InsurTalk Season One Rewind: Celebrating Our One-Year Anniversary

InsurTalk Season One Rewind: Celebrating Our One-Year Anniversary

Laura Drabik

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A little over a year ago, I could practically see the thought bubble over some people's heads when I described my vision for a different kind of podcast:

InsurTalk … a podcast about technological innovation in the insurance industry? Yeah, good luck with that.

A year in, and I'm glad I didn't listen to the bubbleheads. As we wrap up Season One, we have a lot to be proud of:

  • 17 episodes featuring industry leaders who've harnessed disruptive technology to their advantage

  • A presence across Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune-in, Overcast, Spotify and more

  • Nearly 10,000 unique listens—and growing

Listening back to some of the episodes, I'm amazed with the depth and breadth of expert insights our guests have brought to listeners.Here is just a small sampling of countless highlights from season one:

"We have to make people dream."

"We have to make people dream. We have to expect them to believe that they can do that. With a dream you attract talent. You get out of the perception of insurance, that old style, slow and ineffective. Martin Luther King said, 'I have a dream.' He didn't say, 'I have a plan.' People that can dream can really change things."

- Vittorio Giusti, Chief Operating Officer Aviva Italy

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"Collaboration was the only way to get things done."

"To truly create a culture of innovation, we knew at Economical that collaboration was the only way to get things done. We hired leaders who are experts in their fields across marketing, communication, customer service, technology, analytics, and innovation. These leaders collaborated with our experts in insurance, claims, and underwriting, so we could create an unparalleled experience."

- Alice Keung, retired Chief Transformation Officer, Economical Insurance

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"To understand the problem that you're trying to solve is the key…and then solving it."

"Most insurers are traditional. Hundreds of years old. But nowadays, we see more and more insurtech firms that are maybe less than a hundred days old. Whether you're a traditional insurer, whether you're an insurtech firm, whether you're somewhere—in the middle or trying to take the best elements of both—the need to understand the problem that you're seeking to solve is the key critical piece of advice that I would provide. And then solving it. But then, experimenting and learning and re-imagining to continue to iterate on that, because once you solve for it once, it's not one and done."

- Samantha Liscio, former Chief Technology Officer, WSIB

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"You truly do have to have a change manager who is leading the effort."

"One of the very first things that we did as a team was that we—we being IT and business—literally became one team…Watching the teams become one, co-located together, was a huge part of our change management. The other part was leveraging the systems integrators and bringing them in for that level of expertise. The third thing that we did was…we celebrated our successes often. You truly do have to have a change manager who is leading that effort and is sensitive to the fact that you need to keep feeding those teams that can burn out on a program of this magnitude, and celebrate successes often. And then the last thing is, we have leadership modeling that same behavior. So the change manager wasn't just coaching the teams on the program. They were also coaching our leadership team."

- Val Labarba, Head of Digital Transformation, Farmers Insurance

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"Digital transformation is not about building technology. It's about transforming the business."

"Insurers should engage in dialogue with insurtechs and partner to do pilots to understand the fit for the insurance business problems and evaluate the value proposition. One should ask questions like, 'Is it scalable? Is the timing right? And also if we move forward, will we be good at it? Do we have the expertise in the appropriate technologies? Can we explore the opportunity for the long term or could it really be a short term advantage?' Finally, digital transformation is not about building technology. It's about transforming the business."

- Rao Tadepalli, CIO, Seibels, and Mentor, Plug and Play

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"We can allow our imaginations to run wild"

"Well, we're starting to see a concierge level of servicing coming from the dispensaries, and that's going to make them stand out from their competitors. There's also much more home delivery of product than what we've seen in the past. And who's to say that this concierge level of service doesn't blend into other related areas? So, we've been hearing of the CBD- and cannabis-infused gourmet meals—and this is coming from semi celebrity chefs. So, will they begin partnering with the dispensaries to have a four-course meal that includes all sorts of cannabis products for an indulgent evening? I'm sure we can allow our imaginations to run wild."

- Denise Pavlov, Chief Operating Officer, Topa Insurance

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"Artificial intelligence is great…but if you don't have empathy, people will struggle."

"I think building empathy into AI models is absolutely critical. You can have a fast, slick process, but if you don't have that empathy, people will struggle. As I said before, most people don't have claims. They don't expect to have claims. They don't know what to expect when they have a claim. You need to have that human touch…Artificial intelligence is great when there are no issues. But when you have something that's bespoke, when you have a problem, you need to have that human factor, the empathy and the trust really, to make sure that everything resolves for the customer."

- Irene Bianchi, President and CEO, Peel Mutual Insurance

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"Claims transformation, this is really where we start to see…the experience layer come to life."

"Claims transformation, this is really where we start to see this evolution and acceleration of the experience layer come to life. Once we had finished that simplification journey, and we had a scaled core, we were able to implement AI technology, including the machine learning and definitely BPA as well. The technology is really there to predict within days if a damaged car is likely to be too expensive for repair and therefore declared a total loss. Essentially, the technology uses natural language processing. It looks at the details of the claim, it has a look at the dialogues between customers and our agents, as well as looking at the additional information supplied, reports, and ultimately, determines the likelihood that claim will turn into a total loss. And if it does, it means we've ultimately taken weeks out of a process back to days—and hugely [enhanced] the experience for our customers."

- Kylie Burtenshaw, General Manager, Enterprise, IAG

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"We are experimenting a lot with a 100% digital business model."

"We're working with preventing leaks to happen in the pipes in the house. So we are putting in smart sensor technology that can sense when the leak is just about to happen. Then we can send out a service person that can fix the problem before the water is streaming out in the house. That's really, really good customer service. And it's really, really good as our business model. So IoT-based sensoring technology like that, we are experimenting a lot with…..We are also experimenting a lot with a hundred percent digital business model in the pension area."

- Thomas Erichsen, Group EVP and CTO, Topdanmark

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“With the Guidewire Cloud platform, we were able to do this faster than I've been able to do on-premises."

"Most organizations in my experience tend to want to focus on the technology, but most of the challenges I think lie elsewhere. For us, we are a very transparent organization and I think we saw that be very helpful as we started on our journey. We made things very visible, we talked about our program, not just as an IT thing, but as an enterprise thing. We brought people in, we talked a lot about Guidewire—and Guidewire Cloud specifically—and really focused on what I would characterize as people-readiness, getting mindsets ready for those changes. I would say Guidewire Cloud allowed us to focus more on adding business value versus running infrastructure. Upgrades are always a challenge, they're always hard, there's never a good time to do them. But I will say with the Guidewire Cloud platform, we were able to do this faster than at least in my experience than I've been able to do on-premises. Over the long-term, having that ability to stay current on software, take advantage of new features and functions, and be able to run your technology on the devices that people want, is a key driver for us."

- Roby Shay, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions and CIO, Grinnell Mutual Insurance

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Next up: Season Two!

To hear more from these and so many other outstanding Season One interviews—as well as all of the great content to come in Season Two—be sure to subscribe to InsurTalk on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Because if you're looking for expert insight on driving insurance industry innovation, this is the show for you. >>