2015 People’s Choice Awards

2015 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Awards

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2015 ‘PICTA’ Results

It's your turn to choose the winners. For the past four years, a jury of insurance and technology experts has made all of the award decisions. This year, we are sharing the load. You will be the jury for three People's Choice ICTAs.

Here's how it works, in three easy steps:

  1. Peruse the eligible nominations below (all of which look great);
  2. Decide which ones – up to three – you feel represent the most significant business impact;
  3. Vote for your picks (Voting closed March 5).

Cast your ballot and help to recognize the organizations whose use of technology is having a positive impact on their insurance business. Update: The winners are now posted below!

2015 ‘PICTA’ Winner

Industrial Alliance Auto and Home Insurance

IAAH Implements Modern Core Systems in Record Time

In May 2014, Industrial Alliance Auto and Home Insurance successfully deployed a new underwriting, policy administration, billing, claims and customer management platform for auto and homeowners and other personal lines of business for its operations in Quebec, to replace its legacy systems that were placing restrictions on business efficiency and growth, new product introduction and customer experience. This solution, the EIS Suite, was deployed after only 2 years of team work.

Technology by EIS Group.

2015 ‘PICTA’ Runners Up

Intact Financial Corporation

Intact Puts Risks in Their (Proper) Place

In 2014, Intact Financial and DMTI Spatial worked together to create and roll out a new visual user interface to enable 1,200 underwriters to make more informed and faster decisions regarding new and renewal policies. The system leverages geocoding to ensure that address data associated with one property is extremely accurate. It also provides type-ahead functionality to reduce data-entry times and visually presents internal and external risks to underwriters in real-time. Efficiencies achieved during the quoting process resulted in a 15% reduction in processing time making the payback period for this project 6 months. In addition, better risk segmentation will lead to better risk selection and lower claims costs. This will positively impact Intact's loss ratio as well result in premiums that reflect a customer's specific exposure.

Technology by DMTI Spatial.

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Limited

Cornerstone Insurance applies technology to measure customer engagement

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Ltd. (CSIB) has deployed the Keal Engage solution. This enables CSIB to survey their consumer engagement, in real time, triggered by the policy renewal transaction in a completely automated fashion with zero effort required by their employees. It is a pure and immediate win with no effort required by front line staff. CSIB saw this and was quick to take action as an early adopter. In the words of Peter DaSilva at CSIB, the survey and quarterly reporting “just happens!”

CSIB uses these surveys to gauge consumer satisfaction, likelihood to refer and renew and quality of service by individual employees. With this, they can take action on fostering deeper connections with individual clients that need more attention, and use big picture insights to shape the direction of their brokerage.

The impact has been a significant and steady increase on referral business coming from existing customers.

Technology by Keal Technology and Navicom Inc.

2015 ‘PICTA’ Nominees

ABEX Affiliated Brokers Exchange Inc.

ABEX Offers Efficient and Fast Access to Niche Products for Brokers

ABEX Affiliated Brokers Exchange Inc. and Insurance Technology Solutions Inc. (ITS) have developed a next-generation Policy Administration System, ABEXAccess.com™, that provides secure Real-Time Rating and Paperless Policy Issuance through the ITS BindEasy Solution.

ABEXAccess.com allows brokers to:

  • Provide clients with real-time quotes in minutes (for both Personal and Commercial Lines)
  • Issue paperless policies securely
  • Provide brokers with a secure web portal that allows brokers to make coverage changes, update policy information, fill out applications for new insurance coverage, self-serve for certain types of insurance certificates and get real-time quotes
  • Get instantaneous response on account referrals in a secure real-time environment
  • Go mobile! Both brokers and their clients can experience all of the above benefits using mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android and Window tablets and phones).

ABEX is proud to lead a fundamentally different and profoundly new direction in insurance technology that focuses on the benefits for brokers, better yet, with no cost to the broker. ABEX understands that our investment in this broker focused technology will drive growth in the business we wish to attract. At the same time, the automated underwriting benefits are dramatically reducing costs as well as increasing the ability to service. ABEX is now rolling out new products taking advantage of underserved risk niches that could only be exploited through the technology breakthrough that is ABEXAccess.com. New products can be added in hours, after being approved by our partners. We hope that ABEXAccess.com, with Insurance Technology Solutions, will become the standard in our industry.

Technology by Insurance Technology Solutions Inc. (ITS).

