Celent Predictions for 2014

Celent Predictions for 2014
It’s clear that my colleagues and I see 2014 as something of a tipping point, a water shed for established and new technologies  to take hold in the insurance industry. I’ll try to summarise them succinctly here. Expect to see reports on these topics in the near future. Celent’s 2014 prediction focus on:
  • The increasing importance and evolution of digital
  • The rise of the robots, the sensor swarm and the Internet of Things
  • An eye to the basics
The first topic area is labelled digital but encompasses novel use of technology, user interfaces, evolving interaction, social interaction (enabled by technology) and ye olde customer centricity. Celent predicts vendors would market core systems as customer centric again, but this time meaning digital customer centricity. Celent expects to see core system user interfaces to acquire more social features along with a deeper investment in user interfaces leveraging voice, gesture, expression and eye movements. A specific digital UI example was the wide spread adjustment of auto damage claims (almost) entirely done through photos. In addition, gamification use for both policyholders and brokers will be adopted or increase in use for those early adopters. Celent further predicts greater investment in digital and that comprehensive digitisation projects would start to drive most of the attention and budgets of IT. The second topic I’ve called Robots and Sensors, while digital there is a significant amount of attention and specificity. The merger or evolution of the Internet with the Internet of Things accelerates with devices contributing ever more data. Celent predicts this rise of the Internet of Things or the sensor swarm, will push usage based insurance policies to other lines of business, not just telematics based auto policies that UBI is currently synonymous with. Celent further predicts that the quantified self movement and humans with sensors will in 2014 yield the first potentially disruptive business model for health insurance using this data. As an aside the increasing use of automation, robotics and AI will see broader adoption in the insurance industry. For those reading my tweets, Celent predicts 2014 will see drones used for commercial purposes. I hope we won’t have the need, but wonder if we’ll see drones rather helicopters capturing information about crisis stricken regions in 2014. The final topic I’ve called the basics. Celent predicts insurers will continue to focus heavily on improving performance of the core business – a good counterbalance to the hype around digital and a good pointer to where to focus digitisation efforts. At Celent we have noted a pragmatic interest in the cloud from insurers and we predict increasing complexity in hybrid cloud models, to the benefit of the industry. A little tongue in cheek but finally, Celent suggests that industry will finally find a business case for insurers adopting big data outside of UBI. Avid readers of the blog will be happy to see we haven’t predicted an apocalypse for 2014.   A special thanks to Jamie Macgregor, Juan Mazzini, Donald Light and Jamie Bisker for their contributions.  

Digital Insurance and the Customer: Mind the Gap!

Digital Insurance and the Customer: Mind the Gap!

Let’s play Jeopardy together! If the most frequently given answer from a panel of insurance customers is “Don’t know,” what was the question?

It was: “Which UK insurer do you think is the most innovative?”

For those who think that is an exaggeration of the common opinion that the insurance industry is not innovative at all, let me tell you that the second most frequently given answer was “None.”

As Jo Hind – Industry Head, Finance at Google – explained during the first presentation of the Digital Insurance and the Customer: Mind the Gap! event Celent organized in collaboration with Google, the pace of change is accelerating. More and more people are using digital communication means to get information about financial products, including insurance policies, and among others mobile devices are getting great traction. To pave the ground for the rest of the event, Jo left the audience with simple but relevant questions to insurers: How important is mobile to the insurance business? Are insurers optimizing and planning for the four-screen world (computers, TVs, pads, and smartphones)? How can insurers engage better with their customers? Are products offered by insurers meeting consumer expectations?

When Craig Beattie followed Jo’ s final interrogations with the Celent views on the customer, Google, and UK car insurance based on research he and Catherine Stagg-Macey published recently, we – in the audience – could not anticipate that the phlegmatic British analyst would provide the audience with such an insightful and dynamic analysis of the reasons for and consequences of the changing behaviour of insurance online shoppers. After this moment of brilliance, it was time for people to take their breath and enjoy the networking break to exchange about what had just been exposed to them by Google and Celent.

The audience had opportunities to share their thoughts during the discussion panel session which ended the whole event. Ian Morgan – Industry Leader Financial Services at Google – moderated the session, which saw Jem Eskenazi – CIO of Groupama Insurances, Ollie Holden – Solution Delivery Director at LV=, Catherine Stagg-Macey – Head of EMEA Celent insurance, and Jo Hind debate about mobile and digital insurance predictions. The audience was asked to provide its opinion on these predictions before they were discussed in more detail with the panelists.

Let’s play Jeopardy again! What question related to the Celent event summarized above will result in the following answer? “Certainly.” It is: “Are insurers who were present in the audience going to view digital insurance and the customer differently from now on?”

Challenges and Solutions in ECM and Digital Commerce

Challenges and Solutions in ECM and Digital Commerce

Celent recently conducted its third Peer Networking Event, exploring the topics of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Digital Commerce. Alternative approaches, successes and gaps were actively exchanged by the 40 participants, representing 13 carriers. We would like to thank The Hartford Insurance Company for hosting the session.

