- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Tales From Agent Social Media: The More I See You, The More I Want You

A recent report and an interesting case study are underscoring how resilient the independent P&C distribution system is, and how social media can support it.  Our question to you:  Is the use of social media a key element for survival of independents?  And if so how is it benefiting you? Positive Trends for US Independents… Read more »

Keep On Truckin’: Intellectual Property Wars and The Economy of Ideas

There is an active discussion about the impact of patents on innovation in technology caused, in no small part, by the recent successful conclusion of Apple’s legal action against Samsung for patent infringement. Our question to you: What is the best way to support innovation in theory and in practice? Collateral Damage from Patent Litigation… Read more »

Consumer Satisfaction, Auto Insurance, and Telematics: A Failure to Communicate?

Could it be that Canadian auto insurers will ultimately be driven to adopt pay-as-you-drive insurance schemes once consumers learn how to say ‘Telematics?’ Rob Carrick wrote a piece in the personal finance section of the Globe and Mail last week, entitled “Car insurers just don’t get Generation Y”.  Citing information from a recent J.D. Power… Read more »

Understanding Insurance Consumer Data: Dr. Phil Meets Stephen Hawking

Sometimes it seems that the new recipe for insurance marketing looks like something Dr. Phil and Stephen Hawking would jointly develop:  2 parts rocket science, 2 parts intuitive psychology, and 6 parts alchemy.  A couple of on-line pieces  brought this into stark relief for us recently.  Our question to you:  what path(s) are you following?… Read more »

Innovation and IT: Are We Planning for Failure?

There is tremendous demand for growth and innovation in the industry these days.  And there is a lot of emphasis the the critical role that modern technology plays in meeting this demand.  Is the reality bearing out the demands put on technology?  And, if not, what can we do to improve our results? Theory and… Read more »

Looking Ahead Through Wide-Angle Binoculars: Insurance 2023

What do you get when you mix 10 curious insurance professionals from 3 countries, 18 trend factors, and 2 hours on a web call?  Simple:  More questions than answers and a desire to press ahead on an exercise we’re calling Insurance 2023.  And we’d like you to join us. The idea started with a a… Read more »

Are On-Line Quotation Services Moving Beyond Price?

There are stirrings in the wind which suggest that on-line quotation systems may be moving beyond price and into quality.  Here’s the question:  Are we just suffering from incurable optimism in the face of a continuing soft market, or is this a real trend? We recently posted on Google’s entry into on-line insurance quotations in… Read more »

Telematics: How To Get Around It, How To Transform With It

If there is any doubt that Telematics is becoming a disruptive technology in insurance, one only has to look at what is happening at its edges.  Some folks are planning ways to work around it, while other folks are discovering it takes them into new enterprises.  Question:  What do you think it will it do… Read more »

Several Dimensions of Theory Vs. Reality For BYOD

It seems like a straightforward question:  Should employees be allowed or encouraged to use their own electronic devices at and for work?  Informal conversations with our peers suggest it is not so easy to come up with a simple answer and, as a result, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus among Canadian insurers and… Read more »

Google Enters Comparative Auto Insurance Space: Who Should Worry?

When we first heard the news that Google had entered the automobile insurance comparative quoting business in the UK, our first reaction was that this would be a pure price play.  However, a little more reading suggests that the approach is more sophisticated than that.  So who should be worried (Hint:  brokers might want to… Read more »

Social Marketing Reaching Saturation; Insurance Leaders Differentiate Through Content

Two recent reports show some import trends in the use of social media for marketing generally and within the insurance community specifically.  The short summary:  Social Media are recognized components within the mix of marketing activities.  Question:  Have you established your desired position in the new mix? Use of social media for marketing seems to… Read more »

Is Data Quality Too Important To Be Left To Data Managers?

With all the buzz around ‘big data’ and the proliferation of new data sources – social media, event tracking tools – combined with the residual issues relating to legacy system data, it is important to remember that the value of data needs to be measured by quality as well as quantity.  The old adage:  ‘Garbage… Read more »

Can IT Be More Effective by Being More Social?

An ‘anonymous’ CIO suggests that there are some IT issues that can best be addressed by gathering input from employees using social media.  Is this something that would work within the insurance community? What’s this about?  First, let’s introduce the newest buzzword:  ‘Socialize’. Our real-life CIO,  writing under the pseudonym John McGreavy in Information Week,… Read more »

Telematics Uptick – Where Will Insurers Take Usage Based Insurance?

