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Tech Week


Jan 01, 1970

It’s Tech Week at Intellect SEEC

“It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Neils Bohr

“Hard” would have been the easiest thing when we shifted our technology to start Intellect FABRIC in 2015. You would have called us ‘insane’ if we said at that time that we’d have 10 clients on Intellect FABRIC today. We not only achieved that in early 2019, but we also shifted Intellect FABRIC from a ‘technology’ to a fully-fledged business!

We also agree with Alan Kay who said in a speech that, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” which is a great segue to our Tech Week 2019 theme:

Insight to Foresight

Tech Week 2019 will be the biggest ever, and we are expecting well over 400 participants! We will also have some great speakers including a world-renowned futurist as well as clients who have built some great platforms. We are shifting from a pure product presentation to giving you the mindset and skill set to execute on your own journey for the next 12 months and beyond.

The agenda includes:

  • Futurist, John Sanei will kick off Tech Week and get you into the mindset to live and work in the future.
  • James Wright will talk about how Beazley used an architecture paradigm called ‘volatility’ to build the Insights Platform.
  • Our own Intellect team will:
    • Present the nuances of inferences across graph datasets,
    • Discuss some killer extraction algorithms across some of the messiest datasets,
    • Showcase the outcomes of the Datathon,
    • Talk about how we have progressed on our Social Entrepreneur journey with Youth4Jobs.

As you can see, despite the evolution of Tech Week, some things don’t change, i.e.:

  • We remain focused on the Customer’s Customer,
  • We are obsessed with solving problems using data as the fuel, machine learning as the engine, and Cloud as the chassis,
  • We never stop innovating!

We can’t wait to see you at what will truly be an AMAZING Tech Week 2019.


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Jan 01, 1970


DIA Amsterdam


Jan 01, 1970

Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 4:30 p.m.

Pranav Pasricha, CEO of Intellect SEEC will be presenting at DIA Amsterdam this year, along with Kelly McLaughlin, VP for Product and UW Strategy at Liberty Mutual in a discussion you don’t want to miss.

These highly-regarded insurtech industry leaders will discuss practical experiences in this session titled, “A practitioner’s guide to Commercial Underwriting transformation with AI and Big Data”.

In this session, you’ll learn:

    • How to build an AI-based system around legacy technology with live use cases
    • What paths are available
    • How to choose partners
    • How to test underwriting results in a low-risk environment
    • and how to scale enterprise-wide

Make sure to sign up and plan to attend this session and take away lessons for everyday use of AI in your underwriting.

Session Details

Topic: A practitioner’s guide to Commercial Underwriting transformation with AI and Big Data

Speakers: Pranav Pasricha and Kelly McLaughlin

When: Tuesday, June 25 at 4:30 p.m.


Purple Talk


Jan 01, 1970


Keeping up with big data: How insurers can navigate more knowledge than ever before


Jan 01, 1970

I know what you are thinking, ‘Yet another article about millennials’. ‘Millennials, millennials, millennials,’ said in my best Jan Brady voice (and if you get this reference you may likely not be a millennial by birth), but perhaps there is more to the millennial mentality than what is widely promoted. Every day, in every corner of the internet, a lot gets said about millennials. A sizeable chunk of this is negative, on the lines of how entitled they are and about how they are parents’ basement dwelling, lazy, selfie-taking, anti-social, narcissists who refuse to grow up.

As R. Buckminster Fuller explained, for most of human history, available knowledge doubled every century. But with more than six billion connected things in use around the world, the duplication of knowledge now occurs in hours, not centuries. In fact, in 2006, IBM predicted that by 2010, the world’s information base would double in size every 11 hours. In 2017, it is likely that we’ve far exceeded that rate.

One doesn’t need to look far to see how the rapid acquisition of knowledge—often referred to as big data—has impacted everyday life. Rather than relying on one-size-fits-all products, companies like AirBnB, Uber and Amazon have leveraged big data, alongside artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, to offer hyper-customized products that meet the needs of their individual customers.

But despite the explosion of connected devices—from the Amazon Echo to the Nest Learning Thermostat—insurers lag behind their hospitality, transportation and retail counterparts when it comes to leveraging subsequent customer data. As a result, carriers are largely unable to meet evolving customer needs and expectations, particularly as they relate to product customization and a seamless user experience.

What’s driving this inability to break free of the status quo? For most carriers, it’s a result of three key roadblocks: cultural differences, technology limitations and financial constraints. Fortunately, none are insurmountable hurdles, and with an adjustment in strategy, insurers will be well positioned to better serve their customers.