Benchmark Independent Medical Evaluations Inc.

Benchmark IME Applies Document Management/Workflow to the Accident Benefits Business

ExpeFlow is the first system of its kind expressly built to tackle the complex IME/AB workflow in a holistic manner right from the initial referral to the product delivery. This was an ambitious project due to the nature of accident benefits/personal injury claims but one that was long overdue considering the magnitude of the AB component of an insurer's indemnity costs.

Benchmark IME is very happy that the project has resulted in not only a tremendous 66% efficiency gain, but an improvement in quality control as well. In addition, similar benefits can be extrapolated to, and enjoyed, by all parties using it such as insurers, practitioners, and legal teams.

Since ExpeFlow is a comprehensive inclusive platform it also ensures that any activities conducted within the system are secure, comply with privacy legislation, and provide all participants on the IME file with peace of mind knowing that they are working in the safest most secure manner possible.

Technology by ExpeFlow Inc.

The Co-operators

The Co-operators En-Route UBI Program Uses Telematics

The En-Route Auto Program is a UBI program that's available to Co-operators auto insurance clients in Ontario. The program tracks driving in real-time and rewards drivers when they practice safe driving habits. Fewer occurrences of sudden braking, rapid acceleration, late driving, and distance travelled increase overall savings. Drivers who sign up get a participation discount of 5% with the ability to save up to 25% at renewal depending on driving behavior.

En-Route is powered by IMS's DriveSync connected car platform; IMS worked in lockstep with Co-operators during the program.

En-Route has helped Co-operators to grow substantially in Ontario; sales objectives and targeting objectives have been achieved, and clients are very happy with the program.

Technology by Intelligent Mechatronic Systems (IMS).

Echelon Insurance

Echelon Insurance Derives Quick Benefits from Core Systems Replacement

Digitalization forced Echelon to rethink and elevate the IS&T strategic plan. Echelon has shifted their fundamental business model to support new electronic channels, content and transactions. The focus is now on how the broker wants to do business with Echelon Insurance rather than how Echelon Insurance wants to operate the business. This new approach resulted in securing the GIS system as Echelon's technology platform. GIS provides a business rule driven, customer-based platform. It enables faster turnaround time on policies and policy changes, and facilitates development of new insurance products and services to meet our customers' changing needs.


  • View the same information at the same time for GIS “members” (Broker and User)
  • Seamless broker interaction
  • User friendly
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Reduced underwriting intervention

Erie Mutual Insurance Company

Erie Mutual Improves Marketing With Analytics

To become more customer-centric, Erie Mutual Insurance Company turned to data analytics and Environics Analytics, which analyzed its customers with PRIZMC2, a segmentation system that classifies Canadians into 66 lifestyle types. The segments helped Erie Mutual better understand its market size and policyholders, and map areas with lookalike prospects. The analysis also indicated the best media mix and marketing messages.

Erie Mutual shared the analysis across the company – with sales agents, claims people, even board members – and the resulting sales and marketing plan helped it to identify new prospects, target messages and increase brand awareness. The company posted billboards in strategic locations, deployed digital out-of-home screens and dispatched mail solicitations to prospect-filled postal codes. As a result, revenue from new business climbed 40 percent – nearly twice last year's growth rate – with an uptick in new policyholders, increased sales to current customers and younger prospects visiting its website.

Technology by Environics Analytics.

Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan

FMRP Improves Loss Prevention Process

Risk Control Technologies RCT software has enabled the FMRP Loss Control team to increase its service commitment to their Members while decreasing the time it takes to complete a report. Through increased productivity, they are able to reduce their cost per inspection while maintaining a high quality of the reports. The consistency of the final reports and the use of standard recommendations enable FMRP to provide a standard loss control service to Member Companies across Canada. As well, they are now able to review and analyze data that in the past was unavailable. Data (which was previously collected on paper or other report forms) is now housed in a centralized database available online which can be searched, queried and analyzed. The investment in the Risk Control Technologies software was a major step forward for FMRP Loss Control Services and it has helped the loss control team to become more efficient and effective.

Technology by Risk Control Technologies Inc.

