Even “Change” is Different Now. Your Strategic Planning Needs to Be Too.
Denise Garth | October 06, 2020
As I look out my window and drive around my hometown of Omaha, it’s evident that Fall is approaching. Technically, it started last Tuesday according to the meteorologists. It’s my favorite time of year. I love the colors, sounds and smells of fall – burning wood from fire pits, corn harvesting and the smell of pumpkin everywhere! The changing of the leaves is a signal we all recognize. We’re still at only about 20% of peak fall colors but the move to a bright, brilliant 100% maximum is inevitable, as it always has been.
It reminds me of the old maxim, “the only constant is change.” But the funny thing about most things that change is that they were expected and predictable, following at least somewhat regular patterns. Even ancient civilizations knew this thousands of years ago; they could look at the stars and predict with amazing accuracy when the seasons would change, thus improving their odds of a successful harvest. Nowadays, there are a lot of other “changes” we’ve come to expect as Fall approaches. Students and teachers go back to school, football once again dominates TV on Saturdays and Sundays, hurricane season replaces calm conditions in the Gulf and the Atlantic. And in the insurance industry, leadership teams shift their focus to their annual strategic planning process.
This year, however, the transition of the chlorophyll in trees’ leaves from green to red and yellow may be the only change that is occurring as expected. School administrators, students and parents are struggling to find the right balance between virtual and in-person instruction while also keeping everyone safe (as many businesses are doing as well). Football is back, but the stands are empty and crowd noise is digitally pumped through stadium speakers, not organically through the lungs of thousands of fans. Hurricane season is like none we’ve seen since most people can remember. We’ve already gone through all 26 letters of the alphabet and have had to move on to the Greek alphabet for naming the storms.
And insurance industry leaders are still getting geared up to do their annual strategic planning. But with all of the changes to the “expected change” we’re seeing, the traditional annual planning process needs to change.
It’s Time to be Bold
I first made this point in my blog last week, emphasizing that the traditional planning process needs to exhibit much bolder thinking — and action. The unprecedented conditions created by the COVID crisis have accelerated to light speed many changes that were already moving rapidly before the pandemic. Most notable … the imperative to transform to a digital insurance business model leveraging an API-enabled, microservices-based cloud platform and ecosystem of partner services and capabilities. Digital has been in the top 3-5 strategic priorities for insurers over the past few years. We expect it to become the top priority now.
Last week I highlighted McKinsey’s research about the economic profit gap that has been widening between 23 industries they have been tracking since 2010, noting that those with future-ready, digital business models were in the top tier. Unfortunately, insurance was one of six industries in the bottom tier. And, importantly, I emphasized that COVID is widening the gaps between the top and bottom tiers, as the impact of the pre-pandemic trends have become even more acute with the massive changes created by COVID. It is a similar gap we have seen widening between Leaders, Follower and Laggards from our Strategic Priorities research over the last 5 years.
McKinsey’s research showed that the companies who create the most economic profit pursue five bold moves. And with the rapid acceleration of changes occurring right now, considering bold moves like the ones suggested by McKinsey in your strategic planning is now more important than ever:
- Dynamically shift resources between businesses: Reallocate at least 60 percent of surplus generated over a decade. This means invest in your own business – both for today’s and tomorrow’s business to ensure you have a future.
- Reinvest a substantial share of capital in organic growth opportunities: Be in the top 20 percent of the industry by strategic reinvestment relative to new business premiums. Typically, that means spending 1.7 times the industry median. Based on most industry analyst assessments, historically the average investment in IT by insurers has been 3-4% --- that just keeps you even at best. Look at increasing this to 5-9% or more to leap ahead.
- Pursue thematic and programmatic M&A: No individual deal is larger than 30 percent of the market cap, but the total value of deals over a ten-year period is greater than 30 percent of the market cap. State Farm’s acquisition of GAINSCO is a great example of this bold move…something brand new for this almost 100-year-old company known for its steady, conservative nature. We expect to see more M&A over the next 12-24 months.
- Make game-changing improvements in productivity: Reduce costs in line with the top 30 percent of the insurance industry. This is where next generation cloud-enabled core platforms that embrace new technologies are positively impacting operational effectiveness and efficiency --- particularly with a pay as you grow model.
- Positively increase underwriting margins: Improve underwriting capabilities to be in the top 30 percent of the industry by gross underwriting margin. Insurers must look to new sources of data and advanced analytics to create dynamic, real-time, continuous and fluidless underwriting that is more highly automated, allowing your valuable underwriters to focus on the complex.
