Insurance-Canada.ca - Where Insurance & Technology Meet

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 »

Benchmark’s Experience with CARF Accreditation: Long Day’s Journey into Enlightenment

As a leading Independent Medical Examiner, Benchmark is committed to meet or exceed standards for quality and service. To this end, we committed to complete the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation process. The experience was enlightening and we thought we would share it with our community. What’s CARF? CARF’s mission is to… Read more »

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Innovation in Insurance: A Cautious Imperative?

The innovation discussion is permeating the insurance industry. But beyond the talk, data suggest that, as an industry, we would prefer to be cautious in innovation development and deployment. Some would say  that “cautious” and “innovation” don’t fit in the same sentence. But perhaps this is just the way of insurance. I would appreciate your… Read more »

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Can IT Learn to Embrace Sales? Would Sales Let IT Get That Close?

In my first insurance job, I supported agents, one of whom refused to put ‘Insurance Agent’ on his cards. He said, “People will think I just sell insurance.”  A top producer heard this, and said, “Are you afraid you might actually sell some?” This reminds me of a challenge facing insurance IT and Sales today…. Read more »

Start-ups, Incubators and Insurance: A Look Inside the DMZ

“Building a start-up is like having your first child,” says Rajeev Kugan, a new father and co-founder of an emerging start-up in the insurance technology (InsTech) space called ClientDesk. I am the other co-founder. Together, we are introducing something new which, we believe, will disrupt the insurance industry. As entrepreneurs in the start-up space, being… Read more »

Are you Competing with a Robot to Keep Your Job?

In your current job, have you ever asked yourself, “Could I be replaced by a machine?” If not, you might want to pay attention to advances in robotics. There is risk, and there is hope.  However, hope seems to require embracing the inevitable incursion of machine intelligence on our intellectual turf. Who is safe, who… Read more »

Latest Stakeholder in Major Systems Projects? The Consumer

Before final sign-off on major projects, senior executives usually extract promises (accompanied by career-limiting threats) from the project manager or executive sponsor to the effect that the company will not have to repeat the exercise for many years. What would happen if the response was “Actually, we’ll have to check with our policyholders first”? Becoming… Read more »

The New Work Paradigm: Stairway to Heaven or Race to the Bottom?

Back in June, I confessed that, as a technology professional, I had been ‘economical’ with the truth about the impact new technology would have on employees.  Some anlaytsts suggest we are finding a path to a better future, but others see a slippery slope to an unpleasantly warmer place. I’d appreciate your thoughts. Transforming work?… Read more »

Counting on the Future: More Than All Our Fingers and Toes

The title of the recent Insurance-Canada Executive Forum (ICEF2015) was “Emerging Threats and Opportunities.”  In hindsight, we might have been well served by including a less subtle sub-title; something like: “Learn to Use Analytics or Die.” Question for you: What do you think is the state of our industry in deploying and understanding analytics? A… Read more »

When a Keynote Lasts All Day: Sharon Ludlow @ ICEF2015

A keynote address is intended to set the tone for a conference. This was exactly the case at the 2015 Insurance-Canada Executive Forum (ICEF2015). Sharon Ludlow’s remarks to kick off the day became the outline for the expert faculty to follow. We’ll provide samples here and will add further notes from ICEF2015 on another day. It… Read more »

Should IT Risks Be Part of Corporate Governance?

According to a well-respected risk management and governance consultant, “IT risk” shouldn’t exist at the corporate governance level.  This seems to track with the philosophy that IT serves business needs.  However, prohibiting standalone IT elements from the board agenda entirely could be counter-productive in several critical scenarios.  I’d appreciate your thoughts here. Is “IT Risk”… Read more »

Is the Telematics Plateau Coming Early?

We’ve followed Telematics/Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) for some time now.  There has been significant progress, and there is an assumption that it will have a 25% market share over time. Of late, however, some folks are suggesting that UBI could plateau early just as other forces start to shape the next generation of automobile insurance. Usage-Based… Read more »

Can we Crack the Insurance Shopper’s Genome With Half the DNA Sequence?

Experts suggest that the consumer digital journey is similar in complexity to genome sequencing.  If that’s true,  why do segments of the insurance community feel that they can get all of the information they require with only half of the data that’s available? We’d like your thoughts on this. Earlier this month, two McKinsey & Company experts… Read more »

Threats, Opportunities & The Future of Insurance

We normally write about technology’s impact on the process of insurance. However, respected analysts and practitioners suggest that the cause / effect relationship between technology and the business of insurance is blurring. We cite examples below and are developing a program which will explore this further at the Insurance-Canada.ca Executive Forum (ICEF2015) on August 31,… Read more »

Supporting Data-First Enterprises: A Prelude to Distinctive Analytics

In one of his recent blog posts, Big Data: On Carts, Horses, Lamborghinis, and Executives, Insurance-Canada.ca’s Patrick Vice highlights the mixed points of views in various research reports and industry articles on the usage of big data in the insurance.  He poses the question: where are we now, is it ugly, is it hard –… Read more »

A Midsummer Musing on Millennials, Boomers, Technology, and Insurance

It is hard to underestimate the impact that ‘Millennials’ (born between 1980 and 2000) are having on business generally, and marketing specifically.  Every day we see exhortations such as,  “Millennials are a major target … Reaching them via digital is critical.” Interestingly, we might already know a fair bit about this demographic from personal experience…. Read more »

Only in Insurance: Can Analog be Accommodated in Digital?