Thinking outside the (leadership) box

According to KPMG’s 2015 New World of Opportunity: Insurance Innovation Imperative Survey, 60 percent of respondents reported that their organization’s biggest opportunity over the next two years was to improve operational processes and the use of technology, followed by the integration of digital technology into business objectives (52 percent) and using customer data analytics to improve underwriting, pricing and marketing (48 percent). Two years later, it is safe to assume that many carriers are finding this easier said than done. Why? Simply put, many don’t have the right leadership in place to spearhead this transformation, requiring them to make a cultural change.

If carriers are serious about their technology transformation, they must look outside their current leadership team—many of whom are older, sometimes unconsciously hamstrung by institutionalized thinking and digitally out of touch—to identify a transformation lead. For organizations that have already made some technology progress, this could mean tapping their chief data scientist or chief digital officer. For others, it might mean recruiting new talent with significant data and digital skills.

Regardless of who leads the charge, they must be empowered to rethink and rebuild current processes from the ground up, especially when one considers that as much as 40 cents of each Euro of premium are spent on operations, marketing, customer acquisition and distribution costs. As carriers look to bring down costs and create new efficiencies, figuring out how their company can leverage big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning can’t be someone’s second job. Those organizations that enable their teams to focus squarely on technology transformation will not only see the best results, they’ll start benefiting from them sooner.

Technology limitations no longer apply

In and of itself, a carrier’s existing IT system cannot meet the digital needs of today’s customers. Consider the fact that a single policy administration system has an average lifespan of close to 20 years. It is inconceivable to expect that a system created two decades ago would have the capabilities to support today’s technology advancements. It simply wasn’t possible, or even thought of, at the time.

But that is not to say that a carrier’s existing technology investments have been wasted or that their legacy IT system cannot be used as a foundation for digital development. By prioritizing investments in program and capability developments—as opposed to system maintenance—carriers can layer big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning functionalities on top of their existing systems. If carriers continue to rely on today’s practice of emphasizing system maintenance, they’ll forever be stuck in the status quo and never be able to capitalize on the full power of big data.

Remaining relevant comes at a price

The question of how insurance executives prioritize IT budgets underscores a larger problem: a lack of broader insurtech-related investments.

While there is no question that the industry has seen an influx of investments earmarked for technology—a recent Accenture report found that insurtech investments in the U.K. tripled to £16.5 million in 2016—total insurtech-related investments are still relatively low. Coupled with the fact that legacy U.K. carriers spend less than two percent of turnover on technology, insurance carriers are clearly hesitant to double down on the power of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It is understandable why carriers would exercise such caution. Brexit has exacerbated growth concerns and the sector is still struggling to fully recover from the 2008 financial crisis. The industry has also recently undergone considerable consolidation. But with thousands of insurtech startups that offer customized products and a seamless user experience entering the space, failure to invest in such technologies mean legacy carriers risk ceding growth and market share. To remain relevant, carriers should conduct a holistic review of their organization and prioritize technology improvements that will reduce front-end customer friction. Starting piece by piece, rather than jumping in head first, can make a carrier’s technology evolution much more manageable.

The future awaits

While we have more data available than ever before, there is still a world of untapped information waiting to be discovered. Those that will succeed in today’s digital world are the carriers that are best able to leverage big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to derive customer insights and in turn, offer customized products and a seamless user experience. We can assume the insurance industry will never be the same. What will you do to survive?


Why move the establishment? Why not?


Jan 01, 1970

The business of insurance has undergone drastic changes globally. In my recent article The Vote Against The Establishment, I noted that new entrants like Lemonade paid a claim in 3 seconds. The growth of chatbots and claimbots are another attestation of the smart digital age, which is growing in the use of sophisticated technologies including Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality for all types of insurance from workplace safety to the general insurance lifecycle.

A recent interesting Bloomberg1 post indicated how WeChat influenced spikes in insurance sales in Hong Kong and the reaction by regulators. Yes, one can argue that the US in general has strict regulations and gobs of historical insurance policies on siloed legacy systems. With globalization, consumer expectations worldwide have become very similar – no matter the age, geography or industry. Consumers care little about the technologies and processes an insurer or an agent uses to provide the information – all they care about is getting it immediately and via a device of their choice.

