A Whirlwind History of Insurance Technology

I’m¬†baaaaaack!¬† Didja¬†miss¬†me?¬† Yeah,¬†you¬†did.¬† I know.¬†

Well.¬† Trever and I had an exciting weekend.¬† He’s¬†tried putting a few¬†Snapchat¬†filters on me before, but I’m¬†usually not having¬†it.¬† After all,¬†my¬†fans know and love me for me.¬† But¬†this weekend¬†I¬†was introduced¬†to a¬†thing¬†called¬†TikTok.¬† And let me tell you,¬†after watching dog after dog¬†with¬†all¬†the sticks and¬†snuggles¬†and strange¬†voices they had (come on guys,¬†we don‘t sound like that),¬†I¬†definitely fell¬†down a¬†rabbit hole.¬† Not¬†an actual¬†rabbit hole; that’s¬†a recurring fantasy of mine.¬† But man,¬†did¬†I lose track of¬†time¬†fast.

Why am I talking about¬†TikTok?¬† Because you guys, I had no idea how fast technology was moving!¬† I just learned that MySpace¬†isn’t¬†really a thing anymore.¬† Guess I should go shut down my sparkly¬†music-filled¬†page¬† And I’m not the only one behind the curve.¬† I know you saw¬†it coming, here’s my analogy to ASI ‚Äď a lot, and I mean a LOT of insurance companies are behind the curve on technology.¬† But you can’t¬†get mad at them or¬†send them to their crate; it’s¬†not really their fault.

Ok, I can see I’d better start at the beginning for this one.¬†

Let’s start at the 1960s; this was back before dogs were allowed in offices, or restaurants, or really… anywhere.¬† In fact, I probably would’ve lived in a doghouse in the yard, so let’s just say it wasn’t a good time.

Insurance was a lot different too.¬†¬†Huuuuuuuge mainframe computers that filled rooms, rows upon rows of desks piled high with paper, and rooms lined with shelves, bulging under the massive amount of file folders.¬† And¬†alllll¬†of this was just to hold the data for every customer, or as Insurance Company’s call them, Policyholders.¬†

You know,¬†the¬†funny¬†part¬†is,¬†because¬†of this reliance on¬†data,¬† Insurance¬†was one¬†of the FIRST early¬†adopters¬†of technology!¬† You¬†know¬†the¬†bouncing¬†red umbrella you¬†see on¬†the TV? ¬†Well,¬†Travelers¬†Insurance Company was one of the¬†first businesses to install¬†an¬†IBM mainframe¬†computer¬†in the 1960s.¬† And¬†just like¬†an obedient dog pack,¬†the¬†larger insurance agents followed suit.¬† By¬†the 1970s,¬†everyone¬†had¬†mini-computers¬†(all roughly the size of¬†a¬†refrigerator) to do¬†invoicing and¬†accounting.¬† That’s¬†all¬†stuff¬†with¬†numbers.¬†

And again, in¬†the 1980s, insurance agents were amongst the first¬†to get fancy¬†new personal¬†computers with systems and¬†software that moved automation from accounting to other areas.¬† But here’s where the thunderclouds roll¬†in.¬† It all started to reverse in the 1990s.¬†

Do you guys remember Y2K??¬† I wasn’t born yet, so I don’t, but Trever told me the Y2K panic caused an ultimatum: would companies replace their aging computers to try and circumvent¬†disaster,¬†or patch their old systems to¬†make it through?¬† Well, new technology is expensive.¬† Like, even more¬†expensive than the door I scratched through one time trying to get to Trever.¬† And in a time of chaos, new technology is untested.¬† And hopefully you remember how¬†necessary¬†testing is from¬†my other¬†blog post.¬† So instead of developing full web-enabled solutions, the industry put a band-aid¬†on their back-end systems.¬† Most of which we’re still dealing with today.¬†

What reversed the tech aversion trend, you ask?  Well, you remember that screen humans stare at in their hand that has kinda changed all aspects of life, right?  The smartphone!  The emergence of cloud computing and instantaneous consumer communication evolved, and insurance companies started to realize the importance of keeping pace.  Today these Policyholders use these screens to serve many of their own insurance needs; quoting, making an inquiry, and paying premiums online.  Field agents file claims on the go with mobile technology.  So, our technology has had to change much faster to keep up. 

The unfair thing is, while big insurance companies can commandeer successful software solutions, the thousands of smaller companies¬†are often left in the dust; scrambling to piecemeal different software solutions to make do.¬† All the while successfully retiring and¬†replacing their legacy systems and transitioning to these solutions.¬† That’s where we come in.¬† Our ASI programmers not only have treats for me at all times, but they also support critical COBOL or software applications and help integrate legacy and new technologies so that companies can implement new IT projects on time and on budget.¬† We’re pretty darn pawesome!!¬† Hehe, get it? PAWSome?¬† Sometimes I crack myself up.¬†

Alright, I’m off to¬†go¬†find a sunny piece of¬†floor to¬†snooze on.¬† Maybe next time¬†I can let you guys¬†know why¬†Insurance IT is so¬†unique, and¬†just a¬†liiiiitle¬†bit¬†different than¬†other kinds of IT.¬† Bye!!