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5 InsurTech Trends to Watch

Bill Diaz, CEO of Ventiv Technology, distinguishes the InsurTech trends you need to know.
By: | March 6, 2017 • 5 min read

“[INSERT LATEST TECHNOLOGY HERE] is going to revolutionize insurance and risk management!”

Without a doubt, if you’ve been part of the insurance industry for a while, you certainly have heard this claim many times before.

But despite the relentless hype, some new technologies have had a profound and lasting impact on the industry. And while there is no shortage of technology options, what’s needed is the ability to distinguish meaningful InsurTech trends from less important fads.

Bill Diaz is an accomplished technologist and insurance industry veteran with the experience and industry knowledge to help identify and develop these trends.

With more than 20 years of experience in data analytics and claims administration, Diaz has led the global insurance technology businesses at Marsh ClearSight, FIS and Oracle with solutions spanning property/casualty, life/annuity, and health.

Now, he’s recently become CEO of Ventiv Technology, which provides innovative software solutions to P&C carriers, TPA’s, brokers and risk managers.

“For too long, innovation within the insurance industry has lagged. Finally, we are seeing rapid change enabled by technology. The question is who will be able to adapt and thrive under these new conditions,” he said.

According to Bill, the 5 most important InsurTech trends are:

  1. Digitization

Bill Diaz, CEO

“Digitization is an incredibly hot topic in the industry today,” Diaz said.

For the most part, digitization has helped to remodel distribution processes but can “carry across any part of the insurance value chain, from buying through to servicing,” he said. True innovators in digitization are more focused on creating on-demand products offered through mobile applications, so they can get the right product or service in front of customers at the right time.

Take travel insurance as an example. Based on location services from their mobile phone, a carrier can offer travel insurance when a potential client enters the airport.

“Carriers with a location-aware app can provide a transactional buying experience that is much easier and faster for the end customer. Insurance buying is becoming more transactional and innovative carriers or agents can take advantage of those opportunities,” Diaz said.

Of course, improved customer experience is not the only driver of digitization. Amid a continuing soft market, insurers are constantly looking for ways to cut down on administrative costs and increase efficiency. Digitization offers a way to do just that.

“Many processes within insurance are still paper-based, so it’s a very ripe area for digitization to be an effective tool,” he said.

  1. Disruption of Traditional Channels

Technology also enables new, non-traditional players to get into the insurance game, blurring the lines around traditional roles and processes.

Alternative pools of capital in the form of private equity investments or peer-to-peer insurance, for example, put pressure on carriers to differentiate themselves in the market and refine their value proposition.

Technology also changes how service providers connect with customers, allowing them more direct access to end users and more leverage with carriers. Technology companies can now more easily expand into areas served by traditional service companies.

“Don’t be surprised if you see providers move into what’s historically been considered service or distribution areas. Technology is forging these new channels between insurers, service providers and customers,” Diaz said.

“Carriers have to be able to define their value, and that value has to go beyond geographic borders or compliance, because technology is breaking down barriers and making it easier for smaller, non-traditional players to compete,” he said.

  1. Fight for the End Customer

As technology enables more direct interaction between the marketplace and end consumers, competition for customer attention is getting fierce.

“Whether you’re an insurance carrier or a broker, everyone is fighting for access to the end consumer,” Diaz said.

The primary strategy to gain that consumer’s attention is to create a unique buying experience with proprietary tools, technologies and underlying services. This appeals especially to millennials, who increasingly are the end insurance buyers, even in the B2B world.

Brand loyalty doesn’t matter so much to millennials as much as partnering with a company that’s doing something new and transformative. They’re the perfect fit for the unique services, ease of use and quick communication that insurers are striving to offer.

“It’s a challenge for carriers and brokers. Everybody is trying to make a name for themselves and create some level of distinction. Just saying that you’ve been in business for 150 years is not enough for the new generation of consumers,” Diaz said.

  1. Focus on Loss Control

The advances in insurance technology that get the most buzz are those that aim to re-tool distribution. Emerging companies have differentiated themselves by offering policies direct to the consumer through web-based apps, making the process easy and fast.

But with traditional carriers implementing similar technologies, it’s unclear how these InsurTech startups will fare in the future. The real value of insurance technology, Diaz argued, lies in loss control.

“Our core value as an industry is to help customers identify what’s happening in their risk management programs around risk control, avoidance and mitigation,” he said.

More and more, investors are realizing the benefit of loss prevention in order to reduce claims and lower insurance premiums in the longer term. The growing popularity of wearables, fleet telematics and corporate wellness programs demonstrate this shift in thinking.

  1. Analytics

“The transformation in analytics is progressing at an incredible pace,” Diaz said.

