Speaking in Brussels recently, Otto Thoresen, director general of the Association of British Insurers, remarked that insurers are modeling products for customers who may live to the age of 120 or 125. He added that living to 100 and beyond will be the norm by 2100.
The implication is more people will have to do more saving. Attitudes to investment for later life are going to have change radically. Insurers are in a good position to lead this change in mindset. It's a commercial necessity and even a moral duty.
There's a subtler implication too. Companies need to get used to planning some aspects of the business on a much longer timeline. So, while insurers are looking for agility – the power to move in and out of markets, and to scale up and down – they also need to be looking for long-term sustainability. Happily, standards play to both needs, both immediate and long-term. They enable agility by lowering the costs of business change and enlarging the collaborative landscape. They enable long-term sustainability by enforcing maintainability and compatibility of data over time.