Canadian and US insurers have a lot on their plates this year.  They’re not just grappling with extreme weather, substantial underwriting losses from all those motor vehicle claims, but also rising customer expectations and an onslaught of fintech disruptors.  These disruptors are spurring lots of activity in insurance digital labs, insurance venture capital arms, and they’re heaping pressure on insurance digital business teams to step up their innovation games to compete.

With so much going on, it’s easy for both insurance executives—and even digital insurance teams—to come down with rampant cases of “Shiny Object Syndrome”.  When that affliction is in full bloom, insurers get lured in by the stuff like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and even genomics at the expense of masterful execution of digital insurance basics like bill pay, policy view, beneficiary change, and the like. As a practical matter, if you have to resort to sending messages to your bill paying customers that their payments won’t be posted for two days, your firm has no business in chasing blockchain yet.

It’s not to say that these kinds of disruptive digital innovations aren’t going to be part of the future of insurance,  but they’ll go nowhere (read: won’t deliver client and agent/broker value) if the digital foundation these innovations are built upon is weak. Your customers, agents, and brokers first want the basics like quotations, bill payments, alerts, and policy changes to be easy to use and flawlessly executed. Resist the pressure from senior executives to get your smart bot into the market or replace all your adjustors with do-it-yourself loss estimators, because those efforts will fail and the investments be wasted if you can’t even handle the basics.

Want to learn more about our point of view of getting digital done right and four other trends we identified as impacting the experience of your customers, agents, brokers and your business?  Read Forrester’s  Trends 2017: North American Digital Insurance report.