- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Insurance Technology: Through the Generations

I am periodically amazed by the progress I’ve seen – spanning more decades than I’d like to admit. For the following, I am using notes and memory for the First Gen. And would be interested in how you are seeing Insurance and Technology. First Generation Insurance carriers live and die by data and processing.  Prior… Read more »


Inflection Point 2019: 8 Tech Essentials Digital Insurers Can’t Do Without (Part 2)

by Brad Worth, EIS Group — You won’t want to miss any of the action in 2019.  In part 1 of this blog, I proposed that 2019 is the inflection point where many insurers make the fundamental technology pivot toward supporting new platform-based business models. Expect to see signs of future digital insurance leadership in… Read more »

Is InsurTech All of What We Need?

After 5 years, ‘InsurTech’ still captivates insurance and technology. Nary a day passes without multiple media descriptions of the latest tools and techniques, making yesterday’s nirvana irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong.  I am quite keen on new approaches, methods and systems.  Where it goes south for me is rejection of other systems that have served… Read more »

Inflection Point 2019: 8 Tech Essentials Digital Insurers Can’t Do Without (Part 1)

by Brad Worth, EIS Group — The bells have been peeling a new tune for insurers and 2019 is shaping up to be the year insurers begin playing from the new songbook.  The sound is a call to compete in the experience-driven digital economy, with its new and evolving B2B and B2C ecosystems. 2019 is… Read more »

Insurance Technology: A Third of a Century, And Only One Bump

When I started in the insurance industry, circa 1984, I had experience with marketing and technology. I quickly learned that each segment was considered critical, but the relationship between the two was not well understood. Over the years, issues were addressed and resolved, only to find new expectations and challenges. Now, 35 years on, we still… Read more »

Blockchain: Another Star on the Horizon

On a disruption scale from 1 to 10, Blockchain could take the 10. But understanding it and making it work, on a difficulty scale from 1 to 10, might just rate a 15! Going deeper, I believe that Blockchain is just not something that is intuitive, or will be in the near future.  Especially when… Read more »

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Driving Disruption

Back in the 1990s, two insurers – Aviva and Progressive – started to look to automotive technology to get a leg up on competitors.  Automobile manufacturers provided access to travel information as well as the health of the vehicle.  After a few years of mediocre responses, Aviva dropped out and Progressive continued, albeit at a… Read more »

New Insurance & New Tech for a New Year?

Happy New Year! And with the new year, insurers and brokers are introducing new insurance products tied in to new technologies.   Pretty slick.  The outstanding question is simple:  Will users take the digital bait?   Let’s look at two experts. Profound changes in a short time… Seth Rachlin, executive vice-president and chief innovation officer… Read more »

Communicating in Today’s Language

Back on 12 November 2017, I published a post, ‘The 4th Generation of the Previously Unthinkable.’ The purpose was to describe how technology emerges and overtakes old paradigms. And a funny thing happened. I expected that we’d get some pushback. But nothing came. I did a short update in this space two months ago, ‘Thanks for… Read more »

Climate Change, Big Water, and Parametric Disaster Coverage

Over the last few decades, climate change has garnered interest and concern.  With the exception of a few deniers, most folks recognize that more destructive events – water, fire, etc. – will cause damages and injuries, some of which will be life threatening. Climate change events can be dramatic, but, in the overall scheme of… Read more »

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InsurTech: Time is of the Essence

Maybe I’m looking with skeptical eyes, but it seems that some insurance organizations are viewing InsurTech more as ‘saying’ than ‘doing.’ While there are new approaches by brokers and insurers, there is not an even approach. I’d be very interested in your thoughts. Where there’s hope … In a recent post, Mike Berris, a 25-year… Read more »


How MGAs are positioned to innovate in the insurance market

Managing general agents (MGAs) and innovation go well together. A combination of resources, agility, and specialist knowledge sets MGAs apart from other players in insurance, whether carriers, wholesalers, or brokers. An MGA typically has a focus on a sector or an industry and deeper knowledge than a more generalist insurance carrier, facilitating innovation. At the same time, MGAs have underwriting and claims… Read more »

Customer Experience is the Product, and Other Takeaways from InsurTechTO 2018

Last week, I spoke at the InsurTechTO conference in Toronto. The theme of the conference was “Driving Advantage from InsurTech,” with an eye on being ready for the insurance industry’s evolution. My main contribution to the event was a presentation on the impact of digital on the customer experience. Customer expectations are deeply impacted by… Read more »

The Giant is Awake?

