This week I was reminded that new isn’t always better. There is a reason Richard Simmons was “Sweatin to the Oldies.”
In the rapidly evolving world of technology and digitalization, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of innovation and the allure of new-age insurance companies. The cutting-edge features and seamless online experiences promised by these digital players are undoubtedly tempting, especially in comparison to traditional insurance institutions. However, as a small insurance company, traditional broker, or MGA executive, you have a unique set of benefits that should not be underestimated. In fact, there are instances when new isn’t always better, and the tried-and-true methods of yesteryear still hold value today.
We will explore the timeless appeal of being small, the importance of maintaining your unique value proposition, and the undeniable value of personal connection. As we navigate through these points, let’s draw inspiration from classic movies and TV shows that have stood the test of time, reminding us that older doesn’t always mean outdated.
Table of Contents
New Isn’t Always Better: A Cautionary Tale from Grasshopper Bank
Picture this scene from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”: Dorothy and her friends are dazzled by the seemingly magical and perfect world of Oz, only to discover that the man behind the curtain is merely an illusionist, and the promises he made were empty. This analogy applies to the experience I personally had with Grasshopper Bank, a new-age, all-digital business banking institution.
Initially, Grasshopper Bank seemed like the perfect solution: no fees, an attractive interest rate, and an all-digital platform. However, as I soon discovered, their services paled in comparison to my current business banks, Chase (which is currently run by Ben Walter, a former Insurance executive) and Lending Club Bank. With no one to call and a 3-day email response time, I found that the human touch and personalized service I was accustomed to with traditional banks were sorely lacking.
Innovation and Your Unique Value Proposition: Learning from “Cheers”
Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you can’t be innovative. In fact, small companies are often nimbler and more adaptable than their larger counterparts. They’re not afraid to try new things and take risks. This can be a big advantage in a rapidly changing industry like insurance. In fact, many of my clients have excelled in the AM Best Innovation ratings because they are nimbler and able to try AND implement innovation quicker and more completely into their DNA than major carriers.
Innovation is undoubtedly essential for growth and progress, but as small carrier executives, it’s crucial to remember that it should never overshadow your unique value proposition. The classic TV show “Cheers” provides an excellent example of this principle in action. Despite being set in a seemingly ordinary Boston bar, the show’s charm and lasting appeal lie in the relationships and camaraderie between the characters. The environment and interactions are familiar and comforting, making the show a timeless classic.
Like “Cheers,” small carriers, brokerages, and MGAs can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort to customers and agents, something that new-age insurers may struggle to achieve. By focusing on your unique value proposition and leveraging innovation to enhance it, you can maintain the timeless appeal that has sustained your business thus far.
The Importance of Personal Connection: A Lesson from “It’s a Wonderful Life”
The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the heartwarming story of George Bailey, a man who, despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, ultimately discovers that the people in his life are what truly matter. This classic film is a testament to the power of human connection, a lesson that is especially relevant for small carriers, brokers, and MGAs. In an era where customers, young and old, are increasingly craving personal connections, smaller companies have the advantage of providing face-to-face interactions and a familiar voice at the other end of the line. This personal touch can offer customers the comfort and reassurance they desire, setting your business apart from digital and new-age insurers.
Embracing Insurtech Advances: Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand
The iconic scene from the movie “Casablanca” where Rick tells Ilsa that “the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world” serves as a reminder that we must adapt and evolve to stay relevant. While small carriers have their unique value propositions and timeless appeal, it’s essential not to bury your head in the sand when it comes to technological advancements. Ignoring the insurtech ecosystem and its potential benefits will only leave you at a disadvantage.
Instead, small carriers must strike a balance between preserving their unique strengths and embracing technological advancements. By carefully selecting and incorporating the most relevant and beneficial insurtech solutions, you can enhance your customer experience and streamline your operations without sacrificing the personal touch that sets you apart from new-age insurers and even the larger competition.
The Path Forward
In a world where the latest innovations and technologies often dominate the headlines, it’s easy to lose sight of the value that small carriers bring to the table. However, as we’ve seen through examples from classic movies and TV shows, there’s something to be said for the timeless appeal and personal connections that can only be found in more traditional business models.
To continue growing and excelling in an ever-changing industry landscape, you should focus on the following action steps over the next six months:
Insurtech Advisors has a proven track record of helping small carriers, MGAs, and brokers continue to innovate and grow their businesses. By offering invaluable guidance and support, we enable smaller carriers, MGAs and Brokers to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving industry, all while maintaining your core strengths and values.
By taking these action steps and embracing the right balance between innovation and tradition, you will continue to thrive and excel in an increasingly digital world. The timeless appeal and personal connections that set your business apart will serve as the foundation for continued growth and success, ensuring that you remain a vital player in the insurance industry for years to come.
Insurtech Advisors empowers regional carriers and agencies by connecting them with the most exceptional Insurtech solutions, ensuring their ongoing success while meeting the evolving needs of their members, employees, and independent agents. Our in-depth understanding of your business and the Insurtech landscape allows us to eliminate wasted time and prevent false starts.
We take a hands-on approach, collaborating closely with your team to pinpoint opportunities and objectives, and then personally introduce you to the top-tier Insurtech partners best suited to help you achieve those goals. By facilitating tailored pilot programs, Insurtech Advisors enables you to experience the full potential of these cutting-edge solutions, driving your business forward in a rapidly changing industry.
Kaenan is a professional in the areas of block chain, telematics, wearables, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and Insurtech. He has played a key role in innovating many start-ups and established carriers. His advice has been widely appreciated in the financial community, which resulted in multiple quotes and publications in various media.
Most recently he was Practice Lead for Innovation, Fintech, and Strategic Insights at EY. Throughout his career he has held leading roles within Marketing Strategy and Decision Management with top Insurance, Banking and Finance companies, including USAA, Citibank and Sallie Mae.