Tech Concerns Fade Among Global Insurers
The challenge of technology and e-commerce is no longer the most pressing concern facing insurance industry executives worldwide. Indeed, it does not even rank in the top four except among carriers in the United States and Canada, a survey taken here by the International Insurance Society at its annual conference revealed.
Across the entire IIS survey sample of 115 respondents, the four issues rated most often as the top concern of international insurance executives were “meeting customer demands,” “competing amid consolidation and concentration,” “managing capital and risk,” and “keeping talent suitable for todays markets.”
This is a dramatic change from two similar straw polls taken during the IIS meetings in 1999 and 2000, when the attendees named “technology and e-commerce” as the leading issue affecting the industry. The category of “retaining and acquiring talent” ranked as the second most pressing challenge in last years poll, while the third-highest concern was “rapidly changing markets, products and services.”
The fact that technology and e-commerce have dropped below the top three or four concerns in this years survey except in the U.S. and Canada is reflective of the growing realization that while this is an important issue that will revolutionize “our lives in many waysits not so clear how you get there,” according to Andrew F. Giffin, a principal with Tillinghast-Towers Perrin in Northport, N.Y.
As a result, some insurance executives are examining proposed IT expenditures and projects with increasing caution, looking “very carefully” at the real value and real costs of tech and Web initiatives, said Giffin, a vice president of the New York-based IIS who discussed the survey results here.
In this years survey, two new categories–”meeting changing customer demands” and “managing capital and risk”–were additions to the list of top issues facing the industry. The issue of “meeting changing customer demands” has moved up the list of concerns because the industry is withdrawing from its traditional product focus to more of a real customer focus, replacing rhetoric with substance, according to Giffin.