- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

A Pivot Point for Broker Connectivity in Canada??

Is SEMCI (Single-Entry, Multi-Company Interface) dead in Canada?  If so, will it rise Phoenix-like in a new, improved form? At the recent Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) Conference, a panel of insurance company CEOs responded to questions on a variety of topics impacting brokers.  High on the list was whether the independent distributor system … Read more »

Social Media, Analytics and Insurance: Managing Disparate Data for Profit and Growth

According to a recent white paper sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services, insurers can benefit significantly from social media by implementing strategies involving the use of predictive analytics, but have numerous hurdles to overcome before benefits can be realized. The paper, “Predictive Analytics Enables Insurers to Drive Profitability and Growth”, notes that “social channels like Facebook,… Read more »

IT Spending Going Up: Good News, Bad News, or Just News?

There seems to be a change underway that is both good news and bad news for insurance IT leaders.  The good news is that business leaders see the need for IT in almost everything, and are ready to invest.  The bad news is that business leaders are ready to invest and see the need for… Read more »

Social Media Insurance Usage Maturing: Analysts

Recent reports from two leading analysts suggest strongly that tools and techniques for using Social Media are maturing, and becoming increasingly important and valuable for insurance professionals. A new report by the research and advisory firm, Celent, provides an overview of the uses of  Social Media within the insurance industry.  The report, ‘Using Social Data… Read more »

The Winner’s Circle: Do You Know Someone Who Belongs There? Like You?

Every one likes a deserving winner.  And you can help put the best in the Winner’s Circle.  And the best could be You! For the third year in a row, will celebrate organizations which have demonstrated the ability to develop, deliver, or use technology in innovative, creative, and productive  ways in the insurance community.  … Read more »

Core Systems Replacement Activity Increases; Driving Up Budgets and Raising Cautionary Flags

Analysts are suggesting that  2012 will see significant activity in P&C Core systems replacements.  While this is good news for many who have been living with the constraints of aging technology, a leading  consultant warns that the proliferation of vendors in this space may cause buyers to by-pass due diligence, and put themselves at substantial… Read more »

Insurance Social Media Use in Canada and US: Who, What, and How

A recently published report, summarizes studies  of social media usage by insurance professionals within Canada and the US, and finds that the two environments have similar characteristics, and challenges, but some notable differences in penetration of activity, with Canada falling somewhat behind.    It also provides some key information on who communicates with whom in… Read more »

Thanks, Steve

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and I have many things to be thankful for. Not the least of which are Apple and Steve Jobs.  I was one of those IT types who dismissed the Apple line as something less than a real computing environment.  However,  sometime in the mid 1990s,  I had to replace a home… Read more »

Bring Your Own Technology: Trending Up; Employees Willing to Share Costs

We have commented in the past about ‘Consumerizaton’ of technology and the trend for employees to bring their own technology to work.  A recent report suggests that a growing number of employers are encouraging Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) schemes, and employees are willing to pay for the privilege. In a recent study of over… Read more »

Pay-As-You-Drive: Interest, Support, Collateral Grow

If attendance at conferences and expansion of collateral and support material are any guide, movement toward Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD), also known as Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) is gaining momentum. In early September, a two-day conference entitled ‘The Future for Insurance Telematics: Smart Vehicle Technology’ attracted over 400 attendees (‘Telematics‘ is the technology behind tracking vehicle usage).  According… Read more »

US P&C Carriers: Market Driven Use of Technology

According to a recent survey by IVANS, US P&C carriers are preparing to move forward with technology solutions which support market driven goals; allowing greater flexibility with underwriting and improving the customer service experience.  Where the independent agents and brokers fit in is less clear. The survey, which involved 120 US  property-casualty insurance carriers, identified… Read more »

Mobility Maturity: Clouds and Standardized Access are Trending

Efficient, effective, and quick access to data and applications is key to the success of any computing environment.  This truism may be driving the marriage of mobile devices and cloud based applications and data as next generation of insurance technology. It is clear that the use of smart phones and tablets is growing and Canadians… Read more »

Is Commercial Lines Underwriting a Killer App for Tablets?

