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Chief Operating Officer, AIG Insurance Company of Canada
SVP Claims, Economical Insurance
SVP, Global Insurance, Scotiabank
VP Strategic Partnerships & Innovation, Ameritas
VP, Claims Excellence, Wawanesa Insurance
VP Brand Innovation & Chief Customer Officer, Allstate
VP Client Management & Chief Innovation Office, Munich Re
VP, Group Advanced Analytics, Manulife
VP Innovation, Canada Life
VP Strategy, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Desjardins General Insurance Group
VP Sales Optimization, RBC Insurance
Director Digital Transformation Office, Sun Life
AVP Claims Transformation, Aviva
Director - Enterprise Data Architecture, Sun Life
AVP, Life & Health Business Operational Effectiveness, TD Insurance
Director of Advanced Analytics, Manulife
Director, Innovation Outpost, Wawanesa
VP, Product Development, Arch MI
Executive VP, Specialty Risk, AmTrust North America, An AmTrust Financial Company
AVP BI Solutions, The Co-Operators
Lead Data Scientist, Group Advanced Analytics, Manulife
Associate VP, Analytics, Sun Life
Executive Director, Advanced Analytics, wsib Ontario
Founder & CEO, Daisy Intelligence
Chief Operating Officer, Carpe Data
Chief Sales Officer, ClarionDoor
General Manager Insurance, DataRobot
Senior Vice President, Industry Solutions Group, Mphasis
Director, IT and Data Strategy, Architecture, Xby2
Director of Product Management, ISO Claims Partners
Learning Strategy Consultant, D2L
Head of North America, Tractable
SVP, Sales, Vitech
Chief Product Officer, Adlib
Chief Science Officer, Genpact
Insurance Practice Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value, IBM
Director, WW Insurance Industry Solutions, Microsoft
Managing Partner, Insurance Solutions Group
Insurance Fraud Expert, Consultant, gWorks
SVP, Global Insurance,Scotiabank
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Scotiabank
What are the key lessons you can share from partnering with InsurTechs/third parties?
The most important consideration when selecting and working with a strategic partner is alignment of senior executives in order to realize the potential of the partnership. The partners need to share a common vision, common set of goals and measures, they need to have a clear roadmap for what it means win in the market. The partners need to work as one team to execute the strategy they committed to. I strongly suggest that the partners put in place a strong strategic and operational governance to allow for proper execution, measuring of progress and a forum to discuss progression
How, in your opinion, can insurance carriers embed a culture of innovation throughout their organizations?
A culture of innovation needs to be championed by the CEO and their senior team, needs to be part of the strategy and needs to be incentivised, recognized and measured continuously. Innovation needs to have a proper governance and process with clear focus, it is not a result of a series of brainstorm / agile projects but a clear result of execution of strategy to win in the market with clear and defined goals using well defined methodologies that engage the necessary stakeholders
As an industry, how do we know (or will we know) we are doing the right things for our customers in our deployment of new, innovative solutions?
You will know you are doing the right things by listening to the customer continuously. Before launching any new product/solution to the market make sure you have the necessary customer insights and test and learn prior, and after, launching. I also recommend having a clear set of financial and non-financial measures to success. A great innovation always delivers great customer experience and financial results, then you should measure NPS (Net Promoter Score) and Revenue in order to understand if you are doing the right thing or not.
How are current innovations assisting your organization in serving modern customers?
Today we need to be in tune with what is happening in digital technologies and how these can help to provide better solutions to our customers, assuring a fantastic customer experience. Then technologies like AI, machine learning, IoT, cloud solutions, analytics, etc., are essential elements to build smart and integrated omni channel digital ecosystems that radically enhance customer engagement and consequently helps to generate exponential growth.
How do you expose employees to new ways of thinking and working?
By continuous probing, questioning, coaching and mentoring. Through structured learning and development programs to help people open their minds, through the creation of communities of practices and work with academia and insurtechs/fintechs.
VP, Claims Excellence,Wawanesa Insurance
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Wawanesa Insurance
In your opinion, which technology/technologies should form the centerpiece of any digital/connected claims strategy?
Technology is a key enabler of the business strategy. As a business executive, I think the close partnership with our technology team is critical as they can help us find the right solutions to execute on our business strategy. To that end, there is no single technology that underpins the strategy, but rather a cohesive ecosystem that can adjust to the rapidly changing client needs.
How are you/your organization helping the claims community to transform?