Previously, companies took a very broad approach to data, where an analyst could take all of a company’s structured data and sort through it to identify trends and drivers. But this isn’t so much “analytics” as it is standard business intelligence and reporting.

True analytics involve pulling information from multiple sources, both internal and external to the company, to develop unique insights.

“There’s been an explosion of data, whether it’s email or social media or data that exists on corporate servers. It’s so exponential that people struggle to make sense of it and see the value,” Diaz said.

The sheer amount of data has necessitated a shift from a generalist approach to a specialized approach. Data analysts now must focus on a specific domain where they have expertise.

Ventiv Technology is at the forefront of these trends, with solutions for everything from claims administration and safety management to analytics and data transformation. To learn more, visit http://www.ventivtech.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 Ventiv Technology. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Our people, software, and innovative solutions empower organizations to achieve optimal results of their risk, insurance, and safety programs. Through the depth and breadth of our software solutions, global capabilities, and domain expertise, we are the proven leader in supporting virtually every type of industry and the largest and most complex companies in the world. Ventiv Technology proudly partners with over 550 organizations and 300,000 users in more than 40 countries.

Emerging Risks

Stadium Safety

Soft targets, such as sports stadiums, must increase measures to protect lives and their business.
By: | January 10, 2018 • 8 min read

Acts of violence and terror can break out in even the unlikeliest of places.

Look at the 2013 Boston Marathon, where two bombs went off, killing three and injuring dozens of others in a terrorist attack. Or consider the Orlando Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were killed and 58 wounded. Most recently in Las Vegas, a gunman killed 58 and injured hundreds of others.

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The world is not inherently evil, but these evil acts still find a way into places like churches, schools, concerts and stadiums.

“We didn’t see these kinds of attacks 20 years ago,” said Glenn Chavious, managing director, global sports & recreation practice leader, Industria Risk & Insurance Services.

As a society, we have advanced through technology, he said. Technology’s platform has enabled the message of terror to spread further faster.

“But it’s not just with technology. Our cultures, our personal grievances, have brought people out of their comfort zones.”

Chavious said that people still had these grievances 20 years ago but were less likely to act out. Tech has linked people around the globe to other like-minded individuals, allowing for others to join in on messages of terror.

“The progression of terrorist acts over the last 10 years has very much been central to the emergence of ‘lone wolf’ actors. As was the case in both Manchester and Las Vegas, the ‘lone wolf’ dynamic presents an altogether unique set of challenges for law enforcement and event service professionals,” said John

Glenn Chavious, managing director, global sports & recreation practice leader, Industria Risk & Insurance Services

Tomlinson, senior vice president, head of entertainment, Lockton.

As more violent outbreaks take place in public spaces, risk managers learn from and better understand what attackers want. Each new event enables risk managers to see what works and what can be improved upon to better protect people and places.

But the fact remains that the nature and pattern of attacks are changing.

“Many of these actions are devised in complete obscurity and on impulse, and are carried out by individuals with little to no prior visibility, in terms of behavioral patterns or threat recognition, thus making it virtually impossible to maintain any elements of anticipation by security officials,” said Tomlinson.

With vehicles driving into crowds, active shooters and the random nature of attacks, it’s hard to gauge what might come next, said Warren Harper, global sports & events practice leader, Marsh.

Public spaces like sporting arenas are particularly vulnerable because they are considered ‘soft targets.’ They are areas where people gather in large numbers for recreation. They are welcoming to their patrons and visitors, much like a hospital, and the crowds that attend come in droves.

NFL football stadiums, for example, can hold anywhere from 25,000 to 93,000 people at maximum capacity — and that number doesn’t include workers, players or other behind-the-scenes personnel.

“Attacks are a big risk management issue,” said Chavious. “Insurance is the last resort we want to rely upon. We’d rather be preventing it to avoid such events.”

Preparing for Danger

The second half of 2017 proved a trying few months for the insurance industry, facing hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and — unfortunately — multiple mass shootings.

The industry was estimated to take a more than $1 billion hit from the Las Vegas massacre in October 2017. A few years back, the Boston Marathon bombings cost businesses around $333 million each day the city was shut down following the attack. Officials were on a manhunt for the suspects in question, and Boston was on lockdown.

“Many of these actions are devised in complete obscurity and on impulse, and are carried out by individuals with little to no prior visibility.” — John Tomlinson, senior vice president, head of entertainment, Lockton

“Fortunately, we have not had a complete stadium go down,” said Harper. But a mass casualty event at a stadium can lead to the death or injury of athletes, spectators and guests; psychological trauma; potential workers’ comp claims from injured employees; lawsuits; significant reputational damage; property damage and prolonged business interruption losses.

The physical damage, said Harper, might be something risk managers can gauge beforehand, but loss of life is immeasurable.