It is clear that Tablets have gone well beyond consumer use, and are increasingly common in business environments.   The question is:  Will there be the killer insurance application?  Perhaps commercial lines insurance is a candidate. In a recent study of  a large mobile sales force, Gartner found that Tablet computing presents unique new opportunities in… Read more »

Seeing the Invisible – Improving Aggregate Risk Exposure

Can you see the invisible? This was the question  posed to attendees at the Webinar “Improving Aggregate Risk Exposure” on September 15, 2011.  With the assistance of improved technology and  advanced analytics, the presenters suggested that they are moving in that direction. Sponsored by Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI), and moderated by, the… Read more »

IT Response to Consumerization: Lead, Follow, AND Get out of the Way

The best advice to IT managers encountering a slew of new tablets and smart phones  walking in their doors might be: “Lead, Follow, AND Get out of the Way!” There is a new buzzword, ‘Consumerization’, which refers to users bringing in new technology that organizations don’t formally support.  The word may be new, but the… Read more »

Will Insurance Respond to Consumers Communications Demands?

Do we have a failure to communicate? A recent survey by Thunderhead Communications, conducted by YouGov,  and reported in eMarketer asked US Internet users whether various service providers communicated with them in their preferred digital channels.  Thirty nine percent said that insurance did ‘Well’ or ‘Fairly well’, which was above gas providers (27%) and Landline… Read more »

Claims 3.0: The Future of P&C Claims

Editor’s Note:  In August, Karen Furtado, from SMA-Strategy Meets Action, offered her views on the near-term impacts of modern technology on claims processing.  She referred to the coming state as Claims 2.0.  In this post, Karen’s colleague, Mark Breading, takes a longer view he calls ‘Claims 3.0.’ Recent research by Strategy Meets Action on property… Read more »

Customer Service Bar Raised: Social Media Increases Information Flow In Disasters

Social media are showing their value in helping respond to disasters, and some insurers are taking note. Writing on Forbes direct marketing network, Don Ball provides personal insight in his experiences with the Washington earthquake and Hurricane Irene.  When the earthquake hit, ball notes, “Like many on the East Coast, I did not immediately think… Read more »

‘Plug and Play’ Insurance Technology: Data Standards Connect the Dots

Editor’s Note:  Greg Maciag, CEO of ACORD came across several of our posts, including Lost in Translation, and Living in the Past.  He offered some comments we thought readers would find interesting .  Greg agreed to put these into a blog post for us. During the 1980’s, each piece of software was an independent entity…. Read more »

Insurance Use of Social Media in Canada presented results of two surveys on insurance practitioners’ use of social media in Canada during a webinar on Tuesday, August 23.  Results tracked with some information from elsewhere, but provided a few surprises as well. The open surveys were conducted earlier in the summer.  The first, focusing on how much different groups were using… Read more »

Claims 1.0 to 2.0: A Shift in the Marketplace, Mindset, and Requirements

Recent research on property and casualty claims by Strategy Meets Action paints an interesting picture of insurer plans for the next three years. The transformation that will take place over this time period will move insurers from what SMA calls Claims 1.0 to a more evolved state – Claims 2.0. This transformation will encompass a… Read more »

The Curse to an Independent Broker May Be The Cure

We have noticed a spate of surveys and commentary on the decline of the independent agent/broker system.   But people who know brokers suggests that the good ones are very  resilient and have a history of turning adversity to strength.  And, in these times, technology plays a critical role. We recently posted on research by the… Read more »

Illumination vs. Support: Analytic Understanding in Systems Replacement Projects

One of our favourite quotes comes from the Scottish poet,  Andrew Lang:  “An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than for illumination.”  This seems to summarize a problem with current systems modernization and analytic initiatives. Numbers geeks (present company included) are attracted to titles such as the… Read more »

Social Media Insurance Strategies – A Tale of Two Insurers

As insures and agents/brokers think about how to use social media in business, there is an interesting compare and contrast of two approaches that is materializing in the real world.  This is articulated nicely in a recent post by Terry Golesworthy, President of The Customer Respect Group, in Insurance Networking News. On the one hand,… Read more »

Pay as You Drive Gains Traction; Insurers Offer Incentives

We have written about the benefits accruing to insurers who adopt Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) schemes, including competitive advantages of better underwriting data and marketing advantages derived from micro segmentation. But why should a driver use it?  A recent announcement in the US market offers instruction on how insurers want to increase the uptake of this… Read more »

Is Canada Living in the Past with Broker-Carrier Connectivity?

