Overheard at IASA 2018

Jeff Young on June 14, 2018

When I learned I could hear world class Insurance thought-leadership and country music in the same venue, the annual IASA Educational Conference & Business Show in Nashville, TN was quickly highlighted on my calendar. While the educational seminars and round-table discussions included accounting, risk management, and finance topics, my interest in InsurTech led me to the technology seminars. For those of you that couldn’t make it to IASA this year, here are my highlights from Nashville:

Continuity, Consistency & Convenience

Jeff Scheerhorn from Ernst & Young LLP gave recommendations on how Insurance providers can best facilitate the move from a multi-channel to omnichannel service model. When developing your strategy, focus on the 3 C’s: Continuity, Consistency and Convenience. Policyholders today expect access to Insurance services from multiple touch-points—both when they want it and where they want it. Scheerhorn suggests a focus on service design and user experience, with access to data analytics and clear governance for the best outcome.

Define Your Problem—The Find The Technology To Solve It

Jonathan Silverman from Microsoft moderated the IT Town Hall, during which several innovation and core systems executives discussed the role of the Cloud in today’s Insurance landscape. It was noted that 86% of Insurance industry CEOs today consider digitalization to be their #1 priority.  While there was once great resistance to storing sensitive customer data off-site, Eric Weisburg from Novarica shared his observation that in the past 18 months 80- 90% of Insurance Providers have embraced the Cloud. While both cost and data security were once barriers, the total cost of ownership of Cloud solutions over 5- 10 years is typically lower than that of alternatives, and data is increasingly more secure. Abel Travis, Head of Innovation for the AF Group, recommended that insurers start with the problem they’re trying to solve, and then target technology that will help them achieve it, versus starting with technology and then strategizing on its use.

Better Insight, Better Automation & Better Experience

I attended the “Impact of AI in Insurance” seminar, during which Jeff Goldberg from Novarica discussed the co-emergence of IoT, Big Data, and AI, and each of their unique attributes. Simply put, IoT provides the ability to capture data, Big Data provides the ability to store, manipulate and visualize new data, and AI provides the ability to gain new insights from data. Goldberg outlined three approaches to AI that can be used within different areas of the Insurance industry: better insight, better automation, and better experience. By combining all three approaches, Insurance Providers can make better decisions, in less time.

Focus of the Value-Add

According to a recent survey, 77% of Insurance carriers are ramping up IoT initiatives as they believe it will attract new customers and improve both new and existing customer relationships. In the session entitled “How Insurance Carriers Can Speed Smart Home Adoption,” Normand Lepine of NTT Data Services provides the following advice: Insurers should establish IoT objectives by first understanding consumer goals. Focus on the value-add. Smart Home solutions should create loyalty—in addition to new revenue streams. Carriers can’t effectively manage the Smart Home ecosystem alone, so Lepine encourages partnerships with industry disrupters to both reduce overhead and leverage expertise.

Oh, and I’d be remiss to mention that I also overheard the fine musical stylings of Joe Nichols. Following his performance at the IASA event, several of us walked over to the Grand Ole Opry for an evening performance, which allowed me to cross another item off my bucket list. It was an unforgettable night featuring Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Chris Janson and my favorite 80’s picker, Ricky Skaggs.

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