- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

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 »

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 »