The recent  Insurance Telematics USA 2012 Conference demonstrated that it is possible to measure,and possibly predict,  virtually everything about the use of a vehicle and the behaviour of a driver, and there is lots of activity.  An open question:  where will the scheme take hold first. No Shortage of Enthusiasm One thing is certain:  There… Read more »

How Do You Take Your Coffee? Socially, With a Little Insurance and Technology

It seems that State Farm is continuing the long linkage between coffee, new ideas, insurance and marketing.  What do you think:  Is State Farm on the right track?  And, is hot java integral to social marketing? A little over a year ago, State Farm opened Next Door, a place for Gen Y-ers to hang out,… Read more »

Does Proper Use of Language Matter in Insurance?

Since it’s back to school time, we thought we’d give a nod to one of the most important parts of any education: the proper use of English to communicate effectively.  Maybe it’s just us, but it seems that more and more professionals seem to have cut those classes a bit too often.  Our question is: … Read more »

Canadian Telematics Poll: Impact Expected to be Positive; Awareness and Interest High

A recent article on Telematics in PropertyCasualty360 began: “There is a conversation being held around telematics at almost every level of the insurance industry these days.”  Results of a recent poll bear that out, and indicate people are not tired of the topic, even though they are not yet heavily involved.  Are you one… Read more »


Want to Connect Productivity, Engagement and Profitability? Tell IT There’s An App for That!

If you heard an executive say, “In order to satisfy our need for growth, we must do more with less in order to delight our customers by deploying consumerized technology to engaged employees,” would you worry that she had been hard-wired to a hyperbolic buzz-word machine?  Well, it might be that she had just encapsulated… Read more »

CSIO and ACORD: Cross Border Standards and Broker Connectivity

One of the great excuses for not implementing broker connectivity in Canada has now been put well and truly to rest.  Will brokers take advantage of the opportunity to find out what else stands in the way? What’s The Excuse and What’s The Reality Here’s the excuse in a nutshell.  A vendor or service provider… Read more »

When It Comes to Big Data, Does Size Matter?

Recent reports suggest that size might very well matter when it comes to consuming and utilizating Big Data.  But it might be the size of a human organ, not be the size of the data set, that is the critical success factor. Help us ‘think this through’. Have a read and let us know your… Read more »

Consumer Loyalty & On-Line Services. Survey Says: Build It or They Will Go

Two surveys of US personal lines customers (one personal auto, one personal property) reinforce some common wisdom.  They also reinforce that customer loyalty depends on delivery of greater interactive, self-service capabilities, delivered on-line.  Our question to you:  do Canadian customers exhibit similar traits?  And, if so, are Canadian insurers and brokers moving to meet the… Read more »

Can Telematics Be a Marketing Tool? Will Prospects Heed Flo’s Rally Cry?

Progressive Insurance has taken the use of Telematics further forward in the marketing cycle.  We’re interested in your opinion on whether this strategy can  attract qualified leads. In a recent Progressive Insurance TV ad – called Rally Cry,  Flo (Progressive’s ever ebullient spokeswoman) takes over the airwaves  to say, “Attention, well, Everyone ….” and goes… Read more »

Policy Admin Systems Turn 50; But What’s Their Life Expectancy?

The Insurance Policy Administration System (PAS) just turned 50.  Quite an accomplishment.  But, is its long-term future guaranteed?  Some recent developments and comments are suggesting that the Policy Administration System in its current, singular form might have served it purpose and that the future may belong to a more hybrid environment.  We’d really like your… Read more »

Mobile Usage & Sophistication Rising; Banks Are Taking Positions; What is Your Strategy?

Use of mobile technology for increasingly sophisticated tasks is on an upward trajectory.  Insurance professionals are participating in the uptake.  A recent report suggests that banks are offering mobile applications with transactions, adding credibility to the channel.  So, the question to you is, as an insurance professional, what is your organization’s mobile strategy? An… Read more »

Social Media for the Slow Social Learner

I see you there, sitting in your office, reading that magazine article entitled something like “Use Social Media or Die”.  I know what you’re thinking:  “Maybe I can retire before I need to face this.”  I was just like you.   Then I read a report that made sense to me, and now I’m putting a… Read more »


Broker Connectivity Turns 45! The Summer-of-Love Children Still Strive.

In the summer of 1967, hippies made the Haight district in San Francisco ground zero for the development of revolutionary ideas and behaviour.  About 45 minutes down route 101, at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), a group of researchers, were developing other cutting edge ideas for actions to preserve the independent agent and broker system. … Read more »

Telematics Buzz: Just More Noise, or a Chainsaw on the Horizon?

Either the telematics buzz machine has been set to hyper-whine, or there is a strong undercurrent suggesting a usage-based insurance breakthrough into the mainstream of underwriting in North America.  We’ve seen a large wave of articles crossing our desk (primarily from the US).   In addition to the US buzz, we’re finding more serious conversion among… Read more »

Analytics Investment Increasing for Business Generally, Insurers Specifically

At the beginning of this year, we identified analytics as a mega-trend which we felt would be an overarching priority in 2012.  A couple of recent reports show that we seem to be on the right track, if spending is any guide.  We’re interested in knowing whether analytics is a priority for you. A recent… Read more »

Is Privacy Dead, or Does It Just Smell Funny?

In the waning year of the 20th century, a technology leader famously said that privacy was an artifact that should be left in the past.  The response was strident.  Fast forward a decade and there are new data that indicate that privacy is not so much a right as a commodity to trade.  Is this… Read more »

Is This the Way Competition Ends: Not With a Bang, But a Widget?

Is a new app designed to make quoting and prospecting easier for smaller insurers and brokers an easy on-ramp to a social media road paved with gold, or will it turn out to be a tool underpinning the largest threat these players have ever seen?  Have a read and let us know what you think…. Read more »

Regulation and Consumer Satisfaction: A Tale of Two E-Commerce-in-Insurance Reports

The insurance consumer was in the spotlight of a couple of reports recently.  A discussion paper issued by the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) on regulation of electronic commerce in insurance has met its goal of stimulating discussion.  Meanwhile, a report by J.D. Power on consumer satisfaction with insurance put forth some interesting data… Read more »

Applied’s Compu-Quote Acquisition: Survey Says ….. It Depends

Shortly after the announcement of the acquisition of Compu-Quote by Applied Systems, conducted on on-line poll to sample reactions.  The results of this poll indicate that brokers overall are taking a wait and see approach on the effects of the acquisition.  However, there appear to be stronger feelings within subgroups defined by which products… Read more »

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Do Rules of The Internet Apply to Social Media?

Back in the early to mid 1990s, just after Al Gore invented the commercial Internet, we developed 3 rules that we found useful in explaining some of the characteristics of this new media to insurance professionals and executives.  We wondered how these fared in translation to Social Media.  Here are the rules and some links… Read more »

How will Predictive Modelling Impact Insurance? Actuaries and Practitioners Speak!

According to some experts, predictive modeling, using increasingly sophisticated tools, is poised to alter how the industry rates and underwrites.  There’s some controversy among insurance practitioners as to whether predictive modelling will effect real change to traditional practices.    Let us know what you think. A recent Insurance Journal report on the Casualty Actuarial Society Spring Meeting… Read more »

Should Insurance-Technology be an Academic Discipline?

Recruiting IT professionals for insurance companies can be challenging for a variety of reasons.  A recent article suggested that alignment by insurers with colleges and universities offers some relief.  We’re wondering if an extension of this – creating an academic discipline focusing on Insurance and Technology – makes sense.  Do you think this idea has… Read more »

Consumerization of Access: Can Insurers and Their IT Departments Make the Shift?

Consumerization means more than just accommodating tablets and iPhones on corporate networks, according to a recent report.  And the implications can be profound for insurers and their technology departments.  We’d like to know what you think about these trends. Information Week and Insurance & Technology joined forces to produce The New Customer Experience: How Mobile,… Read more »

When it comes to Social ‘Engagement’, are we asking the wrong questions?

Engagement is a hot topic these days, especially with regard to on-line and social media activities.  But are we clear what this means?  We’ll give some thoughts, but would really like to know what you think.  (It is, after all, all about YOU.) Business managers are being told they must have “engagement” with customers, business… Read more »

Applied Systems and Compu-Quote: Read The Blog! Take the Survey!

