Rank #1: Shut Up Already, InsurTech!
Jan 09 2019
Rank #2: Larger Agencies, Commercial Lines Will Dominate
In five to 10 years, the primary insurance sales channel will be direct to consumer, predicts Ed Majkowski, Ernst & Young’s insurance advisory leader for the Americas. In this provocative discussion, Ed walks through five key issues facing carriers and agencies. “We’ll always have agents, but there will be far fewer, they’ll be larger, and they’ll invest in technology and their brands,” he says. Meanwhile, no carrier eventually will be able to avoid the direct-to-consumer channel. Personal lines will decline, Ed says, so carriers might need to pivot to commercial lines, to a direct channel, or to a specialty line of business where returns traditionally are much higher. Meanwhile, “insurtechs are gaining traction across all parts of the value chain,” he says. “They’re pushing carriers to provide a better customer experience. Across all types of carriers, they’re nervous about how much investment it’s going to take to move faster. They all see the writing on the wall.”
Jul 08 2019
Rank #3: Can the Industry Disrupt Itself?
Intrigued by the “what ifs” of an insurance industry completely starting over with the agent and consumer experience? Then you’ll love these comments by two industry pundits and frequent conference speakers. Steve Anderson and Rick Morgan, volunteers with IIABA’s Agents Council for Technology, are posing interesting questions, such as: What if we launched an initiative to stop all paper in the insurance industry? No paper applications, ACORD forms or ID cards. No paper for agents. No paper for policyholders. Not even PDFs of policies. Rather, agents, carriers, insureds and any other stakeholder or relevant party would access policy information from the cloud – a central or even several dispersed repositories for all risk-related information (underwriting, risk management, claims, billing, all documentation). Steve says: “This is not about technology; the technology is available. It’s about business processes and the reluctance of some people to change.” Rick adds: “You keep hearing about disruption from insuretechs. We need to disrupt ourselves. The paper paradigm is holding us hostage. We need a C-suite level discussion to take steps to move forward for our industry.”
Mar 04 2019
Rank #4: Agents Can Become “Concierge of Services”
Agents can’t afford to be complacent with their small commercial books, advises Sam Freidman, who leads insurance research at Deloitte’s Center for Financial Services. “The small business market appears poised to finally gain traction for those looking to sell coverage direct to consumers, although some of the emerging platforms also are functioning as online MGAs, keeping retail agents in the mix.” Deloitte’s exploration of the middle-market customer is fascinating, yielding consumer preferences for wanting more from an independent agent than insurance. For the middle market (and even larger small businesses), Sam’s research suggests buyers would appreciate insurers and their agents offering a wider array of products than just risk transfer and basic risk management/loss control. To fortify accounts, agents could reposition as a “concierge of services,” offering connections to industry-specific business management advice, regulatory compliance, payroll support, business loans, social media marketing, cloud service computing, seminars, webinars, tax prep services, peer-exchange networking, and more. This episode is chock full of research findings on how agents might position commercial lines for growth.
May 13 2019
Rank #5: “Discussion Partners” Are Strongest Client Relationships
Former insurance agent and now speaker and management consultant Troy Korsgaden has lots to say on organizational change, and you’ll embrace the energy on this podcast. Troy recently authored a new book, “Discussion Partner,” and is president of Korsgaden International. For anyone in a small or large company, in the field or home office C suite, in a sole proprietorship… “It doesn’t matter where – you’ve got to be a profit center,” he says. “If you’re not, you’re a cost center. You have to have more customer interaction to be a profit center.” Troy outlines four different relationship types, with the ideal one being a “discussion partner.” He says: “These people don’t want to be sold and they don’t want to be told. These are the people who want you to discuss options with them. They’ll decide. Position yourself as an advisor, a client partner.” Troy’s other three relationship types are very different, and he outlines how salespeople must approach them. Troy suggests “retooling,” as in “retooling my team, my technology, my relationships, everything. It doesn’t always mean radical change.”
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Apr 15 2019
Rank #6: Insurance Customer Experience Changes Coming
Customer experience, or CX, understanding among insurance executives overall has been slow going, but new tools are on the way, says Jim McKeown, VP of customer experience and mobility at Selective Insurance. On this podcast, he outlines several Selective initiatives. “We’re no longer just competing with shopping for insurance from carrier to carrier. We’re competing for people’s time in the day. It’s a moment in time – or a micro-moment. If people are going to look for an insurance product and take the time, that experience needs to be spot on. When you use a merchant, and the experience isn’t great, you’re not going to get a second chance. It’s gotta lock you in and speak to you.” Selective’s mobile app has reduced service calls and provided customers with instant information, such as auto ID cards. Jim also comments on the impact of Selective’s voice response system and a device that monitors fleet vehicle performance.
