Leveraging Relationships – New Technologies, New Opportunities

Conference by Insurance-Canada.ca Nov. 1 2001 Toronto

Summary by Craig Tilford, FCIP, insurance, technology & risk management consultant

Good news & more good news. After 8 hours of listening and discussing relationships between people, technology and business there is good news. First off, people are not going to be replaced. And secondly technology is and will make our business better. If you will let it, technology will take away the bothersome tasks and let people be with people. Heard it before?

Insurance-Canada.ca’s one-day conference features top people from brokerage, insurer, consulting, R&D and risk management who are all leveraging relationships. Whether it is face-to-face or better utilizing technology, they continue to practice basics and common sense. With constant pressures of business, family and economy, there is a way to survive and actually thrive. You just have to look around and implement strategies that effectively enhance your business and ultimately your life.

Leveraging Relationships – New Technologies, New Opportunities showed us that relationships are not just two people dating anymore! It expanded to “intimate relationships” or more precisely intimate customer relationships. And finally one speaker couldn’t resist “the good, the bad and the ugly of relationships”. Whether it be business or personal, chances are we have all been there.

See full recap of conference for the secrets of relationships and their success. And join us in leveraging technology and relationships.

Summary by topics

Leveraging Relationships – New Technologies, New Opportunities

Conference introduction

by Doug Grant, CIP, Insurance-Canada.ca

Grant started us off with “technology is pervasive”. Now you can wave your key chain
at the gas pump and you are automatically billed. In Europe you can wave your watch going through public transit
turnstile. Imagine waving your keys at your door locks. Well it’s out there, that’s another topic.

Leveraging relationships: Efficiencies are being worked on, but effectiveness needs more focus.
End users and business want more ROI on technology and relationships. So let’s see what some leaders are doing.

The Relationships Model: Dimensions of Service

by Jean E. Davy, Industry Solution Executive, Insurance, Siebel Systems, Toronto

Jean started the relationships metaphor with relationships are not just two people
dating anymore!

Insurance Business Challenges:

  • improve customer retention

  • improve sales and service

  • target profitable customers

  • improve service with brokers/agents

  • use technology to reduce costs

Over 50% of employees time is spent on non-productive tasks.
Source: Delphi Group, Gartner Group & Siebel estimates.

Legacy systems have been built around information silos, limiting the broader
application or usefulness to others.

Today, customers can get more information through technology. But in the end, they still
want to be face-to-face with their insurance advisor/consultant for final decisions. They want to leverage
that information to make the best decision. This a great example of leveraging technology with a
face-to-face relationship.

Employee Relationship Management: plan, train, inform, collaborate and support. Efficiencies
can be realized by focus on these five areas.

Internet and Financial Services – What Consumers Want

by Cam Shapansky, Consultant, representing Symcor

Cam stepped up the “relationships” metaphor by starting with “intimate
relationships” or more precisely intimate customer relationships! A survey his company commissioned showed
positive momentum for the Internet. Including taking #1 spot on how customers prefer to deal with their
financial institutions. In order they are:

  • Web site info

  • in-person at branch

  • statements

  • telephone contact

  • automated telephone

  • email

  • downloads

  • other in-person

  • other documents by mail

  • mail/fax

  • wireless

The survey showed customers are doing complex tasks over the Internet and are doing it more
and more each month. But the Internet is a supplement, not a replacement. Customers are still using the advisors
the same amount they had in the past. But still they want it all! They want 24/7, paper backup, cost savings
and more. Ask them what they want and they will provide a laundry list. So you must prioritize.

Solving the puzzle:

  • educate (brokers and customers)

  • communicate

  • clarify web strategies

  • personalize (ATM, phone, paper, web etc) use the information
    that you have. Build equity in the relationship. Customers really love that!

Individual Consumer View: Looking at Life’s Relationships

by Jack Brown, VP Information Technology, PPI Financial

and David Hewick, VP Information Technology, RBC Insurance

Jack Brown:

Up until the early 70’s the client belonged to the insurer. Then in the mid 70’s the creation of
the independent life insurance agent blurred ownership. Then the PC impacted the rate book. It brought far more
options. Initially maybe 23 options, but now in the millions. Obviously way too much for an agent &
insured to discuss. But these possibilities started a new relationship between agents, insureds and technology.

In the 70’s the products were niche driven. If you fit, great. Now technology can focus on
the individuals. You can tailor proposals, Web sites and coverages to an individual.

Initially the Internet was being pitched to cut costs. Cut out the agent, administration and
more, but that was in 1995. Now 6 years later the advisors are playing a key role.

You probably have heard of XML, the next programming language to replace HTML. Now the Life
industry has created XMLife. More information and standards can be found on
www.acord.org (U.S.) or
www.cliedis.ca (Canadian). And what is next
in relationships? How about an insurance portal? Are you ready?