Earlier this year, we received an email from a broker who retired a few years back. He had just read one of the Canadian trade magazines which focused on recent efforts to establish industry standard interface between broker and carriers.  His comment was:  “Didn’t  we settle these issues 20 years ago?” To be clear, our… Read more »

Doing Social Business Right: Being Effective and Compliant

Recently LIMRA hosted a webinar which contained some valuable tips on how to be both effective and compliant while using social media for business.  At the heart of the presentation were two key points:  First, whether you know it or not, you ARE on social networks, so there’s nothing to be gained by waiting.  Second,… Read more »

On-line Marketing Options for Insurance

Ok, so you’ve decided to do some on-line marketing.  Why not run an ad on Google?  That’ll work, right? It likely will, but bear in mind, you’re about to join a very expensive club.  According Wordstrem,  a company which tracks advertising on Google (quoted in Wired),  If you are looking to use the word ‘insurance’… Read more »

Software Selection – Value of a Disciplined Process

The hardest challenge I face is convincing insurers that a methodical software search yields the most favorable decision.  I understand the pressure; the business is losing ground, service is suffering, we’ve waited too long already…but every insurance executive with whom I speak recognizes that hasty decisions lead to disastrous results; and many of them are… Read more »

Social Media Importance and Priority – Executive (mis) Alignment

We recently commented on the frequently negative impact of corporate culture on the use of Social Media in business.  Recent research reveals another dysfunctional aspect of corporate activity: mis-alignment between business executives’ understanding of the importance of Social Media and the priority Social Media is being given within their organizations. As reported in eMarketer, a… Read more »

US Independent Agent Strategies Strive to Retake Personal LInes Business

There has been an erosion in personal line market share market share by independent agents and brokers in the US and Canada.  We commented recently on recommendations that the Independent Insurance Brokers of Ontario (IBAO) provided on the use of technology to reverse the trend.  The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) has… Read more »

Modern Claims Techonology Benefits Run Deep and Long

There is increasing evidence that investments in modern claims technology may be one of the best strategic decisions insurers can make. We recently wrote on the competitive benefits that can accrue from the improvements in customer service derived from modern claims systems.  Not only are customers more satisfied (improving retention), but, as Celent’s Donald Light… Read more »

Pay As You Drive Growth Driven by Profitability, Competition, Regulation

It seems that Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD), or Usage Based Auto Insurance (UBI) is gaining traction and credibility.  Drivers for the growth include business and regulatory reasons.  In addition, a respected consulting firm has offered a professional service to supports its use through aggregated data and analysis. We have written in previous posts that Progressive Insurance has… Read more »

When Demographics are Not Enough: A View of On-line Evolution

Population characteristics – age, gender, income, etc. –  play large roles in marketing generally and insurance marketing specifically.  With the proliferation of data coming from sources including social media and on-line services, leading experts are agreeing that these factors – referred to as demographics – may not be enough for optimal results.  A set of… Read more »

Claims Innovation, Social Business, and Competitive Advantage

As economic stresses, including the soft market, continue for insurance practitioners, leading organizations are looking for innovation in customer service to provide competitive advantages.  Claims offers unique prospects, according to one leading expert.  We feel this is supported by other trends and should be carefully examined. In a recent post in Insurance & Technology, Michael… Read more »

Legacy Systems Modernization – Celent Survey Provides A Dose of Cultured Reality

Just when we thought there was nothing but good things to say about legacy systems modernization, along comes a report by Celent’s Craig Weber based on a recent survey of industry participants.  It’s a needed dose of reality, we think.  Here’s some of the headline information from the preliminary results (thanks, Craig, for sharing them)…. Read more »

Mobile Apps Take the Lead

It seems that all those folks you see pushing buttons on mobile devices are doing more – much more – than texting friends or tweeting what they had for lunch.  And there are implications and opportunities for insurers and brokers. Flurry Analytics,  which provides accurate, real time data to developers about how consumers use their… Read more »


Brokers and Social Media – Is the Breakthrough Coming?

