- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Analysts: Customer is Queen, Data is Crown Princess

Two recent reports are making it clear:  The winners in the new insurance game will be those who recognize that the driving force for change is the customer, and data and analytic tools will be key enablers for the change.  We’d like to know:  Does this message resonate with your organization, with your colleagues, and… Read more »

Summertime, And The Living Is … Frenzied?

With 2013 more than half over, some days it feels as though we’ve done a whole year’s worth of work already and there’s still a year of work more before the calendar year ends. Is this an exceptional period, or another “new normal”?  And is there anything that can help?  We’ve got some thoughts and… Read more »

Social Media Policy and the Insurer: Aligned or Self-destructive?

A colleague of ours recently related a story which reminded us that we are still talking from both sides of our mouth when it comes to using social media. We’re wondering how prevalent this situation is and what you think can or should be done. What’s good for the goose might not make it to… Read more »

Social Media Trending Sideways – Is That A Good Thing?

Back in 1999, Homer Simpson’s daughter Lisa told her father that she could show him how to order pizza over the Internet.  Homer replied:  “The internet? Is that thing still around?”  The Internet had gone beyond the initial hyper enthusiasm into a steady state presence that fell below Homer’s radar.   We’re increasingly seeing anecdotal  information… Read more »

Is Data Forcing Modern Systems to Stay in Second Gear?

There has been significant emphasis in the past few years on rapid execution of implementation plans for large systems. Agile methodologies and modern technologies allow significantly shorter timelines from the decision stage to lights-on.  However, the delivery of strategic goals may not follow as quickly, as we cope with our increased need for more, and… Read more »

On The Road to 2023: How Do We Describe Our Industry?

If you had recently relocated from Mars, and asked a Canadian insurance  professional to describe the P&C insurance industry,  you would likely get a more ‘qualitative’ perspective than a ‘quantitative’ one, according to a recent study.  And you would get a somewhat different perspective depending on whom you asked – an insurer, a broker, or… Read more »

Mobile: Is There An App for Core Sytems Replacement?

It is patently obvious that mobile technologies – including smartphones and tablets – are becoming increasingly useful tools.  As a result, a number of insurers have undertaken initiatives to extend selected functions – finding an agent/broker, getting a quote, reporting a claim to mobile devices.  What is less obvious is that mobile is entering the… Read more »

Analytics Getting Operational In Intelligent Claims Processing

Analytics capabilities are seen by insurers as essential tools for intelligent claims handling, so much so that technology suppliers are moving to embed analytics offerings within claims administration systems.   Two leading experts, while underscoring the value that analytics can bring to claims handling, offer a cautionary note about over-reliance on silicon tools to the exclusion… Read more »

Are Commercial Lines Buyers Ready to Go On-Line?

There is a long-held belief that commercial lines insurance, regardless of the size, require a personal agent or broker to be effectively  marketed, sold, and serviced.  A new report  (based on US data) is questioning this assumption, raising some technology, operational, and marketing issues for everyone involved in small commercial insurance.  We’d like to know… Read more »

Does Blackberry Device Management Solve BYOD Issues?

Bring Your Own Device continues to be an unaddressed issue for many corporate IT departments.  While Blackberry’s recent announcement of functionality to manage non-Blackberry devices looks to some as being an elegant solution to the BYOD issue, other experts raise caution.  We like to know what you think. What’s The Problem? When smart phones and… Read more »

Was Customer Relationship Management Killed, or Did It Just Change Its Name?

A quick scan of the journals suggests that the trend called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – once the temple that held the Holy Grail of data – seems to have died abruptly in the late 2011.  Around the same time, the behemoth known as Big Data began its meteoric rise. Is this a case of… Read more »

Emerging Technology: Think You Have Time To Catch Up?

At the halfway point of 2013, several analysts are beginning to forecast 2014.  If they are to be believed, it might not be the best year for those organizations that have not yet fully embraced advances such as consumer-facing technologies, predictive analytics, enterprise content management, etc., or who have espoused a “fast follower” approach in… Read more »

Big Data and Core Systems: Is Co-existence Possible?

