I am standing in my kitchen, engaging in my morning ritual of insanity: reviewing mobile reports of our prior days sales, waiting for the keurig to makes its loud spitty noise to tell me my coffee is ready, shoveling what are hopefully organic and healthy items into my daughters lunchbox. With my OGIO backpack over my right shoulder, a quick kiss to my wife and daughter, I scream for my son - let's go, I gotta go son. We make our way out the door and another glorious day begins.
Sitting at a redlight, I check my email ( you do it too, leave me alone ). At the top of my inbox is an email from LinkedIn's Senior Editor: Jeffery, We want your predictions. What topics, ideas and conversations do you think will define 2019 ? Weigh in and be sure to use the the hashtag #bigIdeas2019.
If the editorial team at linkedin asks for my ideas, who am I to ignore them ?
Hence, below is a small collection of BigIdeas for 2019, amended of course for Insuretech. I purposefully weighted them to addressing anticipated 2019 daily routines instead of grandios predictions about industry upheaval.
1. 2019: the year of Chatbot's going mainstream, AI, & Drones doing cooler stuff.
Most Insurors & All Insurtechs already employ some type of chatbot or voice recognition assistance. It's going to be way more prevalent. Drones will greatly enhance claims and inspection processes. Our office uses IRobots for nightly cleanings, Alexa for reordering office staples ( lunch too ) and our website chatbot is the third most utilized interface, just behind text and email.
Behold the circuit board tweaked to serve the Insurance Industry. #EpicDisruption #It'sAlive
2. Hierarchies will continue to fall in 2019
Gone are the days of endless layers of management hierarchy. More Insuretech's and Insurance Companies will decentralize meaningful decision making. Every entity today needs speed ( wicked fast speed ) to compete and be relevant. Change is happening so rapidly in our industry & companies with bloated archaic hierarchies are simply engaging in an agreement with the universe to be irrelevant.
INSIDER LESSON: Failed to heed our service teams warning about how important texting was. We embraced it a bit late, but made up for it with SuperMan like implementation. Text now exceeds email, faxes and mailing in our company by a factor of 3 to 1. So much so, that we have multiple text lines and dedicated staff just for apps, pictures, memos, etc.
3. Spend 50 per cent of your time with industry outsiders seeking ideas ( spend half of that time with WACKOS. )
Your Vendors, Distributors, and Yes " your clients " will give you more ideas in five minutes than you will get from another committee meeting or strategy session. These people already have preconceived ideas about what they expect our industry should already be doing. The people in your committee meetings are most likely still trying to say, what they think you want to hear. #selfpreservationsucks - but - it is real.
The other half of your outside idea searching should be spent with WACKO'S. Wacko's should be listened to without judgement ( or comment for that matter ) but, if, you, successfully implement one WACKO idea....you will soon be sought after, and beloved as a resident genius. FIND & #ListenToTheWackos.
4. Ask Stupid Questions
Somebody once asked the question. Why can't we have a device that texts, takes pictures, does email, manages my bank account and acts as a phone. I believe we all know who that man is. Let us collectively ask really stupid industry based questions.
- What one thing if solved would transform your business ?
- What one device would solve our loss ratio problems ?
- What one report could help us better manage profitability ?
5. Ready Fire Aim instead of ready aim aim aim
I have taken dozens of Myers Briggs and 16personalities.com test in the past. They all tell me the same thing. I need to spend more time Aiming before Firing. I am convinced however that I would rather suffer many failures and reload instead of the opposite which feels like paralysis analysis to me. Maybe 2019 is your year to aim less and fire more. #PullTheTrigger then reload. What are you ? Me? I am ENFJ-T.
6. More offices will DIE in 2019.
Seen all the data ! heard all the convo!, surrounding the good and bad of open office space. The truth is incontrovertible - Culture Eats Strategy and companies with open office spaces have a much much better culture. Your best laid strategy plans will get eaten by your obsolete culture as you hide in your office for private time.
Have an office ? Swap it Out. Use One day per week in your office with door closed. Next four days be out with the troops or with outsiders and don't forget the WACKOS. Give your office to a different person each other day of the week. This is super easy when you aren’t attached to your stuff. All you really need to affect change is to listen and make decisions. Plenty of Insurance executives ran empires without email, chat, or twitter. #killyouroffice
7. 2019 the year of Insurance Podcast domination
There are so many good podcast choices right now and 2019 promises to deliver even more. You can literally listen to other peoples mistakes and learn from them while driving to work or on your daily run. INSNERDS, SPOT ON, #WatchForOurPodcastSoon
8. The year you cease being Chief Answer Guy \Girl.
The next time an employee comes to you with a repeated question ( self talk this in silence ) I am an idiot, or alternatively I am an egomaniac. You have to be one or both. If you failed to explain to your staff the things they need to know or even worse you neglected to empower them to fail bigly.
In action & deed, but not in word, slowly show your people that your job is not chief answer person, but Chief Asker of really stupid questions. If they keep asking you the same questions, you're doing it wrong. #GetStupid #GetEvenStupider
9. Hey Insuretech startups, this is your year.
We will welcome even more insuretechs in 2019. We are so excited that you will help us disrupt an old and tired industry. But Please I beggeth of you. Purchase our products first to learn the real pain points and get someone on your staff that knows insurance. My friend @josephtotah gives a better explanation of why this is important here.
Gratuitous redirect time - read my I Am Insurtech article, liked by many, hated by some.
10. Move over, Millennials; it’s Gen Z’s time
I borrowed ( kidding, I stole this ) from @isabelleroughol She does a superb summary on yet another upcoming workplace transition. #GetReadyTheyDontDoEmail.
In 2019, Generation Z will outnumber Millennials, that generation you’ve loved to hate for the past decade. “Generation Z is now heading into the workforce in meaningful numbers and for the first time in modern history five generations will be working side-by-side,” says Michael Dell, CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies. Gen Z — which Pew Research Center defines as those born from 1997 onward — will be about one-third of the global population and one-fifth of its workers. What is this new generation’s work ethic? “My experience is that they lean in and lean hard,” says best-selling author Brené Brown. About half of her staff is Gen Z. “They are all very different people, but as a group I experience them as curious, hopeful, always learning, painfully attuned to the suffering in the world, and anxious to do something about it.”
Goodbye 2018: I cannot look forward, without looking back.
The above thoughts are some predictions for 2019. In parting, allow me to look back at 2018 and revel, perhaps boast (who are we kidding, I wish to gloat ) about the fact that: Our RIGHTRATER platform surpassed 30 million in new premium issued. Our Agency entity, RIGHTSURE completed is 16th acquisition & my book, The Art of the Insurance Deal made it to #1 new release on Amazon. I cannot go into 2019 without looking back on 2018 with an attitude of gratitude
photo courtesy of Cody Davis