Insurance-Canada.ca - Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Disruption to the Core

Since 2015, there has been an avalanche of new InsurTech applications that are designed to disrupt existing process and products. Initially, insurers were overwhelmed with opportunities. This is changing rapidly. Suppliers are bringing forward technologies that will require a clear alignment with insurers and an understanding about new linkages to risk data. Yesterday’s Core System… Read more »

Can We Take Pride in Insurance Technology?

For the longest time after I started working in the insurance industry, I accepted the common wisdom that insurance technology was a laggard in comparison to other sectors. Whether that was ever true, InsurTech is definitely at play now, driving innovation. So, can we stop apologizing for being so far behind?  Let’s explore a few… Read more »

Nudge Theory and Insurtech – Happy Bedfellows?

Richard Thaler’s Nobel Prize-winning “Nudge Theory” is finding its way into tech and, specifically, insurtech.  Will this be a happy relationship, or cause for putting up fences? Coming together… Thaler contends that (1) positive reinforcement and (2) indirect suggestion can affect the way humans think and behave, and therefore the outcomes of that behaviour.  On… Read more »

Risk, Technology, Engagement: The Wholly Trinity On Display

The business of insurance is changing dramatically.  We have identified three interconnected pressure points – Risk, Technology, and Engagement – that now define critical factors in the new era of insurance. These factors will inform the content of our upcoming Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference (ICTC2018).  The following describes the trinity aspects and interleved with  samples of… Read more »

Technology Addiction: A Fatal Distraction

You are more likely to be reading this on a mobile device than on a laptop or desktop. A June 2017 Pew survey revealed that 77% of Americans own a smartphone and 85% of U.S. adults get their news on a mobile device at least some of the time. And therein lies the source of… Read more »

2018: An Insurance Functional Divide?

2018 will be an interesting year. As InsurTech matures, there are increased pressures to join the digital transformation movement. First movers are setting the course for this, but not all will be in a position to adapt quickly. Will this result in fundamentally different types of insurance providers? The starting point may be earlier than you… Read more »

Wishing You A Merry Disruption

It’s that time of the year where we reflect on a year that skated by at the speed of light.  We want to share our thoughts on 2017.  And what we really think about you (it’s pretty good). 2017 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference and Broker Forum Four hundred and fifty professionals attended ICTC&BF2017 in February.  (As an… Read more »

AI – Now and Then

Toronto, ON (Dec. 17, 2017) – Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting serious attention by insurance practitioners.  There is an expectation that AI will bring new opportunities for market segmentation, underwriting, risk management, claims, and administration.  But the scope is large and can cause paralysis by analysis.  We’ll look at two examples … one that is… Read more »

InsurTech vs InsuranceTech – Who’s Winning?

When the term ‘InsurTech’ first entered the business lexicon, ‘disruption’ was a frequent follower.  Typically, the new technology impact was targeted at Insurers and licensed distributors (agents, brokers, MGAs, etc.).  However,  we may be entering a collaboration period.  Will this truly take hold? Where did the InsurTechs come from? While there had been digital tech… Read more »

The Nice Thing About Standards: They are So Flexible

Canadian Underwriter‘s Greg Meckbach recently described concerns by brokers focused on differences in insurance coverages for water damage to homes. In the article, Glenn McGillvray, managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), said that the host of wordings by different insurers “causes and will continue to cause confusion, as premiums, deductibles, caps/limits,… Read more »

Are You Ready for the New Future of Work?

At several points in my career, I played the ‘evangelist’ role for new technologies. The objective was to get users accustomed to new tools. There were lots of questions, but inevitably I would get the big one: “Will this eliminate my job?” I had my response down pat: “Technology doesn’t eliminate jobs. It lets you… Read more »

The Way You Do Business Has Changed – For Good

Technology is changing at a faster pace than ever before, and internet-only shops offering insurance policies as a click and buy commodity are popping up everywhere. So how do Insurance firms keep up? With Amazon-esque buying patterns, pop up internet insurance shops, and rapidly evolving technology, the requirement for audit trails, error and omissions protection,… Read more »

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InsurTech and Insurance, a Match Made in Where?