Frank Cowan Company (Claims)

Frank Cowan Company Improves Claims Handling

We recognize that managing claims has become increasingly complex and we wanted an advanced administrative tool to help us manage claims as they moved from reporting to resolution so as to reduce costs and maximize efficiency. Guidewire improves claims visibility and allows us to better flag and act throughout the claims process. Guidewire allows for on demand status updates and enables users to track claims from start to finish in real time. Clients will know about all payments made on their claims as well as when any key actions are scheduled, for example:

  • examinations for discovery;
  • mediation;
  • pre-trials.

In addition, clients will know all of the parties to a claim. Users will have the ability to see the current claims status, know what key documents have been secured and the date a file opens and closes. Guidewire allows clients to feel more connected to the claims process.

Technology by Guidewire.

Frank Cowan Company (Sales)

Frank Cowan Company Improves the Sales Function

The implementation of Salesforce at Frank Cowan Company allowed the company to better manage information in several ways. These include access to information; automation of consolidated information; centralization of information; tracking of information; and increased accuracy in forecasting.

When information is managed and accessed in real time, measurements and metrics can be reported that help make decisions easier because they can be qualified. Efficiencies are gained because information is readily available and linked to existing production systems.

Resource allocation is improved, which, in turn affects both the quality and quantity of submissions. Because the sales funnel is being better managed and monitored, forecasting is more strategic and sales goals are more attainable. Revolution Group, a technology consulting service, was instrumental in this deployment by bridging the gaps between the business and the technology.

Technology by Revolution Group.

Group Medical Services

GMS Broker Portal and Customer Portal

GMS's commitment to brokers continues by providing extended functionality to better manage their book of business through state of the art Broker Portals and the integration with their selling organization into GMS back office systems. GMS has also provided brokers a new Learning Management System for GMS TravelStar® and Visitors to Canada products that conforms to the Continuing Education Credits as certified by Advocis and all provincial bodies. This access allows brokers to complete their training requirements when it fits into their busy schedules without losing valuable time with the customer without cost to the broker.

GMS has delivered new value to the end customer to complete claims online, check claim history and status, claims direct deposit and manage their profiles. Online claims has substantially shortened the claim to deposit transaction time for the customer to 2 days in most cases from the paper claim where deposit could be over 2 weeks when the mail system timings are taken into account. From a GMS perspective, our claims adjudication department will experience a reduction in claims handling time as we continue to streamline our internal processes.

The Guarantee

The Guarantee Cleans Up

The Guarantee's Go-To Solution (www.theguaranteegotosolution.com) is an online incident-reporting tool which gives transportation customers easy access to our leading-edge partnerships, right at their fingertips. Customers can use this tool to report a claim, create alerts, add distribution lists, find a contractor, and get access to resources from our strategic partners who are experts in smart monitoring, cargo security, online driver training, 24-hour claims and spill reporting, legal expense insurance, identity and data risk management, and credit insurance.

In addition to the online tool, our Go-To Solution mobile app (available on Blackberry, Android, and Apple devices) brings the power of instant communication, user ID and geo-location to our transportation customers. There are five essential buttons in the app which adds to the user functionality of our incident reporting and claims process:

  • 1. Report Incident
  • 2. Company Information
  • 3. View Past Incidents
  • 4. Add Photo To Report
  • 5. Call For Assistance

Technology by Spill Center, Inc.

Independent Broker Resources Inc.

IBRI Tackles Fleet Management Issues with Telematics Solutions

Fleet advisor is a web-based fleet management solution sold by brokers that assists fleet managers in managing risk. The solution was developed in 2014, implemented with several clients, and is planned for a larger rollout in 2015.

Fleet advisor not only acts as a risk management tool for fleet managers but also sets driving score benchmarks within a fleet that every driver must aspire too. It provides fleet managers with the tools necessary to reduce claims, increase driver education and safety. Brokers in turn have credible data useful to negotiate better insurance rates for the fleets at renewal.

Fleet advisor provides brokers with a solution that is important to their customers, and provides large societal benefits in fuel savings and improved road safety.

Technology by Quindell Solutions.

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (Broker Portal)

ICBC implements new portal technology to help brokers

The redesign and migration of the ICBC broker portal to SharePoint 2013 was enacted to provide brokers with better access to resources, increase business agility, and – in time – provide brokers with individualized identification accounts. Increased sustainment provided by having all company portals (employee, broker, and customer) on a single enterprise-supported platform has also provided benefits in terms of IT support, shared benefits from portal enhancements, iterative development, and responsiveness to user and employee feedback.