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The best practice then, said Chavious, is awareness and education.

“A lot of preparedness comes from education. [Stadiums] need a risk management plan.”

First and foremost, Chavious said, stadiums need to perform a security risk assessment. Find out where vulnerable spots are, decide where education can be improved upon and develop other safety measures over time.

Areas outside the stadium are soft targets, said Harper. The parking lot, the ticketing and access areas and even the metro transit areas where guests mingle before and after a game are targeted more often than inside.

Last year, for example, a stadium in Manchester was the target of a bomb, which detonated outside the venue as concert-goers left. In 2015, the Stade de France in Paris was the target of suicide bombers and active shooters, who struck the outside of the stadium while a soccer match was held inside.

Security, therefore, needs to be ready to react both inside and outside the vicinity. Reviewing past events and seeing what works has helped risk mangers improve safety strategies.

“A lot of places are getting into table-top exercises” to make sure their people are really trained, added Harper.

In these exercises, employees from various departments come together to brainstorm and work through a hypothetical terrorist situation.

A facilitator will propose the scenario — an active shooter has been spotted right before the game begins, someone has called in a bomb threat, a driver has fled on foot after driving into a crowd — and the stadium’s staff is asked how they should respond.

“People tend to act on assumptions, which may be wrong, but this is a great setting for them to brainstorm and learn,” said Harper.

Technology and Safety

In addition to education, stadiums are ahead of the game, implementing high-tech security cameras and closed-circuit TV monitoring, requiring game-day audiences to use clear/see-through bags when entering the arena, upping employee training on safety protocols and utilizing vapor wake dogs.

Drones are also adding a protective layer.

John Tomlinson, senior vice president, head of entertainment, Lockton

“Drones are helpful in surveying an area and can alert security to any potential threat,” said Chavious.

“Many stadiums have an area between a city’s metro and the stadium itself. If there’s a disturbance there, and you don’t have a camera in that area, you could use the drone instead of moving physical assets.”

Chavious added that “the overhead view will pick up potential crowd concentration, see if there are too many people in one crowd, or drones can fly overhead and be used to assess situations like a vehicle that’s in a place it shouldn’t be.”

But like with all new technology, drones too have their downsides. There’s the expense of owning, maintaining and operating the drone. Weather conditions can affect how and when a drone is used, so it isn’t a reliable source. And what if that drone gets hacked?

“The evolution of venue security protocols most certainly includes the increased usage of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including drones, as the scope and territorial vastness provided by UAS, from a monitoring perspective, is much more expansive than ground-based apparatus,” said Tomlinson.

“That said,” he continued, “there have been many documented instances in which the intrusion of unauthorized drones at live events have posed major security concerns and have actually heightened the risk of injury to participants and attendees.”

Still, many experts, including Tomlinson, see drones playing a significant role in safety at stadiums moving forward.

“I believe the utilization of drones will continue to be on the forefront of risk mitigation innovation in the live event space, albeit with some very tight operating controls,” he said.

The SAFETY Act

In response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. Homeland Security enacted the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective

Warren Harper, global sports & events practice leader, Marsh

Technologies Act (SAFETY Act).

The primary purpose of the SAFETY Act was to encourage potential manufacturers or sellers of anti-terrorism technologies to continue to develop and commercialize these technologies (like video monitoring or drones).

There was a worry that the threat of liability in such an event would deter and prevent sellers from pursing these technologies, which are aimed at saving lives. Instead, the SAFETY Act provides incentive by adding a system of risk and litigation management.

“[The SAFETY Act] is geared toward claims arising out of acts of terrorism,” said Harper.

Bottom line: It’s added financial protection. Businesses both large and small can apply for the SAFETY designation — in fact, many NFL teams push for the designation. So far, four have reached SAFETY certification: Lambeau Field, MetLife Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium and Gillette Stadium.

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To become certified, reviewers with the SAFETY Act assess stadiums for their compliance with the most up-to-date terrorism products. They look at their built-in emergency response plans, cyber security measures, hiring and training of employees, among other criteria.

The process can take over a year, but once certified, stadiums benefit because liability for an event is lessened. One thing to remember, however, is that the added SAFETY Act protection only holds weight when a catastrophic event is classified as an act of terrorism.

“Generally speaking, I think the SAFETY Act has been instrumental in paving the way for an accelerated development of anti-terrorism products and services,” said Tomlinson.

“The benefit of gaining elements of impunity from third-party liability related matters has served as a catalyst for developers to continue to push the envelope, so to speak, in terms of ideas and innovation.”

So while attackers are changing their methods and trying to stay ahead of safety protocols at stadiums, the SAFETY Act, as well as risk managers and stadium owners, keep stadiums investing in newer, more secure safety measures. &

Autumn Heisler is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]