Insurance-Canada.ca - Where Insurance & Technology Meet

The Future of Insurance Work?

The insurance industry has a reputation for being a stable, consistent employer with a structured model for talent acquisition and development. But new demands may require additional skills, training, and terms of engagement to meet an emerging disruption. We’d like your thoughts. Insurers and Future Work The noted futurist David Smith produced a white paper… Read more »

On Robotics and Muddling Through

While reviewing material on the benefits and challenges of implementing omnichannel communications, I came across a new (to me) approach to introducing robotics into existing processes. I am a big fan of ‘muddling through,’ and this approach seems to offer help to organizations which are looking for a starting point to the digital world. It… Read more »

MGAs: on the Edge of Digital?

This past week, I read a post from CB Insights suggesting that Managing General Agents (MGAs) may become significant players in the digital insurance world. After cleaning my glasses to make sure I was reading correctly, I reflected a bit, and I and am coming around to the idea … sort of. First reality check:… Read more »

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Operationalized Customer Experience: On the Horizon?

The last two decades have not been kind to insurers. Sources of pain range from a continuing soft market and falling interest rates to regulations and judicial rulings that increase costs or limit revenues. Insurance marketers have sought strategies that could increase competitive advantage and improve profitability. One such strategy is ‘Customer Experience.’ Will this… Read more »

Marketing Disruption – The Future of the Insurance Promise

Disruption is challenging the construct of the insurance product, which leads to a crucial question: How do we convince consumers that existing insurance organizations are still needed? A new commercial is starting down this road. And reviewing some alternative ads might be in order. We’d like your thoughts. The End of Automobile Insurance Back in… Read more »

Customer Experience as an Ecosystem: New Opportunities, Old Bugbears

Customer experience (CX) is becoming critical as insurers and brokers look for ways to maintain and grow relationships. One aspect that is less understood is the relationship the client has with other providers. Getting a larger perspective on the ecosystem offers a broader landscape with which to work but can be challenging to operationalize. The… Read more »

Digital Divide: A Tale of Two Insurance Models

Common wisdom says that insurers must adopt digital technologies in order to become more flexible, more innovative, and more effective. The alternative is to face ‘disruption’ with insufficient resources to respond. But is this assumption accurate? Let’s compare two insurer models and develop some thoughts on the value propositions. The ‘digerati’ Digital transformation is a… Read more »

Enhancing Digital With Psychology? The Doctor Can Help!

You are designing a website which will provide quotes on a great new product suite.  In addition to insurance coverage, this site must link to related products and services that will engage the customer. You’re confident in your technical skills, but how do you make it engaging? Perhaps you need a doctor. Why do I… Read more »

Do We Go Outside to Bring InsurTech In?

A recent report documents the geometric increase in organizations and funding dedicated to innovation and disruption in insurance. While the result is a vibrant and robust ecosystem for insurers to navigate, the authors add an important caveat about the actual reach of the efforts, and suggest a trip outside might be in order. “InsurTech” is… Read more »

Drive To Thrive – On Our Way to Zero

In 2014, in the province of Alberta alone, there were nearly 145,000 collisions – causing close to 19,000 injuries and 370 fatalities. These numbers are staggering, especially when you consider that other provinces across the country are recording similar statistics. The data clearly shows us that something needs to change, and change we will. In… Read more »

On Digital Marketing, Transformation, and OREOs

Would you pay $15 for a box of OREOs, delivered as a present? Not a question I normally ask, but the answer – which came at the Strategy Institute’s Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit last week – was riveting and instructive on several levels, including the future of IT and Marketing. The marketing construct… Read more »

Fort McMurray, Insurance and Data: Hi-Tech supports Hi-Touch

During the second week in May, I attended a conference focused on the use of data in insurance. What I didn’t realize was that, quite apart from the formal agenda, I was going to learn the value of integrated data and analytic tools in catastrophic situations. On the banks of the Athabasca Fort McMurray, a… Read more »

The Future of Work, Platforms, and Insurance

The on-demand  economy is driving new methods of work. New products and services  that leverage digital tools are emerging rapidly. Much of the development – and use – of these tools occurs outside of traditional work arrangements. Until recently, this had little impact on insurance, but that is changing. The nature of work is changing… Read more »

InsurTech: Going Hard or Hardly Going?

