- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

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 »

Should Brokers be Queuing for the Analytics Bandwagon? Where is it Going?

We have seen an exponential growth in the interest in, and use of, analytics for a variety of insurance applications.  There are a number of case studies which show evidence of the efficacy of descriptive and predictive analytics for marketing, underwriting, claims, and strategic management (selecting the ‘Analytics’ category to the right will produce some… Read more »

Marketing UBI to the Masses: Fries With That Discount, Sir?

Telematics and Usage Based Insurance (UBI) promise substantial benefits to insurers, and, presumably, insureds as well.  However, as we have noted, consumer demand has yet to materialize in Canada.  A recent article suggests a novel approach to encourage this demand. Telematics issues and opportunities will be featured at the 2013 Technology Conference, In preparation,… Read more »

Beyond Technology Modernization: Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

We have all heard about the need for insurers to ‘modernize’ their core technologies in order to survive and thrive. But how long does a system stay ‘modern?’ And is modernization enough? Several experts suggest that modernization should not be a goal, but rather a process that requires other complementary investments to occur to achieve… Read more »

Canadian On-line Insurance Activity: Leading May Be Rewarding and Award-Winning

New data and analyses suggest that Canadians are more active than most in on-line activity, and do a respectable amount of buying, but are lagging behind Americans in on-line insurance purchasing. However, there are indications that Canadians are prepared to catch up. Some leading Canadian insurers and brokers are already preparing, and may find their… Read more »

Bridging the Gap to Big Data and Analytics

At a recent meeting of the Insurance 2023 Group, one of the members suggested that Analytics was going to create a divide between the “haves” (those insurers/brokers which have access to and understanding of data and analytic tools) and the “have-nots.” There seems to be a gap already forming. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to… Read more »

How Do Consumers Want To Be Served? Do We Know, or Think We Know?

“How may I help you?” It seems like an innocent enough question, but our success going forward  may depend on knowing the correct answer for each prospect or customer we serve.  Specifically, we need methods to understand each consumer’s attitude about how much of his or her personalized information we can (or cannot) use. This… Read more »

2013 Conference: New Decade, New Design, Same Quality Focus

After 10 years of producing the premier insurance-technology event in Canada, we are making some important changes to the 2013 Technology Conference (ICTC).   We have our clients to thank for suggestions which have resulted in an event spanning a day and a half (March 18 & 19, 2013), organized to meet the varying needs of… Read more »

The New Social World: Edge Thinking and Inside-Out Collaboration

Social media is challenging existing assumptions.  A new school of thought says that we need to move away from core competencies and closer to the ‘edge’ in order to meet, and engage, the ‘social’ customer.  A recent case study shows how world’s largest insurance broker is using social media to reshape internal and external collaboration…. Read more »

2013: Analytics, Engagement, Telematics, Disruption

  We took out our crystal ball again to look at major trends for insurance technology in Canada for the coming year, and we found a collection of changes along with a disruptive technology or two.  We look forward to your views. Megatrend – Purposive Analytics As with 2012, we found a theme which seems… Read more »

Accountability Review: 2012 Trend Predictions

Back in the dark and early days of 2012, we spotted four trends and one megatrend that we saw impacting the Insurance-Technology activity for the year.  As the year closes, we want to give ourselves marks for accuracy.  We will tell you honestly what we think and would like to invite you to leave your… Read more »

Solstice 2012: The World Didn’t End; Insurance Technology Continues to Progress

We have to confess that we waited until after the Solstice had passed this morning before we decided to set fingers to keyboard.  It seems that the doomsayers were wrong, and the 2012 solstice brings us a new beginning. Perhaps this is a good metaphor for the world of Insurance and Technology: a few doomsayers,… Read more »

New Telematics/UBI Research Highlights Opportunities, Challenges for Insurers, Brokers

New research from Strategy Meets Action (SMA) highlights opportunities and challenges for insurers and intermediaries as they consider how to align telematics and usage-based insurance (UBI) with their strategies.  SMA is clear on one point:  telematics technology and UBI are disruptive forces which will impact the personal automobile insurance market over the next decade. SMA… Read more »

Showcasing Canadian Innovation: Technology Awards Finalists

After careful deliberation, the 2013 Jury has selected nine finalists for the coveted Technology Awards (ICTAs).  The award-winners will be announced at the 2013 Technology Conference, However, there is one clear winner already:  the insurance technology user. The Process For the fourth year in a row, has received nominations for insurers, insurance… Read more »

