Top reads of 2017
Insurers in 2017 continued to adopt the most talked about technologies permeating the industry, including AI, machine learning, drones and analytics to tackle claims, underwriting and consumer’s growing user expectations. Following are the stories that drew the most eyes on Digital Insurance.
1. Lemonade CEO details carrier’s plans to ‘Uberize’ insurance
Prominent insurtech discusses inner workings of its AI and behavioral economics business model

Excerpt: “Our bot ‘Mia’ can sell an unlimited number of policies concurrently any time of night from any device. And the idea that you can file a claim without filing a piece a paper, without speaking to a human being, by a few taps on a phone and recording a short video of yourself so that it is all over in three or four minutes, is a pretty radical departure from the incumbent experience.”

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2. Inside Liberty Mutual's innovation center
Solaria Labs, opened in 2015, has helped the insurer bring new innovative ideas to market, as pressure mounts from customers looking for user experiences resembling that of Amazon and Google.

Excerpt: “Solaria Labs is treated as a part of a larger ecosystem that also includes the insurer’s core business and partner network—startups and original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—with co-creation as the main objective. At any time, the Solaria Labs can partner with any member of the ecosystem.”

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3. Selfies: The latest big data source for life insurance
New insurtech Lapetus uses photos submitted by applicants to measure life insurance risk factors for carriers through machine learning.

Excerpt: “A picture is just a combination of ones and zeros. When you walk into a doctor’s office, they are doing the same thing. They know your face is the window into your health.”

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4. Behind the drone deployment strategies at Allstate, Erie and USAA
About 20% of P&C carriers are currently deploying, or actively piloting, drones. By next year the number could double, says Novarica.

Excerpt: “Although drone technology solutions are relatively mature, insurers are wrestling with the same build vs. buy paradigm so familiar in past innovation cycles for establishing a drone program. One choice is the drone-as-a-service path. Another is to buy drones and train staff to use them internally.”

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5. Nationwide executive shares insurance innovation roadmap
Insurer’s senior vice president Jennifer Marshalek provides tips for carriers to navigate the digital world.

Excerpt: “Insurers’ roadmap to innovation encompasses three levels.The first is creating basic online functions in sales, claims and consumer education. Next is to develop existing products to make them simpler—such as automating basic human tasks to eliminate paper and reduce costs. The third level is the ability to transform models into something completely different in little to no time.”

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6. How State Farm tackles technology research and innovation
Strategic resources director Chris Mullen talks about how her team helps identify the technologies that will change the insurance business.

Excerpt: “One huge technology evolution going on right now is automated driving technology. State Farm has a long history of supporting technology advancements that improve safety for the benefit of our customers and all others on our roads, and this is no different. This technology’s potential to improve safety on our nation’s roadways is the key tenet of our focus to understand the likely path of its introduction and the impact it will have on our customers.”

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7. How Allstate and Liberty Mutual got on Amazon Echo
With more consumers picking up voice-assistant devices to help tie their smart homes and smartphones together, insurers are looking at potential opportunities from the technology.

Excerpt: “Insurers see the handwriting on the wall, that more customers are getting these home assistants and that there are advantages to letting home occupants get access to products and additional services.”

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8. How Guardian Life plans to go direct to consumer
Life insurer discusses implementation of a new core environment from EIS group, in efforts to reach a larger customer base.

Excerpt: “When we look at the composition of today’s workforce, about 26 million people are working part-time, roughly 16 million people are independent contractors or self-employed, and about 4 million workers are retiring each year. These individuals and families may not have access to the same benefits as other workers. A direct to consumer approach will offer solutions to this growing set of consumers with unmet insurance needs.”

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9. How AmFam developed innovation infrastructure
Insurer’s Director of Innovation Ryan Rist details company efforts to move away from traditional workflows towards building and testing concepts developed with input from policyholders.

Excerpt: AmFam’s innovation team places particular emphasis on cloud computing, and the infinite resources that can be applied to the technology such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and higher-level programming languages like Python.

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10. Hamilton, AIG add intelligence to underwriting with Attune
Carriers explain how the big data-driven underwriting platform helps sell small-business insurance more efficiently.

Excerpt: “For small-commercial business in particular, there’s been this tension between effective underwriting and ease of doing business. The traditional view is that to do better underwriting, you have to ask more questions, validate more information, and do more back and forth. Attune says that is a false choice.”

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