Thankfully, there are metrics that insurers can use to measure how successful they are at doing this. The Net Promoter Score (NPR) is an age-old indicator of growth, and the Net Easy Score (NES) aka Customer Experience Index, is a metric for the Contact Center or Service Center. Simply put, a successful customer experience requires an understanding of the customer at a personal level and triangulating technology, information and human touch points, at the right time, in the right context and via the right device.

The customer’s expectations are not the only trigger that is changing the insurance landscape. Insurers are leveraging technology advances to not only reach a wider market at a lower operating cost, and to improve their loss ratios, but also for economies of scale. Insurers will still need to balance technology with workforce behaviors and business priorities to allow for sustainable growth.

It’s not the millennial age group that positively disrupts – it’s the millennial mindset!

The customer is the common denominator across all industries. They demand immediacy, transparency, and personalization of service at any time and on any device. They also demand to be able to connect with a human when they feel it is necessary, and to be left alone otherwise. Customers of all age groups and walks of life are usually heads down on their mobile devices during downtime, researching and comparing products, catching up on social sites, news, tech trends and more. While millennials like the convenience of shopping and researching online, they also crave for unique experiences and instant gratification.

The brand experience delivered to a customer is the sum total of personalized experiences across all the touch points – through advisors, service representatives, claims representatives, and online channels. The retail industry offers an example in integrating offline and online channels. Yelp and Groupon, for instance, allow local businesses to reach potential customers with online location-based technology.

Millennial or otherwise, customers of every generation are familiar with the newest tech products. The Boomers are aging gracefully and have picked up on digital trends to make life simpler. Gen X’s on the other hand were always walking the fence and could adapt either way. Whether the consumer is 25 or 65, everyone is looking for hassle-free, seamless self-service and proactive customer care.

Take a simple example in insurance where, real-time alerts, offers and notifications, and certain transactional capabilities on any device and at any time, can avoid redundant or low value calls into the service center or the agent’s office. This in turn improves the productivity of the agents and service representatives and allows them to focus on more complex tasks for business success. This is just one of many reasons, mobile-first approach to insurance products should be given top priority, even over the desktop experience.

The tripod of customers, service representatives and agents

According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5–20% whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. Service excellence is one of the drivers to customer retention and increased referral business. Insurers have undertaken initiatives to better understand their customer’s insurance journeys (digital, emotional, physical) in alignment with those of the Service Representatives and Agents. In addition, insurers are mining their historical customer data to assess the Life Time Value (LTV) of the Customer and the reasons for drop rates and spikes in purchase patterns. This not only provides upsell insights, but additional insights into the product uptake, and service level impact on business economics. Insurers are beginning to analyze information from social sites and literally billions of connected devices that consumers engage with every day to provide targeted, personalized and proactive service. Mobile Future2 projected that by 2020 there will be 5.5 billion mobile users globally. They also projected that by 2020 there would be 947 million mobile-connected devices and 163.2 million wearable devices in the United States alone.

The service representatives and agents themselves need simplification of process and technology and require their daily journeys to be better understood by insurer management. As the ‘face of the company’, they provide the critical touch points that can make or break a relationship. More clients are becoming tech savvy and will require a mix of digital empowerment and human engagement. Service representatives and agents/advisors need to have the ability to adapt to newer technologies thus catering to customers in ways they choose to do business. Face-to-face guidance by advisors will still exist for those individuals planning for and nearing retirement, high net worth clientele, and more sophisticated financial products. According to the US census3, there are almost 80 million Baby Boomers living in the United States. Another article by CNBC4 indicated that only 27% of Baby Boomers were confident they had enough for retirement.

Moving the titanic from the Neolithic age to the fintech age

Taking a specific example, the average life insurance application process takes 30 days or more with extensive and intrusive underwriting processes. Given the amount of information available through IoT, social sites, paid and unpaid data sources, plus historical insurer data, the underwriting processes can be minimized and personalized. Newer medical technologies that are FDA-approved exist wherein less intrusive and more immediate results can be obtained to drastically reduce underwriting and policy issue cycles.

Simpler products with lower face values are already being issued online within minutes, including processing of the initial premium payment in the same session. Newer technologies provide powerful insights into personal and commercial risk information allowing various sales and service personnel the insights for pre-qualifying leads, providing targeted products and ensuring the highest quality of engagement.

