Celent Says

Planning for Generation Y

Jamie Macgregor
Insurance Experts' Forum, April 23, 2012

This week, the Celent team have been developing the content for a workshop that we will take to our clients to explore what the world of insurance could look like in 2022 once the disruptive effects of today’s technology evolutions take hold, such as cloud, Big Data and SoMoLo (Social, Mobile and Local).

Although sometimes in this industry you can feel more like a museum curator than an innovator (especially if, like me, you focus on the Life, Annuities and Pensions market), this is genuinely an exciting time to be in insurance technology. Some of these developments are simply explosive and have the potential to change the way the industry operates forever. Of course, with all innovation comes risk, and I suspect that we will see a few expensive failures littered along the way to adoption as insurers try to navigate their way through the hype.

For me, however, it’s not just the technology that’s going to force the change. Over the next 10 years, we are going to see a fundamental shift in demographics, and with that, consumer expectations and the coming of age of Generation Y. By 2022, the first wave of Generation Y consumers and workers will hit their 40s. They are likely to be at a key pivotal point in their careers and earning potential, making them a clear target for many marketers. They are also likely to hold key positions within their organizations —including your own. This is a generation that has grown up with a high exposure to media (sometimes dubbed as the ‘MTV Generation’), convenience (especially when it comes to food), on demand services and a heavy use of technology. Simply put, they will expect more of everything, and they will not be willing to wait.

What could this mean for the industry? At a minimum, I suspect that Generation Y will expect insurers to have a coherent customer engagement model that incorporates a great user experience with accessibility from anywhere, as well as a social dimension; propositions that target them specifically through unique insight, mass customization for delivery and the ability to source their information directly so that they don’t have to find it; and service excellence (i.e. immediate resolution with the insurer doing most of the work). Many of the technologies described at the start of this blog will be at the heart of turning this expectation into a reality.

So, when you come back to work next week, why not start by asking yourself the question: What am I going to do to prepare my organization now to take on the opportunities presented by Generation Y in readiness for 2022?

Oh, and a word of caution, it doesn’t stop at Generation Y. Some commentators are also now talking about Generation Z. These are the babies, toddlers and young children running around our feet who know of no other world than one with high speed broadband, touch devices and instant connectivity. If you would like to understand what their expectations will be, then it’s probably a bit too early to guess. However, this popular YouTube clip may give you some insight. So, are your applications up to it or will you be left holding the magazine?

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent.

Jamie Macgregor is a senior analyst in Celent's insurance practice, and can be reached at jmacgregor@celent.com.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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