The Big Pivot – ORBiT 2018

ORBiT Canada embraces a new mission to help brokers address customer-facing challenges

By Wendy Watson, President, ORBiT Canada

Toronto, ON (Nov. 13, 2017) – Relevance. Engagement. These two items were top of mind heading into the ORBiT board meeting in early October. If you’ve spent any time pondering these for your own business, you know they represent a considerable challenge.

Since our inception, ORBiT has strived to create process efficiencies. We have celebrated some great successes and have experienced a few less-than-stellar outcomes. Regardless, I am proud of the work that ORBiT volunteers have done: our members tell us that they’ve learned and they’ve improved their operations. Mission accomplished.

But what’s next? In September, we hosted a Broker Forum with some forward-thinking minds to lay the groundwork for ORBiT’s mission going forward. Our goal was to gain an understanding of what is important, hence most needed, in the broker distribution channel today, for tomorrow.

The word that was repeated over and over was “data”. Not in a “big data” way, but in a near, relevant, and meaningful way. In many industries, businesses are increasingly using the data they have collected about their customers to be able to know and serve them better. Our industry is a little late to the game. But we believe that this ability to use our data – for understanding and serving customers – is the next great opportunity (and challenge) for brokers.

This learning, combined with Board input resulted in a new mission we are calling The Big Pivot.

Even with our new mandate, ORBiT remains true to our focus on best practices workflows. The Big Pivot, while keeping a toe in process efficiencies, moves us to client-facing, making know your client a top priority.

Next on the validation journey was InsurTechTO, a great first-time event! I was engaged the entire day with the abundance of information being shared. And the theme of data continued from many different aspects.

So you understand my viewpoint it is important to know that in my core, regardless of all my other work lives (and there have been a few), I am a broker. That means I think like a broker and I listen from a broker perspective.

The most impactful message I heard echoed the learning from our Broker Forum: knowing your customer is your business. I would be interested to hear what other brokers, carriers, and vendors took away from the day.

Some of the takeaways that resonated with me are:

  • Small data is where to start, it is the point of the data that is important
  • Get the data, interpret the data, use the data
  • Work with a proof of concept. If it works, go bigger.
  • Risks create wins, mistakes are OK
  • Incremental innovation!
  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • Culture! Culture! Culture!
  • Find/uncover your customer’s pain points
  • Seek feedback from customers to help determine what and how to communicate
  • Customers may not know what they want
  • Look at internal core strengths and identify what we are least likely to do on our own; these are the opportunities for InsurTech and innovation
  • We need to create value outside of insurance (sounds so easy, doesn’t it?)
  • Making it easy for the customer is key
  • AI is about working smarter, not harder
  • Segment clients in a meaningful way. This allows more refined service levels and more effective marketing campaigns including “customers like you”

All of these were wrapped up in a big bow for me with the Start-Up Pitch Competition. This was my favourite session. For me, three of them hit it out of the park: they identified a problem that needed to be solved, they uncovered pain points, they absolutely used the data, they innovated, and they delivered! If you heard cheering, that was me!

All this takes me back to ORBiT’s Big Pivot. I am excited! This is the right time and the right focus. It’s what our broker members need, what our carriers need, and most importantly, what our clients need.

I believe that brokers have a difficult time articulating the broker distribution value proposition(s), and I think this will be a by-product of our mission.

On Tuesday, November 21, ORBiT is holding its Annual Members’ Meeting. I look forward to our members coming together, focusing on the next generation of distribution, and harnessing what is needed to truly know your customer. And once we have this knowledge, then on to what to do and how to do it. Of course, this will be accomplished by our volunteer members, through learning and collaboration.

There is real potential here for a “win-win-win” if all stakeholders get engaged and active in ORBiT’s reimagined mission. I cannot wait!

About ORBiT Canada

ORBiT Canada is a national, not-for-profit organization of insurance brokers, insurance carriers, and technology providers dedicated to the advancement of real time transactions in the Canadian broker distribution channel. For more information, please visit

Source: ORBiT Canada

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