Delivering Change in B3i
- Blockchain can enable more than an efficiency play, it can help truly serve customers and provide a platform for growth
- Managing the change and Industry mindset is a hurdle for our ‘multiple intelligences’
- Blockchain alone is not a silver-bullet to solve all problems; used poorly it can be like using a hammer to open a tin can. But it can solve some problems extremely well.
- Blockchain is a strategic opportunity; it is not something that should be looked at through the lens of “will pay back this year”. It is more of a paradigm shift rather than a quick fix.
DELIVERING CHANGE IN B3i
B3i, the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative, invites industry experts to discuss their insights into the business of Blockchain - exploring current trends and challenges faced by the Insurance industry.
Mark Simpson is an expert consultant working in the world of change, his field of expertise has rested on insurance, re-insurance, and in particular the people, process and technology interactions.
CHANGE IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY
Essentially, insurance is protecting the things that people value. If we were re-designing insurance today, and the way it is delivered, it would look fundamentally different.
In the so-called trust business, we see companies exhibiting a lack of trust in so many ways. For example, we often see a lack of contract certainty, mitigated by heavy legal fees, compounded by expensive disputes of quantum and coverage. Behind the scenes are lots of processes and automation in a defensive mode to be proactive just-in-case something goes wrong.
And ultimately who pays for that?
The customer and/or the customer's customer pays for that and that means that they don't get the right solution delivered in the right way or at the right price.
Firms will discuss underinsurance aka “the protection gap” of the underinsured and uninsured. In any other industry you would say, , your customers are telling you loud and clear, "We don't like what you're selling, or the way you're selling it, how much it costs, or how you are delivering it."
So, via Blockchain and B3i’s vision of making protection more accessible, relevant, and affordable speaks to all those things.
With that goal in mind the industry can start to move insurance from being so product orientated into service orientated.
EFFICIENCY IN BLOCKCHAIN
In this industry efficiency is a strong metric, however there’s more to Blockchain than just efficiency.
From a change perspective, this is more than just an efficiency play. The very real ability to exchange information from trusted sources is going to improve quality first of all.
The potential for growth will improve markedly with new products, new segments, new opportunity derived from more trusted sources and quality information shared across the ecosystem.
The industry should be protecting and enhancing the things that people value (e.g. people, stuff, time, emotion, ability to function and reputation) and delivering it in ways that they value and that's what I think Blockchain can help to do. It's not a silver bullet, but it's a really powerful enabler.
CHANGING INDUSTRY MINDSET
Delivering change can be challenging in any industry. In the insurance industry that is so technically focused, expert driven this can be framed as “head-led”, Yet there is so much more going on that what is occurring between the ears. In the world of Change, these are framed as the ‘multiple intelligences’ that people have.
These are regularly exhibited in the Insurance industry. People say, “I am a Claims Adjuster”, or “I am an Underwriter”. However, these are jobs, and are less about identity. In the same way that jobs now exist that didn’t five years ago, as risk experts, people often focus on the downside and the perceived erosion of identity related power - hence the mindset.
New technologies or methodologies will make elements of a role redundant, but that opens the floor to new opportunities in roles, and greater capacity for the more valuable tasks.
Robotic process automation is a good example. Initially many people are fearful of robot automation of their jobs, but in reality, they are a valuable co-working element. Removing the some of the laborious and repetitive actions frees the human up to do so much more. For example, robots cannot currently replace the value-based approach and relationship effect that people bring to their job.
It is important this issue is tackled as a whole system approach, delivering change with, not to people in the industry. Working with people to educate and support, identifying and capturing the opportunities whilst addressing fears, and working together to overcome obstacles. . Working with these experts and others outside the industry allows us to capture invaluable feedback on those opportunities which help us to continue to build the ecosystem for the industry.
The insurance industry has been built on the collaboration and competition of many stakeholders, be that end customer, broker, insurer, reinsurer, TPA, consultant, regulator, and financier. Technology and working approaches need to facilitate this collaboration and “coopetition”.
I’ve experienced B3i in creating a great platform to facilitate this, not just in the technology and solutions, but in the community that allows parties to not only speak with B3i, but with each other. It seems they are really living this “by the market, for the market” ethos.
Ultimately, if we can serve our customers better and there are more of them - this is a much greater cause to be focused on, delivering real change.
Blockchain alone is not a silver-bullet to solve all problems; one of the problems is picking the wrong use cases, and then blaming Blockchain when it doesn’t work. It’s a bit like using a new hammer to open a tin can.
However, the potential for Blockchain and its fusion with other technologies such as AI, smart sensors, RPA, analytics, etc., provides opportunities that have not been seen since the desktop computer and network started to not only liberate us from the cost and time of the mainframe, but also to share information flexibility, effectively and cheaply with so many other parties.
With such a paradigm shift, it is also something that should not be looked at through the lens of “will it pay back this year”, rather taking a broader strategic view of ways to improve the customer and partner integration to grow and save, in ways that we haven’t yet thought of. In these testing times, this presents challenges and requires real courage and leadership.
History is littered with many bad ideas, great ideas poorly executed, ideas delivered too early for people to grasp, or ahead of technology that could deliver. Whereas, I believe Blockchain is maturing at such a rate it will be more of an execution and change challenge than technological.
The industry is under tremendous pressure to not just improve, but to remain relevant; I believe that Blockchain is one of the enablers that can truly help our customers and their customers start to really connect the insurance industry to deliver meaningful client protection and enhancement solutions.