Wawanesa Launches Innovation Outpost in Ontario’s Tech Corridor

Winnipeg, MB (June 21, 2018) – The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, the largest Canadian Property and Casualty Mutual insurer, has opened an Innovation Outpost lab in Kitchener, Ontario.

This vibrant new space is a part of the Communitech Hub, an industry-led innovation centre that supports a community of more than 1,400 tech companies who are commercializing innovation and technology.

Wawanesa’s lab will foster partnerships with key players – from startups to global brands, brokers and broker associations, government agencies, academic institutions, tech incubators, and accelerators – working collaboratively to be at the forefront in implementing the digital innovations that are changing the insurance industry – focusing on those that will benefit our broker partners.

One of the first projects out of the Innovation Outpost is a new interactive voice technology that will connect Wawanesa’s technology-savvy customers with brokers when they want a quote on auto and home insurance.  Wawanesa is working on this initiative with Kitchener-based ProNavigator and the Excalibur Insurance Group.

The Innovation Outpost lab in Kitchener/Waterloo complements Wawanesa’s Innovation Lab in Winnipeg that opened in January 2017.  Both labs work together to develop new ideas and capabilities for Wawanesa, customers and brokers, to drive insurance innovation forward.

Wawanesa’s significant investments in innovation follow the recent introduction of new products that Wawanesa is proud to offer.  Wawanesa’s Enhanced Homeowners premium coverage will soon be available in Ontario and offers the right product for higher value homeowners.  Earlier this year, Wawanesa also launched a new personal cyber product, comprehensive cyber risk protection for Canadian homeowners and home-based businesses.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this dynamic ecosystem and to be working with ProNavigator, a bright new start-up, while also furthering our enduring relationship with Excalibur Insurance, one of Ontario’s leading digital brokers,” said Al McLeod, Vice-President, Innovation, The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company.  “By investing in new and innovative technology to improve the customer experience we are helping our brokers to make their businesses stronger as they compete against new channels and digital players.”

“The way that we communicate with businesses is changing rapidly while customers are looking for speed and convenience,” said Joseph D’Souza, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ProNavigator. “We are excited to collaborate with Wawanesa and Excalibur Insurance to power their Alexa integration, allowing their customers to receive quotes and answer questions through voice commands anytime.”

“With smart speaker sales expected to reach 56 million in North America this year, it’s also anticipated that 30% of online searches will use voice-activated technology by the end of 2018. That said, it became imperative that we tailor a voice-activated customer service solution for our broker network,” remarked Jeff Roy, Chief Executive Officer, Excalibur Insurance Group. “Our solution already answers more than 250 insurance specific queries and continues to evolve daily. The partnership between brokers, Wawanesa and ProNavigator is a great example of likeminded people coming together to improve the online experience for customers.”

About Wawanesa

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is the largest Canadian Property and Casualty Mutual insurer with $3 billion in annual revenue and assets of more than $9 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon; Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada; and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Western Canada. With over 5,000 employees, Wawanesa proudly serves over two million policyholders through nine regional offices and 41 service offices in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognized benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy.  Learn more at www.wawanesa.com/canada/

About ProNavigator

ProNavigator provides an AI-Powered Virtual Assistant, built for insurance, to help drive sales and productivity. By leveraging machine learning and a wealth of industry knowledge, ProNavigator’s Virtual Assistants enable companies to engage with their customers 24/7 through the convenience of chat or voice. The results are increased sales conversion, reduced costs and greater efficiency.  Learn more at pronavigator.ai.

About Excalibur Insurance

Excalibur Insurance Group is recognized as one of Canada’s leading brokers when it comes to embracing and partnering to develop online technology that’s focused on improving the customer self-service experience. Learn more at excaliburinsurance.ca.

About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.  Communitech is a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs and helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies; Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate; and Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant.  Learn more at www.communitech.ca/who-we-are/.

SOURCE: Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company

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