External forces are driving innovation and disruption in the insurance industry. Our faculty members will offer perspectives to give you and your peers fresh insights as you face these challenges and address the opportunities. Some have a long track record working in or with the insurance industry; some bring extensive experience in other industries to their current insurance positions; and others add a perspective based on careers elsewhere. All bring a wealth of expertise and experience to their sessions.
Below is the roster of confirmed faculty members. More participants will be added over the coming days.
Presenters, Panelists and Moderators
Principal & Sr. Architect, X by 2
Samir Ahmed is a Principal and Senior Architect at X by 2. He has spent over a decade advising client leadership on their technology strategies and providing program and architecture leadership for the delivery of strategic business application and enterprise integration initiatives in the Insurance, Healthcare, Financial Services and Retail industries. Mr. Ahmed holds dual bachelor's degrees in computer science and computer engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Co-Founder and Research Director, Aite Group
Gwenn Bézard is a co-founder of and research director at Aite Group, where he leads the Insurance practice (encompassing P&C Insurance, Life Insurance, and Healthcare Insurance). He also oversees the firm’s Banking & Payments practice and the Research Design & Data team. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and is researching how technology is creating new market opportunities for insurers.
Mr. Bézard has over 15 years of experience assisting financial institutions, payments companies, and technology vendors with advisory services and strategy consulting. Prior to founding Aite Group, he was a senior analyst within Celent's banking group, where he helped build an industry-leading payments practice. Before that, Mr. Bézard was with BNP Paribas, where he headed the research team of L'Atelier, the bank's technology and Internet intelligence division. He also served as an analyst at Plénitudes, a management consulting firm that specializes in change management.
Mr. Bézard holds a Maîtrise degree in contemporary history from the University Rennes II, France, and is fluent in English and French.
Partner and Chief Research Officer, Strategy Meets Action
Mark Breading, a Partner and Chief Research Officer at SMA, is a recognized expert in advanced technologies and their implications for the insurance industry. His specialty areas include the customer experience and analytics. He has exceptional knowledge and experience in many dimensions of the customer/producer experience, including omni-channel, customer communications, mobile technologies, CRM, digital content management, and contact centers. He has broad experience and insights in data and analytics, including business intelligence, advanced analytics, and big data.
Mark has more than 30 years of insurance and information technology experience in a variety of leadership roles. Mark is well known for his perspectives on innovative uses of technology in insurance and the future of the insurance industry. Mark leads the research program at SMA, and has exceptional knowledge and experience in all aspects of advanced technologies and solutions that provide value across the insurance enterprise – including analytics, customer communications, enterprise content management, telematics, and mobile technologies.
He has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy, including roles as IBM's Global Insurance Strategist, Global Insurance Marketing Leader, and Director of Global Executive Conferences for insurance and banking. In these roles, he has advised C-level executives around the world.
Mark is a graduate of Bucknell University with a BSBA in Accounting and a graduate of IBM's Systems Research Institute with a major in Software Systems. He also holds an MBA in International Business from Liberty University.
CEO & Founding Partner, Abacus Data
David Coletto is CEO and a founding partner of Abacus Data, a full-service market research and public opinion research firm based in Ottawa. With almost a decade of experience in the industry, David and his partners founded Abacus 7 years ago, and since then it has grown into one of Canada's most respected market research firms.
David is the lead researcher for Abacus Data's Canadian Millennials Practice and has advised organizations and corporations on how to engage and manage generational change. He spoken to groups all over North America on how his generation is disrupting work, politics, and the consumer market.
Abacus Data has provided data-based strategic advice to organizations such as, NAV CANADA, the Air Canada Pilots Association, the Canadian Bankers Association, Shaw Communications, Imperial Oil, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Allstate Insurance, Kids Help Phone, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Real Estate Association, Leadnow, Food & Consumer Products of Canada, and many more.
Earning a doctorate from the University of Calgary in 2010, David is an Adjunct Professor at the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at Carleton University where he teaches courses on public affairs strategies, polling, and political marketing.
International Business Development Director, Shift Technology
- Session: Innovation Showcase: Startup Pitches
Samuel is International Business Development Director for InsurTech Shift Technology. Shift Technology is specialized in Insurance Fraud detection leveraging AI and Machine Learning technologies. Shift has raised $40M USD, has signed contracts with over 45 major insurers across the world and is cited amongst the top 20 InsurTech firms globally.