To avoid being ‘disrupted,’ and – potentially – to improve the balance sheet, some insurers are driving experimentation of Insurance Technology (InsurTech). However, some initiatives are geography-specific and, from a global industry perspective, the commitment is underfunded. Is this just the nature of today’s innovation paradigm, or are we treating InsurTech as a lower priority?… Read more »

Customer Experience Focus: Worth the While?

Insurers are realizing that improving customer experience (CX) can bolster the bottom line.  The good news is that digital tools align well to support improved CX.  The bad news is that real changes are not sustainable without more fundamental transformation at the technology and business levels. On balance, is this worth your while? Consumers are… Read more »

Insuring the Digital Economy (Part 2): A Slice of On-Demand Insurance

Recently, I suggested that the the digital economy offered opportunities for new revenue – but this would require insurers to look at new models.  The example was the introduction of coverage that bridged a gap. Let’s look at a different model which meets specific features of the new economy and promises real disruption. When you… Read more »

Kanetix and ClientDesk to Offer New Insurance App Solution

With technology continually revolutionizing the way people communicate, the relationship between company and consumer is also changing at a rapid rate. The insurance industry is not immune to the evolving expectations of consumers, and the recent partnership between Kanetix Ltd. and ClientDesk Inc. will help insurance providers to connect with their clients in ways they’ve… Read more »

On People, Platforms, and Predictable Disruption

A recent report from Accenture provides an interesting synopsis of trends in the insurance and technology world, including some extremely important insights on the role that intelligence (real, not artificial) will have to play in order for insurers to stay viable and actively manage what Accenture calls “predictable disruption.” This Year’s Vision is “Predictable” This… Read more »

Insuring the Digital Economy (Part 1): New Modes, New Methods

Insurers are realizing that the new digital economy is a prospect for growth (beyond cyber insurance). But insurers are also finding that they have to take different approaches to be successful in this world — and it involves making the insurance meet new demands. We’ll look at two examples. In this post (part 1 of… Read more »

Celent Innovation and Insight Day: Pride and Optimistic Uncertainty

Last week, I attended Celent’s Innovation and Insight Day. I found my (Canadian) nationalistic pride reinforced, my questions about the evolution and impact of FinTech and InsTech addressed, and even a boost for my (American) nationalistic pride. Don’t Forget the Alamo Celent CEO Craig Weber opened the day by describing what he believes is the… Read more »

Innovation, Integrity, Fintech: Pick 2?

When we hear of ‘innovation’ these days, the odds are pretty good that there is new technology behind it. The question now is whether the technology innovation can maintain integrity while scaling rapidly, especially for financial services. Technology is a critical part of daily life In a recent blog post, Mark Breading, partner in the… Read more »

Is CRM Realizing its Potential After 3 Decades?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offers users the potential to be more disciplined in marketing and selling products and services.  It was embraced early by insurance carriers.  However, after three decades of less than inspiring results,  is there a reason to keep CRM alive? If at first it looks like success …. One of the first… Read more »

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New Customers, New Insurance products, Same PAS?

Looking at the current state of some insurers’ core systems in the P&C  insurance world suggests that certain IT managers and project sponsors would do well to spend a  bit of time meditating  on one of Thomas Pynchon’s proverbs for paranoids: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry… Read more »

Is Distribution a Second Thought In Insurance Innovation?

With all the high pitched noise about digital innovation and resulting disruption, the distribution side of insurance has had less attention in North America, other than to assume that agents and brokers could be left on the side of the road.  There are exceptions, however, and I’d like your thoughts. Digital is capturing people’s attention… Read more »

Will Technology Bring a New Insurance Model?

In the early days of my insurance career, an older, wiser colleague told me that the insurance business model was elegant in its simplicity.  It’s “money in and money out, and you take your profit from the float.” Things have changed. A number of analysts are suggesting that technologies are driving fundamental alterations to the… Read more »

Which Came First: The Strategy or the Digital?

