Learning from the Best: Operational Excellence from a Model Insurer Viewpoint

Learning from the Best:  Operational Excellence from a Model Insurer Viewpoint

I am privileged again this year to be part of the team that judged the Celent Model Insurer nominations. My focus is on the nominations in the Operational Excellence theme. In reality, every nomination demonstrates a high degree of operational excellence. It is a tough job to choose only three winners in the category. 

You may wonder how Celent decides which nominations are the best of the best. We look at the disciples included in successful operational outcomes. Achieving operational excellence, requires transforming processes and systems into competitive advantages by making them leaner, faster, more flexible and of higher quality.

It’s not just what is done, but how it’s done. The project should have lasting effects and transform the organization in multiple aspects: Processes, Technology, Culture and Business Model

This year’s operational excellence nominations run the gamut from project methodology to straight through processing to infrastructure outsourcing.  Following are examples of a few of the nominations: 

  • A P&C insurer in the Cayman Islands moved to a virtual business. Instead of replacing their on premise infrastructure, they transitioned to a cloud environment for all systems including: core insurance operations, human resources, and call center. By moving to a third-party cloud provider, the insurer could go global to support local operations with consistent technology expertise to host and maintain the applications.
  • One of India’s leading life insurance companies which had experienced tremendous growth of 380% in the last financial year required a simple, streamlined and cost effective system to service their growing customer base and extend the enterprise for continued growth and market penetration. The company implemented a document management solution for processing new business and claims. The solution is designed so that it requires no or minimal manual intervention for the end-to-end document life cycle process.
  • An innovative testing solution created in collaboration between a North American P&C insurer and its vendor was implemented after it was found that the existing testing environment, approach and methodology was causing delays and quality assurance problems for the transformation program. The solution is a cloud based, open-source testing environment that has reduced both risk and cost by improving the quality of the testing. 
  • A North America supplemental benefits insurer adopted an Agile project methodology in response to its need of modernization and in recognition that it will undergo more change as the industry continues to capitalize on social, mobile, wearables, etc. The change brought about increased accountability, efficiency and organization that have allowed the company to be poised and ready for all opportunities, producing results at record speed.
  • A reinsurer based in Europe implemented artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to allow automatic verification of clauses in contracts and matching of official comments stored in a large database.  This allows experts to focus their attention on parts of the contract that have not been seen before and will allow back searching thought any collection of documents for clauses containing issues of interest as well as comparing contracts on a clause level with calculated accuracy scores.   

As you can see from this sampling of nominations, choosing the winners was hard.  However, it is easy for you to be on hand to network with and learn from the insurers and vendors who submitted the winning projects.  Please join Celent in Boston on April 4 for Innovation and Insight Day where the winners of the 2017 Model Insurer awards will be announced.  You can register here.   

A golden day for insurance: Celent 2016 Model Insurer winners

A golden day for insurance: Celent 2016 Model Insurer winners

In the historic Museum of American Finance, surrounded by golden exhibits including gold bars, a gold Monopoly game and even a gold toilet(!), the 2016 Celent Model Insurers were announced yesterday.  Part of our annual Innovation and Insight Day, we had over 150 insurance professionals in attendance (and over 300 in total), it was a great day for networking, idea sharing, learning about award winning initiatives and hearing inspiring speakers talk about the future of financial services. 

Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO and co-founder of Haven Life, was the Model Insurer key note speaker. He discussed how Haven is using technology to reach a younger, digital-savvy customer with a life insurance experience that meets their expectations. He spoke about the journey from ideation to reality for their term insurance products which can be purchased online in only 20 minutes. He encouraged the audience to “think big but start small” and to apply the learnings along the way.

The Haven Life presentation was followed by the main event, the announcement of the 2016 Model Insurer winners. Every year, Celent recognizes the effective use of technology projects in five categories across multiple business functions.  We produced our annual Model Insurer Case Study report which clients may download here.  This year there were fifteen insurers recognized including Zurich Insurance, the Model Insurer of the Year.  Here are the winners: 

Model Insurer of the Year   

Zurich Insurance: Zurich developed Zurich Risk Panorama, an app that allows market-facing employees to navigate through Zurich’s large volumes of data, tools and capabilities in only a few clicks to offer customers a succinct overview of how to make their business more resilient. Zurich Risk Panorama provides dashboards that collate the knowledge, expertise and insights of Zurich experts via the data presented.

Data Mastery & Analytics

Asteron Life: Asteron Life created a new approach to underwriting audits called End-to-End Insights. It provides a portfolio level overview of risk management, creates the ability to identify trends, opportunities and pain points in real-time and identifies inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the underwriting process. 