The relationship of insurance and technology has had its low moments in the past. However, the entree of ‘InsurTech’ is demonstrating that Insurance and Tech can work well together. Moreover, the relationship may be mandatory. Can we do this without starting a war? What do insurTechs think about taking a position in insurance? Noting that… Read more »

The 4th Generation of the Previously Unthinkable

Back in the early 1980s, a very wise senior IT manager introduced a group of insurance professionals to the concept of the ‘previously unthinkable’ in regards to technology implementation.  I am not sure how many people caught on to it, but it has served me well.  And, I think, it informs the rise of InsurTech. Prelude to the ‘Previously Unthinkable’ In… Read more »

InsurTech, Dead? (Maybe It Just Smells Funny)

It was bound to happen.  A recent article strongly suggests that InsurTech is losing momentum and, as a result, the promised transformation of insurance may be stalled.  And the result?  The author says that, in spite of innovative technology, InsurTechs have “failed to capture the market”. What is one to do? Let’s get real …. Insurance… Read more »

Are InsurTechs and Insurance Execs Reaching Common Ground?

At the outset, the InsurTech movement has focused on disruption of the insurance industry and its organization.  However, InsurTechs may be finding that it is easier to join the insurance incumbents, not fight them.  Does this mean insurers are drinking the kool-aid, or that they are reaching into their innovative insurance core? All insurers are… Read more »

Automobile Insurance in the Autonomous Vehicle Age

We have written on the future of automobile insurance in the era of autonomous vehicles.  While some insurers are sitting on the fence, some auto manufacturers and leading underwriters are driving new approaches to mobility and insurance. We’d like your thoughts. What’s the risk? There is a lot of high-volume speculation on the impact of… Read more »

Thanks for the Giving, Eh?

Insurance-Canada is a small but vibrant media company.  We rely on a lot of people outside our company to help us with our mission: to report on activities at the intersection of insurance and technology in Canada. As it is Canadian Thanksgiving, I would like to say thanks to our industry generally and to some… Read more »

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Dissecting Digital Dimensions: There is a Plan … Sort of …

Digital technologies are driving new opportunities for insurers, brokers, insurtechs, and just plain folk.  Digital offers streamlined workflows, processes, and intelligent assistants.  In some instances, digital alters the insurance product. I borrowed an excellent post from a large insurer which has developed a model of digital things to come to start the discussion about impacts.  And we… Read more »

Convergence and Champagne in Boston

InsurTech is the hot topic of the day.  And start-up organizations are demonstrating the value of InsurTech to disrupt antiquated processes and products.  However, this does not mean that we derail the existing corporate infrastructure and rely exclusively on new technology.  So what do we need?  Convergence might be in order. A week ago, I… Read more »

Digital and Analogue: Tails and Heads on a Single Coin

Back in the dying days of 2015, I posted on insurance organizations that were in the process of disrupting themselves.  So where did we end up?  Let’s take a look at the journey and see where we stand and where we are going. Are we behind the times? Insurance organizations have been tagged as laggards… Read more »

Artificial Intelligence: The Sine Qua Non for Future Insurance?

Since the mid-1950s, technology, business, and academic professionals have been intrigued by the concept of Artificial intelligence (AI).  Fast-forward 60+ years and we are now seeing commercial implementations in various sectors, including insurance.  So, will risk  and insurance professionals embrace this development? Theory and layers of reality As with most worthwhile concepts, there is no… Read more »

A Changing Climate or a Climate for Change?

In the 26 July 2017 edition of Insurance Business, a staff reporter penned a prescient headline  –  Climate change: Can insurers take the heat? – with a challenge to back it up: Climate change could lead to a larger market for insurers as more people seek protection from losses – but the higher probability of… Read more »

Who Wins the Risk Game: Humans or Machines?

Digital insurance and InsurTechs are keys to the ‘new’ approaches, which will support customer centricity and improve the insurance product and its distribution. But is this a revolutionary shift, driven by technology, or the next generation of insurance professionals driving improved processes and products? I’d like your thoughts. What’s new? For the last 30 months… Read more »

Using AI-Driven Voice Technology to Power up the Insurance Industry

Technology and insurance are increasingly inseparable, especially now with new AI-driven voice technology that enables the Canadian insurance industry to engage with consumers in new and creative ways. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice technology is the beginning of a new era, with the introduction of voice assistants taking the market by storm. This… Read more »

Does Customer Engagement Need A Happiness Halo?

