“I’m happy [about] where we are because we started this journey several years ago,” Watson said during the recent III Joint Industry Forum in New York. “We didn’t just wake up in 2017, when everyone started talking about technology and go ‘I guess we better do that too.'”
“When I look at where we are and the evolution of our business in terms of using tech, I think we’re in a really good spot,” Watson added.
Watson noted, for example, that Argo, a Bermuda-based specialty insurer and reinsurer, has been using a technology platform in Brazil for more than three years, and the proportion of Argo’s business that relies on it is increasing steadily.
“In 2018, probably half of our business will be transacted on this platform, and it’s all digital and all sits in the cloud,” Watson said. “No, it’s not going to move the needle too much because of the [Brazilian] real versus the dollar exchange ratio. But it’s a great place for us to experiment and learn and bring some of that know-how to other parts of the group in the U.S. and Western Europe in particular.”
Plenty of Tech Changes Remain, to Implement and AnticipateAt the same time, Watson acknowledged that much of the P/C insurance industry remains woefully behind in its use of technology. He said that Argo has plenty of work ahead as well, to anticipate the needs and demands of future customers.
“The way that customers want us to engage with them in the future is probably not the way things are today,” Watson said.
“Everything is email, telephone or in person. Guess what? That’s the way the industry is constructed in how it communicates,” Watson pointed out. “The [younger] insurance buyer of tomorrow, though, is probably much more likely to want to engage online because they do everything else online and they’re comfortable being online.”
Argo and other insurers must continue to find ways to adapt to what those future insurance buyers want, Watson said, in order to stay relevant and in business.
“As policyholders change the way they behave and want to engage us, we’ll change the way we engage them,” Watson predicted. “You’ll see the ability to do things more online with policyholders.”
Related: Argo Group’s Watson on Innovation