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Insurance and Digital Disruption: The Paradigm Shift

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Insurance and Digital Disruption: The Paradigm Shift

For more than 350 years, insurance as an industry has faced challenges to its existence from catastrophic loss, societal change and the need to innovate, all of which have presented themselves over time, but which the industry has (largely) taken in its stride, survived and often thrived from.

Yet today the industry faces the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created stresses and opportunities not seen before. This reshaped environment, commonly referred to as the “New Normal,” is one in which personal contact is greatly complicated, travel becomes harder and resiliency programs are rendered ineffective as a large proportion of a company’s physical real estate becomes unavailable to its workforce.

Right now, we see this threat delivering the potential for unprecedented, catastrophic loss in terms of geographic distribution, range of affected business lines and scale of disruption. It does this against a backdrop of societal change due to shifting demographics, where young, tech-savvy consumers are demanding policies that are highly customized to their needs, while also calling for more responsive customer service that resolves issues in hours, not weeks. These new expectations run contrary to the traditions of the insurance industry. Beyond these societal pressures, insurance is now facing forces that are driving a need for continuous technical innovation to address unique and unprecedented disruption, which create multiple, previously unimaginable barriers to sustainability in the industry’s long history.

How can technology help insurance overcome this latest barrier to a sustainable existence? 

Many articles have been published about how technology can help address the key issues of executing a business continuity plan when all premises are closed to most of the staff. Better bandwidth to accommodate remote working and the use of online collaboration tools to allow staff and customers to meet have kept the lights burning. However, the long-term viability of insurers requires a more comprehensive, integrated response that allows for short- to medium-term recovery, as well as a digitally driven strategy to thrive in the long haul.

For now, secure communications to and from office systems alongside the deployment of collaboration tools will keep companies operating and serving their customers and partners. What has changed here is that these tools are now being constantly used from remote locations. At Equinix, we have seen numerous examples of financial services companies substantially increasing their secure communications bandwidth capacity by leveraging private interconnection to join themselves and their partner ecosystems together.

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