In early 2018, Rick Huckstep – one of the trend-setters in the InsurTech world – wrote about milestones that he encountered since 2015.  These were early days, and practitioners were simply mirroring Fintech (banking, etc.). However, by the end of 2017, Huckstep noted, “the sleeping giant of insurance has been woken roughly from its slumber.” Based on… Read more »

InsurTechTO: A Really Big Shoe

If you are wondering how Nikes or Florsheims fit into a title of an InsurTech blog, you are likely a Millennial or younger. We’ll put a note together at the end of this screed. Meantime,  let’s focus on what will happen at InsurTechTO next Wednesday, November 7, at the Toronto Sheraton Centre. #InsurTechTO Background Starting… Read more »

Reefer Madness and Digital Insurance

On October 17, 2018, Canadians discovered legal pot.  The Globe and Mail covered the event, focusing on Ian Power, who arrived at Canopy Growth Corp.’s Tweed store in time to be the first in the the line-up to legally buy marijuana at the stroke of midnight. “There’s a tear in my eye,” Power said. “No… Read more »

IBC, GAA and RSP filing problems? You’re not alone, and it gets better!

By David Gallagher, Senior Vice President, Hubio Technology — IBC reporting—and for that matter, all submissions to regulatory bodies, including the GAA and the Facility Risk Sharing pools—is most often seen as an administrative headache with little business benefit. But it is necessary, and we’ve identified four common problems insurers face that need solutions. The… Read more »

Whither Goeth InsurTech? (The Continuing Story)

The short answer is: “The seeds are sprouting”. “InsurTech” is in its third year of driving digital transformation.  At the outset, there was significant interest in using new technologies to improve the existing insurance programs and assist in developing new products and services.  However, some cynics, and other just plain normal folk, have become weary… Read more »

Thanks for the Previously Unthinkable

I have been lucky to witness major milestones in the insurance / technology environment over the last 35 years. Last year, I suggested that technology belongs to what I call “previously unthinkable”.  This seems to be true, and there are bigger changes yet. Are we ready? A brief history of disruption … Borrowing heavily from… Read more »

Insurance and Digital: Desperately Seeking Alignment

From the outside, insurance may appear “slow to learn and slower to execute.” Moreover, insurance professionals take hits for over-explanation as well as all the risks and threats going well beyond explaining protocols. The advent of InsurTechs has hit some chords in offering new tools (often developed by the InsurTech itself). But the new tool might… Read more »


Will InsurTech Models and Core Systems Align?

“Traditional” insurance programs generate the vast majority of P&C insurance revenue, profit, and resources. And major insurers continue to buy and update core systems to improve functionality and manage “main street” insurance programs. However, new digital tools are changing methods and roles. Can these two approaches come to fully support the digital future? Smart Homes …… Read more »

InsurTechs, Ecosystems, and Consolidation

InsurTech has emerged over the past ten years, with a rapid acceleration in the last three. One feature has been a ‘no holds barred’ approach, where insurers, brokers, InsurTechs and others seek new insights and opportunities. In some cases, there have been collisions of different tools. However, consolidation is taking control under the banners of… Read more »

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Personalized by platforms: Just what we wanted?

Ever since I started working in the insurance community, I learned (and repeated) an admonition to tech leaders: “Technology enables, but Content rules.” In other words, knowledge workers (underwriters, claims adjudicators, channel managers, etc.) trump IT workers, if the latter couldn’t immediately serve the former. This is shifting in the favour of technology. While my heart is… Read more »

Insurance vs Amazon: Does Risk Differentiate?

