthony: Yeah, and it seems that partnerships are going to be very important. That there's gonna be a lot of competition for who works with whom in order to distribute their life insurance products.

Ellen: well, and Anthony, there's a risk associated with that. right.

And you know, there are a couple of companies that we can think of off the top of our heads who do a really good job marketing this, but you know, the insurance industry RI large spends billions of dollars on marketing their brands to consumers.

And but what happens when you become an ingredient brand? Yeah. Intel inside, you know, Brilliant or, or BASF, you know, we don't make the products we use. We make the products you use better. That will be the kind of branding that we see in these embedded models moving forward, where we kind of unfortunately disappear into the background and, the lead partner on that embedded product, you know, the farm stand down at the end of the street, maybe who the consumer is thinking about. That's, who I get my insurance.

Anthony: It's a risk, but it, one, one also has to think that if you have a huge life insurance brand, that the household names that’s also a selling point because you wanna have a reliable financial service institution behind you. Right.

Ellen: yeah. Yep, absolutely. But you have to know that that's what the brand is behind the embedded

Anthony: right. That's right.

Ellen: and that's gonna be key.

Anthony: Okay. So let's go back to the, the big technology issues. First let's talk about technology spend what's the technology spending benchmark today for life insurers. And what does it say about their commitment to modernization? Insurance companies are spending about three and a quarter percent of their revenues on anything to do with tech. Um, and it's split. 30% change the business tech.

Ellen: So the stuff of innovation, the kind of new, cool stuff that we're investing in, in our innovation labs. Hopefully that's getting turned into things that are gonna be commercial and scalable for the organization. Sadly, the other 70% is, keeping the lights on. And that's gonna be in real danger as we look at, more precarious economic time.

So we, you know, we obviously need to think about how do we reduce tech debt? How do we shift some of that funding from, just keep the lights on to, you know, really change the organization, innovations that going to deliver better differentiating experiences for our customers and, separate us, from the competion.

Anthony: I have to say, this gives me a strange feeling of dejavu because I I'm pretty, I'm pretty sure I heard that same figure in, in 2005.

Ellen: That's fairly consistent, it's UN it's unlike anything that we see in the broader financial services market, just to give you a sense, you know, cap markets, it's about 11% of revenues. They plow back into tech. So unfortunately, you know, we're not probably spending enough here. But you know, the good news is during the pandemic, unlike we saw other industries, insurance companies, overall managed to still increase, spend,

Anthony: well, let's say, let's say we're spending the same. I mean, I can remember hearing throughout my career of the figure of three to 5%, five being five, being really on the high side. But maybe there's some opportunity with the advance of technology to do things more cheaply to do them with less risk to waste less.

You know, we were told, we were told that, that I remember back around the timeframe of 2005, we were in a bit of an economic downturn and the mandate was to do more with less. Well, I mean the whole point of automation is to do more with less.

Ellen: Well, and that's that, that's kind of our situation, right? Just from the standpoint of, yeah. We wanna do more with less.

We're gonna do automation, you know, unfortunately, a lot of the automation, at least the first wave of automation took care of those low hanging use cases, Anthony. Right. So, you know, will RPA the really basic stuff, you know, routing. Is an interesting example. Let's use RPA to do that rather than humans. So we tackled a lot of the low hanging fruit from an RPA perspective, then took a, a breath from an automation perspective and thought about, you know, how can we, change this very different market that we're working in now that we've tackled the really basic stuff, you know, how do we look at more sophisticated kinds of automation? And, you know, it's changing the future of work, basically in insurance, where we work, you know, shoulder to shoulder, side by side with a bot that you know, is gonna help us process more business and free up the human, to do the more human empathetic things that they're better at. I guess we could say the next wave of RPA is, is what some people call intelligent automation.

Anthony: Yeah. So that it is automation. Right. And, and it can involve the human part that you mentioned a moment ago, but it also brings in the capacity for routine decision making that can be done on an automated basis.

Ellen: That's exactly right. Yep. And I have to say, the fear certainty of, am I gonna lose my job? We're not seeing that. But basically what we're seeing is, you know, people moving around into new, more interesting roles, you know, Stretch. 'em a little bit from a career perspective, but you know, I've not heard layoffs for things like, you know, intelligent automation or, you know, even automated underwriting.

We've shifted people into, you know, new, more high touch, you know customer roles within the organization.

Anthony: well, that, that suggests a question about the great resignation. I was at a conference last week and there was a discussion about agents fearing a new round of disintermediation, the whole direct to consumer discussion and also increasing automation elsewhere, threatening other jobs. So, then that's the question, I guess you you've begun to answer it. I'd thought of this as whether it was a problem or that the greater problem is one of recruiting people to insurance jobs.