Success of the project and use of SharePoint 2013 is supported by analytics demonstrating that brokers are finding information faster and accessing the resources that they need in fewer clicks. Moving forward, the redesign puts us in an excellent position to incorporate additional portal functions as future needs arise.

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (Claims)

ICBC Claims Improves Processes, Speeds Payment to Service Providers

In an effort to initiate a business transformation, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) turned to Guidewire Software's ClaimCenter® to revolutionize some of its processes. One of the configurations ICBC developed with assistance from Guidewire ClaimCenter was Straight Through Invoice Processing, which automated invoice review and approval processes. The functionality enabled by ClaimCenter eliminated manual review/approval and keying by 41.3 percent, significantly freeing ICBC employees to focus on other tasks that would add value to the claims process and improve customer satisfaction levels. The new ClaimCenter infrastructure is also flexible enough to meet future growth needs. By standardizing on Guidewire ClaimCenter, ICBC is well on its way to complete business transformation.

Technology by Guidewire.


InsuranceHero.ca Grows Based on a Telecommunications Footing

InsuranceHero.ca, an online insurance brokerage with a strong appetite to grow its digital footprint, needed a customizable telephony solution. Sunwire's SolSwitch VOIP telephone system was the answer. This phone system provides a wide range of features including detailed analytics reporting, call recording, virtual fax machine, virtual extensions, and flexible queue management. These features can easily be accessed through an intuitive web portal.

Through the use of the phone system, InsuranceHero.ca was able to reduce their errors and omissions exposure, save on long distance charges, reduce call wait times, and allow employees to work from home. As a result, InsuranceHero.ca has increased their provincial customer base and improved the overall client experience.

Technology by Sunwire Inc.

Johnson Inc.

Johnson Inc. Improves Property Underwriting with Peril Scores from OPTA

As Canada's largest Property & Casualty aggregator, Opta's unique data solutions provide significant lift to some of the most advanced industry models utilized by the largest and most sophisticated insurers in Canada, including Johnson Inc. The solution uses a vast amount of data specific to roof top geo-coded locations and sophisticated modelling techniques. Johnson's quick and nimble ability to adopt the solution along with the use of the technology has positioned Johnson to improve their risk selection and pricing approaches ahead of their peers. Johnson continues to grow and be strategically selective in their growth.

Peril Score accurately predicts the likelihood and severity of water, fire, wind, hail and crime loss by geo-coded property address. Peril score empowers Insurers to identify properties that are more at risk for claims frequency and severity, drive individual risk and pricing selection, reduce combined ratio, maintain competitiveness and protect from anti-selection.

Technology by Opta Information Intelligence.

Kanetix Ltd.

Kanetix.ca DriveSmart app helps drivers assess UBI

Kanetix.ca DriveSmart is the first hands-free smartphone application in Canada that helps drivers gauge if they would benefit from joining a usage-based insurance (UBI) program. The app educates users on what UBI is monitoring, gives them a sense of how their driving stacks up, and lets them know if they could qualify for discounts on their car insurance. It's completely hands-free and runs in the background to automatically detect when a person starts and stops driving. The app calculates a driving score based on all the same factors used in UBI programs and provides detailed information about how a person drove and ways they could improve. DriveSmart is available for download through the Apple and Android app stores.

Moore-McLean Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Moore-McLean Wins at The Track

Track Day Insurance Canada is a unique insurance program providing coverage for vehicles participating in sanctioned track day events across the country. Policies are sold directly to consumers through an integrated website offering quick quotes, an intuitive application form, integrated payment solution with PayPal and immediate policy issuance via email. Track Day Insurance Canada is one of the few property and casualty insurance products that can be purchased and paid for online without the need to talk to a person.

Technology by Mouth Media Inc.

RSA (Java Integration Tool)

RSA constructs a Java web component to reduce costs, improve service

RSA is has many IT applications and systems from previous acquisitions and new developments. As RSA craves to serve customers online, they decided to invest in technology to do this in a seamless way, from the customer's perspective. RSA's eBusiness team invested in JAVA technology, which now connects RSA's various back end systems to provide online services such as online quoting, purchasing and AIR MILES registration. The JAVA technology has responsive capabilities, meaning that a customer can be served on any type of device they wish to access the website from – mobile, tablet or desktop. It has also been used to benefit Brokers, by integrating Broker Management Systems (BMS) to rating tools to generate a discount based on credit scores.

