Sponsored: Delphi Technology Inc.

4 Critical Traits of a Successful Digital Innovation Partner

In a fast-paced world where technology changes almost daily, insurers need to innovate to survive.
By: | May 30, 2017 • 6 min read

A persistent soft market and a crop of new start-ups are driving competition among insurers all vying for customers’ attention and loyalty. Given the challenging environment, digitization has become a critical strategy for insurers of all sizes.

Small and medium sized companies leverage technology to get a leg up on the big players still grappling with legacy systems. But bigger and older carriers can likewise hold on to their competitive edge by taking advantage of modern tools and embracing digitization.

Cutting out manual, paper-based methods maximizes efficiency, but it also eases communication with brokers and insureds, improves overall customer experience, and helps to attract and retain talent.

An explosion of InsureTech companies have burst onto the scene – roughly 1,000 so far – to meet the demand for technology solutions. But do they really check all the boxes insurers need?

To harness the benefits of digital innovation, insurers require a technology partner that understands their business and brings multiple best-in-class capabilities to the table.

  1. Modern Platform

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John Flavin, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer

Excellent user experience is a critical piece of modern technology platforms that legacy systems sorely lack.

Policy administration systems that are accessible by desktop computer, laptop, tablet and cell phones allow users more flexibility. Integration with the web through an online portal not only makes device independence possible, but also allows for communication with other admin systems in separate departments.

“Legacy systems often can’t communicate with each other,” said John Flavin, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer, Delphi Technology. “Sharing policy updates with stakeholders across departments is a long and cumbersome process with these monolithic systems that can’t talk to one another.”

Along with flexibility and convenience, a modern user experience also provides greater speed and consistency. Web integration allows for real time updates, so users see the most updated version of a policy or product definition every time they log on.

“Customers expect that processing be done in real time. Whether it’s real time quoting or real time access to policy information, they expect to see the point-in-time view of a product when they log into the portal,” Flavin said.

Speed allows for faster collaboration on a product and the ability to make changes quickly, which ultimately allows insurers to get to the market faster.

  1. Self- Service and Flexible Configurations

A modern system that allows communication between policy administration systems and multiple stakeholders also enables a degree of self-service by both underwriters and policyholders.

“Typically, if you want to know if a product manager has filed a rate revision or made any updates to a policy, you would have to contact them directly, and that can lead to a game of phone tag. What we’ve done with our Delphi Accelerator workbench tool is allow visualization of the data for all parties,” Flavin said. “A standalone product workbench designed to interface or integrate with any policy admin system is a new concept.”

Stakeholders can view product definitions, coverages, rates and forms and other filings without disturbing the product manager, potentially saving a significant chunk of time. Product managers in turn can take advantage of flexible system configurations to make adjustments in the product workbench and deploy it to multiple admins systems, rather than having to reconfigure products in each system separately.

“Generally what happens today is the configuration happens in the policy admin system, and medium to large insurance carrier may have anywhere from five to ten policy admin systems. They would need to configure a product in each system individually according to its unique tools,” Flavin said. “What we’re trying to do with Delphi Accelerator is eliminate that configuration, and allow product managers to do that configuration one time and then publish it to the five of the ten different systems that they have.”

Likewise, agents and policyholders can access their insurer much more readily using digital tools and online portals.

“Digital innovation has allowed carriers to provide better service to customers at times that are convenient for them,” Flavin said.

  1. Industry Expertise

Technology partners who deliver the best customer experience also have deep knowledge of the insurance industry. This is where InsureTech companies often can’t compete. As pure technology companies, they sometimes lack an understanding of the processes and needs of insurance carriers looking to modernize old methods.

“Having the tools to digitize processes is all well and good, but understanding of the insurance marketplace and regulations is necessary in order to use those tools effectively,” Flavin said,

“The insurance business is still about the people, the product and the process, and digital tools should exist to aid those processes, not replace them,” he added. “Tools should help insurers connect with their customers in the way that customers want to connect, and deliver products in the way customers want to receive them.”

Technology providers with an acute sense of what product managers need can develop the tools that best soothe those pain points.

  1. Leverage Industry Data

The ability to pull in industry standards definitions and updates, and then layer in carrier-specific definitions, is another advantage of modern tools.

“No longer do product managers have to read through paper pages of bulletins and circulars from industry-standard rating agencies like ISO and NAAS,” Flavin said.