Big Data is making the news in all sorts of ways. It is being used by actuaries and underwriters to fine-tune selection and become more precise in pricing. It allows claims examiners to detect fraud patterns and lower costs. Marketers can predict patterns of consumer behaviour from Big Data to tailor campaigns to increase sales. Does… Read more »

Technology and the Aging Driver: A Father’s Day Tale

Ellen looked over at her dad in the driver’s seat of the car.  He was smiling as he watched road in front of him, checked the mirrors and monitored the dashboard gauges.  He had not looked this happy since he had his license taken away after being diagnosed with early dementia.  When they arrived at… Read more »

Should Telematics/UBI Be Mandatory in Ontario?

Telematics enabled Usage Based Insurance (UBI) should be mandatory in Ontario.  The advent of the Internet, digital cellular networks, and global positioning systems over the last twenty-odd years has transformed the way we live. These innovations have been disruptive for countless industries and enabled the birth of many new ones. Used to deliver UBI, these… Read more »

Is “Innovation” The Next “Awesome”?

Over the past few years, the term ‘awesome’ seems to have lost some of  its meaning as a result of overuse. We’re wondering if ‘Innovation’ is heading in the same direction, at least as it relates to insurance and technology.  We’d like your thoughts. How does innovation relate to insurance technology? Those of us who… Read more »

Privacy For Rent or Lease

After the recent announcement of Ajusto – the Telematics-driven Usage-Based Insurance program from Desjardins – there were several posts that derided it as an invasion of privacy for drivers.  But seriously, with everything else going on out in the interconnected world, does anyone really think that driving behaviour is private information? Or any behaviour, for… Read more »

ORBiT Message to Brokers: Market Share/Profitability Are Yours to Lose

Coming away from this year’s ORBiT Road Show session, the overarching message seemed to be:  Ontario brokers have an enviable position with market share and have tools to improve profitability.  However, too many brokers are doing little to sustain this in the face of changes in the market and new, powerful competitive forces. Our question… Read more »

Telematics/UBI and Driverless Vehicles: Is There a Battle Royale Forming?

There is an interesting debate involving a couple of possibly competing trends: one is the use of Telematics to support Usage-Based Insurance (UBI); the other is the emergence of Driverless Vehicles.  We think that some of the discussions might be muddling some issues — and, regardless of the outcome, we think there are some clear… Read more »

Is The Media the Message for Successful Brokers?

What differentiates a  broker/agent who successfully uses social media for marketing from one who does not?  Is it the right media — or something else? We’d like to compare a few examples and then make a suggestion.  We’d like your thoughts. What Does Success Look Like? In our view,  success in the use of social… Read more »

Telematics/Usage-Based Insurance: Where Do Canadian Brokers Fit?

Since Desjardins’ May 13th launch  of Ajusto – a Telematics enabled Usage Based Insurance (UBI) product – there have been active discussions about how independent brokers in Canada could fit in as distributors of this type of product.  We think that brokers have a unique opportunity to define the future for themselves and their customers… Read more »

Can IT Be Aligned with Turbulence?

Within the IT management community, “alignment” has been a hot topic for some time.  If, as some suggest, the insurance industry is on the edge of some fundamental, possibly existential challenges, the question might be, “align with what?” What is ‘Alignment’, Anyway? A frequently cited review of literature by Chan and Reich, IT Alignment: What… Read more »

Innovation/Collaboration Go Operational at #acordloma13

If we had a dollar for every time the mantras of Innovation and Collaboration were invoked at the recent ACORDLOMA Forum in Las Vegas, we’d have easily paid for our hotel bill and several meals.  There were lots of references to innovative thinking, collaborative processes,  innovative products, collaborative  technologies,  innovative delivery mechanisms….(you get the point). … Read more »

In the Spring, Do Canadian Insurers’ Thoughts Turn to … Telematics?

With apologies to Lord Tennyson,  it appears that insurers might be putting telematics slightly ahead of other fancies in Spring 2013.  Part of the evidence is a mysterious ad campaign.  Are you feeling the pull? Rumblings In The Wind We have been noting the progress of telematics-based insurance offerings  in various geographies, such as the… Read more »

What Do Agents & Brokers Do Anyway?

