The Technology in Insurance Awards celebrated the best of the best in this growing sector

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Technology in Insurance winners list

Sponsors’ expert views:

The second annual Insurance Times Technology in Insurance Awards were presented before a lively crowd on 20 September in Skyloft, a spectacular events venue on the 28th floor of the Millbank Tower, London.

The event has grown since its debut last year, with a greater number of entries and categories.

The judging panel, which comprised Google finance industry head Jo Hind, Zurich UK general insurance chief executive Stephen Lewis and Celent senior vice-president of European insurance Catherine Stagg-Macey, were impressed with the quality of presentations, and had a tough time choosing the winners.

Introducing the awards presentation, Insurance Times publishing director Shân Millie (pictured) said: “The drive and passion demonstrated by these individuals is truly inspirational and their fixation on results would gladden the heart of any war-hardened CEO or CFO.”

She added that the standard of presentations had exceeded that of last year. “The judging panel certainly had their work cut out, and as their facilitator, so did I,” Millie said.

The winners

Kicking off the presentations at the event was the award for outstanding business partner, which was scooped by mobile insurance technology company Ingenin.

The judges were particularly impressed with Ingenin’s presentation of its approach, as well as its execution of development. They said: “What do we want to see more of? This is it.” (Re)insurance software house Morning Data picked up the highly commended award in this category.

Next up was the award for best use of technology to improve end client experience, which went to Co-operative Insurance for its telematics offering for young drivers. The judges felt the solution tackled the problem of uninsurable young drivers in a highly creative way. The highly commended accolade went to Kwik-Fit Insurance for its SatMap solution.

The award for best use of technology to improve broker experience was claimed by Aviva for the update of its Aviva Broker website. The judges felt the update had effectively taken on board broker feedback, and was a step change from the previous offering. LV= Broker took the highly commended prize for its Gateway offering.

Zurich’s implementation of BAE Systems’ Detica NetReveal fraud detection system won the top prize for the best use of technology for business transformation category. The judges felt it had radically changed Zurich’s ability to combat fraud. Aspen was awarded highly commended for its APEX catastrophe risk assessment project.

The award for best use of mobile technology went to commercial insurance broker Simply Business for its mobile-optimised site, while the highly commended prize went to Aviva for its bespoke insurance survey app and tablet roll-out.

The best use of social media category was hotly contested, but AXA Insurance ultimately came out on top for its innovative use of social media to help independent brokers grow their business. Highly commended was Simply Business for using social media to improve customer service.

The penultimate category of the evening was best use of analytics, which went to LV= for its multichannel data analysis project. Lloyd’s insurer Hiscox took the highly commended prize for its dynamic Solvency II reports.

Rounding off the presentation was the award for technology champion of the year, which was based on nominations from the industry for individuals making an outstanding contribution to technology in insurance. The award went to Aviva global technology innovation manager Paul Heybourne.

And the winners are …


Technology champion of the year:

Sponsored by: Metaskil
Winner: Paul Heybourne, Aviva
Finalists: Matthew Gouldstone, QBE, and Alan Inskip, Temporary Cover Ltd

Best use of mobile technology:

Sponsored by: Auto-M8
Winner: Simply Business
Highly commended: Aviva
Finalist: BMS Group

Best use of social media:

Sponsored by: Accenture
Winner: AXA Insurance
Highly commended: Simply Business
Finalists: Allianz, Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers, and Lloyd’s

Best use of technology for business transformation:

Sponsored by: CSC
Winner: Zurich
Highly commended: Aspen
Finalists: Direct Line Group and Groupama

Best use of technology to improve end client experience:

Sponsored by: Guidewire
Winner: The Co-operative Insurance
Highly commended: Kwik-Fit Financial Services
Finalists: Aon and LV=

Best use of analytics:

Winner: LV=
Highly commended: Hiscox
Finalist: Motaquote (CCV Group)

Best use of technology to improve broker experience:

Winner: Aviva
Highly commended: LV= Broker
Finalist: Groupama

Outstanding business partner:

Winner: Ingenin
Highly commended: Morning Data
finalists: Sequel and Xchanging

Sponsors’ views:

CSC: A holistic approach to transformation

This year’s Technology in Insurance Awards were a good barometer of the industry’s keenness to exploit technology. Our congratulations go to all the winners of awards and, in particular, Zurich General Insurance for winning the Best Use of Technology for Business Transformation award, sponsored by CSC.

Insurers continue to face the constant challenge of how to improve operational efficiencies as investment income remains low, and focusing on the combined operating ratio is a key lever to improving business performance.

A popular focus for many insurers has been process improvements through techniques such as process re-engineering and Lean, in order to reduce business costs and deliver greater value to customers. This often leads to savings, sometimes up to 20% to 30%.

Other insurers are going one step further and using leading edge technologies (such as real-time analytics, telematics, workflow management, social networking and predictive modelling) to improve business performance.

Each of these contributes a great deal to providing a much more incisive approach to the core elements of insurance, from assessing risk, to improving the accuracy of pricing and offering products that are more relevant and readily available.

