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Getting Dancing Lessons from InsurTech in Québec

Québec City – the oldest city in North America –  is organizing itself to become a leader in digital transformation, with the insurance sector as a leading industry segment. By all accounts, there are individuals and organizations determined to hit the goal with new constructs.

The activities remind me of a quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”

Tech in Québec…

Last year, I was invited to attend InsurTechQC in Québec City.  It was similar to other InsurTechs, but with some interesting differences.  There were longer sessions (allowing deeper dives into the functionality) more breaks (good networking), and a certain je ne sais quois (e.g., the pitch contest came with white and red wine).

This year, I was invited to attend again.  I was pleased to see the drivers of the program (thanks again to Talusier Lasalle), and long time colleagues.

The content was excellent, and there seems to be significant progress with AI, Blockchain, and other technologies.  And these are finding insurers who are keen to improve their competitive position by using InsurTech.

Québec is taking InsurTech seriously

As a bonus, I spent some quality time with a few insurers and with Martine Rioux, Director General for Québec numérique (Digital Québec), a facilitator for digital development and support,

Québec numérique is a not-for-profit organization which provides support to the digital world in Québec.  Specifically, the organization facilitates, coordinates, and promotes activities in Québec’s digital world.

According to Rioux, insurance represents a significant portion of Business in the Québec region. Many of the insurers are evaluating and adopting Digital approaches.

A strong base of Québecois…

Rioux notes there is a consortium of 11 Québec insurers, PuissanceOnze (ElevenOne) which helps promote interests of the individual insurers, including: La Capitale, Desjardins, iA, LEDOR, Promutuel, SSQ (some organizations have multiple carriers).

The numbers are revealing:

  • 10,767 permanent, high quality jobs in the insurers’ headquarters;
  • $928.1 million total compensation
  • Over $1 billion in real estate holdings of member companies in the region
  • $19.9 billion premiums (2014) a 115% increase since 2008
  • $520 million taxes paid at municipal and provincial levels.

Digital development in the insurance space is very active, according to Rioux.  AI and Big Data initiatives are growing rapidly.  Rioux provided Coveoas an example of an international AI success.

Diversity in external connections

According to Rioux, there is significant growth in tech.  At present, there are lots of open slots with unemployment is at 3%.

Interestingly, relationship networks are different than the Rest of Canada (RoC).  Rioux says that much of their connections (and incoming workers) come from France, Belgium, and Africa.

Canada may not big, but it is blessed….

Silicon Valley continues to be ground zero for InsurTech development.  However, the diversity of Canadians’ culture and expertise brings a rich montage.

We have folks like Martine Rioux, who are driving digital connections through Québec numérique.

And,  personally,  I am grateful to Roxanne Fortier and Sylvie Fortin from Fernandez relations publiques who helped me with the logistics from set up to completion.

If you have a chance, travel to Québec and enjoy a grand dance.

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