The KPMG Report: Empowered for the Future – Insurance Reinvented makes several excellent reference points regarding the digital transformation of the insurance industry. At the outset, the Report accurately points out:
The problem is that – for insurers to truly ‘reinvent’ their businesses – they will need much more fundamental changes to their business models and their operating models than ever before. Success in the insurance industry of the future will not come from simply tweaking the status quo, insurers will need to change virtually every part of their business if they hope to not just survive, but thrive.
The authors of the Report painstakingly point out that the word “transformation” is “banned” outright within the ranks of insurance companies and their executives. Further evidence of challenges ahead for the industry to adopt transformative technology can be found in the book Cheat to Win written by insurance entrepreneur Bob MacDonald. As Bob writes in Cheat to Win, he cheated by breaking all the “rules” in the insurance industry and “won.” He tells us how being labeled an “entrepreneur” within an insurance company was enough to get you (him) fired. An industry that has “rules” that bans words such as “transformation,” and terminates executives for being “entrepreneurs,” is ripe for disruption.
The graphic below from the Report provides another excellent reference point:
We know that any change requires motivation. Well if you are the CEO of a large insurance company that has been a market dominating force since time immemorial, then tell me: What motivation do you have to transform your strategic financial objectives? What motivation do you have to change your operating and functional models? And what is your motivating need to adapt to external environments? As CEO, you have to be wondering, “What is all the hype about in reports such as KPMGs?” I mean you must get it intellectually (duh, the internet…) but really, why do I need to change anything? Who can blame leadership for lacking the motivation to institute fundamental change. Have you ever experienced trying to implement fundamental change in a large organization? I know how difficult this is within a small company (hard). Besides, current leadership did not build the “rules” that ban transformation and entrepreneurs. So it’s easy to see why the insurance industry will be disrupted and reinvented by external forces.
Tom Nodine is former partner of KPMG and a contributing author to the KPMG Empowered for the Future report. He recently left KPMG to start his own to his practice at Corporate Transformation Partners. We have been fortunate to work with Tom as we envision our future place within in the insurance industry, given our strategy centered on value creation for consumers and investors in life insurance and the technology discovered by Dr. Steve Horvath. Tom shares our passion for participating in the digital revolution that is upon the insurance industry and he appreciates the necessity and opportunity to work with companies from the outside the traditional channels.
One of my favorite observations by Tom of us is: Not only have we uncovered really cool revolutionary technology (his words), but we also have what he observes as a “Goldilocks” company – Not too big (where change is almost impossible) – and Not too small (where startup seed financing needed) that understands unique value proposition of life insurance products from a non-traditional perspective.
As we start the new year, we are grateful for all those who have supported us to date, and for all those who will support us in the future pursuit of achieving our corporate mission – breaking many of the “rules” of the life insurance industry along the way.