Another area is field service and productivity technologies that include augmented reality to drive productivity and reduce loss ratios. For instance, field staff and adjusters can use smart glasses to augment their inspections with additional safety and construction code information to help accelerate the underwriting process and in the assessment of claims losses. Furthermore, the vast expanse of information available today, and the AI capabilities to triangulate the information contextually have been proven to reduce loss ratios and proactively identify high-risk entities. A handful of insurers and reinsurers are dabbling in advanced technologies, deriving contextual risk information from IoT, social sites and augmented reality, and mining sentiments and financial trends for predictive and preventative claims analytics.

Minimizing recruitment problems while maximizing productivity through technology

Insurers are well aware of the recruitment issues they will face should they decide to not advance technologically in their business. This pertains more to the fact that a service representative’s turnover rate is very high and the average age of the agent is 56 (according to LIMRA). Attracting and retaining the younger generations (millennial, Gen Z and beyond), will require a realignment of the insurer business models, change in compensation models (especially for service representatives), and behavioral changes in the mindset of the workforce to realize the business metrics they need to stay relevant and gain competitive traction in the marketplace.

In summary, I see four major changes occurring in the industry: one where insurers are beginning to realize the benefits of their digital transformation efforts; second where the role of the agents, service representatives and underwriters is becoming more specialized; third where consumers are becoming more educated and empowered; and lastly risk assessments are shifting from historical models to individualized and predictive projections.


How fraternals can implement technology advancements to better serve their members


Jan 01, 1970

In a recent blog post, Joe Annotti, president of the American Fraternal Alliance, explored the need for fraternals to begin thinking about their technology transformation. As he wrote, “Those organizations that can’t or won’t invest in and adapt to those changes will face a future with a very predictable outcome: a slow and steady fade into obsolescence.”

While we couldn’t agree more, we also understand that for many, undertaking such a technology transformation is much easier said than done. This leaves many organizations in a catch-22—updating their technology capabilities can be a complex process, but failing to do so means they risk losing market share over the long-run.

This is a particularly challenging question for fraternal societies that are facing increasing pressure across their organizations from larger carriers. As fraternals look to compete and remain relevant to their members, there is no room for error. Fortunately, with the proper guidance and direction, a fraternal’s technology transformation can be a relatively straight forward process. For those looking to begin the evolution, here are a few ways to get started.

Remember your mission

From their founding in the 1800s, fraternal societies have been about more than just offering insurance protections. Rather, they’ve long been committed to working alongside members to collectively better their communities.

But in order to execute against their complete mission, fraternals must be able to engage with and capture member information in a seamless manner. Yet, many aren’t able to do this as member information is stored in siloed back-end systems that can’t “talk” to one another. For customer service representatives looking to engage with members—be it about a benefit or charitable activity—this inability to see the complete picture can create a customer-facing, and potentially costly, friction point. This is the ideal place to start your technology transformation.

Begin by leveraging your legacy IT system as a starting point. Too many executives incorrectly assume that a system created decades ago—many have a lifespan of up to twenty years—is incompatible with today’s technology capabilities. Yet much of today’s technology can be layered on to existing systems.

But this is only possible if fraternal society executives reevaluate how their IT budgets are spent. Most currently prioritize system maintenance over system development. As a result, societies have created new back-end efficiencies, but largely remain stuck in the status quo when it comes to customer-facing innovation. By emphasizing program development moving forward, societies can offer superior member services and better collaborate with members to achieve their mission (not to mention the fact that they avoid wasting previous IT investments).

Think omnichannel

In today’s digital environment, members can order a taxi, purchase a retail item or book a vacation rental at the click of a button. Even more impressive is that members have the same omnichannel experience regardless of whether they are interacting with companies like Uber, Amazon or AirBnB from their desktops, tablets or smartphones.
With the notable exception of Lemonade, most carriers across the Pamp;C and life and health space still struggle to deliver an omnichannel digital experience. For fraternal societies, this presents an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the crowd and is a logical next step in their technology transformation.

Overhauling your entire digital presence at once isn’t realistic, so start by breaking this process down into manageable pieces. Again, begin by prioritizing high-friction member-facing pain points, particularly the way in which you communicate with members. Upgrading your digital capabilities to include text alerts so that members don’t have to go through a clunky sign-in process when trying to access their accounts from their phones, for example, should be a high-priority and will solve a pressing member need.

Regardless of where you start, you will need the right leadership team in place to guide your omnichannel—and larger technology—evolution. For many fraternals, this might mean looking outside of your current c-suite or executive team, many of whom might be unfamiliar with newer technologies or unknowingly hamstrung by legacy thinking. Consider leveraging your chief digital officer or hiring new talent with deep digital experience to spearhead your transformation.

