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
Thomas Accardo is well-known in Broker circles. He is the CEO and founder of BrokerLift, a cloud-based eCommerce platform designed specifically for Insurance Brokers.
Prior to founding BrokerLIft, Thomas spent five years consulting with insurance executives and brokers on business strategy, distribution, marketing and innovation.
Over the past 20 years, Thomas has held a number of executive leadership roles at companies such as Digital Cement, Capital C, SapientNitro and IBM Global Services.
Solutions Architect, Global Customer Intelligence Practice, SAS
Brian Alfond brings 20 years of Marketing Experience, from his start creating marketing materials, through managing international marketing teams, to becoming one of the leading marketing operations consultants in the world, to now helping his customers solve all their Marketing business challenges.
A natural problem-solver, Brian understands that all the technology in the world is not going to fix a broken process. By uniting strong process re-engineering skills with industry-leading SAS Marketing technology, he partners with his customers to design elegant and efficient solutions to their complex issues. With this approach, he has helped transform the Marketing Operations of customers ranging in size from small Mom and Pops to Fortune 100 companies.
Brian has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, is an accomplished musician, and a frustrated stand-up comedian.
Director, Innovation Outpost, Wawanesa Insurance
- Session: The Three Biggest Innovation Challenges For Insurance
- Session: The Medium and the Message: Voice and Insurance
David is the Director of the Wawanesa Innovation Outpost. The Outpost is located at Communitech in the heart of the Innovation District in Kitchener-Waterloo and serves as Wawanesa’s connection to the insurance ecosystem in the Toronto-KW Tech Corridor. The Outpost provides both Tech Scouting and Lab Development capabilities as part of the larger Wawanesa Innovation group. David joined Wawanesa in 2017 to open the Outpost.
Prior to Wawanesa, David spent the previous 5 years in product management at a leading telematics provider working on some of the largest UBI and Road Usage Charging implementations in North America and Europe. Over his 25-year career, David has held senior roles in a variety of companies ranging from global CPG to Management Consulting firms to being the CTO of an Ad-tech start-up. In all his roles, David has focused on delivering outstanding business results through the application of leading edge technologies.
David holds an MBA in Strategy & Finance from the Schulich School of Business, York University and a B.Eng & Mgmt in Computer Engineering from McMaster University.
Blockchain Market Lead, Deloitte
- Session: Blockchain: What Is Its Real Insurance Potential?
- Session: Realizing Blockchain's Insurance Potential
Louisa Bai is a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Technology Consulting practice and is leading the firm’s market development in the blockchain ecosystem. She has more than a decade of experience in the financial services industry across Canada, the US and Asia, specifically in Banking.
Louisa spent 5 years in Hong Kong, where she started as an Associate in Equity Capital Markets with Standard Chartered Bank and later moved to Credit Suisse as Vice President on the Delta One Sales Trading desk.
After moving back home to Toronto in 2016, Louisa re-joined TD Bank as their Business Lead for the Blockchain Centre of Excellence, focusing on enterprise-wide strategy development and implementation of DLT initiatives.
Louisa has an MBA from INSEAD.
President & CEO, isure
Dario Battista is one of Canada’s leading innovative retail digital insurance brokers and an industry leader in insurance digital marketing and social media. As President and CEO of isure, Dario transformed a traditional insurance brokerage business into a leading organic growth digital insurance retailer.
Starting in insurance as a sales producer, Dario has succeeded in every aspect of the retail insurance marketplace. Initially building a profitable portfolio of personal insurance clients, Dario transitioned to commercial insurance, where he became a top commercial producer. His success comes from his core belief to put the customer in the center of everything you do.
Dario’s creative and unique approach to insurance retail marketing stems from his solid foundation in insurance sales, along with his unique perspective having grown up in the travel retail and wholesale industries. Through his family’s businesses, Dario witnessed the transformation of retail travel and how successful agents adapted their business models to changing customer demands.
In 2006, Dario saw an opportunity to transition his successful traditional brokerage into a brand focused multi-choice digital insurance retailer. Through organizational restructuring, effective and creative use of digital marketing and an extensive social media platform, isure has become a leading Canadian independent retail insurance brokerage.
What differentiates isure from other digital brokers is its focus on organic growth. Isure relies exclusively on its brand in attracting new clients. Through this strategy Dario has built a sustainable insurance retail and marketing model allowing isure to continually invest in brand building and customer development.
Business Development Manager, Mobileye
Julie Bernadou is Mobileye’s Business Development Manager for North America. In her role, Julie also leads the development of the insurance vertical for Mobileye’s latest advancements in collision avoidance technology. Julie oversees the partnerships that help insurance companies be proactive in keeping their customers safe on the road, along with other benefits.
