There’s no doubt about it: digital technologies carry the seed of disruption. But, as always, it’s not really about the technology.

You can call it disruption, but actually what we are talking about here is innovation. Clayton Christenson, the Harvard professor who has done so much to help us understand the anatomy of innovation, puts it well: “It’s rarely technology that is disruptive, but what companies make of it and the innovation that it enables.”

I suppose one could argue that some, or even most, innovations don’t necesarrily disrupt the established way of doing things. Disruptors like Airbnb, and others prove the point. It’s about using technology to hone in on a need that others are not meeting.

The delegates to the Digital Insurance Network had some fun working through some potential disruptor scenarios within the insurance industry. You might find some of them stimulating as well:

  • What if Facebook and an aggregator created a simple online insurance tool, and got regulators on board, to deliver a “one-click” shopping experience linked to Facebook accounts.
  • What if Amazon acquired a site that compares insurance quotations. Amazon’s database includes vast amounts of customer information. The new entity starts to offer pay as you go insurance.
  • What if all expensive pieces of equipment across industries—from forklifts to gas chromatographs to blenders—were rented rather than bought by consumers and businesses alike?

These scenarios certainly got the creative juices flowing. The real question is this: What disruptors could upset the applecart in your corner of the insurance industry—and how prepared are you with a response?

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