One of the best places to start a ca­reer

Digital Insurance - - STRATEGIES - BY DEB SMALL­WOOD, FOUNDER, STRAT­EGY MEETS AC­TION

Deb Small­wood is CEO and founder of Strat­egy Meets Ac­tion, and a widely rec­og­nized in­sur­ance tech­nol­ogy thought leader. She ad­vises in­sur­ers on in­no­va­tive ways to lever­age in­surtech and the emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies that are re­quired in to­day's dig­i­tal con­nected world so they can meet to­mor­row's chal­lenges. Her in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes stints at Lib­erty Mu­tual, In­sur­ance Com­pany of the West, KPMG and Tower Group.

I am of­ten asked if I would rec­om­mend young peo­ple to con­sider in­sur­ance for their own ca­reers, es­pe­cially young women in­ter­ested in tech­nol­ogy. The an­swer is

an un­equiv­o­cal “Yes!”

Not only is in­sur­ance ar­guably the best place to start a ca­reer, and one of the most sta­ble mar­kets, it is also un­der­go­ing a sig­nif­i­cant, trans­for­ma­tive tech­nol­ogy shift. Tech­nolo­gies that are shap­ing the world around us are com­ing to in­sur­ance and chang­ing the way we do busi­ness. It is an ex­cit­ing time. I am so en­cour­aged by the push for young women to study tech­nol­ogy, and I al­ways rec­om­mend they look to in­sur­ance to pur­sue their ca­reer as­pi­ra­tions be­cause the fu­ture is so bright.

The in­dus­try has al­ways been like this. In the late 1970s, I was at­tracted to the world of in­sur­ance not be­cause of the busi­ness model it­self, but first and fore­most be­cause of the tech­nol­ogy. There was a brand-new gen­er­a­tion of com­put­ers and com­puter pro­gram­ming avail­able to in­sur­ance. Our in­dus­try was a pi­o­neer in data pro­cess­ing fo­cused on au­tomat­ing man­ual stat cod­ing, re­port­ing, and of course, pol­icy rat­ing and claims.

It was the be­gin­ning of an amaz­ing era of in­sur­ance and tech­nol­ogy. And in­sur­ance com­pa­nies not only of­fered en­try level pro­gram­ming jobs, but a 20-week COBOL train­ing pro­gram as well. So, tech­nol­ogy led me to the in­dus­try, but the busi­ness of in­sur­ance per­suaded me to stay.

When we all started down the path of pro­gram­ming, there was an equal bal­ance of men and women, a level play­ing field. Tech­nol­ogy was not yet part of main­stream cul­ture, so it was ex­cit­ing to me as a young pro­fes­sional to be part of a new gen­er­a­tion that could tap into pro­fes­sional ca­reers full of end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. Look­ing back, I am truly in awe of how much tech­nol­ogy has changed and how the in­sur­ance in­dus­try con­tin­ues to trans­form. And in to­day's dig­i­tal con­nected world, both are once again cre­at­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, be­ing a tech­nol­o­gist in in­sur­ance pro­vides a ca­reer that is in

“Look­ing back, I am truly in awe of how much tech­nol­ogy has changed and how the in­sur­ance in­dus­try con­tin­ues to trans­form. And in to­day’s dig­i­tal con­nected world, both are once again cre­at­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

the cross­roads of two pow­er­ful and fi­nan­cially ad­vanc­ing in­dus­tries. Tech­nol­ogy, due to its very na­ture, is al­ways chang­ing, evolv­ing, and pro­vid­ing end­less ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in count­less ar­eas. In­sur­ance is a nur­tur­ing, ma­ture in­dus­try that pro-

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