Samuel has 15+ years experience in Sales and Business Development leadership positions in technology companies. He joined Shift Technology in 2017 to accelerate the international expansion of the InsurTech.
Senior Analyst - Insurance, Celent
- Session: AI: What's Your Plan?
Mike Fitzgerald is a senior analyst with Celent's Insurance practice and is based in Cary, North Carolina. He has specific expertise in property/casualty automation, operations management and insurance product development. Mike's research focuses on billing, business process and operations, social media use in insurance, and distribution management.
Mike brings extensive industry experience to the analyst role. Prior to joining Celent, he was vice president of enterprise underwriting solutions at Zurich North America, where he led the evaluation of technology alternatives to support a new underwriting product development process. He held a number of positions at Royal & Sun Alliance, including a field operations regional executive role. His technology implementation experience includes the installation and maintenance of billing, automobile policy administration, and workers compensation automation. In the 1990s, Mike led an initiative which delivered one of the first global online technical underwriting and claims learning platforms in the industry.
Mr. Fitzgerald has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Davidson College and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Dr. Blair Feltmate
Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo
The primary purpose of the Intact Centre is to mobilize practical and cost-effective means to help de-risk Canada from the costs associated with extreme weather events.
Blair has written textbooks on environmental science, banking and sustainable development. He is generally interviewed by the media 100-150 times per year.
He Chairs the development of two adaptation Standards for the Canadian Standards Association, and he is Chair, Federal Government of Canada Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation and Resilience Results.
Blair has previously held positions including Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, OPG; and Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management.
Doug Grant has been helping the insurance industry in Canada make effective use of technology for many years. From a business-impact and application perspective, he has helped individual companies and cross-industry groups in both Property & Casualty and Life insurance.
The progress of technology from the the basement computer room to the desk-top terminal and PC, to portable laptops to smartphones and tablets and now BYOD has been a fascinating journey. Processes extended to business partners through connected systems has continued to improve efficiency and timeliness.
The web brought the customer directly into the equation. Social functions have enabled new levels of connectedness, triggering the current focus on customer experience and engagement, which can paradoxically both enhance loyalty and increase freedom of choice.
Doug is a founding partner in Insurance-Canada.ca, a leading Canadian Insurance resource centre for consumer and insurance professional alike. He organizes and hosts regularly scheduled Insurance-Canada.ca conferences and other events.
Married with two sons, Doug is a recent migrant from house to condo (too much stuff – not enough space), both in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Head of Canadian Operations, Hubio
Philip Henville is the Head of Canadian Operations for Hubio. He has over 15 years experience with Hubio and predecessor companies, including roles as the Vice President Professional Services, Vice President of Product Development, and SVP Solutions. He is responsible for Hubio's broad range of insurer solutions, including Portals, Broker Connectivity and Regulatory Reporting products and services, and has successfully directed over 30 insurer/broker software implementations. Prior to joining Hubio Phil held various senior roles within the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Phil speaks regularly at insurance industry events, including the recent Telematics Update conference in Chicago, and has presented at prior Insurance-Canada.ca events.
Strategy Lead - Analytic Ecosystems, SAS Canada
- Session: How to Train your A.I.
As Strategy Lead for SAS Canada Steve Holder is responsible for creating and driving SAS solution strategy in the market. A key part of this is providing thought leadership for the SAS Analytics, Big Data and Cloud portfolios. A Canadian analytics evangelist Steve has seen first-hand how the use of analytics and data can help customers solve business problems; make the best decisions possible and unearth new opportunities. Steve’s passion is making technology make sense for everyone regardless of their technical skillset.
With many years of software industry experience, spanning: management, solutions architecture, presales and sales, Steve brings alignment and execution across SAS’ customers, sales teams, and partners.
Prior to joining SAS in 2014 Steve was Director of solution strategy at SAP and Regional Director at IBM. Steve received his Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University and lives in Toronto with his wife and two daughters. During his spare time he enjoys traveling, cycling, skiing and spending time outdoors.
Vice President, MARCON
Catherine Kargas, MBA, is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience providing consulting advice to executives in the insurance, transportation (with an emphasis on alternative propulsion technologies) and energy sectors. She is the Vice President of the management consulting firm, MARCON, and the Vice Chair of Electric Mobility Canada.