This bold approach to strategic planning is something we’ve emphasized for the past couple of years in our Strategic Priorities research. The two-speed strategy we derived from this research aligns closely with McKinsey’s five bold moves:
- Bold moves 1 and 2 align with Speed of Innovation – Build a new business model to meet the demands of the next generation of customers, introduce new products and services and channels.
- Bold moves 3, 4 and 5 align with Speed of Operations - Modernize and optimize the existing business by replacing legacy systems with next-gen cloud, API and microservices enabled core systems in the cloud to engage customers and channels more effectively to keep and grow today’s business.
Our research highlighted the growing gaps between the Leaders, who are more boldly positioning themselves for the future of insurance, and the Followers and Laggards whose chances of becoming irrelevant are real. Leaders continue to distinguish themselves from the other two segments with their stronger focus on strategic initiatives that support the two-speed strategy. As seen in Figure 1, all three segments are focused on the foundational aspects for modernizing and optimizing the existing business – which is good. While there are gaps, they are relatively small and can be addressed.
However, with regard to speed of innovation and creating the business for the future, the significant gap between Leaders and Followers with Laggards is striking, as seen in Figure 2. Leaders and Followers are well-ahead of Laggards with their plans and active development for channel expansion, entering new markets, adding value-added services and integrating emerging technologies.
Crises Create Opportunity
Even before the additional disruption that COVID has created, we emphasized the opportunities for creating new value that crises create. Last year we highlighted a December 2018 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) article on creating value from disruption describes how some companies successfully navigated disruption— earning the title, “thrivers." It stated that successful reinvention requires making a large bet—one that can overcome the drag of the old way of doing things.
Making that big bet requires leadership, confidence and expertise to eliminate the “knowing – doing” gap. We see big bets being made in new business models, products and services from both InsurTech and incumbent insurer leaders who are “early responders,” capturing customer and market attention.
As noted in the BCG article, those who wait will need to make bigger and potentially riskier bets to gain parity with the “early responders.” As “early responders” gain growth momentum, the “knowing –doing” gap grows, leaving followers and laggards with dwindling options and relevancy in fast-changing market.
With the arrival of COVID-19, McKinsey is doubling down on the urgency to be bold in order to seize the opportunities and avoid the threats created by the pandemic, as highlighted in their July 2020 report, The Great Acceleration:
“In times of crisis, however, the burning platform is clear, leaders are often in military-command mode, and pre-crisis budgets have become obsolete. Resources are easier to reallocate when no one needs to be convinced of the need for a rapid response and the individual targets set before the crisis no longer apply.”[iii]
Need Some Bold Inspiration?
There are many companies that didn’t need a crisis like COVID to motivate them to reinvent their insurance business model, which can serve as examples and inspiration for the types of bold moves the rest of the industry needs to build into this year’s annual strategic planning. Consider these nine different business models and some of the companies that are playing in these spaces:
- Social Good & Transparency: Lemonade, Hedvig
- Peer-to-Peer: Friendsurance, Guevara
- Affinity/Program Business: Aon, QBE
- B2B2C Ecosystems: PingAn, Allianz
- Embedded Insurance: Nationwide + Toyota, Acko + Amazon
- Digital Platform: Spire, Generali, Pie Insurance, Trov
- Parametric: Munich Re and Farmers Edge
- Membership/Subscription: BOXX Insurance, Zipcar
The innovators creating these new businesses come from all segments, including traditional insurers, greenfields and startups, and outside industry entrants including automobile manufacturers, “Big Tech” and more.
Auto manufacturers are leading with embedded insurance and subscription models, which our primary research has shown to be growing in popularity among insurance customers. The interest in purchasing insurance from Google, Amazon and other Big Tech is also growing, as evidenced by our research and other sources as well. In fact, Capgemini reported that policyholders’ willingness to buy from these companies reached 44% in April 2020, from only 17% in 2016.[iv]
These companies are leveraging an outside-in, customer-first approach with cloud-native digital platforms and ecosystems to create a true customer experience, not just a “machine” to execute insurance transactions. The rapid ascent of these outsiders with their digital business models should be motivation enough for insurers to make bold strategic moves – starting with this year’s annual planning.
Make Your Bold Move Now
Change, as we have known it, has changed. It is faster, deeper, wider and more powerful than we’ve ever been used to before. The ways we’ve analyzed and adapted to change in the past, namely, through the annual strategic planning process, won’t cut it in this new environment.
Your strategic planning needs to be bold enough to match the velocity and magnitude of the changes we’re facing right now. In this year’s annual plan, it will no longer be sufficient to allocate most of your resources to maintaining the status quo of your current systems and processes. Look at our Strategic Priorities 2020 report to see where you are compared to others as you prepare plans. Consider accelerating areas that you are behind to close the gap.
