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At Retiretech 2.0: Focusing on the future and the need to evolve

Krishnakumar Shanmugasundaram, Samantha Chow, Shivakumar Balasubramaniyan
30 May 2023

The financial services industry is changing all around us. The trend started in the property and casualty insurance (P&C) industry and rolled into banking. And, let’s be honest, it was a necessity. Now we are seeing major changes occurring in the life insurance as well as benefits spaces. What’s bringing up the rear? Annuities and retirement.

The impact of disruptive tech and more

Regardless of which financial services sector you are in, you are being impacted by the current socioeconomic and geopolitical environment we live in today along with the changing tech pressures that come from the likes of Amazon and Netflix. Yes, those two companies may be operating in different industries, but they have had significant impact on consumer behavior. It isn’t enough that we have to keep up with changing interest rates and come up with different combinations of products to support our customers well into the future (when we don’t know what the future holds), but we also have to keep up with personalised approaches and on-demand technology that most consumers now expect as standard user experience.

Retiretech 2.0: A deep-dive into the state of the industry

Nassau Financial Group sees the need to support this industry and bring others together to discuss these challenges and the impact it is having on the retirement industry in their annual Retiretech forum. This meeting of the minds is key to the success of our industry and supporting our customers, but more importantly, it is a safe place to talk freely and ask the hard questions to those that are in the same predicament as you are! Retirerech 2.0 in 2023, held last month at the Capgemini Innovation suite in New York City, was attended not only by annuity providers and wealth management advisors, but by regulators, rating firms, start-ups, and distribution arms to discuss these hard topics.

Here are few of the highlights from experts who participated in the various panel discussions and expert talks during Retiretech 2.0:

  • Although the industry has consolidated, the top positions in the market have changed quickly due to new product designs and fresh capital. As a result, competition for shelf space has never been fiercer. The value proposition for marketing firms buying smaller ones has also changed to emphasise technology.
  • The discussion also addressed the evolving preferences of clients, with most people wanting to talk with an agent or advisor when making a large investment. However, a growing number of people are now comfortable with conducting these transactions online. Additionally, there is a growing need for education that agents can use to help their clients.
  • With fewer workers to support an increasing number of seniors, there are mammoth funding challenges that countries and communities need to address. Different countries, such as Japan, China, Canada, and Western Europe, are trying to tackle this problem by adopting various policies, launching new products and services, and investing in technology.
  • Too often, we focus on the technology and not enough on the person who needs our help. Retirement is about finance, but also about health, education, and a life of purpose. It will be less about older individuals and more about younger ones planning and saving for their future retirement. The industry can’t just focus on the baby boomer generation, it has to prep for more generations than it has ever focused on at once.
  • Furthermore, life and annuity providers hold great promise in developing more personalised products in the future. Connecticut, in particular, hopes that innovation will help to close the insurance coverage gap, especially for underserved communities across the country. The state is committed to supporting the insurance market, in part because it is home to 110 domestic insurance carriers and licenses an additional 1,400 carriers to conduct business.
  • To drive positive change in the industry, insurance regulators are rapidly building teams with the capability of supporting innovation activities. These departments recognise the potential benefits of innovation and the importance of creating an ecosystem that enables innovative insurance products to flourish.

How do we evolve in changing times?

In the end, we find ourselves in a cycle of change; of give and take. The lingering question to the audience was centered around the technology – the elephant in the room. Do you have what you need to evolve in these changing times? To meet the needs of new products that provide services and benefits that have never been applied? To meet the digital and personalised demands of not only your contract owners, but of your distribution partners? To connect with third-party partners, such as rating firms and data partners? The short answer from most, was no and we have a long way to go to get there.

It isn’t enough to add in new technology, we must solve for the technical debt in which we find ourselves. We must build technical wealth in order to meet these new needs. And we have to do it by creating scalability and sustainability while managing change at the same time. We have to reduce costs, create automation, and maintain business as usual.

Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this story and it isn’t that we are not alone in this world of change. There are more technology options today than there has ever been to support new product development, data integration, digital distribution, and policy administration. You don’t have to build it all. There may be some segments you want to build, but the great thing here is that low-code/no-code tools are a great accelerator. The best news: it isn’t something you have to do alone. There are consulting and systems integration partners like Capgemini who can help you make the right decisions on buy versus build, help you integrate or build, but more importantly help you design and achieve the RetireTech future you want.

Learn more about Retiretech by visiting,


Krishnakumar Shanmugasundaram

Global lead – Technology Innovation & ventures (Insurance)

Samantha Chow

Global Head, Life Insurance, Annuities, and Benefits Leader, Capgemini Financial Services
Samantha has over 20 years of experience in the L&A and A&H industries working for carriers in positions across the value chain, evaluating technology and consulting as an industry analyst, and leading the technology roadmap for policy administration systems.

Shivakumar Balasubramaniyan

Expert in Transformative Tech & Emerging Business Models