Technology driving new business opportunities in insurance

Speed leads to success, says president

Technology driving new business opportunities in insurance


By Bethan Moorcraft

Digital innovation is freeing up time in the insurance industry. That’s a fact. With insurance technology working on spec, the entire insurance ecosystem – from client prospecting, through policy issuance, claims adjusting, and reinsurance transactions – can experience efficiencies through automation. More and more companies are realising this, hence the global boom in adoption of insurance-related technology.

Efficiency often comes hand in hand with speed. As consumers become more reliant upon technology in their everyday lives, craving instant gratification via applications with click-and-buy or click-and-receive capabilities, they’re expecting speed in every service they receive, including their insurance transactions.

On top of that, insurance professionals are consumers themselves. They want to transact business, either within the insurance ecosystem or with external clients, with both speed and efficiency. Technology is a key component in that.

“Speed is a big deal,” said Gary Grose, head of marketing and producer management at Argo Group, and interim president of Argo’s Colony Specialty business. “It has real implications both in the market as a whole, and to [insurance companies’] bottom lines.”  

A key consideration for insurance carriers looking at digital innovation, according to Grose, is deciding what’s best for transactional partners. Depending on the type of insurance or reinsurance firm, that transactional partner might be an end-consumer, a retail agent, a broker, a carrier, and so on. Grose explained that for Argo, the focus has always been on “making the ability to work with us a much quicker and more significant transaction.”

He told Insurance Business: “To achieve that, our digital group is looking at artificial intelligence and bots. We’ve made a lot of progress on speed, but we know we can speed things up more. We’re also using those same technologies in our internal processes. For instance, two of our underwriters need to share data and information – if a bot can do that for us, speed that process up, and look for trends in that data, that’s a huge advantage.”

Earlier this year, Grose was named president of Argo’s Colony Specialty Business – the excess and surplus lines (E&S) unit in the US. He commented that technology in specialty insurance is just as important and influential as it is in more standard lines of insurance business.

“I love specialty insurance because you’re addressing complex risks, which means you’re going to need an underwriter on the majority of accounts because these risks come with a lot of bells and whistles,” said Grose. “What’s interesting to me is, there are a lot of things that are consistent across risks – even complex, specialty risks. So, our work at Argo has been to identify those consistencies with the aid of technology in order to help our underwriters spend time on two things.

“The first is the bells and whistles. Whereas underwriters used to have to focus on the whole package, technology can shrink necessity of that focus down to just a quarter of the package because the remaining risk is consistent with a lot of the other risks we’ve seen over the past year, for instance. A second benefit of technology is really about chasing new business. If technology can free up three-quarters of an insurance broker’s time, that broker could be out in the market and connecting with clients about new business opportunities. In the past, they had to sit and work through X many issues, as opposed to going out and looking for new business.”

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