From the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Tech Decisions • Subscribe!

The Next Big Thing

We are two months away from the new year, so we asked some leading industry analysts to predict what technology functions will capture the attention of CIOs and their hard-working staffs in the months ahead.

FRANK PETERSMARK
CIO Advocate, X By 2

While technologies such as social media, mobility, and cloud based services/virtualization will continue to have mostly positive impacts on the insurance industry in 2013, I think that there are two other technological and process trends that will have a major bearing on the industry, and they’re both things that the industry knows well: core systems modernization and data analytics.

In both cases, many carriers have been working on borrowed time in terms of the functionality, information, and process limitations. However, with the advent of better core system software choices—including well-integrated suites for policy, claims, and billing—2013 should finally be the year that carriers complete or at least make significant progress in their legacy modernization efforts. Hand in hand with these newer core system platforms is the ability to significantly improve a carrier’s information gathering and distribution capabilities, and along with some new software offerings in the advanced analytics and predictive modeling realms, should improve most carrier’s bread and butter business processes, and that should lead to improved customer service.

KAREN PAULI
Research Director, Insurance, CEB TowerGroup

One of the major questions we keep hearing from insurance executives is: “Where I am going to get individuals with business and analytics skills?” Due to the ramp up in social media and usage-based insurance, combined with the mountain of existing unstructured data, the technology that will be important in 2013 is high performance, visual analytics.

Analytics, in general, is now a staple in the insurance industry so the logical next step is broadly institutionalizing the skills and wrestling the data into consistent insight. High performance visual analytics allows a business analyst to work in an intuitive visual environment, that doesn’t require deep analytics/modeling skills, yet enhances business outcomes.

This technology delivers in-memory computing power value so that costly analytic and predictive cycle times are eliminated. This is critical given the escalating pace of time-to-decision. High performance, visual analytics transforms traditional “project-based” analytics into enterprise, innovative thinking and decisioning.

ELLEN CARNEY
Senior Analyst, Forrester Research

In a word, it’s mobile. Mobile insurance experiences are evolving as fast as new technology gets incorporated into what seems like a near continuous stream of new phones with new features.

But digital insurance teams need to scan the mobile landscape for innovations that can create better consumer or agent experiences, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. And for mobile initiatives to deliver the expected outcomes, digital teams need a vision for 2013 that moves their firms from experimentation to mobile maturity.

DONALD LIGHT
Director, Americas Property/Casualty Practice

2013 will see a substantial amount of activity in what is sometimes called “The Internet of Things.” This refers to devices that automatically record and transmit various kinds of data to large data repositories.

Telematics, in the sense of devices on-board various types of motor vehicles, is an example that has been with us for several years. Usage-based insurance is a next generation version of telematics that records a much broader data set. A  critical benefit of usage-based insurance is that it can and should provide a feedback loop to vehicle owners/users giving them incentives to improve driver behavior.

More broadly sensing/transmitting devices are being increasingly placed in other vehicles (ships, planes, farm and construction equipment), machinery, buildings, and bridges. Sometimes the devices will just tap into already embedded information systems—and work primarily as transmitting devices. Soon devices also will be embedded in people. Monitoring the blood sugar levels of a diabetic person is an easy example.

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