Setting the Benchmark in Technology for Alberta Brokerages

Michael Spiar, Broker Relations & Communications Specialist | Alberta Broker, April 2017

For an insurance broker, an enormous component of growth comes from outservicing the competition — which is why setting benchmarks is a crucial piece of developing any business plan. There are many resources that can support brokers in this task, including two produced by CSIO — one of which is exclusive to IBAA members.

On the technology front, CSIO’s Technology Leader program is national in scope, tracking member adoption of nine key technologies in each province and celebrating those brokerages that score 100%. Of 65 brokerages recognized as of this writing, 16 are in Alberta – a great accomplishment. Full adoption statistics for Alberta are shown on the table below.

Technology Adoption Statistics: Alberta

  2015 2016 Change
eDocs 57% 83% +26%
CSIOnet 74% 86% +12%
CSIO Industry Forms 100% 100%
eSignatures 3% 8% +5%
TLS eMail Security 85% 95% +10%
Website 80% 86% +6%
Mobile-Optimized Website 42% 58% +16%
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 47% 55% +8%
Social Media 25% 29% +4%
Overall Average 59% 75% +16%

In fact, Alberta brokerages have the third-highest total adoption rate in Canada at 75%, behind only Ontario and Nova Scotia.

From a business operations perspective, Alberta brokers can turn to the report of the IBAA-CSIO Brokerage Operational Survey conducted last summer, available on the IBAA website. The report includes information such as average salary, technology expense ratio, training costs, operating hours and more — providing IBAA members with a great deal of insight into their competitive position within the province.

Key Takeaways: Areas of Strength

Digital Workflow

Alberta brokers are among the savviest in this regard, boasting the second-highest adoption rate for three different technologies: CSIOnet, eDocs and eSignatures. In fact, eDocs adoption is set to grow even higher, with 7% of survey respondents reporting active plans to implement eDocs for personal lines and another 36% reporting to do the same for commercial lines.


Alberta brokers are tied for the highest adoption of TLS eMail Security, a simple and inexpensive solution that enhances PIPEDA compliance by protecting emails — particularly those containing personal customer information — from cyber criminals. As survey results indicate that Alberta brokers have an email address on file for 64% and 75% of personal and commercial lines customers respectively, ensuring the privacy of email communications should be a top priority.

Key Takeaways: Areas of Opportunity

Online Presence

While the vast majority of Alberta brokers maintain a website (and more than half of those are optimized for mobile devices), there is an opportunity to further increase the number — especially given consumer trends showing a dramatic move towards smartphones and digital commerce. In 2013 alone, consumers spent 40% of insurance research time on mobile devices, and 25% exclusively used a mobile device. Alberta also lags in adoption of social media, ranking seventh out of 10 provinces in Canada. Encouragingly, however, 42% of survey respondents have invested in a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, possibly indicating a shift towards further adoption of these key
technologies through 2017 and beyond.

Out-Servicing the Competition

A significant piece of the consumer’s shift to digital platforms is the expectation of 24/7 service. Contrast that with the average operating hours reported by survey respondents:

  • Open before 9 a.m.: 70%
  • Open after 5 p.m.: 10%
  • Open on Saturday: 19%
  • After-hours call service: 43%

Furthermore, survey results indicate that only 44% of brokerages use standardized workflow processes — possibly leading to inefficiencies, inconsistent customer service levels, miscommunication and disorganization.

Moving Forward

CSIO updates its technology adoption rates every year and strives to recognize new technology leaders as often as possible. Is your brokerage a technology leader? Complete our scorecard and let us know! Visit:

Additionally, all members of IBAA are automatically members of CSIO and may sign up on to enjoy member benefits including access to our library of industry forms, monthly newsletter, working groups and more.

As the adage goes, “What gets measured gets done.” In that spirit, CSIO will continue providing the broker channel with valuable data to set performance benchmarks and improve our industry’s ease of doing business.