The Delphi Accelerator workbench tool can import that data and centralize it, making it easier for managers to analyze and reconfigure as necessary to meet carrier-defined specifications. Then, Delphi Accelerator can export that data to Delphi Policy.

Delphi Policy is designed to be flexible and configurable. It can not only accept and use the content that Delphi Accelerator provides to it, but also allow for external data sources to help pre-fill external applications or supply the underwriter with additional data so they can make more timely decisions regarding risk eligibility and acceptability.

Delphi Accelerator and Delphi Policy were built to support a number of different data providers. Their ability to import and export data lets the system act as a central data hub and the primary site for policy changes.

“Digital innovation for insurance companies will largely take place behind the scenes. With Delphi Accelerator and Delphi Policy, it’s about creating the product offering and tweaking it before it’s exposed to the market,” Flavin said.

Modern, digital tools that open up communication between multiple parties, increase ease of doing business, and cut out paperwork helps to create space for innovation.

In a fast-paced world where technology changes almost daily, insurers need to innovate to survive, especially with increasing competitive pressure from startups and nonconventional insurers who are better positioned to take advantage of the latest tech.

To learn more about Delphi Policy, visit www.Delphi-Tech.com.

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Delphi Technology Inc. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Delphi Technology is the recognized leader in technology solutions for medical professional liability insurance and an emerging provider of technology solutions for property and casualty insurance.

Risk Management

The Profession

Pinnacle Entertainment’s VP of enterprise risk management says he’s inspired by Disney’s approach to risk management.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Bus boy at a fine dining restaurant.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

I sent a résumé to Harrah’s Entertainment on a whim. It took over 30 hours of interviewing to get that job, but it was well worth it.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

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The Chinese citizen (never positively identified) who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. That kind of courage is undeniable, and that image is unforgettable. I hope we can all be that passionate about something at least once in our lives.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber risk, but more narrowly, cyber-extortion. I think state sponsored bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated, and the risk is that they find a way to control entire systems.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Training and breaking horses. When I was in high school, I worked on a lot of farms. I did everything from building fences to putting up hay. It was during this time that I found I had a knack for horses. They would tolerate me getting real close, so it was natural I started working more and more with them.

Eventually, I was putting a saddle on a few and before I knew it I was in that saddle riding a horse that had never been ridden before.

I admit I had some nervous moments, but I was never thrown off. It taught me that developing genuine trust early is very important and is needed by all involved. Nothing of any real value happens without it.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

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Setting very aggressive goals and then meeting and exceeding those goals with a team. Sharing team victories is the ultimate reward.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Disney World. The sheer size of the place is awe inspiring. And everything works like a finely tuned clock.

There is a reason that hospitality companies send their people there to be trained on guest service. Disney World does it better than anyone else.

As a hospitality executive, I always learn something new whenever I am there.

James Cunningham, vice president, enterprise risk management, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.

The risks that Disney World faces are very similar to mine — on a much larger scale. They are complex and across the board. From liability for the millions of people they host as their guests each year, to the physical location of the park, to their vendor partnerships; their approach to risk management has been and continues to be innovative and a model that I learn from and I think there are lessons there for everybody.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

We are doing a much better job of getting involved in a meaningful way in our daily operations and demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Educating and promoting the career with young people.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Being able to tell the Pinnacle story. It’s a great one and it wasn’t being told. I believe that the insurance markets now understand who we are and what we stand for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

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John Matthews, who is now retired, formerly with Aon and Caesar’s Palace. John is an exceptional leader who demonstrated the value of putting a top-shelf team together and then letting them do their best work. I model my management style after him.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies. I like to read how successful people became successful by overcoming their own obstacles. Jay Leno, Jack Welch, Bill Harrah, etc. I also enjoyed the book and movie “Money Ball.”

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Ice water when it’s hot, coffee when it’s cold, and an adult beverage when it’s called for.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

In my family, I’m the “Safety Geek.”

R&I:  What’s your favorite restaurant?

Vegas is a world-class restaurant town. No matter what you are hungry for, you can find it here. I have a few favorites that are my “go-to’s,” depending on the mood and who I am with.

If you’re in town, you should try to have at least one meal off the strip. For that, I would suggest you get reservations (you’ll need them) at Herbs and Rye. It’s a great little restaurant that is always lively. The food is tremendous, and the service is always on point. They make hand-crafted cocktails that are amazing.

My favorite Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. There are three in town, and I prefer the one in Henderson as it has the best view of the valley. For seafood, you can never go wrong with Joe’s in Caesar’s Palace.




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]