Jun 24 2019
Rank #7: “Technology & Talent” Decisions Face Carriers
What’s on the minds of insurance carrier CEOs? Hear about that from industry insider Bob Rusbuldt, IIABA’s CEO. Listen as he outlines both opportunities and challenges around “the two Ts,” or technology and talent. Carriers also are concerned about the rapid pace of M&A activity in the independent agency system. Large insurance organizations such as Brown & Brown and Gallagher were the acquirers 20 years ago; today, there are myriad private equity and venture capital firms in play, and these “names you’ve never heard of” could be a long-term issue for the system, carrier execs say. Regional carrier execs are concerned about the proliferation of networks, aggregators and clusters, Rusbuldt adds. But while change is difficult for the industry, “The status quo is not acceptable from either the agent’s or carrier’s side,” he says. “There has to be constant evolution in the marketplace, or the carrier or agent will not survive.” Rusbuldt also comments on Nationwide’s “very exciting” move to 100% independent agent distribution. To wrap up, he reviews implications on agents and brokers of looming federal legislative issues, including tax reform.
Apr 01 2019
Rank #8: Agency Aggregation “Future of IA Channel”
In this recording, we catch up with our good friend Steve Brooks in Southern California. In 1989, Steve launched an agency from scratch to focus on high-net-worth clients; a few years ago he sold to fast-moving Acrisure. He’s a big fan of the Acrisure model, noting that it isn’t venture capital backed – and thus looking to flip the investment. Nor does it demand changes of acquired firms. Management and affiliate agencies own 83% of Acrisure, which has grown to $1.6 billion in premium and 400 locations. “We don’t change anything about the agencies we acquire,” Steve says. “We don’t change the name. We are still maintaining our entrepreneurship and our prospecting. We don’t lose those carrier relationships that are still very valuable for me. We don’t have lots of levels of management. We still decide the day to day in our own offices.” Acrisure does support back-office functions, such as licensing, EPLI and E&O, and, optionally, technology. Steve outlines how the group operates, including the capability to refer business among partner agencies.
Jul 22 2019
Rank #9: The Future of Insurance Claims Litigation
Litigation management has evolved as a result of technology. Wesley Todd, former insurance defense attorney and CEO of litigation management tool CaseGlide, explains why claims litigation departments should be concerned with the changes happening at plaintiffs’ firms across the country. He addresses the value in focusing on litigation management holistically.
Jan 30 2019
Rank #10: CFC’s Cyber Product Leader Discusses Importance of Cyber Insurance for Small Businesses
James Burns, cyber product leader for CFC Underwriting, spoke with Insurance Journal’s Elizabeth Blosfield about the importance of cyber insurance for small businesses, as well as unique challenges small companies face in this space. During this audio interview, he discusses how small businesses can better understand what to look for in a cyber insurance policy, learn about the increasing sophistication and frequency of cyber breaches, as well as assess their own risk.
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Feb 20 2019
Rank #11: Mitchell International’s Hatamian Discusses Workers’ Comp Tech Transformation
Mitchell International’s product management and strategy group leader, Shahin Hatamian, recently spoke with Insurance Journal’s Elizabeth Blosfield about how technology has been transforming workers’ compensation. In this audio interview, Hatamian discusses some of the new challenges workers’ compensation insurers may face as a result of technological changes, the benefits of the increased use of technology in workers’ comp and some of the emerging technologies that are still on the horizon for insurers.
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Mar 21 2019
Rank #12: Impact of Artificial Intelligence “Massive”
The insurance industry’s recent rounds of rules-based automation pales in comparison to the “massive shift” to insurance work offered by artificial intelligence, says Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer of global consulting firm Genpact. With AI, he says, “I don’t program the computer. I show it the problem, and you, the computer, find out how to program yourself.” In this fast-paced podcast, Sanjay urges the industry to apply AI learnings, tenets and capabilities and automate “that last mile to take it to the workforce.” The evolution of AI first in language, and then conversation (e.g. intent analysis). Next will be expanded use of sight (e.g. photos and video); and, finally knowledge, offering major opportunities in areas such as FNOL and claims handling. “How do we capture all of the knowledge that insurance adjusters have today?” Sanjay asks. He also offers some other key insurance trends for 2019 in this recording.
Feb 18 2019
Rank #13: Breaking Down Silos to Innovate
You’ll enjoy this recording with Rooney Gleason, president and head of digital business development at Argo Insurance. He outlines how technology is bridging the gap between developers, business leaders and underwriters. “Our most successful product development on the digital side has come when all the different parts of the organization are included in the conversation from the beginning,” Rooney says. “There are so many nuances, like compliance, that come into play.” He describes taking down cubicles and silos to push teams together to innovate. It’s what people want anyway, he says. “Our millennial developers – the kids, I call them – boy are they smart and boy do they hate being slowed down by internal politics and regulatory constraints.” As a specialty writer on multiple distribution platforms – sans direct – Rooney also offers his observations on carrier positioning.