Celina Insurance Group: Celina wanted to appoint agents in underdeveloped areas. To find areas with the highest potential for success, they created an analytics based agency prospecting tool. Using machine learning, multiple models were developed that scored over 4,000 zip codes to identify the best locations.

Farm Bureau Financial Services: FBFS decoupled its infrastructure by replacing point to point integration patterns with hub and spoke architecture. They utilized the ACORD Reference Architecture Data Model and developed near real time event-based messages.

Innovation and Emerging Technologies

Desjardins General Insurance Group: Ajusto, a smart phone mobile app for telematics auto insurance, was launched by Desjardins in March 2015. Driving is scored based on four criteria. The cumulative score can be converted into savings on the auto insurance premium at renewal.

John Hancock Financial Services: John Hancock developed the John Hancock Vitality solution. As part of the program, John Hancock Vitality members receive personalized health goals. The healthier their lifestyle, the more points they can accumulate to earn valuable rewards and discounts from leading retailers. Additionally, they can save as much as much as 15 percent off their annual premium.

Promutuel Assurance: Promutuel Insurance created a new change management strategy and built a global e-learning application, Campus, which uses a web-based approach that leverages self-service capabilities and gamificaton to make training easier, quicker, less costly and more convenient.

Digital and Omnichannel

Sagicor Life Inc.: Sagicor designed and developed Accelewriting® , an eApp integrated with a rules engine; which uses analytic tools and databases to provide a final underwriting decision within one to two minutes on average for simplified issue products.

Gore Mutual Insurance Company: Gore created uBiz, the first complete ecommerce commercial insurance platform in Canada by leveraging a host of technology advancements to simplify the buying experience of small business customers.

Operational Excellence

Markerstudy Group: Markerstudy implemented the M-Powered IT Transformation Program which created an eco-system of best in class monitoring and infrastructure visualization tools to accelerate cross-functional collaboration and remove key-man dependencies.

Guarantee Insurance Company: In order to focus on their core competency of underwriting and managing a large book of workers compensation business, Guarantee Insurance outsourced its entire IT infrastructure.

Pacific Specialty Insurance Company: Complying with their vision is to become a virtual carrier, meaning all critical business applications will be housed in a cloud-based infrastructure, PSIC implemented their core systems in a cloud while upgrading infrastructure to accommodate growth in bandwidth demands.

Legacy Transformation

GuideOne Insurance: GuideOne undertook a transformation project to reverse declines in its personal lines business. They launched new premier auto, standard auto, and non-standard auto products, as well as home, renter and umbrella products on a new policy administration system and a new agent portal.

Westchester, a Chubb Company: Chubb Solutions Fast Track™, a robust and flexible solution covering core business functionality, was built to support Chubb’s microbusiness unit’s core mission of establishing a “Producer First,” low-touch mindset through speed, accessibility, value, ease-of-use and relationships.

Teachers Life: Teachers Life has achieved a seamless, end-to-end online process for application, underwriting, policy issue and delivery for a variety of life products. Policyholders with a healthy lifestyle and basic financial needs can get coverage fast, in the privacy of their own homes, and pay premiums online in as little as 15 minutes.

The quality of the submissions this year is a clear indication the industry is turning a corner and embracing transformation, digital initiatives, innovation and valuing data analytics.  It is inspiring to see the positive results the insurers have achieved and a pleasure to recognize them as Model Insurers for their best practices in insurance technology.

How about your company? As you read this, are you thinking of an initiative in your company that should be recognized? We are always looking for good examples of the use of technology in insurance. Stay tuned for more information regarding 2017 Model Insurer nominations.  

 