David Hewick

Paradigm Shift:

  • Consolidation of carriers

  • Consolidation of distributors

  • New sources of distribution

  • Everyone is seeing the world differently

  • Most of what we thought was knowledge based activity is really just work flow

  • Shifting from traditional manual activities to automated and electronic
    whereever possible

  • Providers must become a naturally integrated part of the business flow

  • Must become “easy to do business with”

Result? Existing business practices need to be changed.

Technology as an Integration Enabler:

  • 24/7 remote access

  • instant access on all business points

  • electronic applications, underwriting, instant receipts & compensation

Technology as a Relationship Enabler:

  • implement standards for data exchanges (XML, XMLife)

  • support data aggregation

  • provide business intelligence

  • offer web portal integration (B2B, B2C)

Market forces are the primary change driver, not technology. Technology is one tool (a big one)
for changes. The bar has been raised because of higher customer awareness and expectations. Technology and
relationships can be architected right into your enterprise infrastructure.

Corporate Insured View: Corporate Risks and Rewards – The
‘Holistic’ risk management mandate

by Susan Meltzer, AVP Risk Management, Sun Life Financial Services

and Gerard Van Der Gaag, Global Director & Sr. Vice President, Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc.

Susan Meltzer

Susan has established 14 new risks or exposures since September 11th. From life policies to
crisis to pricing and more. So her job has gotten even more difficult. And one coping mechanism is leveraging

Yes she needs information, but not as fast as the internet can give it. The key is she needs
digested information. Manageable, focused, pertinent and timely.

Despite admitting being addicted to email she highly values human relationships. Rightly so,
Susan points out that face-to-face will always be important. Which is a good reminder to consultants like
myself that embrace technology so broadly.

Needs of a Risk Manager:

  • information, information, information

  • bench-marking

  • creative solutions

  • expedient and accurate services

Susan also warned of the down side of technology, such as electronic submissions. Insurance
is a people business. Submissions at her level still need to be face-to-face for the best result.

The up side of technology is access to information. Some highly regarded Web sites:

Other advantages are internet/teleconference presentations and services such as certificates
of insurance and policy issuance.


  • Technology can not replace personal contact and relationships.

  • Technology can be utilized to enhance provision of services and information.

  • Internet supports the holistic risk manager in the development of the
    enterprise risk management framework

Gerard Van Der Gaag

Gerard next took our “relationship” metaphor even further with “the good, the
bad and the ugly of relationships”. Whether it be business or personal, chances are we have all been there.

Relationships six key areas:

Meaning: The involvement and exchange between two parties through physical
or mental interaction.

Purpose: If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to
get there? Must describe precisely what you want to achieve.

Value: Must be a value component in business. Tangible or non-tangible
individual or collective benefit(s).

Quality: The depth and complexity of involvement to the benefit derived.

Measurement: If you can’t measure it, then is worth it?

Reciprocity: The mutual benefit derived by all parties.

Finding profit in Group insurance while improving Customer Relationships

by Jeff Anderson, Project Manager, IS, Canada Life, Toronto

and Brian Rowatt, Director Insurance Industry Marketing, InSystems, Markham

Jeff Anderson

What if brokers could submit direct to rating & proposal engines? What if information was
entered by the plan member? Probably one third of processing time is spent correcting information. If it is
done by the individual direct through a Web site, it would probably be done correctly. What if medical
underwriting questions were automatically generated? What if the top 10 call centre questions were answered
on line? Wouldn’t all of these make business better?

Obstacles to success:

  • existing enterprise systems

  • internal politics

  • dollar versus time versus the scope of project

  • security & privacy issues

  • ability to deliver

  • appropriate out-sourcing partner – matching goals & vision

Canada Life’s lessons learned:

  • automating customers lifecycle is the future

  • must develop a solid financial business case before developing and
    implementing a self-service model

  • partner with the right organization

Brian Rowatt

Defining e-Service portal:

  • real-time transactional servicing

  • anytime – any where – any device

  • must have a secure environment

  • full administration over all relationships

There are two options to accomplish the above. Either build your own or buy an application.
There are pluses and minuses of each path. Cost, speed, customization, future scaling, market demands and so on.

Recipe for Success in Information Delivery

by James Barber, Information Builders, Toronto

Success is broken into technology, execution services, methodology with a bit of mix as well.

Technology: You must buy it separate from operational systems. Target one enterprise solution
& focus to success. Ensure the technology can digest your data. Some data can be so old (and ugly) that
today’s technology can not assimilate it. Make sure there are no gaps from data to decision.

Execution services are two fold. Keep business, not a technology focus. And ensure strong
service experience through business intelligence.

Strive for risk-sharing partnerships with your providers in order to build your in-house skills.
And use rapid application development methodology to quickly prove value.

