The end of the year is always a good time to look back to see what's changed, what was good, what turned out better than expected and what didn't work out quite the way we planned.

We are thankful that what seemed like the longest election season ever is finally behind us. There are many happy citizens and an almost equal number of unhappy ones. The die has been cast, and hopefully we will all learn to be civil again.

The best part of this horrible election season is that it has forced us out of our comfort zones. To decide what we truly wanted, what needed to change, and determine what we wanted the future to look like for our children and grandchildren. Change is coming whether we are ready or not.

Professionally, it is important for us to go outside of our comfort zones as well. Being content with the “way we’ve always done it” doesn't force us to try new things or figure out a better way to serve our customers.

The insurance industry is on the precipice of some major changes — 25 percent of professionals will be retiring soon, creating a major talent gap and bringing new workers with different ideas and expectations into the mix; technology is changing everything from how policyholders purchase insurance and file claims to how they track their progress; and it's providing new coverage risks and opportunities for insurers.

Cyber risks continue to escalate with hackers anticipating risk management strategies before they are even implemented. Autonomous cars may not be mainstream yet, but they are well on their way, and semi-autonomous cars are already here. Their impact on auto insurance will change who or what has coverage in the years to come.

All of these factors and so many more will have a direct impact on how insurance looks in the future. According to the results of our latest salary survey, claims adjusters are not as enthusiastic about the industry as they once were. They think it still has a lot to offer, but their responses are more tempered by the realities they face.

Thomas Jefferson said: “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.”

Changes are coming and we can either do something we’ve never done to prepare for them or we can sit back and try to keep doing things the way we always have and suffer the consequences. The choice is ours to make.

Patricia L. Harman is the editor-in-chief of Claims magazine. Opinions expressed in this article are her own.