If you read enough insurance trade magazines, you would swear that 75% of agents / brokers / insurers would be on the dole in the next year,  The balance of survived insurers would have to compete with large, technology organizations which will eliminate underwriters and claims managers in favour of AI and blockchain tools. Who… Read more »

New Rewards from New Risks

Back in 2013, the Insurance-Canada staff and a select group from insurers, brokers, and suppliers held a series of study group meetings to help us all understand what would be the major trends over the next 10 years. Looking back, one significant element did not rise to the top:  fundamental changes to the insurance product…. Read more »

InsurTech from the Inside Out

InsurTechs are creating new, creative, and  helpful tools to improve the customers’ experience in selecting, and using insurance products.  However, there are risks for the start-ups and the insurers that are starting to rely on the InsurTechs. Is this improving the experience and maintaining the products’ viability? Analysts and  InsurTechs Matteo Carbone, director of the… Read more »

A Tale of Two Standards

Data exchange has been an important topic for insurers and brokers for the past 51 years.  By and large, the implementations have been complex due, in large part, to complex structures. I recently attended a demo by the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, which caught my attention. Instead of thinking big, the demo had but one… Read more »

This InsurTech Thing Isn’t Going to Work, Is It?

Periodically, I get the question:  “Is this InsurTech thing going to help at work, really?”   Rather than winging it, I looked up two InsurTech experts to get a perspective of 2018 in motion.  The two had very different scales to measure progress and, as expected, each analyst took a different approach.  However, at the… Read more »

Doubling Down on the Crypto-Heist Game

Back in February, Business Insider released information on ‘Crypto-heist insurance.’ Only a few insurers had the stomach to take on the risk. Fast forward six months, and we see the appetite increasing. So, what is crypto-heist insurance, and who cares, and why? Are Crypto Currencies really needed? For the vast majority of commercial users, Bitcoin… Read more »

AI: Do It Easy or Do It Right

Artificial Intelligence is a prime mover for new opportunities in the insurance community.  From marketing and underwriting to risk and claims management, insurers are deploying AI functionality.  But casual implementations can eliminate value.  However, according to a recent McKinsey report, Canadian businesses are implementing with rigor and commitment. The Research The McKinsey & Company report… Read more »

Trōv on Demand: Deja Vu & New Innovations

New innovations are driving improved consumer engagement and greater flexibility for insurers and brokers to serve their clients.  Behind the scenes are constantly improving products and processes.  Trōv is a great case study of proven skills with digital service. It started out so simple … Last summer, at the 2017 Insurance-Canada Executive Forum (#ICXF2017),  we… Read more »

Innovators: Get Thee to the Lab!

Digital sales have been the hot topic for a few years now.  But while we are developing new tools, we also need to focus on those who use the tools.  I recently had the privilege of seeing both in practice at Cookhouse Lab in Toronto. Going mobile Cookhouse Lab has been in business for 15… Read more »

Key Takeaways for Brokers @ Fast Forward 2018

Last week I had the great opportunity to spend an afternoon at Gore Mutual’s Fast Forward event in Toronto. This was the second time Gore Mutual hosted such an event, which gathered brokers together to discuss common issues and share ideas. It was a “brokers talking to brokers” event, and topics ranged from industry trends… Read more »

Operationalizing a New Insurance Model: Is Traditional Risk Passé?

When I started my insurance career (1983), I was impressed with insurers’ collection of data.  As my career pressed on, the shine faded, as there was little curiosity in using the data beyond specific needs.  However, Big Data, Analytics, Machine Learning, etc., are providing new data and processes to underpin insurance with significant benefits for… Read more »

Blockchain: Long Day’s Journey Into Risk

In 1985, I started my insurance career in the marketing department of a multi-line insurer, which included P&C and Life. Part of my responsibility was to deliver technology to field offices to speed up quotes. I assumed that quoting on the Life side would be more challenging than P&C, what with the premiums driven by… Read more »

Artificial Intelligence: A 100-Year Innovation

On Wednesday, May 30, hosted its first in-person Technology in Action seminar, focused on Artificial Intelligence. Our theme was “AI: The Foundation of Next Generation Insurance” – but I was reminded to look backward to a phenomenon that is almost 100 years old.   AI is hot, but we have seen this before The… Read more »

Platforms, Ecosystems, and the Metamorphosis of Insurance

  Platforms and ecosystems are hot topics these days.  At first blush, these could appear to be the next generation of expansive over-enthusiasm. However, when we look at the constructs and the players using the tools, this appears as critical components for the next generation of insurance. First things first:  Let’s put definitions in place.  I… Read more »

Core Systems & InsurTech: Rolling Dice in an Earthquake

We have been living in turbulent times with the advent and maturation of InsurTech.  Early adopters (circa 2014) were either politely ignored or openly scorned by large, core-system suppliers and insurers.  This started shifting in 2015-16 where suppliers showed how insurance could support new products and greater user engagement, putting big systems on the defensive…. Read more »

AI & Insurance 2030: It’s Already Underway!

According to three McKinsey partners – Ramnath Balasubramanian, Ari Libarikian , and Doug McElhaney who collaborated on Insurance 2030 – The Impact of AI on the Future of Insurance– there are four, tightly coupled technology trends which “will reshape the insurance industry over the next decade.”  These are: Explosion of data from connected devices – Cars, fitness trackers,… Read more »

2020 for Self Driving Cars: The Future of Automobiles and Regulations

Back in 2013, Catherine Kargas, Vice-President at MARCON, a Montréal based consultancy, presented several sessions at events.  The focus was self-driving or autonomous vehicles. Attendees were interested, but there was no impact to feature, as the vehicles wouldn’t be allowed on the road for some time. Fast-forward to today, and we have test autonomous… Read more »

Fully Digital Insurance: Are You Ready?

Commentators and practitioners are taking a larger, and longer look at digital InsurTech methods.  Going beyond front end quotes, insurers and brokers are bringing in technologies to improve sales, service, and support.  But this will require integration with back-office systems.  Are we up for this? Not a zero-sum game Recently, InsurTechNews published a series of… Read more »

AI: Infrastructure, Morality, and 5 Time Zones

Debates about Artificial Intelligence (AI) raise a wide range of operational and ethical concerns. However, the urgency to produce results from AI sometimes means that ethical reviews arrive after the technology is already in production.  Assuming we are looking for controls, how do these get introduced? Building a framework while the work is in progress In… Read more »

Getting Dancing Lessons from InsurTech in Québec

Québec City – the oldest city in North America –  is organizing itself to become a leader in digital transformation, with the insurance sector as a leading industry segment. By all accounts, there are individuals and organizations determined to hit the goal with new constructs. The activities remind me of a quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “Unexpected… Read more »

Improve Results with Data-Driven Referrals

Digital insurance is gaining traction with insurers and distributors alike. However, the efficacy of digital continues to be an open question. Is this a problem with the technology or is something else in play? We’ll supply some examples and put forward a few thoughts. We’d be interested in your approaches. We’ve seen this before …… Read more »

InsurTech Today: From Gee Whiz to Gee Wins

In the mid-1990s, forward-looking insurance pros saw the commercial internet as an engine for new models, information, distribution and insurance products. The necessities around dealing with the potential ‘Y2K bug’ managed to suck large quantities of resources for multiple years, effectively burying hope. But the currently maturing InsurTech movement is making a stronger push, raising… Read more »

Telematics/UBI: A Phoenix-Like Autonomous Rise

From the early days of Telematics and Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) until recently, consumers’ interest has waxed and waned.  Drivers have been less than enthusiastic (worries about privacy, etc.).  However, this is changing.   Future estimates range from 25% to 70% of policies being based on telematics within 5 years. But what else will emerge? Time… Read more »

Cyber Insurance is Gaining Traction, But Is There Direction?

Jason Contant, online editor at Canadian Underwriter, recently noted that cyber risk coverage is expanding “from simple data breach projection into the area of business interruption-with more changes likely in store.” However, the plethora of coverages, exclusions, and conditions could wreak havoc upon insureds and intermediaries alike. Can this be reconciled? Cyber risk driving cyber… Read more »

Insurance Disruption: How Hard Can That Be?

For the last two years, ‘Disruption’ has been a clarion call to improve productivity, offer greater product choice, and put control into the customer’s hands.  In the category of ‘InsurTech’, insurers and brokers are expending significant dollars to improve customer engagement and solidify relationships. Are InsurTechs improving customer satisfaction and define new protocols for the… Read more »

How Failure Generates Success …

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have the time to attend the StartUp Grind 2018 Global Conference, sponsored by Google (and other big names), in San Francisco. It was a congregation of a few thousand delegates made up of tech business-starters and entrepreneurs alongside a collection of well-known tech founders and… Read more »


Cohort Drivers & New Realities: A Tale of Two Keynotes

The theme of the 2018 Technology Conference was “Insurance Vectors In Play”; the two keynote presenters addressed this head-on and provided new contexts for risk, technology, and engagement. There were more than a few questions still requiring answers. We’d like your thoughts. Keynote 1 – Generational Change and Insurance The first keynote was at the… Read more »