And finally utilize the proven mix of technology, services and methodology. Look for an insurer
that has succeeded with something similar to what you are striving to achieve, and imitate them.

E-mail as an effective tool

by Doug Grant, Insurance-Canada.ca

Messaging Online’s 1999 Mailbox Report predicted that there will be one billion e-mail boxes
by 2001. So Doug suggests that employers should implement computer-user policies to prevent abuse, harassment
and loss of productivity. Internet use can expose employers to copyright infringement, defamation, hacker
attacks, criminal mischief & other liabilities.

What about good email service? Research shows, most consumers expect to get a response within
6 hours. But in reality only 38% meet that expectation. While 33% take 3 days or longer and worse 24% do
not respond at all!

eMarketer CRM Report showed 9 out of 10 interactions with a company are not transactions,
but some form of communication. That’s a lot of chances to make a good impression. . . or not. Think about it,
email is only as good as the people who use it.

The “do’s” and “don’ts” of email marketing:


  • know how to reach your target audience.

  • make it easy for people to join your list.

  • let them know where to go for “seconds”, or more information.

  • content is king and knowledge is power – get people to opt in through value.

  • create a compelling message.

  • measure your results, then learn.


  • don’t offer great prizes for sign ups. They will leave as soon as prize is gone.

  • deluge participants with too many emails.

  • try to be everything to everyone.

  • spend too much money acquiring the participants.

  • live in a vacuum – know what is going on out there.

Collaborative Computing: Reinventing E-Mail

by Paul Moody, Design Researcher, IBM Research, Collaborative User Experience
Group, Boston, Mass.

As an accused “email junkie” I have to admit Paul’s insight to the future was
exhilarating. I want what Paul showed us now. But first let me set the stage.

There are 5 billion business emails per day, covering 45% of mission critical business. Ninety
seven percent of Canadian business people check their email daily. And although email has been around for
30 years, it hasn’t changed much and it still is the “serial” killer app. Remember you don’t do much
alone anymore. We are interactive because we like to be. There is that human factor again.

But where are we with all this email?

  • people are overwhelmed by amount of email.

  • volume of messaging has gone up.

  • people are losing track of things, and the item(s) that go with it.

  • we can’t keep up with the pace.

  • every 45 minutes a business user gets a request to do something that will
    take 2 hours and the sender wants results within 45 minutes. Yikes!

Solutions that IBM Research are working on:

  • threading

  • piling

  • sharing an in-box

  • email integration

Threading provides automatic grouping of emails by subject matter and colour codes
them so they are easier to see. Threading also draws a map of how the thread has proceeded and can even
predict anticipated emails that are in your future! Threading also automatically coded emails for urgency,
or whether someone has responded already.

Piling is like those piles of paper you build all over your desk. The piles of paper
that you need to get around to, but not immediately. IBM’s piling will automatically build these piles. It
will put your daily newsletters into a specific pile. You want to read it, but you probably want to respond
to your client or boss first. Piling also prioritizes or alerts you to something different. If for example
the newsletter editor wants to interview you, the piling feature will turn an alarm to get your attention.

Sharing an inbox with a group. If you share an inbox address like
[email protected] or [email protected] then multiple people may have to respond to an email.
IBM Research has designed email so that these people can see what the status is, and who did it. Therefore
saving duplicate efforts and potential embarrassment.

Email integration for business on the go. IBM is working on business process logistics
for people on the move. They are integrating PCs, phones and PDAs. Paul told a true story of a person doing a
trade show and reacting to the need for, and delivery of, more computers to the booth. Dealing with multiple
people after business hours, on a weekend and while others are traveling to the site. A very interesting, but
not too uncommon scenario in today’s business environment.

Finally Paul wrapped up with the “physical object collaboration”. MIT Media
Labs, are creating “nano movers” that can move objects. We have teleconferencing to see and hear
people live. We can even share a common computer screen across the globe with a doctor operating on a patient
across the ocean. Now they are working on nano movers to move 3 dimensional objects. Imagine an object sitting
on your conference table in Toronto. Then someone moves the object from a north south to a east west position.
Simultaneously the nano movers would move the object sitting in Montreal, St. Johns, Calgary and Vancouver!
Wow, I look forward to nano movers taking out my garbage.

Post Production – Deriving Benefits

by Patrick Vice, MPA, Risk & Insurance Consultant

Priorities are not the same. “Measuring Managed Care Performance” in the Fall 2000
issue of Journal of Workers Compensation found claim payors versus health-care providers rarely had similar
priorities. They differed on timeliness of visits, timeliness of care providers reports, costs and adherence
to treatment guidelines. The closest they came to similar priorities was ability to define or document worker
restrictions, not near as important as the other areas.

Patrick points out we should understand current services and then exploit them. Zurich Life
provides agents functionality through Internet, call centers and traditional mail and fax. But there is only
minimal usage of online functionality. Needless to say that director of field technology has his work cut out.

