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Insurance & Technology's Top Discussions of 2014

The year's hottest topics revolved around social media, recruiting, telematics and the customer experience.

In the constantly changing world of insurance technology, there is no shortage of exciting advancements to discuss. It’s always invigorating to watch elite tech professionals ponder and debate the future of our industry, and the activity in 2014 did not disappoint.

This year, most conversations on I&T revolved around the implications for evolving customer demands, potential for big data analytics, future of telematics, how and when to use social media, and the tricky landscape of data security. Workplace culture and staffing also proved popular topics. There was plenty of talk over how to recruit technology’s elite professionals and inspire collaboration across all organizational departments.

From January through December, readers eagerly shared their thoughts on the issues that challenge them. Click through to reflect on articles that sparked the most discussion this year and learn more about what commenters had to say.

Thanks for a great year and get ready for more discussion in 2015.

With Customers in Control, CIOs and CMOs Must Team Up
Now that marketing has evolved into a technology-based function, CIOs and CMOs will need to adapt some of the skills associated with one another's roles. Most of today's marketing professionals live and breathe digital, as commenters noted, and CIOs and CMOs should at least collaborate on projects in order to combine their expertise in both fields.

Allstate CEO: Tech Crucial to Customer Relationships
The insurance industry doesn't exactly lend itself to frequent customer interactions. Commenters agree that digital is a critical component in the future of insurance, and with so few interactions, it's crucial that insurers deliver a positive customer experience.

Why #EsuranceSave30 is the Insurance Campaign of the Year (So Far)
Readers jumped in to comment on the impeccable planning and execution involved in Esurance's high-profile social media campaign, which aired during this year's Super Bowl. It's not very often that an insurer claims a top spot in Twitter trends, and this accomplishment was a proud moment for an industry that often struggles with social strategy. Fun fact: this article received the most comments of all I&T stories published in 2014.

The 5 Biggest Challenges Facing IT Professionals
This discussion revolved around securit, which is becoming an increasingly challenging area for insurance IT. Because security has become such a complex and pervasive issue, all employees need to be aware of the dangers in a weak security strategy. Given their expertise, IT employees have a responsibility to help other parts of the organization understand the threats and precautions that need to be taken.

Which Industry Leads in IT Job Creation?
Commenters note that insurance has never been top-of-mind for young professionals entering the workforce and often gets a reputation as a boring and outdated industry. This widespread notion is changing, though, as insurers become leaders in areas like analytics and social media. As they move forward, they may also entice young professionals who want to build new experiences from the ground up.

Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
The discussion revolves around notes and predictions on the future of social media in insurance, which is a bit harder to manage than social campaigns in other industries. Insurers will need to get creative in order to maintain compliance while also appealing to customers.

Wayne Gretzky's Lessons for Elite Insurance Sales
All insurers are capable of processing transactions and opening accounts, but each needs to focus on what sets it apart from the competition. The key lesson? As one commenter notes, "You miss all the shots you don't take." Also a good read for sports lovers.

IT's Time for Innovation
The discussion revolves around points like whether insurers should have specific "innovation teams" or accept ideas from anyone in the company. Other points include the importance of executive buy-in and retaining top talent.

How Recruiters Are Luring Away Your Best Employees
Not too many insurers are keeping tabs on their employees through Facebook and LinkedIn, but plenty of recruiters are. It's time for carriers to start using social media as a means of engaging current employees and educate potential candidates. insurers traditionally have had the biggest challenge around "coolness," commenters note, but may encourage job hunters to think otherwise through large-scale analytics and big data initiatives.

How MassMutual Builds a Data Science Pipeline
Commenters agree: MassMutual's strategy to attract recent college graduates to its analytics program gives the insurer a distinct advantage. Since most new tech-savvy grads are opting to pursue high tech over finance, it's important for carriers to step up their recruitment initiatives.

The Evolution of Telematics Opportunities
Discussion revolves around the future implications of telematics in the insurance industry. How does telematics work? How will devices track multiple people driving the same car at separate times? Is telematics about insuring the car or the driver? Big data has profound implications for auto insurance; carriers just need to figure out what to do with all their information.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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