Automation, algorithms and robots… oh my!

Helpful robot

If ‘the cloud’ strikes fear in your heart and the mere mention of ‘artificial intelligence’ conjures up images of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a leather biker jacket, then keep reading!

Clich� as it might be, the power behind ‘artificial intelligence’ is exciting, life changing, and not something we can run away from.

The real threat to our business (insurance) is ignoring the inevitable — data is here to stay, and it is only getting smarter.

Artificial intelligence = advanced automation, and it is not a fad.

Automation has been around since Henry Ford’s assembly line.

Technological advancements are making it cheaper, faster and more pervasive than ever.

At this point, if you don’t embrace the pace and understand its importance to our industry's future then, hasta la vista, baby!

Let's remember how we all got here

Close your eyes and let’s take a short journey. . .

It’s 1998.

I have a fire-red Motorola LS550 pager. (I know, awesome, right?)

When I was in high school, a pager was the only direct way for my friends to get ahold of me while I was at work or driving around town.

No one at my high school could afford a cell phone back then, and the adults I knew that had one used it for "emergency purposes only.”

Fast forward 20 years and we all have cell phones.

Hell, some of my friends’ 6-year-olds have cell phones. But this cell phone isn’t the famed Zack Morris version.

Zach Morris talking on old cell phone

It’s a powerful supercomputer that rivals the technology my dad had at work in 1998, at 1/100th of the size.

Pew Research says some 77 percent of Americans own one of these supercomputers (otherwise known as smartphones)!

I rarely use my phone to call people anymore.

I use it to make my life easier. I have apps that enable automation and connection with people around the world in ways that I could not have imagined.

So, if you told me back then — heck, even just 10 years ago — that I’d have a robot in my house that vacuums three times a week while I am at work, or that I would adopt technology that allows me to control and monitor the utilities in my house from my phone, I would have never believed it.

You may be thinking, “Who needs that? How lazy are you to not walk downstairs to turn the lights off before you go to bed? Come on!”

Or, it could sound like this, “That’s crazy! What if people are listening to my conversations through my Google Home or Amazon Echo?”

First, you are not that interesting.

So it’s safe to put your the-government-is-spying-on-me tin-foil hat in your back pocket and ask yourself this question:

“Isn’t it more efficient to tell Google that you are ready for bed, and have it lock all the doors, turn off the lights, and set the thermostat to the desired sleeping temperature?”

These automated tasks happen, uninterrupted, while you are doing something more important (like reading a book to your kids before bed).

That is what automation technology movement is all about, efficiency.

By gaining efficiency on mundane tasks, we are left with an option to focus our talent on more value-added tasks.

It isn't too late for our industry

This principle works the same for insurance agency owners and staff.

But don't worry, it’s not too late for the insurance industry to get into the AI game by any stretch.

According to a HBR survey from last year:

Not every business is using AI… yet. While investment in AI is heating up, corporate adoption of AI technologies is still lagging. AI adoption is in its infancy, with just 20 percent… using (some level of) AI technologies at scale.

If you could better understand your business through insightful, automated, timely reporting rather than spending days putting together last quarter’s excel spreadsheet, wouldn’t that be a better use of your time and allow you to spend more time growing your business?

Automated insights through dashboarding is just one facet of technology that the business world has been embracing for decades.

Insurance has been slow to catch up.

In much the same way that a manufacturer shuts down the production line when the red light flashes on the conveyor belt, automated dashboards can give you alerts about your business that allow you to course correct before it is too late.

Or even better, ramp up into something that seems to be working well.

Automation is everywhere, but it doesn’t need to be everything. It just needs to be woven into our daily business routines so we can create a seamless customer experience and improve our existing relationships, then use efficiencies gained through automation to provide us with the time to create new business relationships.

As insurance industry professionals, why not start embracing automation in our daily tasks, to gauge internal performance, review our business results and plan for future growth?

Want to learn more about how OIA can help you harness your agency's data?

Click here

Have an opinion about the Artificial Intelligence movement?

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