Last week, I got the chance to meet several self-proclaimed “insurance nerds” at Insurance Nerds Day in Dallas, Texas.
The one-day event was part of the larger annual conference for Gamma Iota Sigma, a collegiate business fraternity for students studying insurance and risk management.
The audience at the Insurance Nerds Day talks were a mix of industry professionals and students looking forward to starting their careers in insurance. This made for many interesting conversations about why insurance matters, the future of the industry, and how to thrive in an insurance career.
Here are some of the things I took away from the conference:
The future is bright, diverse and digitally savvy
Diversity and inclusion were big themes of the Gamma Iota Sigma conference, and it was clear from looking around at the audience that the next generation of insurance professionals will be more diverse than past generations. Wider demographics bear this out, as well. According to Pew Research Center, Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet. They’re also on track to be the most educated.
This generation is comfortable with technology being part of every aspect of their lives. In a session about autonomous vehicles, they seemed unfazed by the idea that these innovations may radically change the industry within their lifetimes. They asked insightful questions about government regulations, data privacy and more.
Several of the conference speakers talked about the need for people in insurance to think differently and embrace change, and Gen Z seems well-equipped to do just that.
Insurance innovation is a long game
The insurance industry always needs fresh ideas, but in his session about “taking the long view of insurtech,” Paul Tetrault of The Insurance Library argued that insurance has been innovating from the beginning. Tetrault told attendees that they don’t need to be anxious about insurance getting left behind in the rush for innovation.
Other speakers talked about how insurance professionals need to dream about future advances, but also work on day-to-day changes to push things forward. True change is often about evolving incrementally and taking risks to adapt legacy systems. Insurance professionals need to be willing to try new things and be the connector between old systems and new ideas.
Insurance is not a commodity. It is about people.
Many of the talks at Insurance Nerds Day underscored the importance of insurance in helping people and businesses protect what matters to them.
Industry veteran Bill Wilson started his short, TED-style talk by showing pictures of homes destroyed by natural disasters.
“We are the second responders to catastrophes,” he said. “We put lives back together.”
He urged attendees to remember the mission of the insurance industry: to assist people and organizations in minimizing their exposure to catastrophic financial loss. Insurance is not a commodity, he said, there’s so much more to the product than the price.
We’re in this together
It was clear that everyone at Insurance Nerds Day loves what they do and cares a lot about advancing the industry and the IA channel.
The insurance industry is changing rapidly. Insurance agents need to seek out new ideas and work together to ensure success.
As one of the conference speakers said, “How do we thrive in this massive, changing industry? We do it together.”