Prior to Mobileye, Julie was working for the French Trade Commission, within the Automotive Industry, based in Chicago. There, she built new partnerships and developed business opportunities for French companies that were looking to expand in the North American market. Julie also has experience as the business development and marketing manager for selected suppliers to a range of OEM’s and tier ones in the global automotive, aerospace, and defense markets.
Director of Marketing Performance, Sonnet
Jenny Bersinic is the Director of Performance Marketing & Planning for Sonnet.
She is a results-oriented marketing leader with extensive knowledge about integrated marketing programs, digital marketing and content, international/national/local media campaigns, event-based activations, partnership alignment, and sales promotion executions. She is passionate about emerging digital innovations as well as creating business efficiencies.
Vice President, PMG Technologies
Franck Bonny has more than 28 years of experience serving automotive and manufacturing industries worldwide as Director, Consultant, Coach and Conference Lead and Speaker. Franck is the author and leader of two innovative strategic and profitable management approaches in Europe and North America. This approach leads to management systems of Profitable Quality, making quality a synonym for profit.
His current position at PMG Technologies has led to strategic positioning and recognition of the Test and Research Centre in international and emerging automotive markets as well as a noticeable organizational and operational process improvement internally. In the scope of strategic planning, he steered the Test and Research Centre towards the pole position in the testing of connected, autonomous and intelligent mobility.
Since 2013, his focus has been concentrated with the PMG team of engineers, reviewing centres and expertise and building knowledge on the intelligent mobility in America, Asia and Europe. The results of this in-depth research and accumulated knowledge with associative partnerships with major universities leads to the creation of test and research centre on intelligent, connected and innovative mobility bringing Canada to the front stage of transportation.
Founder & President, Nuera Insurance
Braden is the Owner & President of All City Insurance, Air-Alta Insurance, and Centre Street Insurance. He is a co-founder of the Professional Young Insurance Brokers, Past Director of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta, Past Broker Council Board Member for Intact Insurance & RSA Insurance, and current Member of the Entrepreneurs Organization, Calgary Chapter.
Braden has been in the insurance industry for the past 18 years, and his past experience includes Bodily Injury Adjusting at RSA Insurance and Managing Partner at Western Financial Group. He attended Mount Royal College where he studied Business Administration with an Insurance major.
Braden works in all aspects of his latest passion project, InsurTech startup Nuera Insurance, striving to bring his vision to a reality. The Nuera journey is one that exemplifies a customer-centric, people-focused culture, set out to leverage technology and innovation to forever change the insurance experience.
Partner, Strategy Meets Action
- Session: The Shape of Insurance in Ten Years
- Session: The Medium and the Message: Voice and Insurance
- Session: What Technology Will have the Biggest Impact on Insurance?
Mark Breading, a Partner at Strategy Meets Action, is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methods and his ability to incorporate InsurTech and emerging tech into business strategies are unparalleled. Mark also leads SMA’s research program, has overseen the publication of over one hundred research reports, and directed custom research projects for insurer and tech clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, emerging technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him rankings as a "Top Global Influencers in InsurTech" by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the 10 finalists for the "Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award."
Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM in roles including the Global Insurance Strategist and Director of Global Financial Services Executive Conferences in addition to leadership roles in consulting and marketing. Mark co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.
He is a frequent speaker at industry events; an InsurTech mentor with the Global Insurance Accelerator; and a frequent contributor of articles to Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, LOMA Resource, and many other industry publications.
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.
EVP - Sales Engineering, TechCanary
Bo Brown is a licensed insurance broker who brings more than two decades of insurance industry experience, including professional services and implementations.
Bo has managed large IT teams and developed strategic IT business plans that included everything from networks to databases, point of sales and telecom.
He also served as the CIO for a large brokerage in New York. He regularly presents to agencies and brokers on how and why to choose a broker management system.
Head of Corporate Innovation Thought Leadership, Communitech
Simon is currently Head of Corporate Innovation Thought Leadership at Communitech which is a private-public innovation hub in Kitchener Waterloo that supports a community of 1400 companies from startups, to scale-ups to large global players. He is responsible for acting as Communitech’s thought leader in corporate innovation and working with corporate clients to leverage the Kitchener Waterloo and global tech ecosystem.
Prior to joining Communitech, he was Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives for Manulife Financial where he was responsible for strategic planning and development for the Insurance and Investment businesses as well as leading the digital solutions, advisor experience and regulatory and public affairs. He has worked in the financial services industry for 20 years and has a diverse background in banking, investment management, and group pension/benefits where he has held a variety of senior positions in strategy, product, business development, operations, and project management.
Simon holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, is a CFP (Certified Financial Planner), and PMP (Project Management Professional).
National Insurance Sector Leader, Deloitte Canada
James Colaço is a Partner in the Monitor Deloitte practice. He leads the Insurance Strategy & Operations consulting practice of Deloitte Canada.