Becoming digital is the holy grail these days.  Insurers look with envy at the likes of Uber and Amazon, which use digital to completely disrupt complex business by introducing digital platforms that suck up consumers with the elegance of  a finely tuned Dyson.  So why, then, is digital taking so long to catch on with… Read more »

Sponsors: Need a Plan B for Core Systems Modernization Projects?

A recent report from SMA provides an excellent outline of best practices for implementing modern core systems. As a bonus, and without explicitly saying so, the report also provides a safety net for the executive who has been appointed the project sponsor and who might find, at some point, that all is not going tickety-boo…. Read more »

A Different Side of Disruption: What Uber Could Learn from Insurers

It seems that “disruption” has been the word of the day for four years or more.   Some questions come to mind.  Do progressive, strategic managers see being disruptive as the sine qua non for success?  Also, is confrontation integral to being disruptive? I’d like to make a case for a collaboration as a balance… Read more »

Big Data: On Carts, Horses, Lamborghinis, and Executives

Big Data is a hot insurance topic these days. The capability to use Big Data could even be a fundamental anchor for future profitability. But early forays are suggesting that there are big risks around getting lost in the process. Executives need to create a way to put the cart and horse in the right order…. Read more »

MGAs Walking the Specialty Line

Managing General Agents are getting attention of late.  A recent study finds that the MGA channel is growing faster in commercial market production than the commercial segment generally.  It points to specialty lines as a key driver. An international MGA association cites the need for MGAs to leverage analytics / modern technology to maintain the success. Last,… Read more »

Why should insurers be interested in bitcoin? (Hint: It’s not about the money)

Bitcoin hit many business users’ radar screens in a quadrant labelled “Don’t even think about it.” It looked like a complex product, developed by geeks, that served the interests of  international criminals. We were in this camp until we learned that the best part of bitcoin doesn’t involve financial transactions and may solve some big… Read more »

Defining Insurance & Distribution 2025

What will insurance product distribution look like in a decade? I know three things: (1) it will look very different than it does now; (2) it will have high levels of customer service at the centre; and (3) I am going to listen carefully to some very smart people at ICEF2015 on August 31st. We… Read more »

CAA Insurance and ACE PRS: Future in the Present Tense

When we polish our crystal ball, some future trends for insurance and technology become obvious.  Recent developments in the Canadian P&C space demonstrate that some participants are transforming the future into the present at an impressive pace. We sat down with two such insurers recently, and thought you’d be interested in their thoughts. The tip… Read more »

If Suppliers Don’t Think Insurance is Innovative, Do We Care?

About two or three times a month, I have a technology supplier look at me, lower her voice, and ask, “is anyone in P&C doing anything innovative with technology?” Because of the frequency, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on whether this is important. I’ll give you my answer, if I can get your thoughts…. Read more »

Emerging Auto Threats and Opportunities: In Conversation with Catherine Kargas

For the third year running, the Insurance-Canada.ca Executive Forum (ICEF2015) will feature Catherine Kargas, Vice President, MARCON leading an expert panel in exploring how upcoming changes to regulations and technological improvements will impact auto insurance over the next decade. Patrick Vice, Partner at Insurance-Canada.ca, interviewed Catherine for some additional background. Following is an excerpt. Vice:… Read more »

Data and Analytics: We Have Met the Enemy, and …

Insurers (and distributors) are seeking efficiencies and differentiation strategies.  One common approach is to become “data driven” in products, services, and customer service.  The siren song of increased market share and profitability emanates just around the analytics bend. The aspiration is laudable, but carries execution risks.  Fortunately, we already have the tools to move forward. Analytics… Read more »

Employment, Insurance, Technology: Can We Only Choose Two?

