When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, the first thing I do – after sharing a toast with my family, watching the fireworks, and belting out ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – is open the front door of my home to welcome in the New Year.
As the old Alexander Graham Bell saying goes: ‘When one door closes, another opens.’
Heading into 2023, I would encourage the insurance industry to think about openings and closings through the lens of ‘Auld Land Syne,’ which was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in the late 1700s.
‘Auld Lang Syne’ roughly translates to “old long since” or “times gone by”. The poem and popular folk song starts with the following verse:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?
It questions whether the “old long since” or “times gone by” will be forgotten as we head into a new year. After the years we’ve had from 2020 through 2022, I believe we must not forget “auld lang syne”. The insurance industry must hold onto the old as we embrace the new.
The past three years have been marred by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the related socio-economic challenges that came with it. While many countries are through the COVID tunnel, others like China are still firmly in its grips. The insurance industry must not forget the lessons learned through the pandemic as it builds new foundations for the future.
COVID impacted everything from the global economy to international supply chains. It reminded businesses and individuals worldwide of the fragility of “normal” existence and the importance of resilience, risk mitigation, and effective risk transfer. That’s a door to important lessons that the insurance industry should never close for good.
The pandemic also changed how insureds engage with their insurance, especially personal insureds. Now more than ever, people are seeking out digital insurance solutions, and they’re more comfortable using insurance apps on their mobile phones to complete simple administrative tasks.
Innovation and new insurance technology is also making waves in the commercial lines arena, and this will continue in 2023. While every year brings new, exciting, technological advances, the industry should be careful to remember the underlying promise of insurance.
With a value proposition set in stone in ‘auld lang syne,’ insurance is about providing financial security and helping businesses and individuals to navigate through the risks of everyday life. That does not change from year to year, no matter how much the industry evolves. That, once again, is a door that cannot be closed or forgotten as the industry embarks on exciting ventures in 2023.
Talent is another area where this idea is relevant. Attracting, training, and retaining talent will be of the utmost importance for the insurance industry worldwide in 2023. While many companies are looking to open new doors to fresh talent, it’s important not to overlook the legacy of talent gone by.
“Auld acquaintance [should not] be forgot.” Seeking the guidance, support, and mentorship of experienced insurance professionals – and providing those services to less experienced colleagues if you’re in a position to do so – will be more important than ever in 2023.
Finally, 2023 could very well be a year of changing market conditions. In commercial lines, rates seem to have stabilised through 2022, meaning insureds are no longer seeing huge back-to-back price increases upon renewal. While that’s positive for insureds, the industry should not close the door on that hard market chapter. There’s a lot of work to do to regain the trust of insureds who feel let down by perpetual rate increases and coverage restrictions.
I believe that is a huge opportunity for the insurance industry in 2023. By learning from ‘auld lang syne’, tapping into the experience of others, and using innovation to transform the industry for the better, the insurance industry can build a bright and bold future.