Most importantly, no matter who you select, this can’t be someone’s second job. Fraternals who empower their technology transformation team to focus solely on the project at hand will not only see the best results, they’ll realize the benefits sooner.

The status quo comes at a cost

As Joe wrote in a follow-up blog post, while transformation might not happen overnight, “I am acknowledging the likelihood that the life insurance industry will not be exempt from the sweeping changes affecting other businesses around the world.” As you look to continue serving your members, what will you do to safeguard your society’s future?


What we know about your customers that you dont


Jan 01, 1970

The insurance industry has been slowest to embrace big data and artificial intelligence (AI). Today, there is a tremendous amount of data available on everyone seeking insurance. Reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor will tell you if a restaurant serves ‘generous’ drinks and whether guests felt safe in one of your insured hotels. This data coupled with more traditional underwriting data of course makes for better insurance solutions. So why the reluctance from within the industry?

Where underwriters traditionally have relied on data about demographic, geography, gender and generalized habits and behavior for an overall group, today they have access to information that goes much deeper. This is big data. The availability of data from telematics, wearables, Facebook, etc. is allowing insurers to customize products and ‘underwrite for you’, not just ‘someone like you’. Amazingly, handful of insurers have actually got down to implementing data sciences technology. Here’s the thing about big data.

Big data is messy and that’s an understatement

There are several components to big data. One part of big data is structured and maintained in neat and easy to find places (name, address, years in business, payroll of policyholders) and easy to process. But the other part is unstructured and complex to synthesize, the information gleaned from human interactions. In emails, chats, reviews, data is not neatly labeled, but these exchanges carry a wealth of information about our lives. This information comes fluidly, in sentences and natural language. It could be a chat about a contractor having to rework electrical connections, increased break-ins in a warehouse district, or employee feedback on Glassdoor. This is invaluable information. But it is also what makes big data messy and often times excluded from being taken into account.

So how to sift through this mess? Here’s where Artificial Intelligence comes in and extracts insights from the mountain of information.

Big data leads you nowhere without AI

With everyone on the internet all the time, imagine the amount of data being generated. It’s overwhelming. Thankfully, AI is more than equal to the task of processing it, gleaning meaningful insights from it that lead to better decision making. Consider you receive a new warehouse risk from one of your agents. Historical loss history is average and nothing seems out of the ordinary. However, utilizing big data, you can tell that this warehouse risk has many negative comments on Glassdoor. Moreover, you see that they are related to a new manager and his reluctance to provide adequate training on equipment and a disregard for safety rules. In this instance, future performance will likely be different from past performance. Artificial Intelligence, applied to big data, will help draw out these correlations in real time and help the underwriter make more informed decisions. Given the amount of work that crosses an underwriter’s desk in a day, it would be impossible without the right technology and AI to utilize the additional data.

AI is designed to put two and two together for you. It can sniff out hidden links between data points and decipher patterns within a fraction of a second. Therefore, saving an underwriter’s time and effort on some of the crucial, but menial tasks of searching and aggregating information.

The best time to get in on the data game? Yesterday.

The additional information brought by Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor, Yelp, etc. have already transformed underwriting. And there’s more on the way in the form of information coming from smart devices, telematics, wearables and Internet of Things. Structured data might once have been our comfort zone. Now it’s time to face the future.

AI is not your enemy. In fact, it could be your BFF.

Understandably, the mention of AI brings in a feeling of dread in every industry. But an underwriter’s judgment is still the key. We are still some time away from AI that even approaches human intelligence. What you see in sci-fi movies like Ex Machina is just that, science fiction. But right now, technology can utilize big data and AI to carry out the kind of tasks that underwriters spend almost 70% of their time doing: background work and low-level tasks like searching, aggregating, selecting and reviewing information. This type of work is time consuming and inconsistently applied depending on the individual.
We often speak of underwriting as an art. And it is, when it comes to using human judgment and instinct. But why not use science to brighten the colors?


Dear insurer, your customers compare you with Amazon, not other insurers


Jan 01, 1970

‘Buying insurance is joyful’ – said no consumer ever. Specifically, the millennials who now represent a major part of the consumer sector. However, scores of them worldwide, and certainly in the US, derive joy in shopping on Amazon, eBay, iTunes and several other online outlets. Even if the concept of finding joy in shopping is farfetched for some of us, at a minimum these outlets offer a convenient and intuitive shopping experience.