“What do agents/brokers actually do for a living?”  Over the last quarter century or so,  we have periodically asked insurance consumers and insurance carrier IT workers that question. We tend to get two very different answers, both of which are wrong.  Worse, we find the answers from the IT employees to be further from the… Read more »

Broker Marketing: Feed the Lizard

In the Polynesian culture, the gecko feeds on insects and carries the spirit of mo’o,  a mythological being which is considered to be a  protector of houses and villages.  In the insurance culture, the gecko feeds on Big Data and carries the brand of Geico, which is considered the destroyer of independent agents.  Maybe the… Read more »

Are IT People Starting to Look Like Regular Employees?

Some recent employment-related data suggest that IT professionals have similar employment experience as other members of the working class. In fact, some IT professionals are actually reporting directly to business unit managers. Is this scary or does this offer opportunities? Hiring Flat, Participation Down As reported in Insurance Networking News, analysis by Janco & Associates… Read more »

The Telematics Business Case: What’s Still Missing?

While a number of  insurers ponder if  and when to enter the Usage Based Insurance (UBI) marketplace using Telematics, other insurers  are transitioning to Telematics Version 2 which include features and benefits to attract a wider audience and, perhaps, retain the initial UBI customer base converts, and improve overall profitability. Our question to you:  Are… Read more »

Policy Administation Systems Projects: Is 10% Success Enough?

Policy Administration Systems (PAS) replacements are top of mind with a large number of P&C insurers. A recent report from PwC suggests only 10% of organizations which have undertaken such projects have realized full business benefits. Our Question:  Given all the challenges inherent in running a business and embarking on large projects, are these good… Read more »

Effective Social Media Tactics for Agents/Brokers

Nothing succeeds like success. At the February meeting of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), Terry Golesworthy of the Customer Respect Group shared information on successful social media strategies and tactics for independent insurance agents and brokers. He was joined by some practitioners on a panel. We think they offer some good, common sense advice. … Read more »

Where Does Old Data Fit in the Modern Insurance World?

Among the many reasons cited for converting from legacy to modern administration systems, improving access to historical data tends to appear low on the list if it is mentioned at all.  Some argue that this is as it should be.  Others suggest that ignoring existing data could put legacy conversion projects at risk, and recommend… Read more »

Predictive Analytics: Are Winners Becoming ‘Embedded’?

While predictive analytics for insurance has become a hot topic in the last year, implementation of analytic tools has been mixed. Some suggest that successful insurers will be those who not only embrace predictive analytics, but embed them in their technology and process. We’d like to know what you think. What are Predictive Analytics and… Read more »

Will Increased IT Importance Cause A Decline In IT Influence?

With the increased business interest in social media, big data, analytics. legacy modernization and the like, IT is getting significantly more profile at the senior management and board level.  But is this rise in profile masking a decline in IT influence? Marketing Rising Let’s take Marketing, as an example.  As data driven marketing – including… Read more »

Broker Connectivity Getting Active: Will Results Follow This Time?

There’s an old insurance sales motivator axiom that says, “You can’t control results, but you can control activity, and activity produces results.” There has been some real activity in Broker Connectivity of late — including a continuing industry effort and a large acquisition by a major player. Our question to you: Will this increase in… Read more »

Data Analytics and Understanding: Strategies for Balanced Growth

There’s an old story that goes something like this:  The CEO has commanded that all decisions have to be backed by solid market information.  This causes a parade of people to form outside the IT VP’s door looking for data and information.  After getting tired of providing the same answer, the overworked exec puts up… Read more »

Auto Insurance and Automated Vehicles: Who’s the Consumer, Who’s the Consumee?

At the recent Technology Conference (ICTC2013), there was lots of discussion about how insurers are preparing to consume telematics data.  One presenter turned this around and described how consumer lifestyles, supported by  telematics-enabled self-driving vehicles could be consuming a chunk of the insurance industry. We’d like to know what you think.  Does this cause… Read more »

ICTA 2013 Winners Announced

At an awards ceremony in Toronto yesterday, the Technology Awards (ICTAs) were presented to Winners and Finalists in the Insurer, Distributor, and Supplier Categories.  The Awards recognize innovation in the implementation and use of technology which shows a significant impact on a process or group of processes used in the sale, processing and servicing… Read more »

ICTC2013 – What to Leave Behind?

