January 02, 2014

It seems fitting that with a possible blizzard bearing down on the Northeast I take this opportunity to wish everyone in the insurance technology community a Happy New Year. Fortunately, the capabilities the industry has acquired in recent years to forecast and to respond to catastrophes (and other risks) continue to pay off in terms of efficiency, risk management and customer satisfaction. That said, insurers have a lot on their plates for 2014 -- new compliance requirements, legacy systems decisions, workforce and skills issues, and an unsettled competitive environment are just some of the challenges with which carriers, solutions providers and other strategists must grapple in the coming months.

It's not all headaches and unwelcome mandates, of course. If the trends Insurance & Technology tracked in 2013 are any indication we can expect to see continued exploration and innovation in areas such as big data and analytics, telematics, mobile, and flexible/variable architecture and computing strategies (including cloud and as-a-service models). None of these technologies are new, but as they move beyond bleeding edge we'll be seeing insurance companies of all sizes put them to increasingly creative and productive use.

[Insurers want to know more about using next-generation technologies to improve customer interaction, claims response and fraud detection: Insurance & Technology Top 10 Stories of 2]

I've already predicted that a key theme for insurers in 2014 will be achieving agility – a long-time goal that has been more aspirational than reality. Today, however, the technologies, management perspectives, market conditions and business conditions have advanced and aligned to a point where the capabilities to do this are available now to any insurer. We are officially in the era of "no excuses" -- an exciting and somewhat scary time where the potential to innovate in distribution, underwriting, claims and service is attainable for carriers of any size or market focus.

[What Does The Cloud-Based Insurer Look Like?]

It's a new era for Insurance & Technology, too. The past few years have seen tremendous change and upheaval in the media/publishing businesses, including the business-to-business media space in which I&T engages. For us and for our company, UBM Tech, 2013 was the most dramatic and disruptive year yet, as we embarked on a new corporate strategy focused on engaging with industry communities and tapping into those communities for expert content and commentary. Along the way we completed a transition from print to entirely digital content, along with a renewed focus on live events.

For Insurance & Technology, in some ways everything has changed -- and in others, nothing has changed. While we will be publishing digital issues on a quarterly basis, we will be producing in-depth analysis and reporting every day, featured on our website and in our email newsletter. We will continue our tradition of building lasting relationships with the top decision-makers in the insurance technology industry – and will be working with these strategists as expert contributors who will engage with each other to explore the developments shaping the insurance technology industry. We'll be serving that industry with a mix of timely digital content (watch for a revamped site and content platform early in 2014) and online and live events -- including a relaunch in November 2014 of the Insurance & Technology Executive Summit and the debut of a new event focused on technology economics.

For more than 40 years Insurance & Technology has helped define what is leading edge in the world of insurance technology and has supported the community of professionals charged with putting these innovative and enabling technologies to effective use. It's a long way from punch cards to predictive analytics, but regardless of the technology it continues to be all about understanding how these systems can help insurance companies be more productive, profitable and competitive.

For I&T as for the insurance industry -- even as the tools and business models evolve, our core mission and commitment are unchanging. On behalf of the entire Insurance & Technology team, I look forward to serving our community in new and exciting ways in 2014 -- and beyond!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & ...