- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Mobility on the Move with Insurers

Mobile technology is infiltrating in our environment in a way that eclipses any other previous technology.  In addition, we are seeing applications that would never have been possible in the previous non-mobile universe.  The insurance industry is not in the forefront of exploiting this, but some leaders are moving traditional and new applications to the… Read more »

Independent Agents Take a Leap for Real-Time This Year

We have written periodically about similarities and differences between independent agents in the US and brokers in Canada as each group seeks to rationalize electronic connectivity with its insurance carrier partners.  While the goals of the two groups align in important ways, one difference is crystal clear:  US Agents have fine tuned the promotion of… Read more »

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Innovation, Impact & ICTA – Part Three: Service DIY

In this, the last of the three-part blog series on the Insurance-Canada Technology Award (ICTA) finalists, we will look at a set of  finalists which showed achievement in outward delegation, also known as customer empowerment. To recap: the 2012 ICTAs are intended to celebrate implementations of technology which show innovation and impact on business.  In… Read more »

Innovation, Impact & ICTA – Part Two: Creative Connectivity

Emboldened by our success (or perhaps the lack of outright derision) from a recent post,  where we tried to look inside the minds of the Technology Awards jurists as they determined finalists for the 2012 Awards, we are taking another shot.  This time, our crystal ball sees trails of creativity leading to broker connectivity…. Read more »

Innovation, Impact & ICTA – Part One: An Inside Job

Since the announcement of the finalists for the Insurance-Canada Technology Awards (ICTAs), we have had a number of questions along the lines of:  “What makes these nine organizations different from the forty-one other, highly qualified candidates that were nominated?” There’s a short answer and a long answer. In this post, we’ll give the short answer… Read more »

Canadian Insurance Telematics Poll Results conducted an on-line poll on the subject of telematics in insurance.  While not scientific, the results open a window onto the thinking of insurance practitioners and suppliers in Canada. The results generally support trends we have reported on in this space.  There is clear interest in telematics by a cross section of the industry… Read more »

Broker Imperative: Enhance Customer Relationships and Support Profitatbility with Technology

Independent brokers need to focus on the inherent strength of their distribution system – the relationships they have with their customers – by making maximum use of technologies that reduce friction and improve customer communications.  Fortunately, there are new technologies and support structures that can help.  And there is an event coming up where the… Read more »

Analytics: The New Competitive Landscape Differentiator

There is increasing evidence that intelligent use of data – to gain understanding and to anticipate results – is becoming the foundation for success in the new landscape of insurance.  A number of experts in the area will be presenting at the 2012 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference  on March 5, 2012 in Toronto. As reported in… Read more »

Insurance Telematics In Canada: Poll Will Offer Opinions; Panel Will Offer Knowledge

Is Canada poised to jump onto the telematics train for insurance?  Insurance-Canada is approaching this question on two levels.  First, a poll is underway  to get a sense of levels of interest.  Second, a panel is preparing to offer expert knowledge on the subject at the 2012 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference. We have written here about… Read more »

Modern Technology: Underpinning Insurance Growth, Profitability; Focus of ICTC 2012

Evidence continues to mount that eliminating constraints imposed by legacy systems is less an operational requirement than a strategic necessity for insurance carriers.  This is evidenced by the fact that many of the sessions at the 2012 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference (ICTC) will focus on growth and profitability opportunities only available with modern core technologies. Writing… Read more »

Insurance Fraud in Prime Time

Is it just me or did you also notice the abundance of fraud news stories last year in insurance? It makes me wonder if there’s a TV show in the making; you know “Torn from today’s news stories, names changed to protect the parties” akin to Law & Order or CSI. I can see it… Read more »

The Jury is Working … Hard

Earlier this week, the Insurance-Canada Technology Awards (ICTA) Jury met for the second time, to review the finalists prior to the actual vote for category winners.  One thing is clear:  The jurors are doing some tough work for a good cause. To review the path to date:  Mid-year 2011, Insurance-Canada began accepting nominations for ICTAs… Read more »

Insurance Telematics Reality Check: It Really is Gaining Momentum

We identified telematics – the use of integrated technologies in vehicles – as a trend for Canadian insurers in 2012.  Several recent reports are suggesting that the trend is gaining momentum, and a tipping point may have been reached. Phil Gusman recently reviewed  a Celent report, entitled “Telematics-Based Insurance: Has Its Time Finally Arrived?” in… Read more »

The New Landscape for Brokers: This Show is For You

Insurance brokers in Canada are facing an unprecedented two-pronged threat:  competition from new distribution models is coming just as a stubborn soft market reduces profitability of business that can be retained.  Technology offers one of the few avenues to address both of these threats:  to allow competitive marketing against direct marketers while improving profitability through… Read more »

New Data Needs, New Data Views, New Data Jobs

The rapidly accelerating needs of organizations to better understand and predict consumer preferences and behaviour, using larger and less structured data sources, are causing these organizations (including insurers) to adopt new enterprise models and to appoint leaders with new titles and broad responsibilities. As we recently noted,  management of data is a critical success factor… Read more »

Will You “Friend” Your CSR, And “Like” Your Renewal?

Attention brokers:  Do you think that  competition from direct writers and direct marketers is tough?  Do you feel the predatory breath of the banks on your neck? Get ready for what’s next:  Facebook the Underwriter! Scary?  Perhaps, but we see it as having opportunity for brokers with a conviction in their own worth.  But lets… Read more »

Changes Create Opportunities for Brokers/Agents: Report

A new report suggests that independent insurance agents and brokers are well positioned to survive and thrive in the future – if they embrace customer service using digital tools, and utilize new approaches to proactive agency management. The report entitled “Agency Opportunities in a Time of Profound Change” (available on the ACT website) is written… Read more »

What’s Past is Prologue: The New Landscape (Part 2 of 2)

In our last posting, we discussed four trends we see as forming contours of a New Landscape for insurance technology in Canada.  These are: Social Media Becoming Social Business Increased Penetration of Mobile Technology and Telematics Broker-Carrier Connectivity Debate Increases (and maybe concludes) Modern Technology Becomes a Firm Foundation (for further progress, not an end… Read more »

What’s Past is Prologue: The New Landscape (Part 1 of 2)

Welcome to 2012.  As we move into the new year, we want to highlight some of the trends we see forming the contours of a New Landscape for insurance technology in Canada. In this post, we will cover these trends.  In our next post, we will discuss a mega-trend which encompasses the others and is… Read more »

2011: Goodbye, And Thanks For All The Clicks!

2011:  It’s been quite a year for insurance, technology, people, and this blog, The Intersection. We’ve had the opportunity to explore different technologies in various parts of the insurance environment.  We’re coming to the conclusion that 2011 will be seen as the year that many organizations made investments in a wide range of new technologies… Read more »

Survey Says: A Sharp Telematics Arrow Targets Drivers

Sometimes the results of a survey will disclose more about the organization conducting the survey than about the individuals responding to the survey.  This seems to be the case with a survey sponsored by Progressive Insurance on driving habits and willingness to use telematic devices to support pay-as-you-drive insurance plans. This was not a low… Read more »

Portals or Real Time: What Do Brokers/Agents Prefer?

What do brokers/agents prefer when it comes to electronic linkage with carriers?  Two recent reports give what appeared to be diametrically opposing view points based on survey data, and raised the volume of the debate.  We’d like to know what you think. ACT, the technology arm of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America… Read more »

Inside the Jury Room: High Bar, Hard Choices

The Technology Awards (ICTA) jury has selected 9 finalists for the three ICTAs which will be presented in March.  We were privileged to be a fly on the wall of the virtual jury room at its recent meeting where the finalists were discussed prior to a secret ballot.  We left with two overriding impressions: … Read more »

The Future of Independent Brokers: Serendipity and Social Media

When it comes down to tricky things, such as the future of the independent insurance distribution system, serendipity is an occasional, but wonderful friend. A few days ago, Greg Purdy, managing partner of Pathway Partners Ltd., posed a provocative question on the LinkedIn group he manages, Canadian Insurance Broker Strategy Group: “Consumer choice – currently… Read more »

Are Your Employees Bringing Their Own Networks to Work?

It seems that Bring Your Own Technology may not be restricted to iPads and Android Phones alone.  There is increasing evidence that employees are bringing their own social networks in for both external and internal collaboration. Debra Donston-Miller writing in InformationWeek, summarizes the current state: “Like wireless networks and smartphones before them, social networks are… Read more »

High Heels, Insurance Trends, and Predictive Analytics

Can a better understanding of trends in women’s shoe heel height help predict insurance price and market direction?  Beats me, but IBM is testing the use of predictive analytics to understand trends in stilettos which might offer approaches to better understanding directions in a multitude of business, perhaps including insurance. A recent article in IT… Read more »

50,000th Insured Saves ‘Crate-Loads’ of Money with Telematics Policy in UK

Pay-As-You-Drive pioneer, UK motor insurer insurethebox, hit a milestone recently, selling its 50,000th telematics-based policy in just 16 months.  The insurer has plans to double this total during 2012. According to an article in the online automobile news source, Honest John, Elizabeth Ngulube from Stockport, Greater Manchester purchased the policy.  Elizabeth says that she is… Read more »

DIY Claims: Tools and Analytics Support Innovation

From home improvements to financial transactions, ‘Do-It-Yourself’ has become a trend for consumers.  A recent article by a noted industry consultant suggests the DIY philosophy might well be carried forward to claims handling, with benefits to all concerned.  Like other DIY projects, the right tools, and skills, are keys to success. Christopher Tidball, who authored… Read more »


Rapid Adoption and Evolution Continue as Hallmarks of Mobile in Insurance

Implementers are advising that mobile technology continues demonstrate two characteristics:  First, its use is growing rapidly among business users, and second,  the raw technology and the applications continue to evolve with equal speed.  The message to insurance IT professionals:  Stay flexible and nimble. An informal survey of conference attendees,  conducted by FirstBest Systems, Inc., and… Read more »

Putting Agency Connectivity to Work: Best Practices and Implementation Strategies

Sometimes it seems that most of  the attention given to agency/broker connectivity focuses on what is the ‘perfect’ connectivity method and when (or whether) it will happen.  The reality is that industry standard interface is happening now and some agents/brokers and carriers are seeing real benefits by using it to improve workflow and customer service. … Read more »

Predictive Analytics Hits the Road: Telematics in Action

We have noted that the use of new technologies is creating huge pools of data that can, if analyzed using sophisticated predictive tools, assist in a number of disciplines including marketing, claims, and underwriting (see, e.g., our post on Managing Data for Profit and Growth).  Much of this work is still in the lab and… Read more »

Creating, Leveraging Engagement and Loyalty with Social Media

In our last post, we noted that leading independent agents and insurers in the US are finding real value in creatively using social media.  Two recent articles underscore the characteristics that create the real value:  Engagement and Loyalty. Engagement eMarketer posted on work done by Digital marketing agency Web Liquid which found that photos on… Read more »

Get Naked and Prosper, Social Media Implementers Suggest

Social media marketing and service implementations are producing impressive results with modest investment for US insurance companies and independent insurance agents, a panel at the  recent ACORD Implementation Forum reported.  Being transparent with genuine personality seems to be a common denominator for success. Angelyn Truetel, president of SouthGroup Insurance Gulf Coast in Florida has been… Read more »

Insurance Circa 2020: ACORD Members Prepare

In addition to discussing current issues, participants at the ACORD Implementation Forum in Fort Lauderdale, including insurers, agents, suppliers, and ACORD staff,  are  preparing themselves, and the industry organization itself for the year 2020. A panel, moderated by ‘practical futurist’ Michael Rogers, looked at some of the characteristics of the new world and how organizations… Read more »

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 »