A Must for the Insurance Industry
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) held its annual Women in Insurance Conference at The Pierre Hotel in New York City on June 7. Speaking before hundreds of women — and a number of men — Margaret Regan advocated for women to step out of their comfort zone and embrace change.
One such change is technology. The field continues to rapidly advance — particularly in the area of artificial intelligence and machine learning. With more than 20 years of experience in the world of technology, Regan, the president and CEO of The FutureWork Institute Inc., says her job “is to be 10 years ahead of everyone else.”
Is the insurance industry listening?
The volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) of rapidly changing technology can be daunting to the insurance industry, but Regan says that industry can ill afford to be behind in technology much longer. She told the audience that by 2050, a computer will have the capacity of all human brains. If such advancements feel far off, Regan pointed out that similar technology is already in place.
Because such technology is rich with data, “we’re seeing some of the insurance companies being faster adopters than they usually are,” but overall, “it was a message to the insurance industry to stop sitting on the sidelines.”
If this isn’t enough of a wakeup call, those embracing technology and change are looking to disrupt the market. Earlier this year, Amazon.com Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. announced a plan to collaborate on a way to offer health-care services to their U.S. employees more transparently and at a lower cost.
The job market is set to evolve as technology changes our way of life, and it’s only a matter of time before the property & casualty insurance sectors notice disruptions on their homefront.
See the future, be the future
To see real change across all industries, companies will need to help advance women in a number of ways. Regan suggests looking at sponsorship programs as a place to start. Senior individuals in a company can sponsor senior women to roles that they might not often be considered for. Conducting pay studies can also help bridge the divide, and gender dialogues are needed so men can promote a fix to the issue and support women.
“I think there are a lot of best practices around, but a multi-prong approach is needed,” says Regan.
Due to conscious and unconscious bias, she says that part of the issue is that women are often not seen as leaders, but emphasized that women need to start taking those next steps, and the insurance industry needs to help them.
Before concluding her presentation, Regan brought out Jibo, her personal robot/companion which is capable of dancing, asking questions and much more, and showcased how forward thinking she is. “I don’t just talk about it, I try to live it,” says Regan.