The announcement of Applied Systems purchase of Compu-Quote (CQ) has started some interesting discussions. We’d like to offer some of our thoughts on implications, and are very interested in hearing yours  Take a short (5 minute) survey, and add any additional comments below.  We’ll review results in this space after the survey closes. The following… Read more »

Why don’t you all f-fade away?

Does the survival of the independent insurance distribution system require a wholesale revolution led by the Millennial young turks?  That seems a common theme lately.  We want to know what you think. In a recent Insurance Journal article, Jason D. Cass, owner of the JDC Insurance Group based in Centralia, Ill. says that there is… Read more »

Will Pay-As-You-Drive Ever Get Traction in Canada?

We have been posting on the use of telematics and Pay-As-You-Drive  (PAYD) or Usage Base Insurance (UBI) schemes for some time.  It seems clear that these plans are gaining traction with insurance providers and insurance customers in the UK, Europe, and the US, but not in Canada yet. Why is that? We’d like your thoughts…. Read more »

IBM’s Watson Puts P&C CEOs In ‘Jeopardy’

A good friend of Insurance-Canada.Ca recently took IBM’s Watson Technology to Munich Re’s annual CEO roundtable.  Could this be the entree point for more sophisticated use of analytics by P&C insurers through natural language queries? IBM’s Watson is popularly known for its success in defeating two human champions in the quiz show Jeopardy  in January… Read more »

Don’t Crush Those Data, Hand Me the Pliers

Listening to the Day 2 Keynote at the recent ACORD/LOMA Systems Forum, we were reminded of a quote from Abraham Kaplan:  “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” Ian Ayres, the author of the widely cited book, Super Crunchers, was providing example after example of how… Read more »

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Federation Frees Agents/Carriers From Password Jungle

If there is one consistent complaint among active Internet users, it is the requirement for multiple sign-ons and passwords for different sites. A group of independent agents, agency management system vendors, and  insurance carriers in the US has come up with a solution that simplifies connectivity within their  community. The concept is referred to as… Read more »

A Millennial’s Views On Her First ACORD Conference

Editor’s Note:  Amanda is studying Business and Finance.  She attended the recent ACORD/LOMA Insurance Systems Forum and accepted our invitation to share her impressions. I stared the conference off by listening in on a panel discussion about Agent Council for Technology (ACT). I found it a perfect way to start off because it introduced everyone… Read more »

Forget Forests, Give Up On Gas, Dump Diamonds: Here’s The Real Natural Resource

If there’s one consistent message coming from this week’s ACORD/LOMA Insurance Systems Forum, it might be this:  “Put your head in the cloud, and dig deep for data.” Keynote speaker, Vivek Kundra, former CIO of the US Government and soon to be EVP Developing Markets,, discussed the challenges he faced and the opportunities he… Read more »

What’s Big: Government, Data, Cloud, Opportunity, Money

Turns out there’s a big cloud forming over Washington, DC.  And it could change forecasts in many places. In a March 29, 2012 release, the White House announced the  “Big Data Research and Development Initiative.”  The intent is ambitious: to improve “our ability to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital… Read more »

What is Driving Auto Insurance Down? And Can Smart Technology Drive It Up?

Those of us who have been involved in automobile insurance, including the machinations of market swings and government interventions,  might have quietly bemoaned the hoops we have had to go through to write this business.  However, none of us (in our sober moments at least) have wished for the a significant cut in the size… Read more »

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Free Trade in Broker Connectivity: ACT in Action; ORBiT Increasing Altitude

Independent insurance agents in the US have issued a report on progress towards achieving goals in broker connectivity.  At the same time, Canadian brokers are consolidating around actions to promote their interests in connectivity.  Are these groups aligned to benefit both groups and exert maximum leverage going forward? The ACT committee of the Independent Insurance… Read more »

Implementing Mobile – User Assumptions and Security Realities

An increasing amount of data suggests that consumers and employees are assuming that mobile technologies – smartphones and tablets – will become integrated in insurer offerings  and accepted as normal business tools.   And a number of insurers hare moving from pilot projects to production applications.  One outstanding question is: are security methods and procedures keeping… Read more »

Is the Drive to Telematics Hitting Standards Speedbumps?

Telematics-based insurance programmes continue to attract interest from insurers.  However, recent developments indicate that there may be a low level of support for development of common data and technical standards to support generalized protocols for implementation. As we noted in March, Sandy Dunn, chairman of UK-based telematics solution provider Wunelli Ltd., issued notice that he… Read more »