6 Insurance Innovation Imperatives, Part I: Plot a Clear Path

Business leaders don’t need to be convinced about the value of innovation; what they need is a clearly articulated path to execution and delivery of technology solutions that help them sell insurance and manage risk along the way.

Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series of six installments. Please find a link to the other installments below.

Whether or not insurance IT world has distinguished itself in its delivery of innovation, it certainly has not stinted in its rhetoric on the subject.  In every outlet one could think of — articles, blogs, speeches, vendor presentations, IT executive retreats and roundtables, lunch time or water coolers conversations, industry forums, resumes, and everything else in between — IT executives and their enablers are proclaiming a commitment to innovation. But where is the innovation itself? What is its impact on the business today? What really is the next big thing? And what kind of IT leadership will help its companies to emerge as innovative insurers in the marketplace?

The first thing to get clear is that, for all the hype, the majority of innovations won’t make headlines. Innovation is a gradual, cumulative process with only occasional visible breakthroughs in the way business is done. It is a process with many stakeholders with disparate interests, within a highly regulated business context. However, that acknowledgment should encourage rather than dampen the ongoing conversation about innovation. IT leaders must remain at the forefront of change, anticipating needed changes, pushing the frontier of technology and tirelessly seeking ways to break barriers to profitability and efficiency gains, and staying one step ahead of the competition.

The CIO’s job is to distinguish reality from rhetoric. Business leaders don’t need convincing about the potential value of innovation in general; what they need is a clearly articulated path to execution of specific technology solutions that help them sell insurance and manage risk along the way.

CIOs need to establish a forward-thinking posture that defines and quantifies both threats and benefits. And since innovations are by nature experimental and speculative, CIOs must also institute a framework to manage innovative activities. The following parts of this series provide recommendations of what such a framework might look like in a context of an insurance carrier’s technology strategy.


Editor’s Note: Click the links below for the other installments in this series:

Part II: Match Innovation to Market Level

Part III: Cross the Seven Frontiers of Innovation Capability

Part IV: Integrate Innovation into IT Strategy and Operations

Part V: Apply 5 Key Steps to the Execution of Innovative Ideas

Part VI: Establish a Comprehensive Program

Alfred Goxhaj // Alfred Goxhaj is an IT professional with over 18 years’ experience in a variety of industries as a developer, analyst, architect and manager. During his career he has managed large-scale enterprise architecture, application development, business intelligence, data management, ERP and e-commerce projects. In Jan. 2013, he became CIO of Endurance Specialty Holdings, after a four-year stint as CIO of Tokio Marine North America/Philadelphia Insurance Companies. Goxhaj’s trademark achievement has been the establishment of a clear vision and strategy for the integrated architecture and technology for life and P&C insurance companies, and leading successful implementations in record time. He holds degrees in advanced physics, applied mathematics and an MBA/MIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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