We are 25 hours from the start of registration for the 2013 Technology Conference, and, after a day like yesterday,  the big question is:  What can we leave behind?  The answer, actually, is obvious. So What Did Happen On The Ides of March? Early yesterday morning, one of our partners discovered that all of… Read more »

Advantage Brokers: Content Rules in Social

Common wisdom has it that insurance brokers and agents  have lagged behind other sectors in the use of social media for marketing.  However, by employing a different approach – content marketing – insurance distributors may havew an opportunity to leapfrog into a leading position with personal and commercial lines customers. Why Do We Think Insurance… Read more »

The New Reality of the Insurance Marketing Function

As a longtime insurance expert, I’ve noticed interesting changes taking place in the industry. While insurance carriers continue spend a large portion of their technology budget on underwriting, policy administration and claims, the marketing function is emerging in importance. The Rise of the CMO We’ve seen dramatic changes taking place on the Life insurance side…. Read more »

Insurance Telematics: Got Questions? There Are Answers!

In the past year, the use of telematics for insurance has gone from interesting to important, giving rise to a whole new set of questions regarding rating, marketing, underwriting, data management, etc.  Fortunately, there are emerging sources for answers, including a recent survey of industry participants and number of sessions at the 2013 Technology… Read more »

Analytics Goes Operational From Quoting to Claims

Increasingly, insurance-related analytics is moving from the purely analytic to real-time operational for leading insurance organizations and new-comers to the industry. The impacted areas range from from prospecting and conversion to claims handling including fraud management. And the anticipated results are impressive. Analytics for Fun and Prospects (Is That A Zebra In My Quote?) On… Read more »

Brokers/Agents Increase Social Usage, But Don’t Measure Results

It seems that Independent Insurance  Brokers and Agents have increased their usage of non-traditional methods (largely social media)  in marketing efforts, but the vast majority have not taken the next step to measure the results. About the Survey …. For the second year in a row, Connecticut-based B.H. Burke & Co. conducted a survey of… Read more »

Telematics and Usage-Based Insurance: Usage to Innovation to Disruption

While the use of Telematics is just getting traction (pun intended) with insurance in Canada, it seems that some organizations elsewhere have already started releasing innovative product and marketing twists to engage, and retain, customers. is currently conducting a survey and is looking for your opinions and questions to pose to an expert panel… Read more »

Gangnam Style: What It Can Teach Us About Digital

Going from obscurity to the spotlight used to take years, no matter the industry or the stage involved. No-name acts don’t just get thrown into the spotlight, and yet, we’ve all heard of Gangnam Style – if you haven’t, you’ve been living under a rock. This South Korean music video achieved worldwide recognition and status… Read more »

Analytics and Insurance: What One Question Can Do For The Shoemaker’s Son

It’s the shoemaker’s son conundrum: I have always found it ironic that insurers, whose whole business is based on the management of information, have struggled so much in understanding and utilizing the information they have.   Could one question give the child some decent shoes? I have listened to insurers for over 20 years talk about… Read more »

Is Gen Y Dead? Marketing in a Post-Generational World

Is Gen Y nothing more than a product of a not-so-imaginative imagination?  Some social media experts are suggesting just that.  In the new marketing world, traditional ‘generational’ segmentation is losing its value relative to other factors.  And marketing strategies are morphing as well. We’d like to know:  Do you feel ready to market in a… Read more »

To Data With Love: A Valentine Card for a Complicated Relationship

“She is frequently kind, And she’s suddenly cruel She can do as she pleases, She’s nobody’s fool But she can’t be convicted, She’s earned her degree…” –        Billy Joel, American singer/songwriter Databases have been called “relational” but if data were a person, I would describe my relationship with her as “complicated.”  I’ll give you some… Read more »

Broker Connectivity: Canadian Milestones, and Potholes, On Display at ICTC

Back in the early 1980s, an analyst at an insurance company had been working on electronic policy communications with brokers for about a year.  One day, the analyst’s  supervisor went to an early-days meeting of CSIO.  The supervisor returned with a picture of a cloud , marked ‘Standards’ with lightning bolts coming out of it,… Read more »

ICTA: The Jury Is Out And The Winners Are In the Mayonnaise Jar!

The die is now cast.  The winners of the coveted Insurance Canada Technology Awards (ICTAs) have been selected and the results have been sequestered. After the ICTA  jury met earlier this month, a secret ballot was held; the official scrutineer tallied the results, notified the small handful of officials who will be preparing the awards,… Read more »