Resolve to boldly allocate your resources to a true two-speed strategy: Modernize and optimize your existing business with next-gen cloud, API and microservices-enabled core systems; and build a new business model with next-gen technology to meet the demands of the next generation of customers.
Are you ready to make a bold change?
- Getting Creative to Hit COVID Curveballs Out of the Park
- Electronic Chat with Eugenio Gonzalez, Plug and Play
- New Report Projects Global Insurtech to Grow by $21 Billion During 2020-2024
- The 2020 Virtual Event Wasteland
- Insurtechs, Investors Optimistic About Post-COVID Future, New DIA/McKinsey Study Finds
- Finding Grandmas
- No Code / Low Code: The New “Shortest Route” In Insurance Delivery
- Are You Addicted to Copy-and-Paste?
- Electronic Chat with Nino Tarantino, CEO- Americas, Insurance and Mobility Solutions (IMS)
- Driving Life Insurance:Tech Alone Won’t Solve Business Problems
- Electronic Chat with Robin Roberson, Managing Director, North America, Claim Central Consolidated
- How Do You Make It Happen?
- Electronic Chat with Jason Liu, CEO, Zywave
- New Partnership Models Take Program Business to the Next Level
- New Study Finds Less than Half of Consumers Trust Insurers to Respond to Their Needs
- Electronic Chat with Andrew Mauritzen, CFO and Head of Insurance Industry, Exactuals
- You Want Us To Do WHAT For Free?
- Electronic Chat with Evgeny Aleksandrov, Co-founder and CEO, Pilotbird
- Electronic Chat with Chris Cheatham, CEO, RiskGenius
- New MIT Sloan Study Finds Few Companies Gain Big Benefits from AI
- The September/October ITA Pro magazine is here!
- “Being Right” is Just the Start of the Battle
- Electronic Chat with Amit Ranjan, Executive VP and CAO, Xceedance
- Planning for Your Business and Tech Future: Strategies, Plans and Budgets for Rapid Transformation
- Electronic Chat with Jimmy Padia, Founder and CEO, Floatbot
- Gelato with Dots and Sprinkles
- COVID-19 and the Insurtech “Junk Drawer”
- Even “Change” is Different Now. Your Strategic Planning Needs to Be Too.
- The Road Ahead for P&C Insurers: How to Understand Customers Better and Navigate the Post-COVID Insurance Market
- Electronic Chat with Jake Tamarkin, Co-founder and CEO, Everyday Life
- Strategic Planning in the “New Normal” Digital Era of Insurance – Your Next Move
- Insurer Tech Investment Priorities See Major Shift in a Post-COVID World
- Plug and Play Selects 25 Insurtech Startups for Winter Batches
- Digital Transformation – A Top Strategic Priority and New Reality
- Four Steps to Successful Migration of Insurance CCM Applications
- COVID-19 Accelerates Insurance Digitalization to Meet Customer Demand: World InsurTech Report 2020
- Electronic Chat with Greg Williams, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Acrisure
- Electronic Chat with Matt Perlman, Partner, IA Capital Group
- Insurer Digitalization: Are you a Competitor or a Laggard?
- Leaders are Leading and Creating the Future of Insurance Distribution
- 3 Things You Need to Know About No-Code
- Electronic Chat with Adam Kiefer, CEO, Talage
- Underwriting in 3D: Using Data to Adapt and Improve Life Insurance Sales
- Getting Past the "Gelato Syndrome"
- Insurers Know CX/UX is Important, but Don't Agree on Execution, Study Finds
- Electronic Chat with Steve Lekas, Branch Insurance
- How AI Can Attract Millennial Talent to the Insurance Industry
- Preventing Data Breaches
- A New Boom for Life Insurance: Shifting Away from the 250-Year-Old Policy Transaction
- Electronic Chat with Ty Harris, Founder and CEO, Openly
- A Digital Wildfire Creates a Burning Platform for Digital Insurance Business Transformation
- Digitalization, COVID-19 Spurring More IT Investment in Cybersecurity
- Electronic Chat with Michael DeGusta, CEO, ClarionDoor
- U.S. Consumers Significantly Underestimate Flood Risk, New Survey Finds
- The Future of Insurance: Opportunities in Ecosystems
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum, CEO, Input 1
- Majesco to be Acquired by Thoma Bravo
- The Evolving Role of Managing General Agencies
- Electronic Chat with Char Hu
- Electronic Chat with Allan L. Egbert, Jr.