Based in Toronto, James has more than 14 years of global experience. His areas of focus are corporate and business unit strategy, business case development, and business transformation, primarily in the Insurance sector. James is an industry expert in the insurance space, having led numerous strategic, operational, and transformational engagements with Canadian and global insurers.
James holds an M.B.A. from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and a B.A.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto.
CEO, Symbility Intersect;
CMO, Symbility Solutions
Paul is the CEO of Intersect, an organization that has built its award-winning business by helping Fortune 500 companies think and act like startups – an offering that complements the company’s work facilitating the growth and success of startups at their Toronto site. Intersect (formerly known as bnotions) was acquired in 2015 by Symbility Solutions, and with the acquisition, Paul also assumed the role of CMO of global marketing operations – bringing his test & learn and agile mindset to marketing and business development of the company. His marketing team is operating in a way that is anything but “business as usual” and unique for B2B organizations.
Paul is at the forefront of helping organizations embrace the constant evolution of consumer expectations, technology, and design. He has spoken at conferences across North America and the UK, showcasing how organizations can fully embrace change to move faster and build smarter.
Prior to his role as CEO at Symbility Intersect and CMO at Symbility Solutions, Paul spent more than a decade in digital marketing, digital advertising, digital/mobile strategy, and the oversight of product management, product design, and engineering teams.
VP, Customer Insights, Experience & Distribution, SGI CANADA
Cari Donaldson, CA, CPA, CIA, CIP, is Vice President of Customer Insights, Experience & Distribution at SGI CANADA.
Cari leads SGI's customer experience, digital and national business development teams. As a carrier solely committed to the broker channel, SGI's recent digital investments have been focussed on connectivity with brokers directly and through broker management systems.
Cari serves on the Board of the Insurance Institute of Saskatchewan and on the National Council of the CIP Society.
Head of Customer Success, Shift Technology
Dan Donovan is the Head of Customer Success for Shift Technology, a provider of AI-native solutions for the global insurance industry. In this role, he and his team support Shift clients with strategic guidance and counsel related to how artificial intelligence and business analytics can benefit fraud detection and claims automation processes, while at the same time supporting overall digital transformation and modernization initiatives. Dan is an expert in the field of insurance fraud and claims analytics. He has more than 25 years of insurance industry experience, including nearly two decades leading fraud investigation and claims operations for Liberty Mutual in Boston and six years working in the insurance technology sector.
- Session: Voice: Could It Become THE Channel Of Choice?
- Session: The Medium and the Message: Voice and Insurance
Joseph D’Souza is a passionate business builder, with more than a decade of experience in founding and growing companies. He is adept at finding opportunities in the market and delivering tangible business outcomes to fill them.
As the Founder and CEO of ProNavigator, he is using AI to reinvent customer service and drive growth in the insurance industry. An industry ripe for innovation, he helps insurance agencies and carriers increase sales, retention and productivity by extending the capabilities of their existing team.
SVP & CIO, RSA
- Session: Young Drivers, Leaking Water & Fat Dogs...
- Session: From UBI to Flying Cars: Mobility and Insurance
John Elliott has more than 20 years of experience overseeing large international technology teams within the financial services and insurance sectors. Since he completed a career as an officer in the US Army, his roles have included senior IT and business roles, focused on insurance, financial services, and risk management.
John is currently the CIO and SVP of RSA of Canada.
Over these diverse assignments, John developed deep expertise in IT strategy and execution, infrastructure and operations management, application development management and transformation. He holds a Bachelors in Mathematics from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Masters of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters of Science in Mathematics from MIT and a Masters in Computer Science from NYU Polytechnic.
Director, Legal and Assistant General Counsel, Insurance Bureau of Canada
Mario Fiorino is Director Legal and Assistant Counsel at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, where he is coordinator of the National Commercial Standing Committee.
Mario has a national practice and provides legal, business and government relations support to all IBC regional offices. He has worked with insurance professionals and organizations in all Canadian jurisdictions, Europe, the United States and Australia on emerging risks, professional liability, organizational development and change management issues.
Mario is a graduate from the University of Windsor (Law) and Western University (Masters in Education).
Senior Analyst - Insurance, Celent
- Session: Insurance Product Development: Managing Obsolescence
- Session: Realizing Blockchain's Insurance Potential
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).
Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Underwriter
David re-joined Canadian Underwriter as Editor-in-Chief in November 2017. He was previously Editor and Senior Editor of Canadian Underwriter between 2005 and 2012.
Before returning to the publication, he worked as a Communications Consultant at the Insurance Institute of Canada. Previously, he was a communications adviser with Ontario’s legal regulator, the Law Society of Upper Canada. From 2001-2004, he was a staff writer and copy editor for Law Times, a weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario, as well as a regular contributor to Canadian Lawyer magazine.
Vice-President, Digital Marketing, aha insurance
Khari Gaynor is the Vice-President of Digital Marketing at aha insurance.
