Ristechnophobia! Beating your technofear.

Something that has continually amazed me the past few years is the level of Technofear in the insurance industry, or, as I’ve decided to call it right now: “Ristechnophobia”. (Think it will catch on?).

Edit: Thanks to Reinsurance Girl for the example above.

It’s true that most of us who work in the insurance industry have seen countless insurance software programs which simply don’t work; and we’ve seen this again and again and again, with every software release. But despite what some of us may think, in other industries software doesn’t get such a bad wrap. So what’s going on? Are we right: is it really time to string up the techies and go back to paper, or are we missing something?

Given the massive complexity of most underwriting operations it’s no surprise that software developers struggle to quickly put together meaningful – and adaptable – solutions. Couple this with the ever-changing landscape and personality of any individual business and you have a recipe for sure-fire flaky and unfinished software implementations.

In this environment, with little or no solutions that match your distinctive trading style, and with nothing certain in this world(!), you’d be forgiven for having not taken the software plunge; abandoning tried and tested underwriting methods you know and trust for something you know can’t work.

But we know there are some websites out there providing a rich user experience throughout the insurance life-cycle without so much as a hickup. So how do they do it?

Well some of them have spent millions, and many man-years of research and development time on bespoke in-house software – but not all of them. The truth is that the insurance software landscape is changing, and finally finding it’s feet.

There are great providers out there but you have to be really picky in comparing them. Be sure to ask your provider:

  1. How quickly and easily can i edit:
    • The questions I ask my customers and the answers allowed
    • Auto referral and endorsement rules
    • Auto rating rules throughout life-cycle
    • The documents generated and sent to clients and/or sub-brokers
    • My website
    • The commissions and fees I pay at each stage of the policy life-cycle?
  2. Can I do all this for free without in-house programmers, risk, and extra costs?
  3. How quickly can I get graphs of my data or export to Excel or PDF?
  4. Is everything real-time, online and seamless?
  5. Can I mix Sub-broker and Direct schemes with multiple currencies in the same software without extra upgrades?
  6. How secure and backed-up are the servers you use? Do you maintain them for free or do I need my own IT staff?
  7. Does the software run on every operating system and Smart Phone? Windows? Mac? Linux? iPhone? Blackberry?
  8. How long has the software version I am buying been in production and active use?

And most importantly:

9.   Can I see all of this working 100% with no obligation before I sign-up?

If the answer to all of these answers is positive, you know you’re dealing with the right team. The next generation of insurance software providers are finally here – really! – and they bring with them a customer experience which is hard to rival with ink and quill.

So what are you waiting for, there’s nothing to fear, you just might need to sift for a long time till you get the gold!

I hope this has been useful. Let me know in the comments if you need any advice, I’m always on hand to help.


  1. For me the big question is if I get over my ‘Ristechnophobia’ and do decide to take the plunge into the world of bespoke insurance software, will the new features afforded me justify the admin costs of changing all our processes and retraining staff?

    1. Hi Ed,

      Thanks for your question.

      There really shouldn’t be excessive costs in deploying software now. Insurance has always been an enigma to software developers and as such there are a lot of half-baked solutions out there. What’s important is avoiding those completely, and finding instead something that really works. Once everything on the list above is fulfilled, remember point no. 9: you have to see all of this working 100% before you can even consider beginning to train staff.

      Finally, consider that really good software is intuitive and doesn’t require loads of training, it should fit in with your existing processes without any hassle at all. Show it to your best staff, and if they struggle to get to grips with it on day one, then drop it and never look back.

      If it’s truly good you’ll know it – there won’t be any headaches and won’t be any risk.


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