We have been thoughtful about our claims roadmap, and the things that we believe we need to do to support the claims strategy, as well as our overall company’s objectives. As with any transformational initiatives, we need to understand what outcomes that we are looking to impact, and how the initiatives align with our culture. One of the critical success factors is a robust change management plan to support the changes that we are making. We’ve invested in change management within the claims business, ensuring that our employees have a voice and play a role in our future.
How do you prioritize investment in the claims process? (i.e. business needs, customer needs)
Investments within claims can depend on the priorities within the roadmap. Where we always start, is asking “what can we do to deliver value to our brokers and our customers?” Ensuring that we are making investments that drive value is how we prioritize, but also how we think about pivot points through any reprioritization times.
What are some proactive measures you employ to ensure your claims process effectively addresses the needs of your customers?
Voice of the customer is such a critical part of building a solution that adds value. To do this, we ensure that we have feedback from our stakeholders when we are thinking about the outcomes, as well as the user experience. It’s important to note that customers’ needs change and evolve quickly, so ensuring that we have a process that allows us to be agile and incorporate those changes in an ongoing way is important.
How important is cross-departmental collaboration in ensuring your claims is as seamless, stress-free and personalized as possible?
Delivering on an exceptional claims experience takes a great deal of cross-department collaboration; we work in a highly connected and distributed way where we understand the overarching vision and work to build out the best solutions for our customers together as a team. We are really proud of our partnership and cross functional teams that work on a daily basis to deliver value added solutions for our customers, brokers and employees. The teams work in an agile way, delivering small pieces frequently, and ensuring that we are getting frequent feedback to continually enhance what we deliver and how we can improve our tools and processes.
VP Brand Innovation & Chief Customer Officer,Allstate
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Allstate
How do you prioritize new product development? E.g. customer/business needs/competitors?
We always start with our organization’s vision, which works as a very effective first filter in helping us to keep on track. Then, we leverage an intake process that maps ideas in a grid, in terms of potential and complexity. Behind potential, we evaluate different factors such as impact to our customer value proposition, distribution system and employees. Another way we prioritize new product development is related to complexity: evaluating existing vs. required capabilities; and the amount of resources and the expected cost. This ultimately helps us arrive at CBAs/business cases that can be evaluated based on a combination of financial and non-financial criteria. We also use a test and learn approach before making larger investments and are starting to use concepts such as SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) value stream mapping as we move to a product management approach.
How essential is cross-departmental collaboration in developing new products/ensuring new products reach their potential?
Collaboration is critical. In today’s environment there is very little that can be accomplished in a silo. Not only does it make sense to seek diverse perspectives to enrich ideas, collaboration is key to identifying important aspects early on when developing new products. It prepares the organization to embrace the new initiative and it increases ownership while minimizing execution risks. Collaboration takes places throughout the process – from ideation to development and implementation, as well as measuring outcomes. Customer expectations around omni-channel means organizations have to operate cross-functionally in an integrated fashion to deliver results. These teams that work on a product sit together and conduct daily “stand-ups” so that information is free-flowing and current. KPIs and feedback loops are established by product and make everyone accountable to drive, no matter what department you are in.
What are some of the challenges in integrating new technology, such as IoT sensors, into new products?
Regarding IoT sensors, there are multiple platforms and players contributing to a still highly fragmented space. Consumers are also at very different levels when it comes to being comfortable leveraging this technology due to diverse reasons: there are those with limited knowledge compared to others who are very comfortable in the DIY space, and in-between, there are customers who have privacy concerns and are unclear of the cost/benefit equation. So, understanding consumers’ needs and concerns is imperative in order to articulate a clear value proposition. At the same time, from an internal standpoint, we need to deal with legacy challenges – new and old working together means integration and data availability could be challenging and require creative thinking.
Which technologies are your organization exploring to identify opportunities for new products?
Our organization is investing in processes, capabilities and technology - embracing agile and lean methodologies across the company, not only to code software, but also to enable the organization to “prototype our way into the future” while being fully aware of only going to market with viable offerings from a consumer perspective. We’re also building CI/CD pipelines so that we can move prototypes to production quickly and pivot as we learn. Also, we are investing in automation including technologies such as a robotic process automation (RPA) in order to generate efficiencies to enable us to fund further investments. These investments include strengthening our data science capabilities as we pilot a platform that allows us to manage and operationalize predictive models in order to further improve our ability to provide convenience and value to consumers based on our large volumes of data.
How are modern product innovations assisting you in better serving your customers?
