What Would Steve Jobs Think of Today’s Insurance Claims Software?
If he was the CEO of an insurance company, he would probably hit delete.
By Wesley Todd
Even from his grave, Steve Jobs still can teach our industry how to innovate. That got me thinking—if Steve Jobs was the CEO of an insurance company, how would he improve his claims system? I venture to guess that, in all likelihood, he would start over.
Steve Jobs famously said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Design is meant to connect things like people, ideas, and objects. The easier it is for people to create the connections, the better the design. That said, rather than making incremental advancements to the current concept of insurance software, Steve Jobs would reinvent it.
Insurers have different software in each line of business, and oftentimes dozens of software in the same departments. Getting information from one silo to the other is either extremely difficult or impossible. The software itself provides little more than a place to type. If you can even find it, using that information in the future is a manual task.
For Steve Jobs, step one would undoubtedly be to hit the delete button on virtually all of insurers’ current software systems. Next, he would determine how to fill that void from the bottom up.
Creating a Capitalist Democracy
Another great quote that Jobs said is “The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.”
Steve Jobs did not build systems. He built platforms. Instead of filling a void himself, he created environments that allowed everyone to design their own experiences. Although the quote above is limited to his employees, his platforms allowed anyone to create their own software and mass distribute it. Jobs used design to create more than software—he created an entire economy.
Insurance company executives are focused on building an entire city of software. But if they just applied Jobs’ approach to empowerment by design, they would probably take a wrecking ball to the city. Leave the roads and the utilities, and let the people of the city build it themselves.
For example, let’s apply Jobs’ mindset to insurance software and imagine the iPhone for insurance claims. You can locate claims photos via the cloud, you can access recorded statements via iTunes, and you can visit Safari to search for insurance claims content. You can use Skype to record inspections, Facebook-like tools for managing claims, PayPal to pay claims, and Yelp to rate claims professionals, engineers, and attorneys.
This design approach would bring genuine transformation. Insurers would have access to better software, more choices, drastically decreased expenses, and unlimited flexibility. On the vendor side, there are similar benefits: increased access to customers, unlimited growth potential, and drastically reduced overhead expenses. By choosing to fill the void with a platform instead of a system, insurers can only begin to imagine what their businesses would look like in five years.
Jobs also said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Insurance innovation may not be as easy as creating the insurance iOS. However, executives cannot ignore that some of the greatest technology ever invented is available at their fingertips.
You hate your claims system and so does everyone else. It’s not designed to work for you, and you can’t fix it. If you agreed with those two sentences, take a look at your iPhone and start over. If at first it doesn’t succeed, insurers should remember another Steve Jobs’ quote: “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”