Model Insurer 2016 accepting nominations

Model Insurer 2016 accepting nominations
In its tenth year, Celent’s Model Insurer Award program has grown from a small idea into a big deal for our analysts and the insurance technology world. Not only are insurers across the globe recognized with the premier award in the analyst community for successful implementations of technology projects, but the awards are giving out a Celent’s marquee event Innovation & Insight Day. With over 400 attending at venues like Carnegie Hall, the event has grown to be a ‘must attend’ event for many companies. Celent’s Model Insurer and Model Insurer Asia award programs run annually from September until March/April. Nominations are currently being accepted via two online forms: Model Insurer: www.celent.com/modelinsurer. All insurers across the globe are invited to submit a nomination for Model Insurer.   Model Insurer Asia: www.celent.com/modelinsurerasia. Celent Asia conducts the Asia Pacific specific program to identify the potentially unique “Model Insurer” solutions that have recently been deployed in the APAC region.   The awards are given to insurance companies which have successfully implemented a technology project in five key areas: • Digital and omnichannel technologies • Legacy and core system implementation • Data mastery and analytics • Innovation and emerging technologies • Non-core system implementation best practices/IT management best practices   For the first time this year Celent is offering a report that describes the Model Insurer program in detail. We hope that any and all questions an insurer or vendor might have regarding the program will be answered in the report. http://www.celent.com/system/files/a_guide_to_model_insurer_final.pdf   After four years of running the program, I am passing the baton to Colleen Risk. I will be actively involved in the transition year. Colleen and I both are available to answer questions about the program.   Celent, Colleen and I welcome all insurers to review your successful IT projects from the past one to two years and submit the project for an award. If you win, you will be among some great company at Celent’s Innovation & Insight Day in 2016.

Celent honors twenty-four Model Insurers for 2012 – Will your insurance company be next in 2013?

Celent honors twenty-four Model Insurers for 2012 – Will your insurance company be next in 2013?

Celent announced the winners of its sixth annual Celent Model Insurer awards on Thursday, January 26, 2012 in Boston, MA. http://www.celent.com/reports/event-presentations-celent-2012-insurance-innovation-insight-day-featuring-celents-model. On hand were nearly 150 insurers and technology vendors. Celent Model Insurer Award nominations are open to insurers across the globe and recognize insurers who have successfully demonstrated key best practices in the use of technology within the product and policyholder life cycle and in IT infrastructure and management that a “model insurer” would use. Each award winner’s technology initiative is presented as a Model Insurer Component – components of a theoretical model insurer’s IT systems and practices.

Representing insurance technology “best of the best”, the 2012 Celent Model Insurer Awards honored projects in eleven categories. There were common themes in the award winning projects: an emphasis on innovation and emerging technologies like mobile, telematics, and geospatial risk management tools; a continuation of insurers using SOA/Web Services and ACORD standards as insurers build lasting, integrated solutions; and the increased digitalization of processes as insurers go green and automate process flows.

This year Celent received well over 80 submissions each representing a different technology initiative. Twenty-three Model Insurer Components and one Model Insurer of the Year were named. Nationwide Insurance won Celent’s Model Insurer of the Year recognition for their successful Catalyst Program, a five year consolidation of two $1 billion commercial property & casualty companies. Nationwide’s Catalyst program was successful because of several key best practices including: a strong IT/business alignment; the use of a multi-phase roadmap with “builds” in flight simultaneously; the successful adaptation of the IT department from being a maintenance organization to a systems deployment factory; and the use of effective change management throughout the organizations ensure business readiness.

For more information on the Celent’s 2012 Model Insurer Awards please visit http://www.celent.com/reports/model-insurer-2012-case-studies-effective-technology-use-insurance. Our media partner, Insurance Networking News, has posted a slideshow of the event on their website at http://www.insurancenetworking.com/gallery/celent-innovation-insight-day-recap-29868-1.html.

Nominations for Celent Model Insurer Awards are accepted year-round. We will accept nominations for 2013 beginning February 2, 2012. The deadline for nominations is November 1, 2012. Will your recently implemented project be recognized as a Model Insurer in 2013? Submit and find out!

