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As Seen Through the Crystal Ball at IASA EDGE

October 19, 2015
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the IASA Executive EDGE Conference in St. Louis. I was there for the Central States Regional Chapter event, the Fall Planning Meeting, and then the EDGE conference… a whirlwind of a week! The EDGE conference is a great event that IASA holds, that brings together insurance executives and industry experts to share key disciplines within the industry. This year I was very impressed with the presenters and the industry understandings.
 
One of the presentations that made a lasting impression on me was from the keynote speaker, Chuck Todd from “Meet the Press.” Chuck Todd predicted that John Boehner, Speaker of the House, would resign. This prediction was made on Monday September 21st. The Speaker resigned on Friday September 25th. Proof that either this guy knows his stuff or has a magical crystal ball to predict the future!
 
Here are some key takeaways from his presentation:
  • We are in the midst of shifting from an industrial economy to a service economy. This has lead to much political turmoil and shouldn’t come as a surprise. We have seen significant political disorder before when the US economy shifted from an agrarian based economy to an industrial one.
  • Big data has had a negative impact on politics and has been a large factor for the increase in dollars spent for political campaigns. Campaigns now segment voters based on their race, age, location, gender, etc. and are targeting those segments with unique messages tailored just for them.
  • There is an appeal of non-politicians coming to rise as candidates for the 2016 election.  Candidates like Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Bernie Sanders. Supporters are largely comprised of individuals that are economically frustrated. In case you didn’t know, most of America is still economically frustrated.
  • Chuck Todd also predicted that we have yet to see some more candidates enter the race. In times of economic disparity we tend to choose the most opposite type of candidate than what we had before. Just like when we chose Obama after the Bush administration. Americans may not be ready to have another Clinton or Bush in the oval office. 
  • It’s a shame that more talented, smart individuals don’t run for office. The problem lies that the media shares and destroys so much of a candidate’s character and gets involved in their personal lives. There is not much appeal from bright business people to get in the race. 
How do these insights affect insurers?
  • We know the economy is shifting so are we prepared with policies that reflect a service-based economy?
  • Big Data should be used to make better business decisions but it can’t be the only factor. If used as the only factor, we could end up like politicians with the need for more money to utilize the information.
  • Our customer demographics should be a large part of our decision-making process. Are we equipped to effectively apply this knowledge into our business?
This year’s EDGE Conference did not disappoint. Even though it seemed attendance was lower than usual, I anticipate that 2016 will be another great year for the conference.  The quality presenters (I mean even guys that can predict the future and all) year after year make this event well worth the investment. So tell your friends. And I’ll see you at EDGE 2016. 
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