The Organization of Real Time Brokers Implementing Technology

 
 
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Are You on the Digital Expressway Wave?

By Doug Grant, Partner, Insurance-Canada.ca


In his books (Future Shock in 1970 and The Third Wave in 1980) from more than a quarter century ago, Alvin Toffler noted the increasing rapidity of change, and the emergence of the information age. We today are surrounded by data and information, and experience change to a degree possibly unimaginable to us who read those books then. Much of it is technology-enabled, and driven. We have moved from a caveat emptor to a consumer-oriented world; we are experiencing the double-edged sword of technology – what is possible vs the “costs” to get there - as we move faster onto the digital expressway.


Based on the 2016 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Awards program, the insurance industry is making interesting use of technology in most every direction.


Three of the insurance company nominations addressed internal opportunities. BI&I developed a “wearable app” for their workers who do field inspections often in remote places – to identify and report an emergency, with the objective of being able to respond quickly. The IBC – Quebec office transformed a manual process to a digital one with workflow and management functions to update documents destined for their member companies. Promutuel implemented a digital training program for widely spread users of their new core system using new techniques such as gamification, and found dramatic savings.


Telematics UBI continues to make inroads, but more quietly now. Desjardins introduced a new implementation of Ajusto, using a smartphone app rather than a dongle to track driving and related behaviour. A first in North America, this removed a cost element and provides for even better customer engagement.


Trillium Mutual has a new farm and property portal which is providing better service to their brokers. It is integrated with CSIO standards and workflows to the extent possible.


Two insurers selling and servicing through brokers have implemented technology for the end-customer to use. The Guarantee offers a mobile app for their GUARANTEE GOLD customers. It offers a number of functions, some to proactively warn about imminent dangerous weather.


Gore Mutual on the other hand has developed UBiz, an online small business quoting, rating, issue and payment application (once and done). It is offered only through brokers, with a link on their website.


But brokers are right there with the best of them in their uses of technology.

 

  • Sharp Insurance has continued to develop their customer self-service offerings. Either through a portal or from a mobile app, customers can perform a number of self-service functions. Customer engagement has also been enhanced.  
  • Cornerstone, with the Broker’s Briefcase, is changing the price proposition to one of value by using a structured marketing and sales approach with a stream of new content to provide a better engagement program. 
  • Bullfrog claims to be first out of the gate in Canada with a completely online once-and-done program for small commercial with multiple quotes.
  • And EasyInsure builds a strong partnership with their fleet customers by offering them FleetX, a fleet management tool which is a win-win for both customer and broker. 

 


Each of these insurance technology programs offers a different value and serves a unique purpose. All are creative. They serve to further the service and marketing objectives of these organizations.


Insurance product innovation has been picking up speed in recent years; we’ve seen telematics UBI, cyber risk, overland flood and much more recently ride-share and drone insurance appear in the Canadian market. All of these are technology driven, or technology-enabled, and are responses to customer’s needs. 


At the Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference (insurer focused – Feb 29) and Insurance-Canada.ca Broker Forum (broker focused – Mar 1) you can explore and discuss the opportunities and challenges of today, and tomorrow, with your peers.


It is gratifying to see new and creative uses of technology across the insurance ecosystem as companies undertake or continue along the transformation path to providing digital insurance.


Who knows, the industry may be in danger of losing its “laggard” reputation. Ride the wave!

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