3 Ways to Ensure Your Company Is Prepared for Industry Disruption


Depending on your perspective, industry disruptions can be electrifying or terrifying. The insurance and financial services industry has been flooded with both types recently.

PIMA’s Product Provider Advisory Forum Chairwoman Elizabeth Johnson, who leads business development for the affinity and financial institution market at Securian Financial, says businesses that want to grow sustainably must consider how the environment is evolving around us.

“The mix of low barriers to information, instant gratification, people, and political and economic vulnerability has made consumers think differently about their financial protection,” Johnson says.

The insurance gap — the number of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured — continues to widen. The uninsured adult rate for health insurance stood at 13.7% of the U.S. population at the close of last year, reaching its highest point in four years. The insurance industry has sprung into action to help fill this gap.

This wave has been dubbed “insuretech.” Startups are using the growth of connectivity and data democratization to get closer to consumers via platforms and devices. At the same time as this surge, compliance continues to create concerns.

“The financial services industry is braced for increasing regulation,” Johnson says. At the highest level, the White House’s Financial Services Committee is focused on protective measures and responsible innovations.

Data privacy, consumer protection, and changing state regulations push innovators to stay engaged and relevant with regulators to ensure their businesses grow sustainably.

Turning Disruption Into Opportunity

By staying flexible, being mindful, and working together, companies can turn industry disruptions into growth opportunities. Here are three strategies PIMA members can use to stay strong during disruption:

1. Stay connected with other professionals.
The beauty of a peer network is that members can connect with other industry professionals at all stages of the business lifecycle and at every touchpoint of the consumer experience. Collaborators and competitors alike can bring their insights together to illuminate what consumers are experiencing, wanting, and expecting in the future.

For this reason, the 2019 Guide to CEO Peer Networks by Chief Executive shows that top peer networks have increased in membership and engagement during recent years. The need to unite our expertise in the face of these disruptions is increasingly more urgent.

2. Learn from the disruptors.
Avoid looking disruptors in the eye, and they will remain a scary unknown. As part of PIMA, members can meet, confront, and ultimately learn from disruptors through events like PIMA's semiannual conferences.

These events bring in speakers from companies who are lighting their industries on fire. Those speakers discuss how they innovate and strategize around industry trends to grow their businesses. It’s also a time when members can forge relationships with each other to continue to learn beyond the conferences as new disruptions appear.

3. Keep an eye on changing regulations.
The level of data we’re dealing with in every industry is pushing the limits of regulatory and legislative bodies. The landscape has not settled into a predictable pattern, which means rules will continue to shift as new technology and scale become possible. With this environment of flux, it’s vital that businesses stay updated with the regulations that affect them.

Membership in a trade association can offer regular chances to stay up to date with shifting regulations. Because PIMA is comprised of several different types of organizations of various shapes and sizes, it gives members the ability to expand their understanding and put themselves in a better position to protect their customers and clients.

The tides of industry disruption might seem overwhelming. Some days, it's all you can do to tread water and try to keep your head above water. If you can combine insights and efforts with the wealth of peers, collaborators, and competitors around you, disruption can create a clear path forward and propel you toward growth.

PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group-sponsored benefits market. For more information on becoming a member, click here.