Innovation Takes Center Stage at Guidewire Connections 2021
Guidewire recently hosted its 17th annual user conference — Connections 2021 — in Las Vegas, Nevada. And I just have to say, “Wow!” What a wonderful experience to see 1,341 people in person again, many of whom I hadn’t seen in two years, and to hear that another 856 people joined us virtually via live streaming. It was great to see the Guidewire community — customers, partners, and Guidewire employees — continue to come together to learn, collaborate, and network both face to face and on our virtual platform.
Connections takes an incredible amount of hard work to pull off. I’m still in awe of my colleagues on the Events team, who for several months were planning and coordinating two possible conference options (in person or online) due to the uncertain COVID situation. It was only in September that they made the decision to move forward with the in-person conference in Las Vegas.
Here’s a recap of this year’s event.
As with every Connections, innovation was the overarching theme. Mike and the executive team talked about our latest release, Dobson, and how it continues Guidewire’s mission of “powering insurance innovation.”
There was a wealth of other content for attendees to be inspired by and learn from, including:
Gore Mutual Insurance Company President and CEO Andy Taylor highlighted his company’s bold strategy to transform its business operations from a mid-sized, regional insurer to a national scale, purpose-driven, digitally led insurer.
Buckle Co-founder and CEO Marty Young talked about how his company is breaking the traditional P&C insurance model to meet the needs of rideshare/delivery companies and gig-economy workers.
TV/film producer, author, and CEO of Not Impossible Labs Mick Ebeling told the story of starting his company and diving headfirst into the idea of the “impossible.”
Oncologist, scientist, and Pfizer board member Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann chatted with Mike about the strategic decisions and innovation behind the breakthrough mRNA vaccine technology that has enabled the world to emerge from the pandemic.
New York Times best-selling author Daniel Pink shared his prediction of what the future of work will look like after the pandemic.
Guidewire Senior Vice President and General Manager of InsuranceSuite Eugene Lee and Vice President of Product Marketing Rahul Awasthy explored the challenges that arise when dealing with uncertainty and preparing for the future.
General Manager of Guidewire Analytics Roger Arnemann discussed how the future of underwriting is not machines but rather continuous risk management in partnership with customers to reduce overall risk.
More than 77 hands-on workshops, expert panels, and informative breakout sessions — many involving or led by Guidewire customers — featured experiences, lessons learned, and best practices.
Anthony O'Donnell, Executive Editor at Insurance Innovation Reporter, attended Connections and met with Guidewire executives and customers. He covered the keynote comprehensively in a great article that can be read here and wrote a feature article about Gore Mutual Insurance Company’s “New Horizons” transformation project based on Taylor’s keynote, which can be read here.
Every year I enjoy being part of the team responsible for selecting and honoring the winners of our annual customer Innovation Awards. It’s a very busy process from start to finish, gathering and reviewing submissions, selecting the winning customers, and then managing the executive video shoots and on-stage ceremony. Congratulations to this year’s winners: Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Encova Insurance, and Gore Mutual! We also recognized select customer project team members who went “above and beyond” for their companies with the annual Hero Awards.
The four days of Connections could not have happened without the support of our 62 sponsoring Guidewire PartnerConnect Consulting and Solution partners and all the customers who attended. Thank you!
I can’t wait to see everyone at Connections 2022, taking place October 23‒26, 2022, again at ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. In the meantime, you can watch all of the keynotes again on Guidewire.com, as well as 18 selected breakout sessions available for on-demand viewing here.