GeneralCologne Re asks if your customers are essentially based on price? Is your value added
the same as everybody else’s? Will your customer associate a positive experience with your brand? With these
in mind, you should understand the limitation of people and technology. Then exploit what works.

To derive benefits, solve one problem and then position to expand. BCE Emergis says one of the
biggest problems in the healthcare segment, is they have various useful technologies but are not operating as
a single platform. Principal Group in October 10, 2001 Insurance Tech said, “It would be wonderful if at
some point we could have a single, consolidated bill for all of our customers, regardless of how many products
they have with us.” Or I might add, it would nice if they knew what language I speak or whether I am a
shareholder, an insured or a claimant.

Be a leader and exploit. Celent Communications found that insurers who focus on high-end small
businesses through Internet B2B transactions will be better equipped. Through web-enabled technology, insurers
will be able to cut sales and administrative costs from 25% of the first year’s premiums to 12.5%. Internet
will speed up policy sales by reducing phone calls, faxes, and other unnecessary rudimentary contact between
businesses and their insurer.

Celent’s study also showed that online agency enabler-assisted channels are expected to be
the most successful, capturing 70% of new market. Risk & Insurance, September 16, 2001

Relationships Forces Challenging Insurance

by Doug Grant & Patrick Vice, Insurance-Canada.ca

As insurance business evolves, roles and relationships change. Technology
alone impacts insurance by:

  • providing access to libraries of information

  • better person to person communications,

  • automating functions that reach outside our office walls

  • email is used as a marketing tool

  • loss prevention & recovery

  • technology offers distance & time of day based premiums by Progressive

  • POS claims processing in dental and pharmaceutical

What are the top three tasks most reduced by technology?
(from a Progressive Insurance survey of their Independent Agent Partners)

  • completing applications

  • processing payments

  • filing

Data has been and still is the key to our industry. Now information management is critical.
Data was costly to capture, store, process and analyze. Now with improvements, technology has enabled us.
Perhaps too much.

Data combined with Internet enables many things:

  • improved target marketing

  • better customer service

  • direct billing and marketing

  • information between B2B partners

Point of service needs more and current information:

  • customers are expecting more than industry traditionally been able to provide.

  • leaders continue to push the envelope, but more infrastructure is required.

Changes can be simple improvement within a channel:

  • payment inquiries on line provided more than anticipated cost benefit

  • connecting insurer Web site with broker/agent for customer preference.

  • call centre enabling Web sites to close business faster and more often.

More complex changes provide:

  • Client Relationship Management across multiple channels like Allstate’s access
    across call centre, web centre and agents.

  • Progressive provides comparative quotes through independent agents, call and web centres.

  • CSIO portal provides a common environment for brokers and companies and
    comparative quotes with guaranteed pricing.

Doug and Pat’s Conclusions:

  • administrative loads will decrease

  • processing times will be reduced

  • personal touch is increasing

  • increased product complexity

  • tools and services continue to evolve

  • more teaming and collaboration tools

  • more self administration and research

  • more high tech and high touch

  • more repackaging of product for increased personalization

. . . and finally my thoughts on the conference

by Craig Tilford, FCIP, insurance, technology & risk management consultant

First off, it was great to see so many leaders practicing basic and advance business practices, both with people and with technology. It was great to see people getting that technology can be great, but it is just a tool. It seems that business is learning that technology is not the answer to everything. You just can’t set it free and expect it accomplish all your expectations.

Now on the down side, the public, your customers are using technology to arm themselves with more information than they have ever had before. Thus raising their expectations beyond reason. And sometimes information in the wrong hands can hinder business. Fortunately they still come to the insurance advisors for the final step. A surgeon doing his own auto insurance comes to mind.

Secondly I am pleased to see technology helping business in so many ways. I have worked with technology in many areas for a long time. Unfortunately technology has not always lived up to my expectations, nor others around me. But now I see technology helping and as Doug Grant suggests, it is more pervasive than ever before.

And finally I must address the outstanding calibre of this event. This is my second Insurance-Canada.ca conference, and as a FCIP and licensed broker, I am committed and obligated to take continuing education. But obligations aside, I am personally driven to finding ways to do business better. But running around in my own little world isn’t broad enough. There is a lot more out there. So if you are committed or obligated and Auto Insurance 101 has been done, I highly recommend the Insurance-Canada.ca conferences. For information on past and future events see Events.

Craig Tilford, FCIP is a commercial insurance & risk management consultant
who has tromped around in the P&C industry for over 20 years. He has worked at a major US insurer and done
consultative risk management. He has worked at an alpha brokerage, and has run his own brokerage. He currently
is helping an international brokerage improve business processes.

Craig can be reached at [email protected]

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