- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

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 »

Tags: , ,

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 »

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 »