Khari has more than 18 years of experience developing and implementing customer-centric digital marketing strategies leading to growth in both market-share and brand awareness for national and global brands.
He has played an essential role in successful digital product launches in the banking, credit card, and insurance sectors.
- Session: The Medium and the Message: Voice and Insurance
- Session: What Technology Will have the Biggest Impact on Insurance?
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.
Senior General Adjuster, Crawford & Company
Neal Jardine, CSM, CRM, CIP, CFEI, BSc, is the Senior General Adjuster at Crawford & Company. Neal has more than a decade of experience adjusting property & casualty claims, both domestically and internationally. As a member of the Toronto Global Technical Services (GTS) team, Neal leads the Crawford Cyber Practice utilising his background in Computer Science and practical knowledge of network administration.
Crawford & Company has a global cyber practice with incident managers located in every region around the world ready to respond to clients’ needs 24/7. Our trained incident managers are experts in the field of cyber claims with in depth knowledge of emerging trends, impacts to clients, and attacks currently being used by hackers around the world. This in-depth knowledge allows them to quickly respond to the needs of clients and mitigate the exposure of lost revenue as well as reputational risk.
VP - Insurance Business Development, CAA Insurance Company
A seasoned insurance professional, Robin has more than 30 years of experience spanning a wide variety of disciplines in the P&C insurance industry, in Personal Lines as well as Commercial Lines.
Robin has held senior management positions contributing to growth and profitability of three P&C insurance organizations, including leadership roles in underwriting, operations, finance and distribution. Robin joined CAA in May 2011. In his current role he is responsible for Business Development and Risk Management for both CAA Insurance and Orion Insurance.
He has a Bachelors degree in Mathematics as well holds the designations Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) and Canadian Risk Manager (CRM).
Vice President, MARCON
- Session: Preparing For The Road Ahead: Insurance In An Autonomous Vehicle World
- Session: From UBI to Flying Cars: Mobility and Insurance
Catherine Kargas, MBA, is a business strategist with over 25 years of management consulting experience. She is Vice President at MARCON, a business research and strategy-consulting firm with expertise in the fields of transportation, insurance and energy. Changes in mobility (electrification, sharing, automation, multimodality, Mobility as a Service) have been the focus of much of Catherine’s work in recent years, with clients in the private and public sectors.
Catherine is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Electric Mobility Canada and the Chair of the CIAMIL, a mobility start-up incubator. She is a founding member of the Transportation Evolution Institute, a mobility think tank. Catherine is also involved in the MaaS Alliance, leading one of the working groups focused on the development of MaaS business models.
In addition to the mobility space, Catherine has worked for over 15 years with P&C insurers on distribution as well as new product design.
She has advised mobility players, governments and insurers as they prepare for the changes related to transportation.
Operations Manager, Mitchell and Whale
Now with more than 20 years of experience 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.
Chief Growth Officer, Slice
Philippe Lafreniere is Chief Growth Officer at Slice. Philippe brings over 25 years of global insurance technology experience to the role, where he is focused on building more meaningful relationships with companies committed to becoming digital insurers and serving the needs of the on-demand economy.
As Chief Growth Officer, Philippe works with carriers globally to partner on the development of realistic plans for creating new digital insurance products serving business and consumer end-customers. As a member of the Slice Executive team he also infuses product development and marketing strategies to help refine ICS.
Philippe is a proven insurance industry executive with a bench of experience in product management, product marketing and sales for various global, industry-leading technology companies. Before joining Slice, he served as Senior Vice President of Product Marketing at EIS Group, where he was responsible for helping global insurers transform into agile, digital enterprises. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Product Innovation at iter8, as well as Director of Product Marketing and Management at Camilion Solutions, where he helped scale the company before its acquisition to SAP in 2013.
A graduate of the Insurance Institute of Canada, he received his C.I.P. before completing an Executive Program in Strategy and Innovation from MIT Sloan School of Management. Philippe is a frequent speaker and contributor at insurance events globally.
Director - Strategic Initiatives, Wawanesa
Tyler Lanoway is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Wawanesa Insurance. For the past number of years Tyler has been focused on leading the delivery of Wawanesa’s Strategic System Renewal portfolio. This portfolio covers Wawanesa’s core system replacement including development a Broker entry system (BluePass), implementation of a Broker Portfolio System (BlueTrack), and integration with a number of Broker Management Systems.
Tyler specializes leading in the delivery of large, complex and transformational initiatives at Wawanesa. He has over 25 years of experience in application delivery with a number of organizations in Winnipeg, including over 13 years at Wawanesa.