Catherine has worked with numerous players in the P&C space, including insurance carriers and brokers. She is a member of the Insurance 2023 group and an Insurance-Canada.ca collaborator.
Operations Manager, Mitchell and Whale
With over 20 years in the business, Amanda started her insurance career as a CSR in a brokerage. She quickly became intrigued by how innovation and technology can improve efficiency and customer service. Amanda made the move to the technology side of the industry, working as a Trainer and Consultant for a leading Broker Management System vendor. Amanda has worked with brokerages across Canada implementing efficient workflow, maximizing their use of technology, and promoting the adoption of emerging technologies.
Amanda joined CSIO (Centre for Study of Insurance Operations) where she worked on projects to help identify and implement leading edge technology standards and solutions for the broker distribution channel.
Amanda is now Operations Manager at Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers, one of the fastest organically growing brokerages in Ontario, boasting a 70% growth in 2015, while maintaining a very strong retention rate of existing clients. Loving what she does, Amanda continues to implement efficient workflows using existing technology and embraces emerging technologies in search of growth opportunities for Mitchell & Whale.
COO, AIG Insurance Company of Canada
- Session: Winning Through Partnerships
Marc Lipman is the Chief Operating Officer of AIG Insurance Company of Canada. Based in Toronto, he is responsible for the development and implementation of various strategic initiatives as well as acting in various client facing capacities. As part of his role Mr. Lipman is responsible for overseeing and championing AIG's Innovation Strategy within Canada.
Prior to assuming his current responsibilities, Mr. Lipman held various positions with AIG including the Chief of Staff of AIG Canada, the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of AIG Canada and the Chief Regulatory Officer for all AIG companies in Canada from 2008 to 2010. Mr. Lipman has worked with AIG for 10 years and holds 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Mr. Lipman holds a Masters of Laws degree, with an award of Merit, from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, in Toronto, Canada.
President & COO, Kanetix Ltd.
As President and CEO, Andrew Lo leads corporate development initiatives for Kanetix Ltd., Canada's largest online marketplace for insurance and financial services. He is also a Business Strategy Advisor for Ryerson University's DMZ helping to develop entrepreneurs and startup companies at Canada's largest startup incubator.
Andrew has many years of experience as a business and technology leader for FinTech companies such as Filogix and D+H, and has developed organizations from startups into industry shaping ventures with over 4,000 employees.
Sr. Sales Director, Octo Telematics (North America)
Cletus Nunes is Sr. Sales Director at Octo Telematics North America. He oversees insurance, automotive and emerging product sales in the US and Canada. Cletus has worked in the connected vehicle industry for more than 15 years in product development, delivery and sales for OEM, fleet, automotive, and insurance connected car solutions. Cletus is a strategic leader and key innovator with a history of success in anticipating consumer need and capitalizing on emerging technology to deliver innovative products and solutions. His passion is finding new opportunities to use vehicle connectivity to improve ROI.
Executive Director, Digital Broker Strategy, Aviva Canada
Tom has been in the P & C insurance industry since 1993. He’s held roles in IT, Finance, Operations and was a licenced broker during his tenure as COO of Canada Brokerlink. Tom currently works for Aviva Canada as Executive Director of Digital Broker Strategy. Tom holds a B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA.
Tom has been the volunteer president of Ski Jumping Canada since 2014 and is a session member of the Canadian Olympic Committee. He lives in Calgary with his wife and two children, aged 20 & 18. Tom enjoys both winter & summer sports and is a drummer & photographer.
Sr. Director & Managing Enterprise Architect, The Co-operators Group Ltd.
Hashmat is currently the Senior Director & Managing Enterprise Architect at Cooperators Group of companies. He leads the delivery of the Enterprise Architecture and IT Strategy work-plan and objectives. He also maintains in depth knowledge of strategic business plans and help drive IT investments and the Applied Innovation portfolio to support operating and strategic imperatives.
Hashmat's career has centred on ‘digital’ and ‘transformation’ with a focus on delivering significant and sustainable value right through from strategy to execution.
Hashmat also teaches software engineering, data science and agile delivery at top Canadian higher learning institutions. He co-founded DisrupIT Labs that helps clients harness data analytics and digital in support of business strategy, deliver cross-functional, rapid prototyping capability to push and test new value propositions in the market fast.