There are many reasons why consumers expect you to be toe-to-toe with online shopping experience. Here are a few hygiene elements insurance needs to incorporate to come close to e-commerce.

Mobile comes first

With consumers making the most of their downtime with mobile devices, not being on mobile is a non-negotiable for them. Online retailers have a mobile experience that provides access on the go, location-targeted marketing offers and easy payment methods.

As an insurer you should consider selling policies online, spanning across all devices, but make mobile the topmost priority. The experience on mobile and tablet devices should be adapted to the desktop version, not the other way round.

Take away the pain of filling forms

Form-filling has long been the nemesis of insurance. Not so for online sellers. 1-click ordering, a legendary feature on Amazon allows you to sync your credit card details to your account one time and make all future purchases with just one click. This creates an extra level of convenience for the customer.

If there’s only one thing you can take up this year, let it be the task of making the ACORD form simple. Let your customers never ever have to tell you the same thing twice. Ensure that there is no duplication in fields, and bring in auto-fill features, dynamic flows and easy-to-follow next steps.

Get to know your customers (even better than they know themselves)

If you ask (within reason), there’s a good chance that consumers might tell you what they like and what they want. Online shops are quite clued in on this account. Based on a customer’s location, weather, known habits and past purchases, they offer products and services that often appear serendipitous to the consumer.

Tailored experience, specialized offers and promotions are reasons for which consumers are known to trade with certain amount of personal data. With growing number of wearables and other smart devices, insurance can benefit a great deal from what data has to offer. The precedent for collecting information in a non-invasive way has been set by retail industry among others, insurance should follow suit.

Information is not always intimidating

In our attention-deficit society, it’s no wonder that consumers want to avoid blobs of texts and fine-print. Online retailers classify products into neat categories and break up the product descriptions into digestible chunks. This equips the users with all the necessary knowledge. Amazon has a solid review system of products which further helps consumers learn about the actual way in which the product works. And arguably, this review system is perceived to be unbiased.

Give consumers as much information as there can be to aid their research process. Categorize information on products according to coverage, who it is useful for and supplement it with a quick quote tool.

Upsell and cross-sell need not be hard sell

When a customer buys a pair of Nike shoes, they are highly likely to get other running gear, maybe even a Nike FuelBand. The retailer knows this and bundles products together. Shoppers not only have the convenience of getting everything in one place, but also a slight encouragement to check out other products.

In insurance, a small business owner who just bought a life product maybe be scouting for a good deal to cover other aspects of their business. Product recommendations and targeted marketing that are relevant to the customer are perceived as help instead of annoyance.


The vote against the establishment


Jan 01, 1970

According to a survey conducted by Fortune, in the early part of 2016, Amazon emerged on top of a list of most trustworthy companies in the US. Technology majors Google and Apple were not far behind at positions 7 and 8 respectively.

Consumers are entrusting advanced technology companies with increasing amount of data about their lives in the bargain for more personalized products and services. This is resulting in a change of guard across industries where new age companies are overpowering their traditional counterparts. My sense is that insurance, an industry as established as it can get, is by no means exempt from this trend.

The establishment companies are being hugely overshadowed. Market capitalization captured on Dec 12, 2016.

Not only consumers, but also markets and investors are less in favor of the conventional order. Take into account the comparison of the market caps of technology companies with traditional companies. The outlier in each of these industries does not own physical infrastructure such as stores, cars, real estate and fiber optics. Still, each one of them overshadows its counterpart that owns physical assets by a comfortable margin. What they have amassed over time is rich behavioral data on consumers, which is now worth its weight in gold.

If we overlook what this popular vote means for the insurance industry, we are in danger of being rudely disrupted. That said, it is worth examining what these companies are doing differently.

See also: https://www.intellectseec.com/follow-the-money-sniff-out-a-pattern/


Within the comfort of their temperature-controlled homes, consumers easily perform day-to-day tasks such as ordering groceries or hailing an Uber with just a couple taps on their mobile phones.

However, this remains painfully untrue of insurance. Customers most often do not have the option of buying policies online. Advisors still deal with a ton of paperwork and lengthy customer onboarding processes. They continue to use rudimentary forms of technology such as excel sheets, and one-card systems to manage customer data. Carrier technology systems are complex and operate in silos.


Reviews of drivers on Uber and Lyft help build a trust system. Online shopping allows consumers to go through comprehensive product descriptions, view dynamic 3-D pictures, look up prices, compare options, check out product reviews, and get easy refunds. These aspects along with immediate gratifications, lend online retail its credibility.