With a persistent soft market and heavy competition, insurers and brokers have implemented strategies to differentiate products and services to improve customer engagement. However, new, sophisticated measures are revealing important information that may suggest the significance of consumers’ emotional desires as well as financial needs. More data is coming at #ICXF2017. Customer Engagement Practitioners and industry suppliers have been… Read more »

Is UBI Facing A Future That Isn’t UBI?

For the last decade, insurers have sought to change automotive underwriting by relying on real data from vehicles, rather than using proxies such as drivers’ estimates of mileage driven, traffic tickets, and accidents. However, as the industry in poised for rapid expansion, a leading expert is suggesting that it is already a failure. But there… Read more »

Disruption: 50 Years On

Disruption is very much in vogue as a target  for new technology.  But disruption is not a recent development.  As a fully invested boomer, I have been thinking about the 50th anniversary of 1967 – a year of fundamental disruption.  Two events stand out in my mind, the latter relating directly to insurance and the importance of… Read more »

Moving Beyond the ‘Trust’ Factor: Challenging the Traditional Marketing Approach

In the insurance industry, one marketing priority has always stood out: building trust. Trust is what allows consumers to feel good about choosing a certain brokerage or brand over another. It’s how positive word of mouth spreads and how awareness is established. But is trust enough to capture the loyalty of an increasingly informed audience?… Read more »

InsurTech Futures

InsurTech is a hot topic in the insurance community. Developers are bringing forward digital technologies, which improve existing functionality, increase customer experience, support new products, and reduce friction costs. The big question is whether InsurTech will continue to operate on the periphery of ‘standard’ insurance technology or integrate with insurers’ architecture. InsurTechs are taking positions……. Read more »

Big Data, Big Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Computing, Connected World…..Hadoop at the core!

Few would disagree that big data is maturing. Looking back over the past 11 years of Hadoop, we’ve seen many participants in the ecosystem – those with proprietary, others with ‘mostly’ open-source and, of course, 100% open-source distributions. In 2015, the Open Data Platform Initiative (ODPi) was created by a group industry leaders working collaboratively… Read more »

The Internet of Things Morphs to the Infrastructure of Innovation

April 2017 may well go down as the pivot point when the Internet of Things (IoT) went from theory to reality. Some insurers (and InsurTech startups) are building models and working prototypes, but there are some serious gaps including resource allocation and governance. Where are you on the IoT journey? We have a map to… Read more »

Blockchain Moving to Mainstream, With Help from the Cooks

Blockchain is getting more traction in the business press, but implementation still seems to have remained in the IT domain. However, applications relying on Blockchain technology are emerging in the insurance domain. In addition, third parties are providing entry points for insurance professionals to understand and drive Blockchain applications. Are you part of these developments? Blockchain… Read more »

Claims 2017 – Distinctly Driving Digital

In the May 28 blog post, I suggested that claims and risk management are taking a prominent place in digital transformations. Today, I will review recent articles that describe potential impacts and possible time frames. I will also note sessions at our 2017 Insurance-Canada Executive Forum, which will provide unique claims thought leadership. Telematics is not… Read more »

Is Insurance the Future of InsurTech?

InsurTech is the hot topic this year, and for good reason. In the effort to improve consumer engagement, InsurTech’s new technology-driven construct is showing value. But can we envision base insurance principles being stretched in service of modernity? Customer Experience – Oxymoron or What? Having worked in the industry for a while, I can say… Read more »

Home Insurance: Engagement Rising Through Collaboration

When I started working in the insurance industry, a very wise (if somewhat cynical) colleague gave me his analysis of the product: “Insurance is dead simple, but trained professionals have spent 300 years making it impossible to understand.” This could be a theme which explains – and which caused – a current disruption trend. What’s… Read more »

Cyber Risk: The Mother of Innovation

“Jazz is not dead. It just smells funny.” – Frank Zappa For the last two decades, insurers have introduced products, which are intended to respond to cyber risk. However, the offerings seem to lag behind the technology risks. As we enter the new era of the Internet of Things, the risks will expand exponentially, but… Read more »

IoT as a Virtual Risk Manager

The Internet of Things (IoT) has gone beyond a passive monitor of activities to become an intelligent nervous system for the world of devices and people. As a result IoT could be the largest opportunity for improving the business of insurance. Last year, Aviva Canada introduced the “Home Protect Bundle” which included coverage that provided… Read more »

Could Claims Challenge Existing InsurTech Priorities?