The technology's best asset is its integrative features, multiple systems can talk to each other at once, providing an efficient use of RSA's existing tools and technologies.

RSA (LiveChat Broker Support)

RSA Uses Technology To Provide Leading-Edge Support To Brokers

Broker experience and Ease of Doing Business are key pillars of RSA's relationship with our brokers and we are always looking to improve the tools our brokers use. The new Live Chat feature on our WebBusiness personal lines portal, which is powered by LivePerson, allows brokers to interact with an RSA web agent in a new way that makes their processing experience easier and more seamless so that they don't have to stop what they are doing in WebBusiness. Leveraging a technology that has been successfully used in consumer-facing websites, Live Chat allows brokers to service their customers faster, make transacting with RSA easier, and helps them get answers quickly to questions they would normally phone/email in. Live Chat has increased broker satisfaction as those that work in WebBusiness have consistently rated their experience as 'Excellent' and would prefer to use Live Chat to support how they interact with RSA.

Technology by LivePerson Inc.

RSA (Measure, Test & React)

RSA's Technology to Measure, Test and React

The Adobe Analytics tool was purchased and implemented by the RSA eBusiness web team to measure and drive the effectiveness of its 20+ websites. The tool facilitates A | B & Multivariate testing based on its own analytics and search keywords, in order to test different hypotheses in a live environment.

RSA eBusiness actively uses the tool on the PetsPlusUs.com and Johnson.ca transactional quote websites to obtain real-time data from customers and to continuously make changes to improve conversions. Using insights from this tool, Johnson and Pets Plus Us have increased quote starts by around 9% and 8% respectively. The tool has also lifted dog pet insurance purchases by 84% when personalizing the page for dog owners. The tool will be continuously used to measure and influence changes that the eBusiness team makes on their web properties.

RSA Travel Insurance

RSA Travel Insurance Champions Traveller Happiness

Our business is selling travel insurance. But our job is making sure our customers never miss an opportunity to make the most of their trip. We're travellers too, so we've tried to make our new consumer-facing website a site that we'd like to use to plan a trip ourselves.

Using SEO and a tailored content management system, we are able to create content that enables travellers to quickly find what they are searching for while allowing us to keep everything new and updated with ease.

Our completely redesigned quote tool, which can also be white labelled for use by our distribution partners, embraces the same simplistic and traveller focused language enabling travellers to purchase insurance without hassle, and feel confident in their purchase. Whether travelling the world or in the comfort of their living room, the responsive design of the site allows for ease of use on any device, ensuring that we are there for our travellers whenever they need us.

Sharp Insurance

Sharp Insurance Deploys App and Portal to Serve Customers Better

Insurance brokerages across Canada are behind other industries in terms of technological advancements in client service's online tools. The main purpose of the iMobileBroker app and the BrokerScape portal is to give clients accessibility to their insurance details, anywhere and at any time. Most clients call into brokerages for pink cards or payments dates, or to submit a claim. Clients are able to do all of these transaction and more from their mobile phones or computers. The impact on brokerages is substantial. The call volume is lightened, allowing brokers to focus on the bottom line: Selling insurance and acquiring new business.

mySharp was an app developed by Sherif and Sharp Mobile Technology Limited to be used by Sharp clients only. Interest from other brokers sparked Sherif to sell this app to brokers across Canada. Simply put, Sherif understands the difficulties other brokerages face against large direct insurance writers. The iMobileBroker app provides small brokerages the leverage they need to compete in the same sphere as companies such as TD Insurance and All State.

Most growing brokerages suffer from growing pains such as demands on service without having the resources in place to deal with such demands. The app provides a crucial aid for client services. Rather than wasting resources such as time and money on phone transactions for payments, pink cards, policy details and other insurance related service transactions, the iMobileBroker app provides all of these services directly to the client.

Observing the insurance industry, Sharp Insurance's president Sherif Gemayel noticed a serious lack of online tools for clients in the insurance industry. He spent years developing the mobile app with some of the most talented developers in the industry. Two years later, the app is a proven success for the operations at Sharp Insurance, and now has a waiting list of brokerages who want to subscribe to the technology. Innovation, by its very definition, is the act of introducing new things; Sherif Gemayel succeeded in developing the first ever insurance mobile app.

Technology by Sharp Mobile Technology Ltd.

Insurance-Canada.ca offers congratulations to the nominees. Join us at ICTC2015 to discover the winners.