SMA 2018 Predictions: A Year of Shifts, Pivots, and Turns

Insurers are building upon core modernization investments and embracing innovation as the cornerstone for change and transformation. So, what’s next for the industry?

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It’s an amazing time to be in insurance. Our industry is responding to external influencers, the possibilities of emerging technologies, and the explosion of InsurTech. 2018 is shaping up to be a year filled with more shifts, pivots, and turns—and the needle will move towards progress.

Insurers are building upon core modernization investments and embracing innovation as the cornerstone for change and transformation. So, what’s next for the industry?

Here are Strategy Meets Action’s top four predictions for 2018:

2018 – Insurance Transformation 2.0

Deb Smallwood, Founder, SMA.

Deb Smallwood

This will be the year beyond the hype, education, awareness, and acceptance … this will be a year of the realities of transformation. The industry will experience shifts, pivots, and turns—with many false starts, several failures, yet continued pockets of success—across our expanding ecosystem.

Our industry will stay true to our traditional strengths of financial stability, ability to scale, and the wisdom of risk and pricing. But we will see the needle move on transformation as insurers and solution providers converge their traditional strengths with the new world strengths of customer-centricity, new sources of data and advanced analytics, and leveraging the emerging technologies and InsurTech capabilities of the digital connected worlds.


2018 Will Push Insurers’ Digital Transformation in Core Decision-Making by Incorporating AI and Microservices

Karen Furtado, Partner, SMA.

Karen Furtado

2018 will be the year where digital transformation will extend to change core decision processes through the increased usage of microservices and greater adoption of AI.

Risk evaluation and data entry will be the two fronts most influenced by AI in 2018. Usage of data will increase – both in the automation of process and in the increased use of machine learning. The microservice movement is just starting and will gain momentum in 2018 as architectures shift to support the drive for greater digital services to a wide variety of distribution channels that include many direct-to-consumer initiatives.


2018 Will Be the Year of Partnerships and Pay-Offs for InsurTech and Emerging Tech

Mark Breading, Partner, SMA.

Mark Breading

We are already seeing significant partnering activity … this will continue and increase in 2018 with:

  • InsurTechs partnering with insurers,
  • InsurTechs partnering with Mature Tech companies,
  • And InsurTechs partnering with each other.
  • We will also see increasingly innovative partnerships with companies outside of insurance as many players begin to participate in new connected world ecosystems.

And it will also be the year of pay-offs … meaning that many of the pilots, partnerships, and investments will begin to show more business benefits … there will be more use cases and more industry impact from InsurTech and Emerging Tech in 2018.


AI Will Be the Dominant Headline in 2018

Karen Pauli, Principal, SMA.

Karen Pauli

The business leaders who become students of the various subcategories of AI—machine learning, cognitive computing, RPA, chatbots, etc.—will make specific technology choices that will drive unprecedented value and exponential transformation.

Partnering with InsurTech AI solution providers will be imperative for insurers of all sizes to keep pace with market leaders who are already investing in AI-driven capabilities.

In particular, underwriting and claims executives will have the opportunity to alter traditional business outcomes and respond to new opportunities in a changing risk environment.

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Deb Smallwood // Deb Smallwood, founder of SMA, is highly respected throughout the insurance industry for strategic thinking, thought provoking research, and advisory skills in helping insurance companies re-think, re-energize, and re-tool their IT plans and technology investments for profitable growth and differentiation. Insurers and solution providers turn to Smallwood for insight and guidance on business and IT linkage, strategy, and architecture. Those seeking an edge in today’s highly competitive world turn to Smallwood to capitalize on her deep industry knowledge and experience and her specialized understanding of distribution, portals, agent connectivity, and underwriting automation.

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