Tyler has a Bachelor of Sciences and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Manitoba. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Risk Strategist, AIG Insurance Company of Canada
John-John Laxa, P.Eng, CRM, is a Risk Strategist with AIG’s Client Risk Solutions group. Based in Toronto, Canada, John-John brings together all of AIG's risk engineering and consulting capabilities, along with other proprietary services, analytics, and technology to enable holistic risk discussions with AIG clients beyond traditional risk transfer. Leveraging the breadth of AIG expertise, data, and technology, John-John provides clients with customized solutions that can measurably reduce risk and help protect businesses’ property, people and performance.
For over 15 years, John-John has held various positions in the insurance industry including field engineering, account risk engineering, underwriting, and client services. Before starting his career in the loss prevention and insurance industry, John-John was a mechanical designer and project manager at a Toronto-based engineering consulting firm.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, holds a Professional Engineering designation from the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and has his Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designation. John-John has also earned a Certificate in Risk Engineering from Clemson University, SC.
National Digital Transformation Leader, Deloitte Digital
Ian Lee is National Digital Transformation Leader for Deloitte Digital. He is a twenty-five year veteran of strategic consulting, digital and IT transformation, solutions architecture, and client service, and specializes in modernizing enterprise business models in an increasingly digital and technology-driven world. He is sought-after for his expertise in digital transformation, customer experience design, and web and mobile innovations for global audiences in all industries.
Prior to joining Deloitte, Ian held senior leadership positions at several prominent North American digital agencies, working with top-tier clients in the automotive, pharmaceutical, retail, finance, aerospace, technology and transportation sectors. When he’s not working, you can most often find him cycling, studiously trying to avoid the label of MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra).
President & CEO, aha insurance
Steve has more than 25 years of experience in the Canadian Home & Auto insurance marketplace. From underwriting, to portfolio management, to operational roles, with organizations ranging from Chubb Insurance, to RBC Insurance, Aviva and RSA, Steve’s path has gained him a familiarity with every facet of both brokerage operations and direct insurance operations. And on top of all that, he’s worked in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Waterloo, thus having the opportunity to see and work in a diverse number of settings and situations across the industry. Steve’s expertise is focused on driving change and developing unique and innovative ways to package and distribute insurance. At aha Steve is responsible for helping drive its strategic direction, develop and manage key partnerships, support the development and execution of the value proposition, and lead the team in building the unique culture that is fundamental to any start-up.
- Session: An Update from CES
- Session: What Technology Will have the Biggest Impact on Insurance?
Andrew is an InsurTech influencer and keynote speaker who has a passion for growing the insurance industry through digital (www.andrewlo.ca). He is also a Business Strategy Advisor for Ryerson University’s DMZ, helping to develop digital entrepreneurs and startup companies at the #1 university incubator in the world.
Andrew was the CEO of Kanetix Ltd. before it was acquired by Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. He led all digital innovation and growth for Kanetix Ltd. – Canada’s largest digital customer acquisition platform for insurance and financial services.
Co-Founder & CEO, Apollo Exchange
Jeff believes in the broker channel. Getting ahead of the InsurTech revolution, he co-founded Apollo Exchange (formerly Digital MGA) to provide Canadian brokers with product, technology, and digital marketing enablement. Digital MGA offers the Apollo platform free to qualifying brokers. Apollo provides quote-bind-issue insurance products white labeled for broker's websites, helping them automate workflows and compete on the digital landscape. Jeff carries the vision of an industry where computers do the work so people can build relationships. With a background as a broker and strong insurance industry fundamentals, Jeff empowers producers and brokerages to reach their digital potential.
Jeff was Insurance Broker Magazine Top 10 Under 40, and recipient of the Insurance Business Magazine Young Guns Award in 2018. He writes professionally for several publications including the Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, National Post, and the Vancouver Province.
Co-Founder & President, Player’s Health Cover
Neil Mitchell is the co-founder and president of Player’s Health Cover, and an InsurTech investor and advisor, and a mental health advocate.
Neil is a former member of Marsh Canada's National Executive & Management Committee and has previously served as the National Practice Leader for Marsh Canada's Consumer & Commercial Practice, consisting of Small to Mid-Sized Enterprises, Commercial Programs (inclusive of third party distribution), Group Home & Auto and High Net Worth/VIP Personal Lines. In leading the practice, his primary functional tasks included, business development, client management, program/product development, retail and third party distribution and systems management.
Jeroen Morrenhof is the CEO of FRISS. Jeroen and his team work to provide an innovative SaaS solution in the InsurTech space. FRISS supports insurers to:
- Generate profitable growth with an effective and efficient underwriting process;
- Prevent and detect fraudulent claims and therefore reduce loss ratio;
- Be and Stay compliant with all regulations regarding KYC, CDD and determining UBO; and
- Support an effective investigation process.
Co-Founder & CEO, Virtual Insurance Office
Sean comes from a diverse background in the marketing and technology startup communities for B2B and B2C economies. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, he worked on introducing and reimagining new technologies and business models for traditional industries.