While the majority of InsurTech activity leans towards marketing, underwriting, sales, and product service, there is growing interest in streamlining and improving claims reporting and adjusting. Could this mean that Claims disruption is on the horizon? Customer as examiner… Earlier this month, RDN – Repairer Driven News reported that Allstate will cease using the company’s drive-inspection stations… Read more »

23 Hours of InsurTech

Last week, we had a 23-hour opportunity to take stock in our readiness for the digital incarnation of insurance. As that time passed, we found some answers — and many more interesting questions. So we’re planning to do it again with a larger team of experts. Setting the pace and the place setting … Matteo Carbone, Founder and… Read more »

Borders and the Flow of Intelligence

Just after the last US presidential election, I posted a blog on the possible impact of US immigration policies on the tech industry in Toronto. Six months on, we’re finding that Toronto and Canada may be getting some advantage. I’d like your thoughts. Is this down to just one man? The Vector Institute – an “independent, non-profit research… Read more »

Notes On the Path to Insurance 2.0

In our last post, we noted the impact of derisking on the current insurance model. As technology lowers the probability of risks (with an attendant reduction of rates and premiums), we see insurance seeking new exposures and developing more engagement with consumers. This post turns to different elements in the new world. Going ‘Episodic’ Speaking… Read more »

Smart Canadian Insurers, Smart Homes, and Insurance 2.0

Canadian insurers’ interest in smart home technology is rising. At one level, this is providing new, cool insurance programs. At a higher level, this is a prototype of Insurance 2.0. Home, Dry Home … According to CB insights, Intact Insurance in April “became the latest insurer to invest in a smart home startup – water… Read more »

Are InsurTechs Defining the Next Generation of Enterprise Systems?

Since the mid-1970s, there has been a core group of suppliers who provide enterprise systems specifically designed for P&C insurers. The group changes periodically, with mergers, acquisitions, and new technology. However, the basic functions haven’t changed much. InsurTech may be the catalyst for disruption. Back in the day …. Insurers were one of the first… Read more »

Digital Insurance: What, Why, and How

‘Digital insurance’ is a hot topic within the P&C community. At a high level, consultants and practitioners can rapidly agree on the importance of ‘digitalization’. However, when we start developing and implementing a business case, definitions of the strategies and tasks get a bit murky. Two recent articles help focus on critical criteria. Why do Digital… Read more »

InsurTech: Threats or Opportunities for Insurers?

When traditional P&C insurers look at the world of InsurTech firms, there are two common reactions: InsurTechs are a flash in the pan: They have some slick customer interfaces, but not enough depth to be a lasting concern; InsurTechs will disrupt our business model: They will process the business with zero friction and take a… Read more »

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Will InsurTech Break Two Solitudes of Insurance?

An increasing number of  insurance practitioners are looking seriously at using InsurTech solutions for competitive advantage. At the same time, InsurTech suppliers are looking at our industry and developing solutions and constructs with little or no understanding of modern insurance. My spider sense tells me the ‘two solitudes’ approach – which has never worked particularly well – will continue… Read more »

Autonomous Vehicles – The Disruption Never Ends

As recently as four years ago, if you mentioned ‘autonomous vehicles’ as a serious alternative to traditional private passenger automobiles, there were good odds that you would be laughed at or threatened. That has changed, and the impact could be more disruptive than first imagined. It seemed straightforward at the time … At the first… Read more »

Telematics: A Larger Landscape

Telematics-enabled Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) has been slow in penetrating the traditional insurance market, causing some to dismiss the approach. However, the inexorable press of time is showing the larger significance of telematics. How do you see this impacting your digital strategy? It started out so simple… UBI has been around since the early part of… Read more »

Canadian Disruptions, Eh?

The theme for the 2017 Insurance-Canada Technology Conference on Feb.28 was “Disruption ⇒ New Realities, New Opportunities.”  I had the privilege of moderating two sessions, which demonstrated that Canadian insurance organizations are embracing the realities and creating opportunities. If you missed it in person, or want to visit it again, you will have the opportunity… Read more »