- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

“The Envelope, Please”: The Importance of Awards in the Digital World

For the last nine years,, supported by excellent practitioners and suppliers, has delivered awards for the use of technology in the insurance industry. This provides a disciplined process to celebrate technology-driven success and to engage all members of our industry in best-of-breed tools and techniques. InsurTech anyone?

Why celebrate?

Insurance-Canada’s primary purpose is to highlight the use of technology in the business of insurance in Canada. From the outset, we have organized on-line and in-person events to allow users, suppliers, and analysts/consultants to share information on the use of technology and to measure the impact on the business of insurance.

This is all good, but it doesn’t measure which applications and implementations demonstrate the greatest impact on insurance organizations in Canada.

How do we address this…

The Insurance-Canada team looked at different options. The first decision was that we needed to turn the decisions making over to folks who used the technologies and approaches to get insurance done, faster, better, and more comprehensive than the current methods and systems.

That brought us to the use of a ‘jury’. Insurance-Canada would seek applications and would turn the decision making to practitioners.

This had implications. As much as we needed tech suppliers, we could not select a subset of these folks without creating a conflict of interest. On this basis, the jurors had to come from insurers, brokers, analysts, and consultants. Further, if any of the jurors’ organizations submitted an application on their own (for internal development, e.g.), the juror representing the organization had to recuse her/himself from judging that application.

Making it Work

There is a lot of good technology that is sitting on developers’ laptops. Often, these prototypes produce some attractive demos, but have never found their way into production. We took that all into consideration and came up with two overarching requirements:

  • The primary criterion for all awards is the positive impact that a specific technology or application of technology has had on business.
  • In order to have an assessment of the business impact, technologies should have been in production for a minimum of three months.

This makes real work for the jury …

Our jurors take this seriously. Because there is a learning curve, we ask a new juror stay on with us for a few years, and most have. Insurance-Canada compiles information from applications and sends detailed forms to the jurors for review. This year the ‘package’ had over 70 pages of detail, the majority of which had data as well as description.

There are a minimum of two on-line meetings that can run for 3+ hours of review and discussion. After each, the jurors cast votes for multiple applicants, which get tallied first to select six finalists, the second to select: Winner, First Runner Up, and Second Runner Up, and two Finalists.

Just so you can thank them …

Here is our current jury:

  • Dean Bast, VP National Distribution Management, The Guarantee;
  • Traci Boland, Chair, Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario; Partner/Manager, Ontario West Insurance Brokers;
  • Mike Fitzgerald, Senior Analyst – Insurance, Celent;
  • Dorothy Josephson, Vice President, Solutions Delivery, Systems, SGI;
  • Catherine Kargas, Vice President, MARCON;
  • Dave Lund, Claims / Operations Manager, AIG Canada;
  • Lorie Phair, Managing Director, Canadian Broker Network;
  • Catherine Smola, President and CEO, CSIO;
  • Eric Weisburg, Vice President Research & Consulting, Novarica.

The 2018ICTA Finalists are…

… in alphabetical order:

  • Accident Support Services International Ltd.
  • Benecaid
  • Kanetix Ltd. – Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Kanetix Ltd. – Machine Learning
  • LGM Financial Services
  • OTIP

You can see details here . The final ICTA2018 results will be announced at the 2018 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference after the first day and just before our reception.

And just because…

Our process with the jury is serious business, and folks outside the jury room don’t get much input until the Conference, so a few years back, we added a ‘People’s Choice‘ award, allowing you to vote for your favorite. You have until 23 February to make your selection.

Your thoughts?

Insurtech and digital tools are ramping up the importance of technology for the future of insurance. There are thousands of start-ups that are looking for needs and preparing to deliver new approaches. We think that the jury model may not be the only approach, but has demonstrated discipline in vetting approaches.

What do you think? We’d certainly welcome a conversation. Perhaps at the Technology Conference and the Awards Ceremony.