It is amazing how the turn of a phrase can quickly put a complex issue issue into perspective. What brought me to my knees around ‘digital strategy’ was taken care of in two sentences that fit nicely into a tweet, with room to spare. Long Day’s Journey Into Misunderstanding … For almost a year, I… Read more »

The Transformation Manifesto

Tomorrow, I will be joined by 500 + of my closest friends to hear what practitioners, analysts, and suppliers suggest will be the impact of technology on the insurance business.  I can’t predict exactly what these experts will be saying at the ICTC2016, but having gone through the background material, there seems to be an… Read more »

The Organizer’s Perk: Being a Fly on the ICTC2016 Wall

Organizing a conference is a lot of work, but it has its perks.   One big one is sitting in on meetings with really smart people talking about present and future challenges and opportunities.  Let me share examples from panels at the 2016 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference. Hit the Road Our friend, Catherine Kargas, from MARCON, has… Read more »

Digital Value Drivers

In my role on the Digital Market Insight team at Guidewire, I spend a lot of time talking to our customers and other insurers all over the world about their digital strategies. It is clear that every insurer is investing in “going digital”. But what is really driving this investment? We ask this because our… Read more »

Do We Define Digital, or Does Digital Define Us?

The ‘Digital Insurer’ is getting a lot of ink in the trade press these days.  Numerous benefits emerge by applying digital to conduct the business of insurance.  But the same construct is also finding its way into the popular press, with less sanguine implications.  Are we facing a circle in need of squaring? Digital is… Read more »

Insurance Going from Evil to Good: Is there an App for That?

Sixty-one years ago tomorrow, Sun Life Insurance took out an advertisement to provide high points of its annual report. In the ad, a box provided commentary, with the heading, “The Miracle of Life Insurance.” While this sounds arcane today, it might be making a reprise in P&C insurance, thanks to Insurance Technology (InsurTech). Fintech is… Read more »

Insurers: Are You on the “Digital Expressway” Wave? (Part 2)

In my last post on this blog, I raised the question of whether insurance is catching the wave that Alvin Toffler described a quarter century ago and making a move onto the digital expressway; I put forward some thoughts on brokers. Today I want to turn to Insurers. Customer focus remains the driver, with a… Read more »

The Transforming Insurer: Competing in a Post-Modern World

Insurers have spent significant time and money updating processes and modernizing core business systems. What happens if modernization is only table stakes? According to leading analysts and practitioners, competitive pressures are increasing, coming from traditional and non-traditional suppliers. Their competitive advantage?  Transforming the enterprise to meet the demands of customers. How we got modern …… Read more »

Brokers: Are You on the “Digital Expressway” Wave?

In his books Future Shock (1970) and The Third Wave (1980), Alvin Toffler noted the rapidity of change and the emergence of the information age. Today we are experiencing technology-enabled change as described back then. Question: Is insurance catching the wave and moving quickly onto the digital expressway? Based on the 2016 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Awards… Read more »

Where will Standardization Fit in a Flexible Product World?

Standardization has been a holy grail for as long as I have been involved in insurance technology. However, competitive pressures are challenging this goal. While standards are required in parts of the insurance process, these may become deeply buried in technology, allowing flexible implementations. There have been good reasons for adopting standards For example: When… Read more »

Developing the Aviva Ride-Sharing Insurance Coverage: Untying the Customer

Since Aviva announced its new coverage for ride-sharing services, several commentators have suggested that this solves problems for ride-sharing companies such as Uber. But what does it do for Aviva, its customers, and its distributors? The answers are both simple and profound. Tying customers up in knots? Jason Storah, Executive Vice President of Broker Distribution… Read more »

Just in Time, Lean Insurance: Why and How

There is no doubt: we are living in volatile times that are impacting products, services, and processes. Technology is breaking down barriers and re-defining business models. Many sectors are adopting and embracing change. However, leading analysts believes that insurance has been an outlier. But there are opportunities to change that. What are the changes and… Read more »

2016 – Digital, Analytics, and Mother Earth will not be Ignored

There’s a lot going on, and when the present is so busy it’s hard to look long-term. That said, I believe there are three trends we will not be able to ignore in 2016:  Digital, Analytics, and Mother Earth. I want to share my thoughts with you in print now, and in person later. Digital… Read more »

Insurance: A Reversal of the Disruptor Role?