His professional training as a software engineer, quantitative analyst, experience as a data scientist, fraud examiner, information security professional, transformation and integration specialist and digital entrepreneur gives him a unique advantage in driving organisational transformation and value.
Charles St. Louis
Charles St.Louis is a blockchain evangelist who loves to share with his network news and articles about his experience with the revolutionary technology.
Charles' background is in pure mathematics and applied statistics from Queen's University. He began his blockchain career while working at RBC. There he was on a team that developed a private blockchain proof-of-concept using Hyperledger technology. The patented project was created for a digital client identity management system for RBC clients and has now been put into production.
After that, he decided to dig deeper into Ethereum and Smart contract development and got his Certification for Ethereum Development through the Blockchainhub and York University. His smart contracts range from a simple crowdfunding contract to building an ERC20 token with capabilities to run an ICO.
Since then he has been working on his own startup, HealthBlock Identity, in hopes to revolutionize the old school healthcare space using a Hyperledger permissioned blockchain.
Iliana Oris Valiente
Managing Director, Global Blockchain Innovation Lead, Accenture; Founder, ColliderX
- Session: Blockchain: Is It The Future of Insurance Technology?
- Session: Blockchain Panel: Challenges, Limitations, and Practical Applications
Iliana Oris Valiente, CPA, CA, CBP (Certified Bitcoin Professional) is widely credited for being a trailblazer in the blockchain space, having been among the first to recognize the tremendous impact of this traditionally “hacker” technology on the enterprise world. Her focus has been on exponential technology, entrepreneurship and bridging the gap between the corporate world and the start-up communities.
In her current role as a Managing Director and Global Blockchain Innovation Lead at Accenture, Iliana is responsible for strategy initiatives and overseeing projects to conceptualize and build blockchain solutions across industries, with a focus on FSI, supply chain, healthcare and the public sector.
Iliana is also the founder and Chair of ColliderX, the world's first non-profit, open sourced, and crowdsourced R&D hub for blockchain and related technologies.
Previously, Iliana was the catalyst in getting Deloitte actively involved with blockchain innovation, and founded the Rubix by Deloitte practice in 2014 where she led teams providing advisory services and building decentralized applications across multiple technology platforms. Iliana has strong views on how the network effects of this technology will impact multiple verticals, and how it will radically change many status quo business models. Iliana is an author and sought after speaker, regularly presenting at conferences and events around the world.
Partner, Director - Products & Services, Insurance-Canada.ca
Patrick has more than 25 years of experience enabling technology and electronic commerce in the insurance and risk management communities. Patrick is a Founding Partner of Insurance-Canada.ca, Inc., the premier source for Canadian information on insurance & technology.
Patrick currently serves as Insurance-Canada.ca's Director of Products and Services, and sits on the company's Advisory Board. He edits the Intersection, Insurance-Canada.ca's blog, produces and hosts on-line and in-person events, and develops bespoke offerings for Insurance-Canada.ca's clients.
Throughout his career, Patrick has held senior management positions with insurance companies, distributors, consulting firms, and technology solution providers. He serves on boards and committees of various industry associations.
Patrick authors articles for leading trade publications and has spoken at insurance and technology conferences in Canada, the US, UK, Europe, and Bermuda.
Bobbi and Patrick Vice enjoy living and working in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada.
Vice President - Research & Consulting, Novarica
- Session: AI: What's Your Plan?
Eric Weisburg is a Vice President of Research and Consulting at Novarica with expertise in insurance technology, operations, and finance. He has over 20 years... of insurance experience in industry, consulting and software. For the past several years he has been helping clients understand and implement cognitive, analytics and information solutions. His experience spans most lines, channels and horizontal functions.
He has held roles as Managing Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Tower Group Companies and Vice President at AIG, where he led the global internal consulting function reporting to the enterprise CFO and supporting the C-Suite in the areas of sales, underwriting, claims, profitability and change management across all lines of business in areas ranging from predictive analytics and technology adoption to distribution and finance. He also created the insurance strategy practice for Navigant Consulting, and led digital solutions and big data and analytics engagements for IBM. Eric holds an MBA in Finance from New York University and a BA from Binghamton University.