Steven Mendel (of Bought By Many) lays out some of the reasons why excuses for ignoring tech disruption could be naïve. Many of these excuses might have been appropriate a year or two ago; it's harder to use them now.
When I spoke recently at a Celent conference on Tech in Insurance I was asked whether I was saying disruptive technology should be an item high on the board agenda.
My reply was no, it need not be an explicit agenda item. Instead it should permeate the discussions around all the other agenda items, whether around how to deal with the soft market, the implications of increasing regulation or the ongoing problems with claims fraud. Companies that do this in the correct way will naturally have the right type of technology discussions at the right time.
It's the companies that do there best to ignore the impact InsTech is having that will have as agenda item 1 in five years' time "How do we play catch up with the companies who spotted the potential of technology".
(Of specifically interesting note in Steven's article is his comment around the regulator and the perception of its (accidental) role as a barrier to entry. Bought By Many's only needed three months to achieve authorisation, and much as it is easy to hear general noise about the regulator slowing things up, when you listen to specific examples it sounds like that is not going to be much of a decelerant for those start ups with solid plans and sensible aspirations.)
As I learnt, the CEOs in question actually don't believe that there is a disruption issue and so go out of their way to stifle innovation. They focus their attention on the myriad of other issues they face that are easier to address and have faster paybacks. If this is right, how do they justify this stance? I think there are five plausible explanations for this view - each of which, I believe, is flawed: