Each year, members of Novarica's Insurance Technology Research Council vote on submissions for the insurance tech analyst firm's Impact awards, which recognize how insurers use technology to drive business value in digital, data/analytics, core systems and IT operations. This year, out of 30 nominees, eight carriers emerged as winners in their peers' eyes.

"Insurers are driving real business results from new technologies like drones and machine learning, and architectural approaches like cloud and API," said Matthew Josefowicz, president and CEO of Novarica and moderator of the Council. "But no matter what technology they use, all impactful technology projects share common characteristics: clear articulation of target value and benefits, consistent executive support, effective multi-stakeholder communications during the project, and swift resolution of inevitable challenges."

Following are short descriptions of each carrier's winning initiative, along with a quote from an executive involved with the project. Novarica representatives will distribute awards to each winner in late summer and early fall.
Allstate partnered with a drone image and data capture provider to improve and streamline catastrophe property claims. The proof-of-concept project was deployed in six months and tested in four states, where it has resulted in improvements in cycle time of 30% to 40% and adjuster productivity of 50% to 60%.

“Aerial imagery is innovative technology that can improve the speed and efficiency of our property inspection process and help us deliver a faster, more modernized claim experience for our customers,” said Bonnie Lee, vice president of property claims at Allstate.
XL Catlin
XL Catlin developed a digital innovation practice within its Global Technology function to improve processes and capabilities by leveraging emerging technologies. By partnering closely with key control functions, the company was able to streamline proof-of-concept operations, and conduct projects in blockchain, mobile first notice of loss, augmented reality for risk management, and more.

Martin Henley, XL Catlin’s CIO, explained: “We established our Digital team to investigate, trial and test new technologies, and where it makes sense, implement and scale some of those exciting applications to better meet the needs of our clients. A recent example is the launch of Insurwave, a blockchain platform for marine insurance which allows each party to automate insurance transactions. We are honored to receive this award from Novarica and to be recognized by our peers.”
Web servers stand inside the Facebook Inc. Prineville Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, U.S., on Monday, April 28, 2014. The Facebook Prineville Data Center features leading energy-efficient technology, including features such as rainwater reclamation, a solar energy installation for providing electricity to the office areas and reuse of heat created by the servers to heat office space. Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg
Penn Mutual
Penn Mutual’s Accelerated Client Experience (ACE) is a fully digital platform that streamlines the application processing and decision-making time from an industry average of 30 days or more to as little as 24 hours and accounts for 35% of Penn Mutual’s life business. Launched in 14 months through a company-wide agile process, ACE represents a new normal for Penn Mutual where innovation serves as a key differentiator.

“Penn Mutual is powered by our people and enabled by technology. The accelerated client experience supports Penn Mutual’s advisers by leveraging our digital platform to simplify the purchasing process for their clients, provide greater time to focus on the unique needs of their clients, and expand the scale and reach of their businesses,” says Greg Driscoll, SVP, service operations and CIO at Penn Mutual.
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Pekin Insurance
Pekin Insurance’s enterprise technology transformation program included core, digital engagement, data management, and enterprise integration. In the first year of a three-year program, the company reported being on track for a $2.5M premium growth in its new BOP line of business and projected $70M in increased profitability and $30M in operating efficiency over five years.

“Pekin Insurance’s enterprise technology transformation program reflects our business strategy of exceptional service to our agents and policyholders,” said Subhasis Mukherjee, Pekin VP and CIO. “I want to thank all employees and our partners led by Deloitte Consulting who have worked exceptionally hard to make this program a success.”
Workings servers inside pod one of IBM's Softlayer data center in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. Photographer: Ben Torres/Bloomberg
Ameritas built a cloud-based API integration layer to interface with external web and mobile apps, creating a secured, high-performance intermediate tier between internal and external systems. Launched within three months, it enabled the launch of a web application without modifying legacy systems.

"Ameritas is pleased and honored to be recognized by the Council," said Shreejit Nair, director of information technology for Ameritas. "This technology implementation is exciting because it creates a more secure and responsive environment for our web and mobile applications and moves us closer to the API economy."
The Statue of Mercury stands in front of the MetLife Building in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. MetLife Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on November 1. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
MetLife Auto & Home built and deployed an algorithm-driven process to continually optimize the decision to order motor vehicle reports for underwriting. Completed by an internal team, the system has already resulted in significant annual savings.

“Technology is transforming all industries, and for the third consecutive year, MetLife has proven its intent to lead the way through a concentrated focus on data and analytics as part of our comprehensive Digital strategy,” said Greg Baxter, EVP and CDO. “The unique algorithm-driven process developed by this team furthers our efforts to deliver our customers a differentiated experience and maximize operating leverage.”
Chubb deployed an agent portal for its small commercial business that enabled straight-through processing and leveraged third party data and microservices to enhance usability and optimize the agent experience. Launched in 17 months, it emphasized user experience and has resulted in a 40% improvement in time to quote multi-line business and significant growth.

“We are honored to receive the Impact Award from the Novarica Research Council on behalf of the Chubb Small Commercial Marketplace,” said Jim Williamson, Division President, Small Commercial Insurance, Chubb North America. “The Marketplace delivers an intuitive digital experience, built for and with independent agents to modernize the placement and service of small business insurance. It represents a major investment and reinforces Chubb’s commitment to helping independent agents grow their business.”
Creative business web telecommunication, internet technology connection, cloud computing and networking connectivity concept: terminal monitor in server room with server racks in datacenter interior
AXIS Insurance launched a multi-year enterprise transformation program including technology re-platforming and product/process redesign. The program has supported growth 40% above plan, financial returns 250% of initial estimates, and a 75% improvement in quote times in some lines.

“Throughout our enterprise transformation program, the goal for our IT team has been to provide AXIS Insurance with an insurance platform that was highly configurable and flexible to meet the needs of the business,” said Darryl Catts, CIO, AXIS Insurance. “The Duck Creek platform has handled these requirements at all levels of the implementation, thus enabling us to better align product, organizational process and technology.”