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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.

The Profession

Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

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

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I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

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

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

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

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

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

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

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

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

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

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

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

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A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

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

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

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

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

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