We are leveraging the existence of IoT sensors to provide discounts to homeowners who take advantage of these solutions to protect or minimize water damage in their homes. Another example is using sensors in mobile phones to reward safe drivers. In addition, mobile apps integrated to websites provide the convenience of self-service capabilities on customers terms, and push notifications have the potential to proactively answer questions before those questions are asked by leveraging triggers based on customers’ actions.Internally, we also use data integration tools to help with legacy challenges, and micro-services help us with speed and flexibility by empowering our cross functional teams.
AVP Claims Transformation,Aviva Canada
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Aviva Canada
Customer digital self-service must be at the forefront. A digital/connected claims strategy will provide tremendous operational efficiency to a carrier, but at its core, claims is about the customer experience of using the insurance product they bought, and the face of that experience is the digital self-service interaction.
We are innovating and introducing solutions to market with our vendor partners that are designed around industry standards. It will absolutely be feasible for other carriers to take advantage of our investment in innovation and transformation and replicate them with common integrated partners.
While our prioritization model is proprietary, it has a number of criteria that allow us to easily evaluate potential investments relative to their potential customer, staff, and financial benefits.
Historically, only lag measures have been employed to evaluate the claims process (e.g. NPS/CSAT). We are increasingly moving toward lead measures associated with customer effort, and value vs failure demand. Through demand tracking, we are able to identify and attack the root causes of failure demand and waste to improve the process overall for customers and staff.
Claims can only do so much on its own to improve the claims process. KYC (Know Your Customer) is a great example of something that falls outside of Claims that could have significant impact in improving the process and personalization of claims. Increasingly, the single view of the customer is becoming an important factor in a much more dynamic and tailored claims experience.
VP Product Development,Arch MI
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Arch MI
Customers are always #1. When our research indicates that there is a need in the marketplace and we can fill it with a new product, that goes to the top of the list. We are looking into voice technology for this reason for example. Another thing we found is that our customers want flexibility in how they pay for insurance. We created the Buydown product to address this need. This product allows customers to lower the monthly insurance rate by paying a small amount upfront.
It is absolutely critical. We generally look to create minimum viable products to test new concepts and it always requires multiple departments to work together and create new processes. We have a state-of-the-art servicing team and they are always ready to accommodate special requests. Whether it is special underwriting processes or custom payment options, it requires combined efforts from multiple teams so customers get a seamless experience.
For the MI industry, the main challenge is that we mostly have to follow the mortgage industry in terms of new technology. If the mortgage industry adopts a technology, only then can we adopt it. Otherwise, it is like putting the cart before the horse. Another main challenge is that our customers prefer to be able to rotate all MI providers so they want all providers to operate on similar platforms.
We are always exploring new technologies that can help us keep our edge. Some of the things we are looking into are voice technology, AI-based chat and underwriting technology. One the most exciting things happening in the mortgage industry is the move to pull data in the background rather than asking borrowers to submit pdfs or tax returns and bank statements. This can really help speed up the process and also improve customer experience.
Customers want us to help them close more loans and generate more business. Our new products are focused on solving problems that borrowers face regularly, such as lack of downpayment and high debt to income ratios. The Buydown product that I mentioned, allows borrowers to customize how they pay for MI and lower their monthly obligations. It is all about providing our customers tools that solve specific problems.
VP Group Advanced Analytics,Manulife
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Manulife
What advice do you have for carriers in overcoming the lack of available analytical skills?
Develop and implement a strategic plan in AI/Advanced Analytics that includes analytical talent recruitment, internal talent training and talent retention. Without a comprehensive plan, just recruitment wouldn’t solve the issue. Short term assistance from external expertise could also be considered.
How has AI/advanced analytics allowed you to increase understanding of your customers?
We used NLP to help understanding customer sentiment, key reasons for seeking assistance and options to better meet customer needs.
What are the core challenges your organization faces in leveraging data for advanced analytics? / in implementing advanced analytics?
Data access is one of the key challenges. Like most of the companies with long history, our data is stored in different generations of systems. We established an Enterprise Data Lake (EDL) to bring these data together to support advanced analytics. Another challenge is limited understanding of AI/Advanced Analytics by businesses. We developed an AI/Advanced Analytics Academy, a one-day training course for business executives on how AI/AA can solve their business problems.
How are AI and Machine Learning helping the industry move from “Reactive Restitution” to “Proactive Prevention”?
New data sources, both internal and external, provide additional information about customers. The development in predictive analytics further improved understanding of key drivers of target events and accuracy of the models. Recommendation engines extended the influence to the best preventive actions.
Which area of the insurance business do you predict will see the greatest impact from AI/advanced analytics?
Customer engagement. This is an area where the insurance industry has substantial room to improve comparing to others, e.g. retails. The enriched data collection, improved infrastructure (e.g. real time data streaming) and AI/AA provide a much better understanding of customers’ needs and help to formulate personalized services.
Director Digital Transformation Office,Sun Life
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with Sun Life
Each side of the partnership needs to fully embrace where they are the student and where they can be the teacher. It is easy for the incumbent to fall into hubris and ego (we know it all because we have been doing this forever and have been successful) and for the start up to be frustrated with the speed of change and inability to see the future (man, don’t they “get” it?!) but the best lesson I can give is for both sides to take a step back and be really honest with the things that they do exceptionally well (incumbents know how to do scale and distribute, and start-ups know how to deliver quickly with a customer focus) and teach that, and be ready to learn in areas that they can improve.
Redefining risk. Insurers are adept at assessing risk – we love actuaries! But to be innovative requires accepting a level of risk that perhaps causes carriers some indigestion. I would argue that there is more risk in inertia than in small experiments but creating a culture where these experiments are permitted and creating new definitions of success are key to allowing all employees to feel that change can happen, risks can be quantified and experiments can happen and “failure” is a lesson, not a punishment.
The only test that matters is if clients embrace new innovative solutions. If they don’t, we must collectively go back to the drawing board and start again. Hopefully be engaging not our existing customers, but the new generation of customers that we want to engage and ask them what matters.
We are proud to be partnered with Rise People and are working to continue to push the boundaries and deliver value to our current and future clients.
By bringing the outside in – new ways of thinking and working and experientially teach. Change happens at the speed of trust. It takes time. People need to feel safe and leadership needs to model to entrench.
Executive Vice President, Specialty Risk,AmTrust
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with AmTrust
(1) Clarity in mission, goals and expectations. (2) Clear project plans to ensure synchronization between organizations, including resources, deliverables, ownership and accountability. (3) Calibration internally to ensure the speed and agility of insurtechs are aligned with ours. (4) Measurement indicators, monitoring, reporting and adaptive capabilities. (5) Good communications. (6) Project transparency to leadership. (7) Clear budgets and achieving goals on target.
The culture of innovation must be taught and permeate throughout the organization. It starts from the top and must be demonstrated as part of the organization’s fabric to be sustainable, meaningful and successful. Furthermore, talent that has innovation as part of their ethos must be added to organizations to ensure, guide and accelerate the cultural change. Results from innovation are the best ways to motivate change. Accordingly, case studies should be shared to demonstrate how innovation actually yielded impactful results so others can learn and be inspired from such success to champion and advocate for innovation in their respective departments. Cross-department collaboration is key to any project’s success, including developing a change in culture and mentality. Multidisciplinary teams help deliver diverse insights, including new ideas, that can spirit creativity and innovation. The same helps create a viral effect that motivates change.
I believe it starts with design thinking as a framework when developing products and services. In addition to developing ideas from the ground up based on demonstrable needs, or pain points, the process is robust, collaborative, inclusive of all stakeholder groups/segments and creative. Integral to a new product/service is the need to establish realistic goals based on the size (i.e., count), scope (i.e., coverage, segments) and scale (i.e., geographies) and corresponding KPIs to measure achievement. An iterative approach is integral to the deployment, including modifying the attributes of the initiative to respond to insights derived from the initial phase of the launch. Product development planning should ensure having a sufficient lifecycle to traverse design, implementation and renewal, the latter both short-term, and longer term wherein the product/service is designed with continuous monitoring and enhancements to be responsive to customer and corporate needs. Accordingly, measurement indicators are paramount through the entire lifecycle of a product/service with sensitivity to the phases of maturity it will experience.
The market is innovating new products that are impactful to our organization at a rapid pace. Much innovation with respect to IoT and AI/ML are case-based initiatives to test before larger production rollouts; these technologies are still at their infancy. Challenges prevail with respect to interoperability, adoption, privacy, security and ROI. Notwithstanding, the understanding of what today’s modern consumer wants and what their expectations are is clear and continuous to demonstrate consistency – convenience, transparency, fairness, trustworthiness, personalization, etc. are some of the overarching expectations, including the compulsion towards immediacy of action. Furthermore, customers reward innovation and therefore it is important we continuously make incremental, meaningful and innovative modifications to how we execute to maintain value and loyalty. The use of data to continuously improve is the most significant way to bring value-based initiatives forward to our customers. As new technologies emerge, our platform-centric approach enables us to evolve rapidly to respond to needs and opportunities to meet customer needs.
