Lex Sokolin, futurist and fintech entrepreneur, shared his thoughts on challenges and opportunities in insurance today. Key takeaways? Think digitally first, look for innovation in nearby industries – and find out how to catch human attention.
In a few weeks, we are launching the first season of Accenture Insurance Influencers podcast. The podcast will include interviews with some of the industry's deepest thinkers, including Lex Sokolin, futurist and fintech entrepreneur.
In the three full episodes of Lex, he shares his experience as a fintech entrepreneur. What are common mistakes made by financial institutions to try to understand disturbances, and how can new technology transform the insurance chain? How does artificial intelligence (AI) affect insurers and consumers?
Check in a few weeks for these episodes. In the meantime, Lex has responded to the four quickfire questions that we face for all our guests.
What is the biggest challenge for insurance today?
I think it's not actually the technology or the economy. It believes that change is possible. It believes that the disturbance that occurs in crypto and artificial intelligence and insurtech will affect the long term.
Personally, I think it is absolutely inevitable. And as soon as the law that manages these companies can own it and take measures to push itself in that direction, I believe that you will have a spectacular transformation in the industry. But it is the brains of the people who run the industry, and that is the biggest challenge today.
And on the flipside, what is the greatest opportunity for insurance companies today?
The flip page is precisely focused on changing your mind. So if you change, if you see what the future is based on, whether it's Asian companies or what Feds is building or how Facebook teaches us to use the Internet – once you see what that future is, I think you see the opportunity to be digital-first and as an established, to be digital first in scale.
I would focus people most aggressively on looking at the cash cashes they are sitting on, like the asset management part of the premium portfolios today, and find ways to take it and turn it into a digital first company.
What trends should be on the insurance companies' radars?
For all different parts of the financial industry, whether you are insurance or in a bank, I think the trend you are looking for is not the one everyone talks about. Instead, look at the other nearby industries, next to what you do. If you're focused on insurance salesmen, look at bank offices, look at robo advisors. If you focus on insurance models and try to apply artificial intelligence, look at what happened in digital lenders and with credit guarantees in different geographic areas.
So there are lessons that we can learn, if they come from payments and KYC AML, if they come from control technology, and take it back to your own industry and to your own company. And I think that kind of surprise is how you create the most value.
Which technology will have the greatest impact on industry over the next 10-15 years?
The biggest shift that is happening over finance is that we are moved from a manufacturing industry to a sales and distribution and customer travel industry. And it is totally against how most grew up construction companies over the past 30 years. The technology that has the greatest effect on the industry is not AI, not crypto, not automation. It is simply the technology that captures human attention.
So if you decide where people spend their time, how they do it, how people can get involved on platforms that give them everything from toilet paper to movies to bank accounts. Capturing the human attention and finding ways to do it on a large scale, rather than just printing products on the street, is really the key to designating the next 15 years.
Get ready for season one of Insurance Influencers, where we'll talk to Lex about disturbances, innovation and navigation changes. We will also dive deep into the AI and what happens when machine learning meets human bias.
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