My nomination for most overused word for 2015 is ‘disruption’ (along with its cousin, ‘Uberize’) with respect to insurance.  I believe this word is used too casually, given that innovation is inherent in the insurance construct.  Could we be creating a reversal of roles?  I’d be interested in your thoughts. Of course, disruption is real … The… Read more »

Unleashing a $10,000 FinTech Hack: Who Are the Winners?

A few weeks ago, I attended my first hackathon.  As a somewhat jaded grey head, I went in with a bag full of expectations.   Some of these expectations were validated and others were corrected.  Most significantly, there were expectations that I didn’t have that were exceeded. Why a hackathon? The hackathon – named “Unleash Toronto:… Read more »

Climate Change From Here and There: Some Canary, Some Coal Mine

When it comes to climate change, insurers have been consistent leaders in applying their trade to benefit their clients, other stakeholders, and the public in general.  A recent Intact announcement demonstrates this in spades.  However, there are others on the sharp edge of this phenomenon that we would do well to know for the future. Adaptation In… Read more »

Selective Innovation: Reason for Celebration or Contradiction in Terms?

Criticizing insurers for their lack of innovation and technical progress has been a sport for at least 3 decades.  The most recent focuses on ‘digital transformation’.  The reality is that many insurers are very innovative, but not always focused on organizational transformation.  As an industry, are we missing the boat, or floating as best we… Read more »

Whose Biz? uBiz!

Small commercial business is highly competitive.   While the majority of the business continues to be written by brokers, direct writers and direct marketers are making inroads, primarily because of their ability to process the business quickly and efficiently.  Recently Gore Mutual announced an offering which provides efficiency, effectiveness, and the value of an independent broker…. Read more »

7 Essential Technologies for Engaging Insurance Customers

You got the email. “We need to improve our customer experience. Our conversion and retention numbers are down. What can you do?” In fact, you got several emails and briefings from marketing and line-of-business leaders, and you were copied on a complaint from a key producer citing frustrated policyholders. You know what it will take,… Read more »

The Two-Edged Sword of Technology: Cutting Your Path to the Future

New technology options offer a rich environment of functionality combined with an engaging user experience. This combination can produce intended and unintended consequences. We believe the winners will be those that can plan for the unknown as well as the known. We will showcase strategies and tactics at #ICTC2016. Here are a few examples. Insurance… Read more »

Cyber Risk: Opportunities and Threats for Insurers

Uptake for cyber insurance has been challenging, according to the brokers I know who specialize in the product. However, recent reports say that this is turning  around, and it seems rates and premiums are rising as well. Question: Can the industry respond to turn these into opportunities? The turning tide According to a recent Wells… Read more »

What role will insurance play in the Sharing Economy Theatre?

The “sharing economy” (code for disruptive services such as Airbnb and Uber) is catching on with high consumer acceptance.  Governments are setting a stage which will allow consumers easy access to these new services.  Insurance will play a key role as well.  Our question is:  Will we be wearing a white hat or black hat?… Read more »

Peer-to-Peer Insurance: Something Old, Something New

At a recent social event, a GP physician asked me what business I was in. When I told him insurance and technology, his eyes widened and he asked an unexpected question: “What do you know about peer-to-peer insurance?” I told him it was becoming a hot topic in my world, and he surprised me again,… Read more »

360° Customer View: You Can Look, but Can You Touch?

Like the lives of so many celebrities and reality-show families whose relationships and daily interactions are splashed across our screens, insurers’ views of their customers present the same frustrating dilemma: sometimes they want to try to reach into the customers’ world to help influence decisions. But, just like on TV, it seems today’s insurers can… Read more »

Platforms and Insurance: Where the Bulldozer Meets the Road

In a 1989 speech to brokers, a bank executive offered an analogy to explain changes he saw to distribution: “If you see a bulldozer paving a road, heading towards you, you need to decide fairly quickly, ‘Do I want to be part of the bulldozer, or be part of the road?’” Twenty-five years later,  a… Read more »