Digital Innovator of the Year on the mission for 'effortless' broking

It reveals the key for brokers scaling commercial operations

Digital Innovator of the Year on the mission for 'effortless' broking

Insurance News

By Gia Snape

Digital innovations are reshaping the way we think about and purchase insurance. Technology trends cropped up during the pandemic are here to stay. No longer confined to physical distribution channels, insurance has moved to digital channels to cope with accelerating demand by customers that want ease, accessibility, and lightning-fast speed from quoting to binding and claims. For brokers, this means adapting quickly or being left behind.

For APOLLO Insurance, winner of the Digital Innovator of the Year award in 2021, building digital capability is about making insurance effortless. Margo Lyons (pictured), VP of broker distribution at APOLLO, said they’ve been focused over the past year on identifying opportunities to add efficiency in different areas of their operations.

“We’ve evolved our mission to really make insurance effortless. We look at all the interactions that brokers have with our portal and say: ‘Is there a way for us to make their job as effortless as possible when working with APOLLO?’” said Lyons.

Which insurance companies are leading the pack when it comes to digital innovation? Nominations for the 2022 Insurance Business Canada Awards are ongoing until July 15.

For a traditionally paper-based industry, embracing digital solutions is a mammoth undertaking, Lyons said. The industry’s reception to technological innovation was much slower pre-pandemic, despite digitalization being years in the making.

“Even before COVID, there was a need for technology, but I think the reactivity of the industry was much slower. Then, once the pandemic, hit the conversation really evolved for us,” Lyons shared with Insurance Business. Brokers are now keen to integrate technology throughout the entire insurance journey to simplify the experience for themselves and clients.

For APOLLO Insurance, solutions can come by taking plays out of other industries’ playbooks and applying them to the insurance process. “The biggest challenge I would say we have is how to take ourselves out of that traditional mindset and look to more innovative ways to find a solution. Lots of times we find ourselves looking outside of the insurance industry to see how other industries solve very similar problems. Then we take what we learn from that research and see if we can apply it into our own processes,” explained Lyons.

In the advent of the pandemic, Lyons said more and more insurance professionals are adapting to the changes and shaking out old sentiments around how things have always been done. She said APOLLO has tried to approach problems with a radical perspective.

“I think people come to us more now with a very specific idea of what they want to achieve with technology, and how they see it increasing the efficiency within their own operations. Whereas before, a lot of the conversations we would be having are more in the discovery phase,” Lyons described.

“Now it's a much more collaborative conversation that we have with our broker community on what it is that they're after, and where we can plug in to help with that efficiency. I'd say the biggest evolution of the conversation is that collaboration.”

Lyons also said the team at APOLLO Insurance are rallying strongly behind this mission to find pain points within the industry and create a seamless experience around them.

Strengthening partnerships with its clients has been the underlying goal of APOLLO’s digital innovation. As the market moves into a new phase, brokers are thinking of ways to grow, and technology will be the key to that growth.

“It's given brokers that license to step outside of the traditional operation and see if there’s a way for them to expand their commercial operations. That's a theme that we hear again and again: trying to increase the balance between personal and commercial lines within that brokerage bucket,” Lyons noted.

“When you're investing more in that commercial operation, that's where efficiencies are everything, and I think that's where technology comes in.”

Is your organization leaping ahead of digital trends and innovating for the insurance industry? We want to know who you think should be on this year’s list of Canada’s most outstanding insurance professionals.

Nominations for all categories for the 2022 Insurance Business Canada Awards are open until July 15. Winners will be revealed live at an awards ceremony this November in front of peers, sponsors, friends, family, and the entire Insurance Business community. Excellence awardees and winners will be announced in Insurance Business Canada magazine and online channels.

For full list of categories and criteria, please visit

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