Real-time data analytics is now becoming essential to distributing products via aggregators in order to be competitive but, at the same time, protect the quality of the underwriting book. Likewise, telematics, by relying more on actual driving behaviours than ‘assumed’ behaviours, builds a much more accurate picture of risk.

Simply, insurers providing more accurate risk assessment, over and above their competitors, will have the advantage.

In essence, all of these tools are offering insurers a form of mass-customisation - echoing the mass-customisation features being witnessed in other industries, such as car manufacturing and retail.

What’s interesting is the opportunity that these complementary approaches offer to improve business performance when combined together to create a more holistic approach to business transformation. However, in our experience, insurers struggle to combine both, as they tend to focus on a more piecemeal rather than a holistic approach to business transformation.

Companies that succeed at realising their business strategies will often take this holistic approach, driving a structured and co-ordinated programme of activities towards a new operating model that considers all dimensions.

In an increasingly commoditised world where margins are getting ‘thinner’ and competition is intense, companies that fail to achieve this will struggle to survive.

To achieve significant operational change requires a holistic approach; one that looks at every operational process and how this can improve, coupled with utilising technologies that will bring about this change.

Improving business transformation presents many challenges, but the opportunities for insurers to achieve significant benefits have never been greater.

Andy Jones is an associate partner at CSC.

Accenture: Harness social media to boost customer trust

One of the lessons of the past is that the insurance industry tends to be risk averse and slow to embrace new ideas. The advent of social media is having a huge impact on all businesses, which are already grappling with an increasingly digitally driven environment and an ever-changing and more empowered consumer. The insurance industry is no exception, and unless it does change, it will find that others are eating its lunch.

The industry is still suffering from low levels of consumer trust. People have always been eager to vocalise their feelings about negative experiences with individual companies or an industry at large, but nowadays they are doing it with a ‘digital megaphone’.

According to Accenture research, 19% of consumers who complained about their motor insurer also told other people about their experience through social networking sites or Twitter.

The risks of ignoring social media are enormous, and include losing control of the brand and losing ground to competitors more in tune with customers.

ccenture’s recent Social Media Diagnostic, conducted among UK insurance companies, has revealed that insurers still have a long way to go in the effective use of social media. While a few players are successfully establishing a presence and getting consumers to listen to their messages, the industry is largely failing to engage consumers to interact with their brands by ‘talking back’ to them.

Interestingly, social media is quite well suited to helping drive the change that the insurance industry must undergo. Insurance is something people purchase reluctantly; it’s also an intangible product that’s hard to understand. The requirements of social media mean that content has to be concise and simple, which would force insurers to simplify the products and make them more customer friendly.

In the current market, it has never been more important to connect with changing customer sentiment. If insurers want to stay relevant, they will need to stay in tune with customers and actively engage them through the channels that they are using, such as social media. This is critical because there are too many digitally savvy new entrants, which have an established customer base, waiting in the wings. For insurers, losing that customer connection could be the difference between success and failure.

Jeremy Lefebure is a senior manager in Accenture’s property and casualty insurance services. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with 257,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.

Aviva: Digital services are in everyone’s interest

Aviva has recently won some awards for technology and digital initiatives. What’s the secret?
You have to spend plenty of time with your brokers to make sure you really understand what’s important to them, and then leverage all the skills and experience that are available across different parts of the company. Most important, though, is having people who really believe in the digital agenda and who are passionate about making it work.

Why do you believe brokers are a bit reluctant to adopt online, especially around the SME end?
If there is any reluctance, it would be that brokers may worry about losing personal contact with the underwriter and the experience the latter brings. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in both our pricing capability and in the referral proposition that sits behind our online offering - making sure we have experienced and empowered underwriters to talk to.

What is Aviva doing to help brokers in the digital space?
How long have we got? We’ve refreshed our award-winning Aviva broker site, invested in Live Chat, so brokers don’t have to leave the online conversation when they have either a query or need an underwriting decision. Also, we have launched the widest range of commercial products online.

Another part of our investment in digital for brokers is that we’ve run digital master classes and discussion groups, designed to help with search and social media as part of business planning and more. These will continue locally for brokers as they are proving very popular.

To help with speeding up decisions on risk, our risk surveyors now have the ability to enter survey information in real time using tablet technology.
We’ll also soon be launching a Fast Trade app to enable brokers to quote and buy cover while they’re with the client, and we’ll also be launching more sophisticated pricing.

How critical are Aviva’s digital services for brokers going forward?
Digital services are critical. We believe that it’s in everyone’s interest - insurer, broker and client - to be able to trade more efficiently by being quicker and slicker.

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in economics, Sam Hudson attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery. He served for 10 years based in the UK and Germany, including periods of active service in Bosnia and Kosovo. For the past 11 years, Sam Hudson has worked in the financial services industry in both general insurance and life businesses, the past eight of
which have been with Aviva, predominantly within the broker business within GI. He is currently operations director, intermediary and partnerships and among his accountabilities he has specific responsibility for Aviva’s commercial online proposition.