On the contrary, buying insurance involves a lot of paperwork, something that younger customers don’t have patience for. The reliance on advisors to propose products that are best suited for a customer remains to this day. However, advisors don’t have a scientific way of arriving at the product that takes into account the life stage as well as the life and financial goals of a customer, while complying with changing regulatory requirements. This no doubt creates a lack of transparency and trust.

Bring back trust, bring back customers

The progressive agenda for insurance is to adopt modern technology coupled with artificial intelligence to mine relevant information (both big data and internal) at various stages of insurance. Insurers should up their game on advisor and consumer technologies. Table stakes today include an omni-channel and continuous experience for advisors, customers and service representatives. The product offerings for insurance being largely complex, customers still rely on advisors to guide them to the best-suited options. Advisors need to be equipped with smart technologies for pre-qualification of leads. They need insightful customer information to have targeted conversations even at their very first meeting with a lead.

Lemonade, the New Renters and Homeowners Insurance, pays a claim in 3 seconds – this is a game changer. A shift in mindset and business models has to occur for the success of insurers and advisors. Technology should be exhaustively applied across the spectrum of insurance so customers and advisors have maximum real-time capabilities and continuity across multiple channels and devices.


A diagnosis of the policy admin system


Jan 01, 1970

Over the last several years, insurers have spent a considerable amount of money on policy administration systems (PAS). It would be reasonable to assume that there has been measurable progress in the operating levels of the insurers. However, despite large spends on these systems, there has been minimal improvement in loss and expense ratios. And truthfully, the improvement that has occurred has not had a beneficial effect on revenues.

Additionally, these new systems don’t do much to help improve core risk information, analytics and underwriting effectiveness. In many cases, the issues of poor collaboration between underwriters, agents and other stakeholders persist. Underwriters continue to spend almost 70% of their time on low-level tasks, such as searching for and aggregating information. As important as rating/pricing models are, the systems still operate on traditional, structured data, remaining mostly oblivious of data now available (big data).

It amazes me that despite empirical evidence to the contrary, PAS spend and implementations continue to outrank underwriting workbenches which are proven to bring greater efficiency, more risk information and to improve underwriter effectiveness. Consider the facts below.

  • Only 30% of the policy administration projects are completed on time, within budget or meet all original benefit requirements.
  • 50% of the projects suffer cost overruns, are unable to meet deadlines or do not meet benefit requirements.
  • 20% of the projects are cancelled or abandoned because they are unable to meet cost or scheduling commitments or customer expectations.

The average length of replacement projects is 4.25 years. Not only is this disruptive to the business, but also comes at an opportunity cost. Causing near and long-term business disruption and absorbing resources.

Policy administration systems offer no flexibility for aggregating and analyzing data and for improvement in underwriting effectiveness. This often leads to additional spend by the company, that is, if the funds are available after the implementation.

There may be instances when a PAS is needed. However, I have found this to be the exception. To be more competitive in the existing and upcoming digital environment, insurers should bring greater focus to determining where technology investments will be made. More thought needs to be given to improving underwriter efficiency and effectiveness to allow for better customer service.

Source: Performance of Policy Administration System – PwC Research Report


Creating a customer service dream team


Jan 01, 1970

The notion is as old as business itself: a successful business depends on its customer service. We know the mantra from our days of high school summer jobs at the local burger place. The customer is always right, always keep the customer happy.

For many of us, even as leaders of large companies, that adage holds true today: the customer is always right, even this new customer we are hearing so much about recently. Customer service and assembling the right customer service team is more critical in this age of digital technology and on demand service than ever.

Understand what customers want

Customers want the knowledge of experts minus the expert-speak. For instance, they want know all the nooks and crannies of policy terms and conditions of a product in plain language. They want to know what’s buried in volumes of fine print. Ideally, they’d want to service themselves, but if they can’t, then they expect the customer service team on the other end of the call to be as connected and knowledgeable as they are.

How can you make this happen?

  • Be available 24×7 by going on cloud
  • Be available on channels and devices of customers’ choice
  • Build user-friendly interfaces

Build the team to make it happen

Getting the right people is the key to make anything happen. Specifically, with customer service, qualities of empathy, patience and adaptability cannot be emphasized enough. They need to be clear communicators and be knowledgeable in the subject area. More and more customer service reps are not coming from the insurance industry, so you will need to invest in training to build resiliency in your team.

