Innovate Innovate Innovate, But…. (NAMIC Takeaway)
As a first time attendee of NAMIC’s annual convention, I have to say, I was impressed. The first rate production value, refreshments and entertainment had me looking around for David Tutera. While NAMIC’s event team will probably only understand that compliment, more universal praise must go to the speaker selection, sessions and the common theme woven throughout. One because I appreciate the execution and two because the theme hits home.
Innovation, both technical and business, was the common thread I noticed even when the title didn’t hit you over the head. For example, all three keynote speakers touched on this directly or indirectly. Kevin Paulsen, Cyber Crime Expert and Author, through captivating storytelling left you thinking how cybercrime is an opportunity for business growth and something our technology department better be ready for. General Michael Hayden, former director of CIA and NSA, looked at the changing global risk landscape and made you think of new ways an insurer can secure its members. Scott Stratten, social, viral marketing and branding expert, kicked off the week and I will come back to his message later.
Educational sessions reinforced the theme. From innovation labs and digital disruption in P&C, to cannabis insights and fracking. Working for MFX, a specialized digital partner to the P&C industry only, I was especially interested in the technical innovation conversations. From my perspective, these presenters did a fantastic job explaining what new technology platforms need to be examined by insurers, how their companies manage and evaluate new technology, and ways you can be a part of and not left out of the InsureTech wave. I agree that each facet should be analyzed by all insurance carriers to determine gaps and plan accordingly. MFX, coincidentally, helps with that.
However, and most importantly, the presentations were not fear based which always leaves me skeptical. Rather than trying to scare attendees with the necessity of change, the underlying message was best summed up by Stratten on day 1.Do you.If your brand and DNA is not chatbots and blockchain, then don’t force it. Do what you do, whatever that is, better than anyone else. If that is local customer service reps who know your members better than anyone else because their kids are in the same middle school play, than foster that. It is critical that all insurers routinely evaluate how to best leverage technology, but understanding your own unique identity in the marketplace along with repeatable excellence is what turns your customers in to brand evangelists (loyal customers who genuinely love the services a company provides according to Stratten). In the end, inauthenticity may cause more disruption than technology.