By Kwena Moabelo.
At Hollard Insure, where we work, this is a most pertinent thought right now. Whenever we tackle technological upgrades, as we’re doing at the moment, it’s amazing how things always come back to … people.
A great deal of work is currently underway in the background to modernise the company’s systems, making them more efficient and cost-effective. There are many moving parts: legacy systems integration and a single interface for staff and brokers, automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, straight-through processing and more.
But while achieving greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness is vital, what’s also important is that we will be a more human company for it – for our staff, the brokers with whom we work and, of course, our policyholders.
There’s a humanness behind every good reason for adopting the latest technologies. We’ll show you what we mean.
Firstly, one of the primary reasons why we go for new technology is convenience. If something’s smarter, faster and/or easier to use, we’ll readily adopt it. Our quest for convenience, seeking a better way, is a peculiarly human thing.
Then there’s the idea of personal growth. Doing repetitive, menial tasks is no way to grow as people or professionals. Adopting technologically novel ways to automate and streamline those boring tasks frees us humans up to engage with each other, and do much more meaningful, enriching work. And, of course, achieve much greater personal heights.
Thirdly, a related reason is that technology gives us time. Time to focus on our personal growth, our relationships and our creativity. Time to pursue our own ambitions and dreams.
Fourthly, technology provides us with greater accessibility to products and services. For example, it’s estimated that as much as half of humanity presently does not have access to financial services – but most people, even in remote places and irrespective of their wealth, have mobile phones.
Harnessing that technology – using apps, for instance – can give more people access to services such as banking and insurance, and change their lives and put them on the path to better futures. In other words, technology enables humanity.
The fifth reason is where the proof is all around us: technology creates communities. However you feel about Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and others, the fact is that technology creates a sense of community and belonging for billions of people worldwide. Closer to home, if you belong to a street WhatsApp group, chances are that you now know more people around you than just your immediate neighbours.
Technology also gives us endless options; YouTube, for example, is a great example of where we have infinite rabbit holes to fall down. It’s up to you to decide which is your best one. But you may never climb out again.
Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that computers themselves are ultimately modelled on the human brain. You could even argue that the higher the tech, the more human it actually is. We haven’t yet reached the Singularity when computers become smarter than us, but even that is about achieving our full human potential – and then surpassing it. In a sense, thus, technology is us.
So arguing that technology makes us less human is fallacious. Yes, technology can be used to harm us, but equally, it can also be used to heal us. Like atomic bombs and nuclear medicine. It’s our choice – a fallibly human one, unfortunately – to go the right way.
The technology work we’re doing at Hollard Insure will bring us closer to each other, our broker partners and our customers, and lead to more positive business and human outcomes. This is not unique to our company, however: we all increasingly have the power – and the responsibility – to use technology to create a better world for everyone.
So let’s do it.