Partnership is Key to Industry Success

Catherine Smola, President and CEO, CSIO | The Ontario Broker, October 2019

We live in a world where existing and emerging technology and digital innovation drive major change in our competitive landscape. As new technology start-ups and non-traditional companies enter the P&C insurance industry to deliver services typically provided by insurers and intermediaries, established technology giants continuously assess gaps and opportunities in the insurance sector.

To stay ahead of these changing dynamics, CSIO and industry partners formed the Innovation and Emerging Technology Advisory Committee (INNOTECH) —a newly formed group whose mandate is to help identify effective technology and business solutions aimed at improving the overall customer experience.

CSIO announced the creation of the INNOTECH Committee this summer. How will the committee fulfill its mandate?
INNOTECH will play a pivotal role in evaluating the application of existing or new technology and digital innovation in the P&C insurance industry. Its recommendations will help CSIO evaluate and promote any technology implementations that are found to be beneficial to customers, while also helping to remove friction and cost from the insurance value chain. Through the use of fact-based research and analysis, the Committee will identify opportunities that are believed to solve shared business problems, have the highest likelihood of success and the broadest benefits to the industry and end consumers.

Who’s participating on the Committee?
We have broad-based representation from CSIO’s industry partners. These Committee members are industry leaders and technical experts who bring a range of expertise and knowledge that’s invaluable to the P&C insurance industry and its customers. Brokers are integral to the efforts of the Committee: Broker representatives will be identified from across the country to bring the brokers’ perspective to the work that the Committee is tasked to deliver.

Would that include representatives from competing organizations? If so, how will they work together cohesively?
Through previous CSIO initiatives, we’ve found that the best way forward is to work collaboratively with our industry partners to solve common pain points. The first step is to reach a consensus that the problems we identify are broadly shared among industry stakeholders, and that any proposed solution wouldn’t be to the benefit of any single member company.

Partnering with a competitor to share skills and information reflects the commitment of those participants to provide the best possible outcome for the industry and its customers. Working with competitors is not a new concept. In fact, we don’t need to look further than one of our own recent successes, the 2018 launch of the My Proof of Insurance solution. Together with our partner companies we built an industry solution that allows both brokers and insurers to digitally deliver auto liability cards and policy documents for their customers. All of this work came together quickly and allowed brokers to be ready when provincial regulators approved eSlips. It’s rare to see such agility and speed to market. This tremendous success speaks to what can be accomplished when insurers, vendors and brokers all work together for the benefit of the end consumer.

How will the Committee’s recommendations and findings specifically benefit brokers and their customers?
In an environment of ever-evolving technology and digital innovation it’s both challenging and costly for the insurance industry to remain competitive. In an environment where new technology start-ups and established technology giants like Apple or Amazon also seek break-in opportunities in the industry, it’s time to rethink our existing processes, structures and the way in which we interact with customers.

Through INNOTECH’s recommendations and the evaluation of potential opportunities, the end goal is to make it easier for brokers to do business with their customers. At the same time, the Committee’s work will aid brokers to make more productive use of technology and help them move away from manual work that doesn’t add value to the client relationship. For example, the improvement or solution may come in the form of streamlining workflows, enabling real-time data exchange or cleaner data for richer client insights.

What’s INNOTECH’s first priority?
CSIO and INNOTECH have agreed that their mandate of identifying business problems and sources of operational friction should start with the important step of mapping specific customer journeys for various business transactions. We’re excited about the many opportunities INNOTECH will deliver to make a difference for brokers, insurers and customers alike. We anticipate that over the coming months, our work will make valuable contributions in helping brokers and insurers not only remain competitive, but also enhance their ability to improve their customers’ experiences. We look forward to taking the industry on this transformational journey.