- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

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 »

Whither Goeth InsurTech?

This time last year, we were looking at a hockey stick expansion of Insurtechs.  It seemed that there was almost unlimited growth with new start-ups.  However, over the last few months, there seems to be a different theme. Is this the beginning of an end or an end of the beginning? Hitting a high mark… Read more »

UBI Resuscitation: A Two-Decade ‘Overnight Sensation’

Back in the late 1990s, several insurance companies decided to move beyond static automobile rating and use actual vehicle data. After a long, slow start, new digital approaches and shifting consumer mobility needs are offering a larger opportunity. And you have an opportunity to see the drivers (pun intended) at the 2018 Technology Conference. It… Read more »

“The Envelope, Please”: The Importance of Awards in the Digital World

For the last nine years,, supported by excellent practitioners and suppliers, has delivered awards for the use of technology in the insurance industry. This provides a disciplined process to celebrate technology-driven success and to engage all members of our industry in best-of-breed tools and techniques. InsurTech anyone? Why celebrate? Insurance-Canada’s primary purpose is to… Read more »

Artificial Intelligence: Modernity with a Nod to Antiquity

Artificial intelligence (AI) comes with new opportunities to improve underwriting, marketing, new products, claims, and distribution. However, there are known unknowns, and a history of challenges that have little relationship to the technologies. Given the volatility of new tools, evaluating and managing AI is a dynamic task. When the world gives you lemons…. Some start-ups… Read more »

Be there for your policyholders when they need you most

As auto insurance premiums converge due to increased competition, policyholders are beginning to place more importance on both peace-of-mind and engagement when evaluating their relationship with insurers. While price is still the critical factor impacting policyholder acquisition, how insurers engage with their policyholders and create peace-of-mind drives retention. Directly following a crash is the point… Read more »

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 Technology Conference (ICTC2018).  The following describes the trinity aspects and interleved with  samples 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 »


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… 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 »

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 »