November 05, 2007

As Todd Masonis, explained this morning what the consumerization of technology is likely to mean for insurers, an almost perceptible chill went over the already air-conditioned room in Scottsdale, Arizona's Phoenician resort, the location of Insurance & Technology's 2007 Executive Summit.Masonis, the co-founder of Plaxo and the Summit's keynote speaker, described the radically different expectations of the user of the future, the technology literate cohort of Gen-Y, who is difficult to reach by traditional means and is soon to become the attendees' customer. Reflecting on the implications of the new consumer for insurers' customer outreach, and of the underappreciated demographic inevitability of that consumer's emergence, Masonis said, "You should be scared."

Masonis' address capped a morning of sessions that gave informative and sometimes troubling insight into a changing world, and what its metamorphosis means for insurers' technology organizations and for the companies' overall strategic outlook.

After remarks by I&T's editorial director, Kathy Burger on the Summit's theme of "Preparing for Generation Next," the program included the following:

The Need for Speed: Product in a Day?" with speakers Michael Hicks, VP, U.S. Wealth Management Operations, Hartford Life, and Bob Reynolds, director, life product management, Minnesota Life, which gave attendees a look into resurgent interest and success factors in bringing insurance product to market faster and better;

"Winners & Losers in a Global Market," with introductory comments from David West, research area director, insurance, TowerGroup, and a presentation by Scott McKay, CIO and SVP, operations and technology, Genworth Financial, which revealed the inescapable global dimension that now affects all insurers, directly or indirectly, understand of and preparation for which requires rethinking of many traditional assumptions and the introduction of new technologies, competencies and relationships;

"Just Do It: Making Insurance Company Transformation a Reality," a presentation by Deborah Smallwood, chief transformational officer, ICW Group Insurance Services, which covered the former TowerGroup insurance practice leader's task of achieving rapid technology transforming at Insurance Company of the West;

And Todd Masonis' keynote address "What the Consumerization of Technology Means to Insurers," which confronted the audience of senior technology and business executives with a daunting prospect of a radically changed world of interaction between businesses and their customers.

Reflecting on the implications of the new consumer for insurers' customer outreach, and of the underappreciated demographic inevitability of that consumer's emergence, Plaxo's Todd Masonis said, "You should be scared."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 ...