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

After 20 years in the business, Navy Pier’s Director of Risk Management values her relationships in the industry more than ever.
By: | June 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Working at Dominick’s Finer Foods bagging groceries. Shortly after I was hired, I was promoted to [cashier] and then to a management position. It taught me great responsibility and it helped me develop the leadership skills I still carry today.

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

While working for Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel, one of my responsibilities was to oversee the administration of claims. This led to a business relationship with the director of risk management of the organization who actually owned the property. Ultimately, a position became available in her department and the rest is history.

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

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The risk management community is doing a phenomenal job in professional development and creating great opportunities for risk managers to network. The development of relationships in this industry is vitally important and by providing opportunities for risk managers to come together and speak about their experiences and challenges is what enables many of us to be able to do our jobs even more effectively.

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

Attracting, educating and retaining young talent. There is this preconceived notion that the insurance industry and risk management are boring and there could be nothing further from the truth.

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

In my 20 years in the industry, the biggest change in risk management and the insurance industry are the various types of risk we look to insure against. Many risks that exist today were not even on our radar 20 years ago.

Gina Kirchner, director of risk management, Navy Pier Inc.

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

FM Global. They have been our property carrier for a great number of years and in my opinion are the best in the business.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

I am optimistic that policies will be put in place with the new administration that will be good for the economy and business.

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

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The commercial risks that are of most concern to me are cyber risks, business interruption, and any form of a health epidemic on a global scale. We are dealing with new exposures and new risks that we are truly not ready for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My mother has played a significant role in shaping my ideals and values. She truly instilled a very strong work ethic in me. However, there are many men and women in business who have mentored me and have had a significant impact on me and my career as well.

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

I am most proud of making the decision a couple of years ago to return to school and obtain my [MBA]. It took a lot of prayer, dedication and determination to accomplish this while still working a full time job, being involved in my church, studying abroad and maintaining a household.

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

“Heaven Is For Real” by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. I loved the book and the movie.

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

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A French restaurant in Paris, France named Les Noces de Jeannette Restaurant à Paris. It was the most amazing food and brings back such great memories.

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

Israel. My husband and I just returned a few days ago and spent time in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho and Jordan. It was an absolutely amazing experience. We did everything from riding camels to taking boat rides on the Sea of Galilee to attending concerts sitting on the Temple steps. The trip was absolutely life changing.

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

Many, many years ago … I went parasailing in the Caribbean. I had a great experience and didn’t think about the risk at the time because I was young, single and free. Looking back, I don’t know that I would make the same decision today.

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

I would have to say the relationships and partnerships I have developed with insurance carriers, brokers and other professionals in the industry. To have wonderful working relationships with such a vast array of talented individuals who are so knowledgeable and to have some of those relationships develop into true friendships is very rewarding.

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

My friends and family have a general idea that my position involves claims and insurance. However, I don’t think they fully understand the magnitude of my responsibilities and the direct impact it has on my organization, which experiences more than 9 million visitors a year.




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