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Tramontano and Zbigniew Gawienczuk
- Data Science is Gelato
- Insurance Innovation: Alive and Kicking
- Independent Agents Divided on Digital Experience, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Michael Jones
- Electronic Chat with Paul VanderMarck
- As Auto Insurance Premiums Shrink, Insurers Need Mobility Ecosystem, New Study Finds
- Property & Casualty Insurers Raise Digital Games as COVID-19 Elevates Customer Expectations, J.D. Power Finds
- Electronic Chat with Bobbie Shrivastav
- Meet the Board: Marissa Buckley
- Big Data and Insurtech: A Carrier Perspective
- Traditional Insurers Need Open Ecosystems, Partnerships to Remain Competitive, CapGemini Report Finds
- Electronic Chat with John C. Siegman
- 4 Ways AI is Empowering Insurers During COVID-19
- 6 Big Changes to Insurance from the COVID-19 Crisis
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Ewing
- Independent Agency Staff Morale High During COVID-19, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Brad Epker
- Tapping AI to Improve Policyholder Experience
- Electronic Chat with Manisha Bhargava
- ITA Pro Magazine, March/April 2020
- COVID-19 a Game Changer for Workers’ Comp
- Electronic Chat with Steve Comer
- COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Cancellation of ITA LIVE 2020
- Leveraging Digital Resources in the Time of COVID-19
- Electronic Chat with Robert Hartwig on COVID-19 and Insurance
- Celent Study: Most Small Businesses Still Unclear on Importance of Cyber Insurance
- The January/February 2020 ITA Pro is here!
- Deloitte: New C-Suite Roles Mean More Opportunities for Women
- Electronic Chat with Pankaj Parashar
- Electronic Chat with Tara Kelly
- Electronic Chat with Chuck Wilson
- ITA, InsNerds Collaborate to Enhance ITA LIVE 2020 Content and Coverage
- How SMBs Can Compete in Digital Ecosystems in the 2020s
- 4 Ways Insurance Can Prepare for New Data Privacy Laws
- Brewer Lane Ventures Launches and Hires Insurtech Vet Martha Notaras as Managing Partner
- 2020 GIA Cohort Launches on January 14
- The November/December 2019 ITA Pro is here!
- Electronic Chat with Joshua Snead
- Electronic Chat with Wendy Aarons-Corman
- Simplifying the Move to a Third-party Print Provider
- Take a Business-Driven Approach to Continuous Improvement for Core Systems and Processes
- Electronic Chat with Ron Glozman
- Guidewire’s Data Guru Mike Byam on How Insurers are Using Internal and Third-Party Data
- Electronic Chat with Russ Bostick
- Electronic Chat with Rock Schindler
- Electronic Chat with John Siegman
- Electronic Chat with Martin Burlingame
- Insurtech Landscape 2019: Top 5 Takeaways
- Grinnell Mutual Tackles Massive Transformation -- in Stride
- A Candid Conversation with Paul Mang
- SageSure Insurance Managers Improved Competitiveness by Consolidating Payments to a Single Digital Platform
- Digital Does Matter in Insurance-- And Insurers are Missing the Mark
- The 22nd-Century Insurer: Taking a Cloud-First IT Approach
- The September/October 2019 issue of ITA PRO magazine is now available in digital format here:
- ITA Pro Magazine May/June 2019
- Spotlight on the 2019 IASA Conference
- ValueMomentum Selects Erie as Site of Regional Development Center
- Capgemini and Majesco Become Alliance Partners
- Electronic Chat with Dr. Dan Shoham
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum
- Martha Notaras: The “Outsider” with an Amazing Inside View
- Electronic Chat with Larissa Tosch
- Martha Notaras Will Join ITA LIVE 2019 as a Keynote Speaker
- Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Risk
- ITA Pro Magazine, January/February 2019
- Synergy Between Insurers' IT and Analytics Teams Key to Operationalizing Insights, Says Novarica
- Major Ransomware Attack Could Hit U.S. with $89B In Economic Damages
- ITA Announces 1st of Three Keynote Speakers at ITA LIVE 2019
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Electronic Chat with Eugenio Gonzalez, Plug and Play
- Nexilis’ Distribution Platform Selected by W.H. Greene and Associates to Drive Underwriting Transformation
- Breeze Adds Critical Illness Insurance to Digital Platform, Growing Partnership with Assurity Life
- Buckle Appoints Sharon Fernandez to Head of Insurance
- InsurTech NY Announces Global Early-Stage Insurtech Competition
- Altshuler Shaham Selects Sapiens for the Operation and Automation of its Provident and Pension Funds
- NetVU Announces Plans for 2021 Accelerate Conference
- Openly Secures $40M in Series B Funding Round to Accelerate Rapid Growth
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA LIVE 2020
ITA LIVE 2020 –SAVE THE DATE!
April 5th – 7th, 2020
The Diplomat Resort
Become a member today to receive updates – www.itapro.org/MR
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE