Canadian Underwriter

Nope, Ankles Aren’t Even Wet Yet.

May 25, 2016   by Jeff Pearce

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I try to make these little soapbox rants entertaining, but I swear one day I’ll put on a real show at some outlook breakfast or forecast lunch by pantomiming the act of chewing my own leg off to get out of a bear trap. Or maybe I’ll just actually chew my own leg off. You see, there’s a dearth of critical, enlightened thinking out there for boardrooms, and if I can see it, jeez, by the Power of Grayskull, others must notice the wading pool!

About a month ago, I caught one of these Morning Danish Prophets who is Assumed to Know, and he warned us that vehicle sales will plummet as ride shares go up, and that insurers need more analytics—all of which I learned in my first six months covering this biz. From listening to MARCON’s Catherine Kargas. From attending the Insurance Telematics conference. From talking to the same folks I’m sure many of you do. At one point, this expert remarked that “disruption is so jarring… because it seems so sudden.” See jarring, adjective. See also sudden.

Two weeks later: I’m listening to another expert, this one on boards of directors, explain how “simply being honest and forthcoming” is apparently a “key for management interacting with the board.” Oh, and be sure to get ahead of the apparent agenda set by the Globe and Mail and “try to defuse issues” before you go to the board meeting. Really? You need to be told this? My tortured mind imagined two dissenters flanking this presentation, one shouting, “Wabbit season!” while the other shouted, “Duck season!” Waiting for the explosion to free me. Sigh…

Later, when asked the warmest, mushiest of softball questions, our sage replied basically that he’d be surprised if corporate boards weren’t taking the issue of diversity in their membership seriously. Which, sorry, is a farcical answer when visible minorities make up only 7.3 percent of directors at our largest companies. Clearly, more reading was required.

Now don’t get me wrong. I always go with optimism, hoping we’ll hear something new—because we report the news. Insurance has complicated problems, and its pervasiveness means the solutions will be vital. But if you’re still talking automated cars when the real next shockwave is Ford offering its own auto coverage; if you think peer-to-peer coverage is just for Europe; if you really think boards are handling the challenge of diversity well in this country… never mind the thinking cap, I have a thinking crash helmet for you.

Copyright © 2016 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the May 2016 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.