For more than 15 years in Montreal, Sean ran two successful businesses, worked with venture capital firms including acquisitions and exits, and mentored with technology accelerators. Later, he returned to Alberta to work with his father and explore the undiscovered opportunities in the insurance domain. Sean is determined to change the consumers’ perception of the industry, challenge the status quo and redefine the broker service delivery model.
President, K. Opheim Consulting Inc.
Bringing over 30 years of experience in the life and property-casualty fields of the Canadian insurance industry, Kim Opheim is trusted and relied on to help organizations through the challenges and obstacles that stop them from growing their businesses.
In building relationships, Kim uses effective project management and natural facilitation to build consensus, occasionally breaking a tense moment with a touch of humour.
Kim’s experience ranges from principal in running a brokerage, to IT Manager, to VP Business Development with one of Ontario’s largest P&C brokerages. More recently, as Product Manager, he helped guide the primary software solutions for one of the world’s leading providers.
COO, Act-On Software
Bill is Chief Operating Officer of Act-On and oversees the day-to-day priorities for the product, engineering, customer success and legal teams. Bill brings to the role broad experience in fast-growing, software-as-a-service technology companies and complementary expertise to the other members of the senior leadership team. Prior to being named COO, Bill served Act-On as General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Business Development, where he oversaw the company’s strategic partnerships and managed its global legal function. He is responsible for leading the company’s corporate development initiatives and growing Act-On’s partner ecosystem.
Bill brings over 15 years of leadership in the areas of legal, operations, business development, corporate development, technology partnerships and ecosystem relationships. He has served in executive roles at Jama Software and Jive Software, where he helped lead the company to a successful IPO, facilitated international expansion, and managed the process for acquiring five companies. Bill holds a juris doctorate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College.
Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Dessa
Stephen is employee zero at Dessa, and founded the company with a vision to build AI tools and systems that re-invent what's possible for business. Stephen is a serial tech entrepreneur, and has owned successful companies on both sides of the Atlantic that have been featured in dozens of publications including WIRED, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal.
Between startups, Stephen also designed computer-based trading algorithms at one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Stephen is a passionate public speaker, and once presented at an event at 10 Downing Street before David Cameron. Stephen studied Computer Science at the University of Toronto and once spent a summer studying artificial intelligence at Stanford in the early 2000s – a time when neural networks were hardly acknowledged.
Management and Media Consultant
Ian Portsmouth is a management and media consultant, public speaker and award-winning journalist recognized for excellence by such organizations as the National Magazine Awards Foundation, Canadian Business Press and Canadian Public Relations Society. With the knowledge gained from 23 years as a management journalist and B2B marketer, Ian is a trusted advisor and commentator on management best practices for entrepreneurial businesses.
Ian is the former Managing Director of the Insurance Media Group at Newcom Media Inc., where oversaw Canada’s two leading P&C media outlets, Canadian Underwriter and Claims Canada. During his tenure there, Ian led the much-lauded relaunch of Canadian Underwriter magazine and the acquisition of its chief competitor, Canadian Insurance Top Broker.
Prior to joining the Insurance Media Group, Ian was Group Publisher, Business and Personal Finance at Rogers Publishing Ltd., overseeing the strategy and operations of three of Canada's top business and finance publications: Canadian Business, MoneySense and PROFIT. He also served more than a decade as the Editor-in-Chief of PROFIT, Canada’s most-read publication for entrepreneurs, where he launched several business awards programs and co-founded the BMO Business Coach Podcast.
VP - Emerging Business Models, The Co-operators
Peter Primdahl joined The Co-operators Group through their subsidiary, Sovereign General Insurance, in 2010. He has spent most of his time at Sovereign as head of their Specialty Operations division. In July of this year he moved to the parent company and into the newly minted role of ‘VP, Emerging Business Models’, with the mandate of conceptualizing, exploring and incubating innovative business models.
Peter has spent most of his career underwriting and managing Specialty & Niche Lines, as well as Large & Complex Risk departments. In 2017, Peter was seconded to head up the Co-operators “Innovation Initiative”, with the objective of advancing corporate knowledge and learnings pertaining to various external dynamics that featured prominently on Co-op’s environmental scan.
Director, OPTA Information Intelligence
With more than 25 years of experience in the insurance technology marketplace, Greg brings a unique perspective on how to build a successful company. In 17 years as C.E.O. of Applied Systems Canada Greg oversaw the growth in the Canadian marketplace from 200 brokers to over 1200. In 1992 Greg added the responsibility for international development and successfully established the UK operations with The Agency Manager UK.
In 2008, Greg formed Pathway Partners Ltd. with Michelle Cole-Kennedy to advise brokers on a wide range of operational and strategic topics with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions.
In 2011 Greg played a key role in the launch of getClarity Inc, a business intelligence company that focuses on bringing sophisticated demographic and statistical analysis to businesses of all sizes. With over 1.7 million records of new data on a monthly basis getClarity identifies timely market opportunities and as a result maximizes the return on investment.
Greg is the founder of the Canadian Insurance Strategy Group, which can be found on LinkedIn.
VP Marketing & Communications, Travelers Canada
John has 20 years of experience with top consumer brands – in brand strategy and development, digital marketing, creative development as well as strategy and organizational transformation. He is a creative and empathetic leader who loves building and collaborating with high-performance teams.
John's most recent role was with Economical Insurance where he built and launched the Sonnet digital direct brand.
He recently completed his Executive MBA from the IVEY School of Business and the Customer Focused Innovation Program at Stanford Business School.
John lives in Toronto with his wife, two boys, and two Hungarian Vizsla dogs; he is an avid cyclist and distance runner.
Director - Digital Innovation, Gore Mutual
Sachin Rustagi is Director of Digital Innovation at Gore Mutual. He is responsible for leading a team focused on developing an incubator and digital innovation lab. His team’s objectives include collaborating and investing in the insurtech & broker ecosystem, while exploring and testing new insurance product ideas.
Prior to joining Gore Mutual, Sachin held various roles that focused in digital strategy, CRM & marketing automation, customer acquisition and e-commerce innovation. He has over 13 years of experience at large enterprises and startups across different industries, including telecommunications, financial services, retail and technology.
Sachin holds a B.Math from the University of Waterloo and has a Masters in Management Innovation from Queen’s University.
Executive Director - Insurance, KPMG (Canada)
Roman is an insurance industry and technology leader with a demonstrated history of serving clients across Canada and US.
Roman's well-rounded business and technology expertise was developed during employment with technology vendors, insurance companies and consulting services organizations including PwC, IBM, Deloitte and KPMG.
Partner & Co-Leader of FinTech and InsurTech Groups, Gowling WLG
Parna Sabet-Stephenson is a Partner at Gowling WLG where she co-leads the InsurTech Practice. She is an expert in all aspects of outsourcing, technology law and e-commerce. She also advises on the legal implications of emerging technologies including blockchain and the Internet of Things.
Parna has assisted domestic and international customers and service providers in a variety of industries, with a primary focus on financial services. She is regularly called upon in respect of technology transformation and digitization projects. She is recognized nationally and internationally by Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2019, Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2019, The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2018; and Best Lawyers in Canada 2019.
Parna is a member of the Canadian delegation to the e-commerce working group (Working Group IV) of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, and is the Vice President of the Canadian Technology Law Association. She also serves on the Board of Myseum of Toronto.
Senior Analyst - P&C Insurance, Aite Group
- Session: CX & Customer Communications: The State Of Insurance
- Session: What Technology Will have the Biggest Impact on Insurance?
- Session: The Medium and the Message: Voice and Insurance
Jay Sarzen is a senior analyst with Aite Group’s P&C Insurance practice. He brings over 15 years of experience delivering strategic advice to a wide variety of clients, primarily in financial services.
Prior to joining Aite Group, Mr. Sarzen identified strategic growth opportunities for major insurance carriers, such as The Hartford and MassMutual, and for major financial services providers, such as State Street, through traditional strategic frameworks such as market analysis, competitive analysis, and value chain analysis.
Since coming to Aite Group, Mr. Sarzen has focused his efforts on understanding innovation along the P&C insurance value chain by examining topics such as how new entrants are disrupting traditional distribution channels and how technology is altering underwriting and claims operations. Mr. Sarzen has been quoted extensively in industry publications.
Mr. Sarzen holds a B.A. in Political Science from Trinity College, where he graduated with honors, and an M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, with a dual concentration in Strategy and Management. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt, an avid squash player, and serves as an elected official on his town’s Board of Education.
Innovation and Transformation Strategist, Co.Point Labs
Anita is proven a leader in guiding companies in their effort to transform and innovate. She has worked with brands such as TD, The Co-operators, Brookfield, Intact, TED, and Cineplex Digital Media. Companies lean on Anita’s experience to inform and design a better world for their customers and build the road map to a more customer-centric organization. She helps them clarify their vision and build the tools necessary to bring this to life. Anita guides clients in enabling the implementation of initiatives that shape a new future. And thrives in helping leaders solve big, complex problems.
Director - IT and Data Strategy, Architecture, X by 2
Ahsan Siddiqi is Director, IT and Data Strategy, Architecture, at X by 2. With more than 20 years of global experience in various industries and technologies, he helps senior technology and business leaders with their IT & digital transformational journey:
- People, process, technology alignment to organizational objectives;
- Enterprise IT strategy, architecture, delivery planning and implementation;
- Modern data platforms & advanced analytics capability development;
- Transitioning core enterprise legacy technologies to modern solutions.
CEO, Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
Colin Simpson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) where he leads the strategic vision and execution of the 12,000+ member organization.
A longtime proponent of the independent broker network and Canadian insurance landscape, Colin specializes in corporate transformation and change management. He has worked in the Canadian insurance industry for over fifteen years and is a seasoned Corporate Executive and Director. Recent roles include President & Chief Executive Officer of Intrinsync Insurance Solutions, Kingsway Financial Services and York Fire & Casualty Insurance.
Colin holds an Honours Degree in Business Law & Economics, a Master's Degree in Accounting & Finance and is a qualified CA (Scotland).
Senior Social Media Specialist, Economical Insurance
As an award-winning social media marketer, Naheed Somji brings a wealth of marketing experience to the table. He leads the national social media program for Economical Insurance, helping to modernize the industry by educating brokers about digital marketing best practices.
Naheed also shares his experience with the next generation of marketers as a part-time professor of Social Media Marketing at Conestoga College.
AVP - Claims Transformation & Strategy, Aviva Canada
- Session: Bringing Innovation to Claims
Jonathan Spinner is an insurance technology and innovation strategy leader inside the Claims business at Aviva Canada.
Jonathan applies his extensive background in technology strategy and delivery to the ongoing identification, assessment, and implementation of technology solutions to improve the Aviva claims customer experience, and to make it easier for claims staff to deliver that experience in ways that surprise and delight Aviva’s customers.
SVP - Professional Services, Opta Information Intelligence
Maureen has more than 20 years of experience in strategy planning and execution, leading large transformation projects, process optimization, P&C business operations and information technology. She is known for her engaging and collaborative leadership style, leveraging technology for the purposes of creating business value and improving business results.
Maureen holds a Masters of Business Administration, is a Certified Management Accountant, a Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional and a Certified Risk Manager. She currently holds the position of Senior Vice President of Professional Services at Opta Information Intelligence, an SCM company. Opta is dedicated to helping drive profitable growth for clients by creatively deriving and delivering business value through information, artificial intelligence, machine learning and innovation.
Maureen was previously the VP of Product Solutions and Operations at Opta and was integral in establishing Opta as an industry leader. Maureen has held a variety of leadership positions throughout the insurance value chain and is always keen to learn more.
CEO, Goose Digital
- Session: The Marketing Automation Platform: The Swiss Army Knife for Your Digital Strategy
- Session: A Marketing Conundrum: How Will I Spend It?
Michael is a passionate, focused tech entrepreneur who enjoys building companies that do great things for their clients. He has launched and sold two businesses, the first in managed hosting (2005) and the second in digital commerce platform software (2013).
Michael's latest venture, Goose Digital, helps companies develop a modern marketing machine with a specialization in digital marketing strategy and marketing automation platforms. I believe that people make the difference and that forging strong relationships is the foundation to success.
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.
SVP, Head of Operations and Technology, Marsh
Lynne is a managing director leading Marsh Canada’s Operations & Technology function. In this role she has accountability for a team of more than 70 colleagues who provide strategic oversight and support to colleagues in Marsh’s 13 offices across the country.
Lynne joined Marsh in 2013 and has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. Prior to joining Marsh, she was held a senior executive role responsible for Operations & Technology with a large international insurance company. She has led teams both in Canada and in Europe.
Lynne combines strong technical skills and knowledge with a deep understanding of change management and organizational behavior.
Since joining Marsh, she has been responsible for establishing a national strategic operations and technology roadmap designed to enhance Marsh’s operational efficiency and maximize client satisfaction.
Vice President - Research & Consulting, Novarica
- Session: The New Insurance Order Value Chain
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.
Head of Sales, Dream Insurance
Sheldon focuses on guiding the company’s sales department in implementing both online and offline approaches. He is in charge of managing local and virtual members of the sales team - the goal: to build a group that reflects the current landscape of the insurance industry, both digital and traditional.
Starting his career at a call centre in 2001, Sheldon has held a variety of responsibilities in insurance over the span of almost two decades. Ranging from direct writer to Vice President of Business Development, he previously had success in the space through working alongside a virtual brokerage, citing the fast-evolving nature of the industry as key factor in his decision to join the Dream Team.
VP North American Insurance Programs, Accident Support Services International Ltd.
Rick Yates is the Vice President of North American Insurance Programs at Accident Support Services International Ltd., joining the company in March of 2017.
Rick brings over 25 years of experience in the Automotive and Insurance industry beginning in Vancouver and ending in Toronto. He has been an active member of the CICMA of Ontario since 2006 and President in 2010/2011 and continues to participate in the Annual Golf tournament as their MC. He is a graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) with a Business Management Degree in Computer programming. He helped develop and launch the first Auto Glass claims call center in Canada with Speedy Glass and grew it to two centers and over 40 Customer Service Representatives. He was the first Vendor Manager for TD Insurance and rose to the position of Vice President of Claims – Western Canada. Rick has also owned and operated CARSTAR Collision franchise locations in the past with his wife Wendy.