Workshops, case studies and contests that inspire innovation in the organization and outside in the community are an integral part of the way we motivate new ways to learn and think. Innovation is championed by our executives and leadership. Department management have embraced new talent and established groups to foster innovation. Departments are held accountable for growth through innovation versus exclusively organic strength. These forces work to spirit a culture of thinking differently and working dynamically.
SR Business Intelligence Solutions & Advanced Analytics,The Co-Operators
Take a look at our recent bitesize Q&A with The Co-Operators
Director, Innovtion Outpost,Wawanesa Insurance
Working with start-ups present a unique set of challenges. They have different needs and expectations than large technology solutions providers. Insurers need to be proactive in how they manage the relationship with the start-ups and with their internal stakeholders (procurement, compliance, business units) to bridge the differences and create an environment where experimentation is possible. Look for the easiest solution that is good enough when first starting out.
Creating a culture of innovation is hard. Innovation teams can have success identifying and solving problems but to affect the culture as a whole you need scalable and repeatable processes. That means creating the tools, systems, methods and organizational structures that will empower and enable people to innovate for growth while co-existing with the needs of operating a large enterprise. To achieve this, support must start from top and span the entire organization.
Customers vote with their wallets. We know we’re doing the right things when we see our product lines growing and our customers giving us positive reviews and NPS scores.
Modern customers expect a quick, seamless and enjoyable experience regardless of the product or service they are buying. We want to create innovative solutions that provide tangible improvements our insureds can experience. Simpler applications, shorter cycle times and omnichannel communication options are just some of the outcomes we’ve enabled through innovation.
Recognize that for most employees, the skills that have made them successful in a large operating business do not transfer to innovation. They need to learn and embrace the tools and methods of innovation and put them into practice in a safe, supportive environment. We have employees seconded to the Innovation Group for a period of time to work on an innovation initiative to get the experience they can take then take back to their business units.
Associate VP,Sun Life
While there is a rising number of university analytics and data science programs, they nonetheless can’t crank out enough sufficiently trained people to meet demand. Carriers need to be more proactive in their strategies, such as developing student projects as a recruiting tool to groom students before they graduate, develop rewarding career path with an infrastructure in place that will retain talent or offer environment where learning new technologies is easy.
Artificial intelligence can be successfully leveraged to provide an intelligent, easy and informed experience at any point along the customer journey. It helps at times to understand customer’s needs before they realize it themselves. It is the age of anticipating future customer needs.
Typically, organizations are facing challenges in the power of fear of evolving oneself to think and act differently today, to ask questions today and challenge the norm. It’s a big mind-set change. Organizations also have a lot of data however, that data is not used for the right purpose not to mention the quality of the data is not at par for good insights.
AI and Machine Learning is used to develop simulations or what-if scenarios based on past trends or certain parameters to predict what will happen. This is certainly helping the reactive lens become proactive.
The area of Distribution i.e. the experience of purchasing insurance is faster, with less active involvement on the part of the insurer and the customer. Today, enough information can be gathered, with AI algorithms creating risk profiles, cycle times for completing the purchase of an auto, commercial, or life policy will be reduced to minutes or even seconds. Underwriting and Pricing processes will be expedited by automating via a combination of machine and deep learning models built within the technology stack. Through digital applications and advanced analytics, claims processing will go down drastically, not to mention with increased accuracy.
Director of Advanced Analytics,Manulife
It is critical to create a career framework specifically for analytics talent and more importantly commit to the growth of individuals. The onboarding for advanced analytics staff in the insurance industry is a gradual learning curve as blocks of businesses are typically complex and unintuitive. While all industries face challenges in retaining analytics talent, insurance and pharmaceutical industries are arguably the most sensitive industries to turnovers. It is essential to invest in a career development framework and developing advanced analytics talent internally. Furthermore, commitment to the plan will attract actuaries, data engineers and other data-savvy professionals in the company who are already dipping their toes in advanced analytics. The plan should cultivate developing analytics skills to support the organic growth of the advanced analytics team.
We use machine learning to understand customer needs and identify growth opportunities in new ways that rely on detecting patterns in the vast amount of historical data that are accumulated over the years. In addition to outperforming conventional analytics approaches for customer retention, acquisition, up-sell and cross-sell, these methods have uncovered new ways of studying customers that could lead to new products and services.
Extracting data from legacy systems is challenging especially when we need to aggregate data from different systems on top of mashups with external data. The quality assurance and refresh frequency on data ingestion are other challenges in using proprietary data.
Underwriting, pricing, fraud detection and straight through claim processing.
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