A holiday gift from Celent – Top 10 searched for terms and links to reports

A holiday gift from Celent – Top 10 searched for terms and links to reports
Last year we offered a Christmas Carol themed post summarising some thoughts on the past, present and future. This time around I figured I’d go for one of the end of year top ten style posts that pop up as folks take a moment to look back at the year. So here I present a view on the top 10 searches insurance folks made on the Celent web site. 10. Model Insurer (Click on the words to do the search) In at number 10 are explicit searches for the model insurer series of reports. We’re still working hard on this years but here’s some links to last years and the one the year before. This year we’ll be holding the Model Insurer event in Boston along with our insight and innovation day. The model insurer reports can’t be beaten for offering a view of successful investment in change and technology across the insurance industry. Also take a look at the Model Insurer Asia report and 2012 event. 9. Fraud Sadly as pressure increases on the financial system, on wallets everywhere then the propensity for fraud increases. 2011 has seen an unprecedented rise in ill-feeling towards the financial services sector as a whole so it’s no wonder that fraud is on everyone’s agenda. Look out for work by Donald Light and Nicolas Michellod in 2012 on modern fraud systems across the globe.   8. CRM or Customer Relationship Management Insurers have made great strides in moving from policy and agreement centric thinking to a more rounded view of the customer. With ever increasing ways of reaching customers and intermediaries, of simply transacting business this focus on technology to support the customer relationship is clearly still a focus. 7. Claims Clearly a key focus for any insurer, from the systems supporting claims to the latest trends in claims analysis. In 2011 Celent examined the impact social media was having on claims and how insurers are interacting with claimants. We also looked at location intelligence solutions and below are just some of the reports looking at various angles of this key function. Look out in 2012 for the XCelent reports on claims system vendors.   6. Outsourcing 2011 has seen a more pragmatic approach to outsourcing in the insurance industry globally. Strategic outsourcing is still a key tool for any large organisation and this is reflected in the term appearing in our top ten. The CIO survey series of reports (which will be refreshed in the new year) offer insight into CIO’s views on outsourcing globally.   5. Policy Administration Ah the big core system question. What was interesting to me was this wasn’t number one, still number 5 is pretty high up the list. Searches in this area were looking for advice on the core systems themselves, building a case for them as well as general trends. This year we published the 2011 reports on policy administration systems around the globe, each offering a different perspective on what’s available as well as what’s required.   4. IT Spending In at number 4 is IT Spending – how are folks splitting their hard earned currency between projects? A key question on the minds of CIOs and others. A key insight into this is offered in the CIO interview series of reports as well as our emerging technology report – aimed at identifying technology gaining interest and investment from the insurance industry – take a look.   3. Asia – or rather searches for India, China and Japan A significant number of searches were for specific countries, the three top countries were India, China and Japan. Asia is a very diverse market and there is a great deal of opportunity in the region, not only financially but also in learning how insurance problems are being solved in these very different markets. Personally, I find one of the great things about working for a global company like Celent is the breadth of view it affords.   2. Social Number two in our list is social, social media and social networks. Technology is helping people to interact and changing the way they communicate. Customers, agents and members of insurers staff all expect very different things from an organisation now in a Twitter and Facebook world than just 10 short years ago. In addition, the relationship between the insurance industry and the vendors and service providers supporting it is changing. In all this newly collected and aggregated information there lies privacy and brand-busting dragons but also great opportunity for those intrepid enough to sail the social seas.   1. Mobile I recently tried going around London for the day without my phone – it was hell! The debacle this year regarding the Blackberry outage created a wave of such feelings, although raised some counter blog posts as journalists recounted how they spent more quality time with their family without answer emails. Regardless of for better or worse, humankind has wed itself firmly to being constantly connected through mobile devices. This is a global phenomenon from geeks seeking the latest 4G android handset, executives and music lovers with their iphones or Kenyan farmers with simpler phones, mobile has changed the we communicate, interact with technology and each other and will continue to do so – the insurance industry is still feeling the impact and in many cases still leading the charge in changing peoples lives for the better through mobile technology.   So there it is, a top 10 for you. I haven’t included links to the webinars, peer networking events and other events through the year but the links to each of the search terms will provide you with those. It’s been a phenomenal year of challenges, change and interesting times. Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year or indeed just a great season – depending on what you’re celebrating this Winter. We look forward to working with you in the new year and beyond. Oo, look, I wrote an end of 2011 post without mentioning the Euro crisis – oops…

Celent Model Insurer 2012 – Submissions being accepted

Celent Model Insurer 2012 – Submissions being accepted
Innovation: The term innovation derives from the Latin word innovatus, which is the noun form of innovare “to renew or change” . Innovation generally refers to the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets and society. Innovation differs from invention or renovation because innovation generally signifies a substantial positive change compared to incremental changes.
Is that possible in Insurance technology? Celent thinks it is and that is why every year we recognize insurers who have effectively used new technology in areas such as policy administration, claims, distribution, or underwriting (to name a few) in an innovative and successful way. Innovation in insurance may not be as world changing as the cotton gin, the microprocessor, or the iPad, but if a technology change has a substantial and measurable change on a company’s revenues, expenses, processes or people, then it is innovation and we want to know about it.
Therefore, again this year, Celent is gathering leading real world examples of the effective usage of technology in an insurance company. These case studies are presented as “Model Insurer Components” — components of a theoretical model insurer’s IT systems and practices. These components help insurers improve performance and meet market demands. In general, they represent the way things should be done. To nominate an initiative at your company as a model insurer component, please use the following link to the submission form. Please note that vendors are welcome to assist their client insurers with their nominations. However, all nominations must include insurer contact information, and all follow-up will be done primarily with the insurer, not the vendor.
We hope to hear from you soon! Award winners will be announced at Celent’s Insurance Innovation & Insight Day in Boston in January 26, 2012.