- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Insurers: Are You on the “Digital Expressway” Wave? (Part 2)

In my last post on this blog, I raised the question of whether insurance is catching the wave that Alvin Toffler described a quarter century ago and making a move onto the digital expressway; I put forward some thoughts on brokers. Today I want to turn to Insurers.

Customer focus remains the driver, with a broader mandate

Insurers, like brokers, are being driven by the same pressures: a laser-like focus, with a goal of engaging the customer beyond a simple mercantile transaction. The difference with insurers is that they have a wider range of customers: those that buy the insurer’s products/services, those that sell the products on the carrier’s behalf (agents, brokers, other third parties), and employees.

For example, in the past, insurers took a hands-off position in the sales process, yielding complete control to the intermediary. Now – driven in no small part by social media and digital technologies – the majority of insurers and brokers recognize that the sales and service function requires close collaboration between the product manufacturer and front-line sales agent.

Engaging a broader customer base

As we did with the brokers, we will use examples from nominations for the 2016 Technology Awards (ICTAs):

Telematics UBI continues to make inroads, but more quietly now. Desjardins introduced a new implementation of Ajusto, using a smartphone app rather than a dongle to track driving and related behaviour. A first in North America, this removed a cost element and provides for even better customer engagement.

Recognizing the unique requirements of high net worth clients, The Guarantee – a broker distribution company – offers a mobile app for their GUARANTEE GOLD customers. It offers a number of functions, for example, a proactive warning about imminent dangerous weather.

Gore Mutual, another broker company, has developed UBiz, an online small business quoting, rating, issue and payment application (once and done). It is offered only through brokers, with a link on the broker’s website.

Trillium Mutual has a new farm and property portal which is providing better service to their brokers and clients. It is integrated with CSIO standards and workflows to the extent possible, and has improved both efficiency and effectiveness.

BI&I developed a “wearable and app” for their workers who do field inspections, often in remote places – to identify and report an emergency, with the objective of being able to respond quickly.

Promutuel implemented a digital training program to support the implementation of new core systems with its widely spread users. The training relied on new techniques such as gamification, and found dramatic savings plus improvements in learning speed.

While not an insurer, IBC – Quebec provides services primarily to insurers. To save time and money, and to improve quality, IBC – Quebec transformed a manual process to a digital one with workflow and management functions to update documents destined for their member companies.

And the results are widespread

Each of these insurance technology programs offers a different value and serves a unique purpose. All are creative. They serve to further the service and marketing objectives of these organizations.

At the Broker focused Broker Forum on Mar 1 and the insurer focused Technology Conference – Feb 29 you can explore and discuss the opportunities and challenges of today, and tomorrow, with your peers.

Insurance product innovation has been picking up speed in recent years; we’ve seen telematics UBI, cyber risk, overland flood and, much more recently, ride-share and drone insurance appear in the Canadian market. All of these are technology driven, or technology-enabled, and are responses to customer’s needs.

Insurance may have been considered a laggard industry in its use of computing capabilities. It seems innovation is on the rise as leading practitioners “catch their wave”.


Editor’s Note:  Doug Grant is a Partner at, Inc.  Doug is producing our newest event, the 2016 Broker Forum (#ICBF2016)  on March 1, 2016 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada.