Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master. —Christian Lous Lange

Executive Summary

Viewpoint: Technology can never transform an insurance carrier into any kind of technology company, writes veteran insurance and technology analyst Barry Rabkin in this article inspired by a section of his recently published book, "From Stone Tablets to Satellites: The Continued Intimate but Awkward Relationship Between the Insurance Industry and Technology." Here, he offers five reasons for insurers to stop looking to Amazon and Netflix as role models. Among them, "Scale is the enemy of P/C companies"—and so is speed. FOURTH IN A SERIES

It is far too easy for people, including those who should know better—such as insurance industry professionals, technology consultants, management consultants and analysts—to be overcome with the possibilities of technology and its various applications. They quickly become enraptured with the benefits of technology. Easily beguiled, they miss the potential downsides.

Framing this enraptured/beguiled dynamic from the perspective of Lange’s quote, the useful servant of technology continues to offer an endless cornucopia of wondrous benefits that could fulfill customers’ desires of immediacy for entertainment, shopping, searching and communication. The dangerous master, to the detriment of our industry, beguiles or otherwise blinds its adherents to the reality that technology can never transform insurance companies into any kind of technology company.

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