How can you make this happen?

  • Foster and develop a team environment. Give your reps something to feel part of, then they will want to go the extra mile to contribute to the success.
  • Create team building activities. It can be as simple as t-shirts for the group or as complex as organized activities like events, outings and games.
  • Encourage growth. Coordinate mentoring and training programs with veteran team members and the new generation team. This encourages knowledge transfer and collaboration.

Empower your team

Once you have built the right team, it’s important to empower your team with the tools and additional knowledge.

How can you do this?

  • Institute goal setting with your team to give them the power to feel part of success metrics.
  • Provide them with the right technology tools to service customers in the manner they expect to be serviced in this age.


Busting buzzwords, three at a time


Jan 01, 1970

Picture this all-too-common scenario – you are at an industry conference or seminar where let’s say the topic is Digitization in Insurance. Keynote, presentations, expert sessions are drowned in buzzwords of all shapes and sizes – big data, artificial intelligence, datafication, disruption – you get the picture. They have a familiar ring alright, but you are on your own connecting a lot of the dots.

Here’s an attempt to bust those buzzwords. To see the meaning, they hold in the context of insurance and technology. Let’s do this three at a time.

360-degree view

Being able to see in a single view, an all-round picture of an individual or a business holding a policy with your organization. It allows you to accurately assess the opportunities and the risks. At its best, 360-degree view helps you enhance your relationship with your customers, and in the least, helps you address their concerns better.

Policy-centric view

If a particular customer holds multiple policies across different lines of business with the same carrier, chances are the internal systems and processes don’t see the policies as belonging to that one customer. Instead, those policies are seen as numbers identified with different individuals. This results in a scattered approach to the overall service as experienced by the customers.

Customer-centric view

A business view where every customer is recognized as an individual with unique motives, desires and aspirations. So, the insurance products are personalized to their preferences and are accessible to them anywhere and anytime. Internal systems, processes and organizational boundaries are no longer constraints to facilitating this service experience, but are brought up to speed.


Celent Innovation and Insight Day


Jan 01, 1970

Join us at Celent Innovation and Insight Day as we discuss our work on testing different voice engines against different AI back-ends, and the optimal means for pairing the both of them.

The Tongue Can Paint What the Eyes Can’t See

With Alexa, Siri and Google all relentlessly promoting Voice as a screen-free way to interact with technology, it is understandable how Voice could be viewed by some to be the next frontier of customer engagement.

But what is the future of voice in financial services? Is it destined to be the next big thing that never was (hello, Video Tellers)? Hear two Celent analysts debate the Future of Voice in an Oxford-style debate.


Dig | In


Jan 01, 1970

Lakshan De Silva, Intellect SEEC CTO, will be presenting at Dig In this year with Jayashree Ishwar, Chief Underwriting Officer, Amerisure Mutual Insurance on Thursday, May 30 at 2:00 pm.

Make plans to attend their session AI Effect: Machine Learning Will Make our Broker Experience More Personal. This session is your opportunity to dispel any pre-conceived notions about how advanced technologies, particularly machine learning, is eliminating the human element of the broker experience. Watch as Jayashree and Lakshan do a role play of the broker-client experience based on real-life events and demonstrate how AI tools can enhance the interaction.

You will also want to stop by our booth in the exhibit area to learn how our suite of products is embracing these emerging technologies to provide better solutions for carriers.


Insuretech Connect


Jan 01, 1970

Intellect SEEC is back as a Title Sponsor at ITC, the premiere event for the insurtech industry. Look for us in the Expo Hall to learn more about our products Risk Analyst, and Xponent.

Meet with our thought leaders to discuss the ever changing insurtech landscape. Make plans to attend our workshop to witness our thought leadership in action. Stay tuned for more details.


LOMA Customer Experience Conference


Jan 01, 1970

Make sure to attend Laila Beane’s session AI Powered Channel Innovation on Thursday, May 2 at 2:45 pm.

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Laila, Intellect SEEC’s Chief Customer Officer and Head of Consulting, will talk to you about how you can incorporate the core pillars for next generation engagement in your digital strategies at a low cost and in a non-disruptive manner. You will learn that it is possible to innovate while at the same time transforming from foundational to competitive capabilities.

Laila is an insurtech evangelist and a highly accomplished leader with 20+ years of experience. She has successfully led multi-million dollar digital transformation strategies, so she can share a few things about incorporating advanced technologies into your strategy in the most effective and efficient ways.