Since I started working with technology,  I have relied on an aphorism when talking with nervous non-technology folks: “Technology doesn’t really destroy jobs; it creates new ones.” I likely missed the memo, but this may have become a lie sometime over the last five years or so. Has technology become an insurance job-eater? Who’s shaking… Read more »

Threats and Opportunities in a Totally Connected World

How does insurance work in a totally connected world? Would the available data and expanded mitigation opportunities decrease risk, potentially lowering premiums? Or would we see new risk opportunities with increased value and exposures associated with connectivity (cyber risk, critical failures)? Stick around, the next decade will be informative. And you can get a preview… Read more »

Modern Technology, Muddling Through, and Insurance Management

Insurance decision-making has always been a vibrant mix of data / facts and personal experience / intuition. Question: Will the rise of powerful data analytic and inferential tools tilt the balance permanently? Scientific Management keeps getting more scientific Since scientific management principles were brought forward in the early part of the 20th century, there has… Read more »

ORBiT 2015: Digital Lively, but CRM May Still Be Dead

At ORBiT Real Time Day this week, the majority of discussions were vibrant – focusing on effective use of new technology and building better digital connections in the broker world – until one attendee turned to the funereal topic of CRM.  Then things got really lively. I’d like your thoughts. What’s an ORBiT, Mom? And… Read more »

Technology in 2025: You Want to Insure WHAT?

There’s a site we go to once in a while to get a fix of cutting-edge  technology. A recent visit  surprised us more than usual, because it cuts close to something we’re working on. We would like to introduce an investigation that involves you. It started here… Singularity Hub is the media arm of Singularity University which… Read more »

The Internet of Things and Insurance Connectivity: A New Construct?

What happens when you take creepy invasions of privacy to the next level? I’m not 100% sure, but I think we need to take a careful look at it, because it could allow increased insurance functionality within the Internet of Things. Which begs the question: Could this spawn the Internet of Insurance Distribution? Privacy or… Read more »

What Opportunities and Threats Will You Be Facing in the Next Decade?

We are launching our theme and content for the 2015 Insurance-Canada.ca Executive Forum (ICEF2015), and to make this event as valuable as possible, we  want to get some of your feedback in advance so our session presenters can be fully prepared to engage in real dialogue with attendees. This post will focus on the high… Read more »

Wearables @ Work – You Just Watch

The introduction of the Apple Watch is moving wearable technology  out of running shoes and into business brogues. Wearables have thus far been seen mainly as consumer focused; however, there is increased interest in business generally, and for insurance organizations specifically. Wearables started on a one-way path … Wearable technology  has been envisioned by SciFi writers… Read more »

What is Digital Marketing? Exactly What YOU Make It To Be

A wise marketer once told me, “As brevity is the soul of wit, in our world, simplicity is the heart of marketing.”  I sense that we may be introducing unnecessary complexity, and creating barriers to entry, as we move from physical to digital channels.  I’d appreciate your thoughts here. First, What is ‘Digital Marketing’? A great… Read more »

Is UBI Trapped in a Cul-de-sac?

After a tire-burning leap out of the starting gate, the smoke is clearing around UBI in Canada and it’s looking like it might have been steered into a dead-end. Is it stuck, or will it one day find the open road? Let me know what you think. Assume a killer app … At an automotive… Read more »

Insurance Connectivity: Life in a Parallel Universe

I went to an interesting meeting a week ago which made me think that there is a parallel universe alongside the one that I’ve been living in for the past three decades. I am not sure what to do with the information, so I thought I’d throw it out for your consideration. Here’s the back… Read more »

Too Much Going On? Too Expensive? This Could Be the New Normal

When we ask our IT colleagues how they are, the most frequent response is “Too Busy.” When we ask our Finance colleagues how things are going, a common reply is that “IT projects are costing a lot.” These aren’t necessarily new revelations, but we’re wondering if these symptoms indicate bigger changes coming. We’re going to… Read more »

Accenture’s Vision of Insurance: 5 Trends and a Great Plot

I have the opportunity of  reading a lot of interesting, forward-looking material related to insurance technology.  While most have some value points, few have the detail and holistic view that I found in the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2015. It is well presented and has specific conclusions that will challenge many of us, for… Read more »

Core Systems Replacement Redux

We were having lunch with a consultant colleague last week, and the subject turned to core systems modernization / replacement. It seems that a significant percentage of North American initiatives are running longer than planned, or higher than budget, or narrower in scope. Some are encountering more than one challenge. We scratched our grey heads… Read more »

Is Agile Outdated?

I don’t usually get into the substrata of technology in this space, but recent posts on several tech sites suggest that the Agile development approach might not be meeting all the needs of software development. If true, this could cause some real disruption well beyond IT developers. I’d appreciate your thoughts. What’s Agile, Dad? Agile… Read more »

Wise Words of Wisdom

There’s a phrase I like to use to describe an overused statement that sounds better than the content it contains. I call such statements “wise words of wisdom.” I ran across something making the rounds in the social sphere which might qualify, though it sounds like profound advice for what to do next in these… Read more »

Consumers’ Views of Digital Insurance Distribution Strategies

Digital distribution is a hot topic for insurers. The advent of new digital options, combined with new potential competitors, has increased the volume of discussion. In our experience, much of this is internally focused, with consumer preferences represented by personal preferences of insurer staff. We recently came across a white paper which focused on consumers’ views… Read more »