The buzz with social media continues to grow louder in the business and trade press.  But a big question that remains is:  How will this impact Canadian insurance generally and insurance distribution specifically.  There is some evidence that while insurance brokers are not far along the adoption path,  a breakthrough may be in sight as… Read more »

Corporate Culture and Social Media

There is increasing evidence that use of social media has the capability to improve customer service, enhance marketing, and even streamline internal processes for insurers and agents/brokers.  So why isn’t the insurance industry beating a path to the new media?  Perhaps we have a culture clash. Karen Furtado, partner at Strategy Meets Action (SMA). Furtado… Read more »

Managing ‘Big Data’ Requires Hardware, Software, and Greyware

Recent articles in the trade and business press suggest that the latest buzzword in the Data Management community – Big Data – has big implications for insurance executives.  Hardware and software are required.  But the real key asset – grey matter – might be in short supply. Wikipedia defines Big Data as: “a term applied… Read more »

Social Business and Insurance – A Natural Fit?

IBM is marshaling significant resource to articulate a vision of ‘Social Business’.  While this is intended to span different industries,  the approach seems well-suited to address the many demands being made on the traditional insurance business model (and the tools and techniques associated with it).  We will break this out in a several posts over… Read more »

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Democratizing through Modern Technology: Solutions for the Large at Heart

A very wise mentor of mine once noted that insurance is a very egalitarian enterprise. There are few barriers to entry for any organization – small, start up, or whatever – that has a real vision of either an under-served market segment or a better processing method.  It now seems that vendors of technology are… Read more »

Keys to Competitiveness: Innovation and Data Anytime, Anywhere

As the soft market in virtually all parts of the industry continues, being competitive has gone from being a platitude that’s important to long-term growth to a principle that’s critical to day-to-day survival.  We recently saw two articles which gave clear direction to help IT understand its role in competitive positioning, and IT Management understand… Read more »

Websites or Agents? Why Not Both!

An old debate has resurfaced with the rise of social media … Is this a new channel that replaces agents and brokers?  As with most good things, the answer is both yes and no.  New US research suggests smart insurers and agents/brokers would do well to exploit the middle ground. Since the beginning of the… Read more »

Pick a Channel, Target an Interest, Cultivate Customers

Brokers who  starting down the road to use social media for marketing may be making two critical errors:  (1) Trying to sell insurance (2) on too many channels. New data from Bredin Business Information (quoted in eMarketer) suggests that small business owners (and this is what most insurance brokers are) tend to cast nets wide… Read more »

The Message from ACORD 2011: Overload is Just the Beginning

If there’s one takeaway from ACORD 2012, it seems to be this:  the amount of data flooding in the door is only going to increase, so prepare your strategy as best you can, and hold on tight. The statistics that continue to pour out of social business and related technologies are mind-numbing:  Average number of… Read more »

Twitter Co-Founder’s Assumptions and 5 Word Synopsis of the Pig Story

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, gave the key note opening presentation to the annual ACORD Conference in San Diego on May 23 (here’s a peek behind the scenes).  Included in a great stream of conscious style presentation were 7 assumptions he asks all Twtter employees to make. We can change the world, build the business,… Read more »

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Cure To Claims Data Overload – Information on Demand

Go ahead, admit it, we won’t tell anyone:  You can’t handle the information.  It’s ok, we can’t either, and this has become the real challenge to business.  And, we can tell you:  There is a solution – it’s called Business Intelligence.  And It’s showing its use in Claims. First, what’s the problem.  The overwhelming amount… Read more »

Pioneers in Social Media and Insurance

There’s an old saying that pioneers get the arrows, and settlers get the land.  This seems to be the attitude among many in the insurance industry with regards to social media.   It’s only been in the last 6 months that we’ve started to some real initiatives by agents, brokers, and insurers.  While the momentum… Read more »

Watch for Speedbumps on the Road to Location-based Services

Clearly,  there are opportunities for new location based services, including Telematics, or Pay-as-You-Drive for insurers.  However, there are cautions as well.  A recent study by Whitehorse, reported in  eMarketer, provides a reality check. We’ve blogged about practitioners in large insurance companies that believe that location will be a major trend for insurers.  But location is… Read more »