The morning kicked off with a presentation by Ben Moreland, Celent Senior Analyst, which summarized the results of research on ECM in insurance. Among the many data points reviewed, the most active discussions concerned moving away from metacode formats and responding to personalization and prioritization requirements by the business. Numerous practical solutions were shared. One company detailed their use of a middleware utility to aggregate and control output from multiple administration platforms.

A presentation by one of the attendees followed which described their ECM platform and detailed the technical and governance challenges involved in managing a complex environment. From the comments exchanged between participants, it was clear that a goal common among many insurers is to rationalize and consolidate products and platforms. In addition to making the correct technical decisions among many alternatives, the softer dimensions of governance and change management are key success factors in modernizing content management.

The afternoon included a great deal of networking and a panel discussion that dealt with the transition to digital commerce. The panel included both IT and business representatives as well as an executive from the banking industry. They outlined the successes and challenges in their efforts to deliver a consistent experience across digital channels, integrate digital and analog customer service touchpoints, and provide personalization of the user experience. A fascinating approach used by a North American bank to self-fund its digital commerce development effort was outlined.

In all, a great deal of practical information sharing and great networking took place in a very productive and relaxed environment. Celent is in the process of planning additional peer networking events, so please stay tuned for announcements about upcoming events. If you are a carrier and would like to host a Celent Peer Networking Event, please contact Chuck Smith at csmith@celent.com.

Carrier staff are invited to join Celent’s Peer Network on Linked in by going here http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3886663&mostPopular=&trk=tyah. The group provides a forum for insurer IT and business strategists to share ideas and network.

New Rules of Engagement: How Digital and Social Innovation Challenge the Insurer Business Model

New Rules of Engagement: How Digital and Social Innovation Challenge the Insurer Business Model
Last Thursday Celent organized an event in London, whose goal was to raise interrogations around digital and social innovation and how it challenges the insurer business model. In order to get some fresh views about this topic, we have decided to invite some speakers who are not directly involved in the financial services industry and insurance. In the first presentation, we learned how Axa UK has decided to take on the social media challenge. For the presenters Chris Denison – Managing Partner in Axa Innovation Hub – and Manjit Rana – Partner in Innovation Hub at Axa – social media is not a “must” but just another communication channel insurers need to understand and leverage where possible. Chris and Manjit explained the audience how Axa determines individual digital profiles, defines target challenges and identifies solution generators using three dimensions: business model, servicing customers and products/services. This analysis has allowed Axa to identify technology options for solving key challenges. Among others, Chris and Manjit identified interesting tool to leverage such as insurance claim validation systems and iPhone applications improving driving efficiency. According to Axa, deeper digital customers will force insurers to deal with unfamiliar technology solutions and risks.

The next speaker was Shaun Gregory – Managing Director of O2 Media. O2 is one of the leaders in the UK telecommunication industry. The key word used by Shaun during his presentation was “fan”. Actually, the goal of O2 is to “turn customers into fans”. To do so, O2 tries to leverage different kinds of social media tools to improve its product offering in the media business. For instance, the company uses a location tool to target people and inform them about stores and activities that might be of interest to them depending on their location. In addition, O2 also launched credit cards and a contactless payment system via mobile. Shaun’s message to the audience was clear: if you want to turn customers into fans you’ve got to anticipate their needs and provide them with the services that will fulfill these needs straight away.

Engaging with customers the Google way was the following presentation. Jo Hind – Head of Finance at Google – reminded the audience about some of the key innovations Google had contributed to bring to the market to make it one of the most innovative firms on earth nowadays. According to Jo, digital means interactivity and addressability. Interactivity is one of the core offering of Google and the company tries to identify all the times how technology via social media notably can address the need for more interactivity among individuals. Insurers can leverage these new tools and Jo made a special example about how companies can use intelligent billboard in advertising campaigns. Hiscox – the UK insurer – is one of the first insurers who has already used this technology.

The final presentation before the panel discussion was given by Rafe Offer, who is an entrepreneur and industry advisor. Among others, Rafe has worked for Facebook and other innovative companies active in the digital and social media industry. Rafe has captivated the audience with a simple and straightforward message: “the digital revolution is not about technology but it is about the culture of innovation”. Through different examples such as Zappos, Apple, Twenty Recruitment, Rafe convinced us that without a clear cultural commitment to innovate, a company cannot be successful.

The event ended up with a fruitful discussion panel composed of Paul Wishman – E-Commerce Director at LV=, Manjit Rana – Partner in Innovation Hub at Axa – Jo Hind – Head of Finance at Google and Craig Weber – Senior Vice President and Head of the Celent insurance practice. For more information about the questions that were discussed during this session, Craig Beattie, one of our UK based Celent insurance analyst, has been tweeting them during the discussion panel and you can retrieve them here: http://twitter.com/#!/cgbeattie