Aug 19 2019
Rank #14: Insuretech Moving from B2C to B2B
In this recording, Mitch Doust, an executive with Cover Genius, a digital distribution platform for commercial insurance, predicts successful insuretechs will move from a consumer focus to a business-to-business model or B2B2C focus. Mitch recently joined Cover Genius from another insuretech called Trov. When it comes to insuretech influence, Mitch say that “retail carriers were very standoffish at the start. Maybe because they haven’t been challenged. You’ve seen reinsurance carriers and others moving first, and they’re cutting out the middleman (primary carriers). So now the industry is taking it more seriously.” He urges industry players to see the customer experience as a product in and of itself – this approach will create new categories in the space, all enabled by technology.
Feb 04 2019
Rank #15: Diversity & Customer Touches
If you own a retail agency, listen as agency owner Bob Klinger outlines an intentional, systematic, modern approach to marketing and selling to diverse small commercial businesses, such as Korean-owned dry cleaners. The DC area-based agency works hard to build referrals from diverse centers of influence. And Klinger’s customer touches (emails, texts, video and calls) amount to as many as 24 per year, which is rare in the personal and small commercial lines space. For new customers, the initial onboarding process “is so powerful,” Bob says. You’ll learn a lot from Bob’s insight, as he also recently assumed volunteer leadership of the American Insurance Marketing & Sales Society, or AIMS.
Sep 02 2019
Rank #16: From Sticky Notes and Coffee Stains to Digital Claim Files
Kevin Quinley, founder and principal of Quinley Risk Associates, describes the evolution of claim file documentation and how digital files impact claims handling.
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Feb 12 2019
Rank #17: The Customer Is the Product
Our repeat guest Dennis Moseley-Williams is a fascinating, fun and informative personality – don’t miss this episode in which he outlines danger lurking for firms that aim to improve service and efficiency – all for the sake of convenience alone. Dennis is a speaker and author on the Experience Economy, where it’s not so much about speedy service. “Services and experiences are not the same thing. Service isn’t the experience. People try to improve service instead of improving experience.” He asserts instead that, in the Experience Economy, “the customer is the product.” Focusing on the insurance product alone isn’t going to sustain organizations. Dennis offers excellent suggestions on educating consumers, reducing paperwork, and – wait for it – insurance jargon. You’ll enjoy this installment.
Apr 29 2019
Rank #18: How AIG’s Acquisition of Glatfelter Will Affect Its Program Business
AIG’s acquisition of program manager Glatfelter Insurance Group was big news when it was announced last fall. In this interview with Arthur Seifert, president of Glatfelter Program Managers, the program division for Glatfelter Insurance Group, from Target Markets’ 2018 Conference, he discusses why the acquisition creates stability for Glafelter and what changes to expect going forward.
For more information, check out these articles on insurancejournal.com:
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Feb 08 2019
Rank #19: How the Program Market is Tackling Cyber Risk, Other Emerging Exposures
The program business segment is known for being able to find insurance solutions for unique risks, but emerging risks like cyber and technology are still a challenge for the industry. In this interview with Arthur Seifert, president of Glatfelter Program Managers, the program division for Glatfelter Insurance Group, he discusses how Glatfelter is approaching cyber exposures and others like catastrophic weather and insurtech.
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Feb 08 2019
Rank #20: Inject a Human at the Right Moment
If you’re familiar with Ryan Hanley, you’d expect a searing commentary on the state of affairs for agents and carriers, and this fast-moving podcast doesn’t disappoint. Ryan, a former agent and now CMO at insuretech Bold Penguin, outlines a vision for the consumer experience: “I think insuretechs that are passing up the human are taking it too far. You don’t need a human for every touchpoint, because you’re not optimizing your agency’s productivity. You need to inject a human at the right moment.” But Ryan also predicts declining market share for independents. “The change in personal lines in the 1970s and 1980s is about to happen in small commercial. We’ll see the IA share dwindle down to 40%, and agents need to be ready for that.” He also predicts a 30 to 40% reduction in the number of agents in the next five years. “All that business will be sold or go to aggregators,” Ryan says. “Some agents doing really well are eating the lunch of agents who aren’t willing to innovate… All the tactics are available on the Internet; it’s just execution.” Ryan adds: “I think 2019 is the year when true human/hybrid automated agencies start to implement at scale. If you’re doing it today, you’ll be well ahead. Get rid of tasks with little value and get to human-facing value.”
Jan 21 2019