Social Media And Insurance Brokerages – Part 2

The first part of this blog post discussed some SM statistics and specific Canadian SM usage profiles and trends.  This second part will focus on defining SM and helping brokerages determine whether having a SM presence is “right for them”. Understanding SM SM is defined as the use of electronic and Internet tools for the… Read more »

Insurance Digital Marketing: Data Primacy, Channel Challenges

There is conflicting evidence about the current value/importance of digital or data-driven marketing for insurance. However, there seems to be consensus on a few elements: Data comprise the currency, and Channel assumptions will be challenged. Our questions: How well prepared is the insurance industry for changes that are coming in data driven marketing? How well… Read more »

Social Media And Insurance Brokerages – Part 1

I recently viewed the 2013 version of Erik Qualman’s SM Revolution.  The numbers cited in this video are impressive: 1 billion strong on Facebook SM has become the #1 activity on the Web 1 in 5 couples meet online 92% of children under the age of 2 have a digital shadow Every second, 2 new… Read more »

What Did We Learn Today, Dorothy? Aviva Restarts Telematics Program

The most serious mistake a company can make is to fail to learn from its past mistakes. Aviva is demonstrating that it takes that old adage to heart. The insurer has reentered the telematics based insurance market in the UK, with some very interesting elements, showing that Aviva spent some time learning from its own… Read more »

Climate Change, Insurance, Data, and Technology

Climate change is a hot topic on many fronts, and insurance is playing a key role.  Some insurers and industry groups are promoting adaptation strategies, including modifications to insurance programs.  The sponsored Insurance 2023 Working Group is discussing the role that technology is and will play in supporting insurers.  Our question: how is climate… Read more »

Zen and the Art of Data Ownership

Data ownership has always been a hot topic with insurers, distributors, data providers, and policy holders claiming right to some or all of the data. The volume of the discussion of this has risen with the increase in importance of  data to the profitability of the business.  An alternative is emerging which sounds a bit… Read more »


Telematics Driving Improved Behaviour With Lower Premiums, Other Benefits

Some of us may not want to admit it,but we may need to be incented to drive better.  Response to this seems to be  leading to lower insurance rates for a typically expensive category of drivers.  Our question to you:  as good as this seems, is the change sustainable without costs exceeding value? Telematics as… Read more »

The best big data solutions don’t look like data

Big data is all the rage. But is it really sexy? You’ve probably heard the stats.  Things like, “more data is created every day than existed in the entire world back in 2003” (true).  Or how about, “72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute” (true).  Impressive as they are, these kinds of… Read more »

Independents, Data, Analytics, and the Future

What do you get when you mix the principal of an independent agency in Michigan with the principal of an independent brokerage in Ontario, and add a few questions on data, analytics, and the future of independent distribution in North America?  Answer:  A fascinating 90 minutes reaffirming the resilience of the independent system. We’d like… Read more »

Micro-Segmentation For The Micro-Organization

In the new world of data, big data, and analytics, some concepts and approaches can seem overwhelming, especially for small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) that don’t have substantial resources.  However, there are common sense approaches to implement techniques which may not be as elegant as more formal approaches, but are nevertheless effective in providing real… Read more »

Are You Satisfied with IT? Does IT Know?

Are you satisfied with IT in your organization?  Has anyone asked you lately?  These are becoming important questions as IT finds itself serving an increasingly diverse and sophisticated group of users who recognize options beyond in-house IT services. As a user, or as an IT professional, or both, we’d like to get your thoughts:  Is… Read more »

“Analytics” is Plural for a Reason

The use of anlaytics to understand data is clearly a hot topic in the insurance community these days.  Those who have not taken steps to begin to use analytic tools are being warned that they are behind the curve already.  A recent white paper notes that successful implementation of an analytics program is a non-trivial… Read more »

What is the biggest productivity killer: Email, Social, ….?

Recently, a colleague of ours sent me a note with the subject line “I should not be sending this by email!”  It was an article noting that email may have become a productivity killer, and suggesting that social media may be the saviour. However, within 24 hours, a second article crossed our desk suggesting that… Read more »

How Do Cool Agents Do Social Media?

When we ask some consultants the best way to learn social media, one of the tongue-in-cheek answers has been, “find a cool kid and watch what he does.”  At its recent  Implementation Forum, ACORD took this seriously and brought two of the coolest 20-something agents in to show how they use social media to market… Read more »