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Celent Analyst Shares 4 Key Insurance Technology Insights for the Future

Juan Mazzini, Celent's new senior analyst, shares some of the research and advisory firm's high-level insights into the changing terms of technology-driven competition in the insurance industry.

Juan Mazzini
Juan Mazzini, Celent
I&T had the opportunity to catch up with Juan Mazzini, a new senior analyst with Celent. Mazzini shared with us four key elements for carriers to bear in mind as they approach competition in a rapidly changing technological and business environment. But first a word of introduction.

Mazzini’s current focus is on expanding Celent's insurance team’s coverage of IT and business strategy issues to Latin America, including spreading the research and advisory firm's key research topics and advisory in areas such as core system selection, RFP best practices, market entry strategy and IT strategy. Most recently a VP at insurance software company Sistran, Mazzini has spent 17 years in the insurance industry and management consulting. He helped to expand Sistran's presence throughout 14 countries, including the key Latin American markets of Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean. He is skilled in helping multinational carriers solve complex IT and business operations strategy problems, and also has deep expertise in HR transformation.

Mazzini related that at the ACORD LOMA Systems Forum he expects to hear and see a great deal about mobile solutions, predictive analytics, cloud/SaaS solutions, social media transforming how insurers do business, STP – especially in life and annuities (eSignatures, eApps, ePolicy) and options for core system modernization. In terms of high-level insights he and his colleagues will be discussing, he stressed the following four key elements:

1) “Big D - Disruption” will determine winners and losers. The focus used to be finding the best technology to solve problems (80s and 90s). Then it shifted to execution, as the technologies leveled out. (2000s). But from here forward, technology will fundamentally alter business models. Firms that participate in this process will succeed, firms that ignore it will cease to exist.

2) Building the right capabilities internally is more important than placing the right technology bets. As an industry, we struggle with committing to technology as a lever. But the bigger issue is that we have not developed talent to a) think enabling technology through; b) twist (and break) business models when we are able to. Having “creative infrastructure” sounds like an oxymoron, but we think it’s essential.

3) Consumers are now insular in their behavior, and social in their thinking. But as an industry, we’ve been slow to respond. Apps, mobility, and the bring-your-own-device mindset are pervasive. Individuals participate in online communities for their own amusement, for a variety of reasons, and always at their convenience. But while these trends result in an astounding flow of data, the insurance industry has not found ways to leverage the flow. The challenge facing insurers now is how to make sense of the “insular” world –designing business models and supporting applications that meet consumer needs, but also capture / connect / analyze all the resulting data.

4) The challenge is to transform technology issues into C-suite issues. Fundamental business transformation, changing the value proposition that drives insurance, is already taking place. For decades we’ve had once-a-year interactions with most of our customers. But now we can become more interactive, and incorporate new value added services to the model. The CIO can drive the technology side of the conversation, but CEOs, CFOs, and CMOs need to be active participants.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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