Guidewire Software, Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), provider of the industry platform Property and Casualty (P&C) insurers rely upon, recently hosted its 15th annual user conference, Connections 2019, in National Harbor, Maryland. Connections 2019 provided a forum for the Guidewire community – customers, partners, and Guidewire employees – to come together to learn, collaborate, and network.
Chief Executive Officer Mike Rosenbaum kicked off his first Connections keynote by reviewing Guidewire’s mission and its perspective on P&C insurers’ top imperatives, as well as discussing exciting new and upcoming capabilities of Guidewire InsurancePlatform™ to illustrate how the company is innovating to ensure its customers are successful. Mike was also joined onstage by Guidewire’s Senior Director of Product Management Marina Grebenkova, who showed a demo of the Guidewire cloud data platform to illustrate the company’s risk analytics product evolution, emphasizing how it readily enables small business risk to be underwritten in a smarter and faster way.
Guidewire’s Global Head of Product and Engineering Diego Devalle and Chief Technology Officer Ray Kreisel built on Mike and Marina’s presentation and delved deeper into the company’s progress and vision towards addressing the need insurers have to rapidly design and deliver new insurance products. They showed the creation of an insurance product live on-stage previewing Guidewire tools, Advanced Product Designer (a tool designed out of necessity in the field and that is in the process of being productized) and Jutro, the company’s new digital experience framework. These are both in the early adopter stage of development and not yet generally available.
The Guidewire corporate and product keynote presentations can be viewed here.
Event attendees were both entertained and enlightened by compelling presentations from guest speakers, including:
Alex Honnold, a world-class rock climber and subject of the 2019 Academy Award winning documentary, Free Solo, shared his philosophy and preparation techniques as he endeavored to ‘master his craft’ and become the first person to make a free solo ascent (without ropes) of 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Steven Van Belleghem, a best-selling author and thought leader, described how to innovate and invest in customer experience to win the heart and business of customers in an age of artificial intelligence, automation, and digitalization.
Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple and author, shared the 10 lessons he learned from working with Steve Jobs.
On the last day of the conference, Guidewire’s Director of Global Client Services Julie Eichenseer moderated a panel of customer executives who discussed the convergence of financial services and insurance to better understand and address emerging types of risk – from cyber to reputation to pandemic. Also, Guidewire’s Vice President of Product Management for Cloud Solutions Lerk-Ling Chang, Director of Product/Solution Marketing Julie Getzlaff, and Global Head of Risk Solutions Phil Rosace presented product innovations from the Guidewire DevConnect™, Guidewire Digital™, and Guidewire Cyence™ Risk Analytics groups, respectively.
The event also featured keynote sessions from Guidewire customers who discussed industry issues and themes. These presentations included:
Lisa Corless, President and CEO, AF Group, shared how the company is capitalizing on strong partnerships and a proven framework to achieve extraordinary success by exceeding customer expectations with innovative solutions that are fueled by a remarkable, people-first culture.
Gina Hardy, CEO and General Manager, NCJUA and NCIUA, offered best practices and lessons learned from the company’s cloud transformation journey and how it helped the company increase business agility and enhance operational efficiencies to quickly address the impact of recent natural disasters on its agents and policyholders in North Carolina.
A panel consisting of Rob Craig, Chief Operating Officer, icare; Kevin McNamara, Assistant Vice President for Information and Technology Services and Chief Information Officer (CIO), The Andover Companies; and Roby Shay, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions and CIO, Grinnell Mutual, discussed their perspectives on aspects of their cloud journeys and how they have been adapting and succeeding in their journey to the cloud.
In addition, more than 114 hands-on workshops, expert panels, and educational breakout sessions were held during Connections, many involving or led by Guidewire customers. These sessions provided the opportunity for customers such as Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe - MS&AD, Aviva Italy, AXA Germany, AXA XL, Basler Versicherungen AG, Beazley, Berkley One, Caixa Seguradora, EMC Companies, Grinnell Mutual, icare, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Mercury Insurance, Nationwide, Santam, Sompo International, TD Insurance, Tryg, VHV Versicherungen, and Zurich North America to share their experiences, lessons learned, and best practices.
Guidewire also honored winners of its customer Innovation Awards program, now in its 13th year, at the conference. Individuals from customer project teams who went above-and-beyond the call of duty during their product implementation projects were also recognized with the fourth annual ‘Hero’ awards.
“Each year at Connections we are impressed by all of the impactful stories our customers share about how they are using InsurancePlatform to run, differentiate, and grow their business,” said Brian Desmond, chief marketing officer, Guidewire Software. “We would like to thank our customers and partners for attending, sharing knowledge, and for making Connections an enjoyable and inspiring experience for everyone.”
Connections 2019 was sponsored by the following Guidewire PartnerConnect™ Consulting and Solution partners: Accenture; ACI Worldwide; Alchemy Technology Services; Arity; Amazon Web Services (AWS), Blackcomb Consultants; Capgemini; CastleBay Companies; Centric Consulting; CGI; ClaimTECH; Cognizant; CoreLogic; Cynosure, a Zensar Company; Deloitte; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; EY; FRISS; GFT; Hearsay Systems; Hexaware; Hubio Technology; Hyland; Jetsystem; IBM; Insurance Technology Services (ITS); InsurPay; IVANS; Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI); LexisNexis Risk Solutions; Livegenic; Loss Control 360; MirrorMe; Mitchell; Octo Telematics; OneSpan; Ontellus; Polonious; Prelude Software; PwC; Quadient; Salesforce; SambaSafety; SBI Technology; Shift Technology; Smart Communications; Sollers Consulting; Stratus; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS); Truepic; Verisk; Vertafore; WeGoLook; and Zipwhip. All sponsors were on-site and discussed their services/solutions with attendees, and some participated with customers in presentations.
Connections 2020 will take place October 4 - 7, 2020 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.