ORLANDO, FL, Nov. 12, 2002 — Technology users in the insurance industry will continue to meld old and emerging applications to create new value propositions and sustain strategic advantage, a technology trend forecaster reminded insurers at ISO's technology conference.
Speaking at the ISOTech 2002 conference here, Daniel Burrus, futurist and author, urged insurers to recognize that "when you see the future, think 'both-and' about technology applications.
"The future is wireless but also wired. The future is digital but also analog. New technologies will continue to accelerate, but that won't exclude existing applications," said Burrus, who heads his own research and consulting firm.
Burrus predicted that, as in other industries, property/casualty insurers will increasingly use the web to conduct business, serve customers, improve productivity and seek efficiencies.
"For example, the web will transform many of your existing business processes. Your call centers, help desks and customer relationship management functions will become more interactive, e-enabled operations," Burrus said.
The three-day ISOTech 2002 conference, which concludes today, drew nearly 650 insurance and technology experts for information on practical applications of technology for underwriting, claims handling, catastrophe modeling, loss control, fraud prevention, premium audit, data management and other functional areas in the property/casualty industry. Ninety exhibitors demonstrated a wide variety of technology products and their applications at the accompanying trade show.
Three related industry conferences — the PAASTM Premium Audit Forum, the E&STM Loss Control Management Forum and the ICE (Insurance Collection Executives) Forum — will conclude on Thursday.
Analyzing the market success of six insurers in the personal auto and general liability lines of business, Peter S. Cohan, consultant and author, identified a "strong focus on continuous process improvement" as key to their success. "These best-of-breed companies achieve success and higher financial returns through a four-step process that they continually improve upon — entrepreneurial leadership and risk taking, disciplined resource allocations, technology to analyze segment-specific risks to identify promising sectors, and boundaryless product development."
"The technology behind automotive black boxes to track vehicle crash data can harvest significant information for insurers' claims operations," said W. Scott Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Injury Sciences, a forensic technology firm.
While there are privacy concerns about data ownership, Palmer cited an interesting dichotomy in the use of black box data. "More than 50 percent of the respondents to a recent Insurance Research Council study were opposed to monitoring mileage and driving habits to determine insurance rates, yet the same percentage of respondents supported the use of black box data to investigate accidents and determine fault," Palmer observed.
Palmer noted that though the availability of black box data has reached a "critical mass and is increasing at a significant rate," the technology alone will not eliminate traditional methods insurers use to report facts about auto accidents and estimate repair costs. "Data bundling is key, and that will continue to play a major role in the claims process," he added.
ISO is a leading source of information, products and services related to property and liability risk. For a broad spectrum of commercial and personal lines of insurance, ISO provides statistical, actuarial, underwriting and claims information and analyses; consulting and technical services; policy language; information about specific locations; fraud-identification tools; and data processing. In the United States and around the world, ISO serves insurers, reinsurers, agents, brokers, self-insureds, risk managers, insurance regulators and other government agencies.