Ellen: Yeah. I think it really is less in insurance, Anthony. The great resignation, you know, I think the great resignation might have happened before, but, and it's happening in other industries, but it's, I, I would call it more of the great shift. It's, you know, we're gonna move you into new roles.

We're gonna give you more challenges. You're gonna learn new things. And, we're in an interesting time of change. The whole insurance industry, not just life. So yeah, you'll be pushed, you'll be stretched.

You'll be tested in, in some of these, new capabilities But as we had talked about, you know, the agent, isn't just going to be, coming in with a briefcase and, popping it open on the. On the coffee table or the kitchen table, you know, they have new, you know, illustration, software, there's E apps there's going to be, new capabilities for them to interact with, an underwriter. It’s gonna completely change, their daily work experience

Anthony: How are life insurers making progress in de-risking technology initiatives through both implementation methodology and the advantages of, of newer technologies? Like low code, no code.

Ellen: Well, you know, Anthony, you've been, you and I have both been around long enough to know that, you know, the insurance industry is an industry of junior high school girls. Bad news gets out fast. Everybody knows when something has gone off. The rails. what, life insurance carriers are doing is, you know, we may be doing a core system replacement, but we're not gonna replace everything at one time. So, you know, you're seeing, you know, more methodical. The other thing that I also see and you know, this isn't always necessarily the greatest news where, you know, you had a lot of.

Technology providers see opportunities here where, you know, basically, the overall opportunity for customization, paving the cow path or decorating it with, some really luck stuff. That's kind of gone away, from the perspective that I see, Is let's get the best value out of our partners, for our systems, but let's limit the customization, to the bare minimum and, we'll approach it in different ways.

You know, an API perhaps instead of customizing something, let's go see in the marketplace, what's there to deliver a differentiating value and, help us reduce risk associated. modernization projects and, you know, obviously reduce the cost associated with it.

Anthony: well, maybe I can be more the optimist here and, and, and, and ask the question. Bluntly is the life insurance industry wasting less money. is 3% it spend from the overall operating budget. The new 5%.

Ellen: I think it really is. and I think that was, you know, brought on by the attention of tech debt. You know, paving the cow path. That's not working, let's go back and, shift that, you know, keep the lights on funding into things that are gonna deliver meaningful change for us as a life insurerthe top priority for insurance organizations is how do I build for growth? That's what they need to be thinking about. Not, how do we fix up? What we made some bad decisions about years ago. You know, how do I build for growth moving forward? And, you know, You know, in the marketplace, that's gonna help me a preserve that investment that maybe I wasn't really smart about or smart enough about.

Because I was hasty I didn't do a good enough job on my requirements definition, and some of the things that we see, is. The business, isn't a big hurry. You gotta get them to slow down and think about what they really, really want.

You know, that's certainly one of the ways that we're seeing is, real deliberate. strategic thinking about what the objective is that they want, how they're gonna get there and then making the technology, investment plans after they, figure all of that stuff out,

Anthony: well, and with a more iterative process, like a agile, it's an easier task or a more, a more stable task to maintain alignment with between business. And it.

Ellen: Oh, yeah. I mean, I think the days of seven year core system replacement projects is over, you know, if, if you're not delivering value in, two weeks or eight weeks where that's appreciable and measurable Well it doesn't make sense to make the investment.

Anthony: Well that seven year figure. Just put a, just a, ran, a chill up my spine.

Ellen: But you remember those days, right?

Anthony: Yes, I certainly do.

Ellen: Okay. one of my favorite topics these days is that while the InsureTech movement has been significantly focused on the front end data, innovation is poised to make a more essential impact on this data driven industry.

Anthony: I mean, we've talked quite a bit about product innovation, so, so how do you see the importance of data to life insurance in.

Ellen: Well, it's gonna be critically important just from the standpoint. It is going to be really, you know, the differentiator for insurance organizations and not just the experience, but You know, what data are we capturing? What are we gonna be able to do with these capabilities from a personalization standpoint, how we can use data to, Create more personalization opportunities and frankly, in some senses, as long as it's not creepy, provide better advice and counsel to, you know, our life insurance policy holders. It's non-insurance services, you know, you can absolutely imagine the life insurance, marketplace getting into the caregiving business. We've certainly seen that with, financial planners, targeting, home pack services for empty nesters.

Ellen: So we're moving into kind of. Crazy cool services? that, you know, compliment the insurance relationship, but are not necessarily strictly insurance. data and analytics are going to identify, you know, when a big event could be happening.

Anthony: Thank you for joining us for the life accelerated podcast, undertaken by insurance innovation reporter in partnership with Equisoft for more relevant content, to help you achieve digital transformation, please visit equisoft.com/lifeaccelerated.


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