GWII CPD session: Disruptors in Business. Agile Insurance for the future’

On the topic of disruptors in business, Gauteng Women In Insurance (GWII) hosted a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) session on 23 June, proudly sponsored by Old Mutual Insure.

Speaker Karen Naidoo, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the short term insurance sector, the corporate insurance field and risk management, and is currently the Managing Director of Mutual & Federal Risk Finance (MFRF), discussed disruptors in business and agile insurance for the future.

What is agility

“As the environment changes, we have to ask ourselves if we are ready and set up for success. We are encouraged to be disruptive, to be innovative and to be future ready. But we need to set up to respond swiftly. We need to be agile,” said Naidoo.

“Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily, and to think and understand quickly. Agility is the innovation of doing things differently, it is about abandoning your comfort zone and embracing the unknown,” she added.

“Agile organisations are able to quickly reconfigure strategies and operating models to respond to volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions (VUCA). Organisations that can do this efficiently achieve competitive advantage. Agility leads to stability,” emphasised Naidoo.

There are six behavior traits, according to Naidoo, that define an agile brand. These are:

  • Being adaptive;
  • Principled;
  • Open;
  • Responsible;
  • Global; and

Four ingredients for agile transformation

What do AGILE organisations have in common? Naidoo said there are four ingredients for a successful agile transformation:

  1. Ensure the top team gets it;
  2. Be intentional – chase value;
  3. Build connective tissue – strategy, structure, process, people and technology; and
  4. Maintain high speed and use front runners.

New world, new customers, new solutions

So, what does the future of insurance look like? The future is history waiting to happen! Experts estimate that there will be up to one trillion connected devices by 2025, IoT, changes to underwriting, pricing, distribution and claims. The question is, are we as insurers agile enough to respond to our customer and their changing needs?

If we look at the year 2036, there are three scenarios, for example, that could play out, said Naidoo.

“In scenario one – the industry is completely disrupted, there are few traditional insurers and insurers are technology companies. In scenario two - traditional insurers fend off the disruptors and hold their position, startups crash and burn, traditional insurers make use of experience, financial stability to evolve, become more efficient and build ecosystems. And lastly, scenario three looks a lot like our world now. Change is already happening and there is too much emphasis on data.”

“But let’s do things as we’ve always done them. Embrace change and be agile. New customers and a new world mean there are new opportunities and new solutions,” she concluded.

See photo album here