Karen Furtado, Author at Insurance Thought Leadership




Karen Furtado

Karen Furtado

Karen Furtado, a partner at SMA, is a recognized industry expert in the core systems space. With exceptional knowledge of policy administration, rating, billing, and claims, Furtado is the go-to person for all things core systems and rating. Insurers seek her unparalleled knowledge in mapping solutions to business requirements and IT needs. IT solution providers look to Karen for guidance in planning and targeting offerings for the insurance market.

She has more than 25 years of technical and business experience within the insurance industry. While her specific areas of expertise include complex system implementations, vendor selection processes, project management, application development and business process and technical outsourcing, her career-long focus has been on delivering high-value solutions for core issues facing insurance carriers.

As the insurance practice director at Collaborative Consulting, Furtado played a key role in bringing a vision to the direction of the insurance business and an understanding of required service offerings to Collaborative’s IT consulting practice. Prior to her tenure at Collaborative Consulting, Karen was vice president of CGI’s insurance practice. In that role, she had responsibility for development of the strategic direction and oversight of CGI’s insurance software services, ASP services and core insurance business processing outsourcing (BPO) practice. Furtado has significant experience with CGI’s core insurance services, including Ratabase, Mass Auto and Assigned Risk Auto processing services.

Furtado is frequently quoted in leading insurance trade journals and has been a keynote speaker at major conferences such as ACORD LOMA Forum, IASA and ISOTECH. She holds a bachelor of science from Springfield College.

Recent Articles by Karen Furtado

Myth or Reality? Core Deemphasized

Many of you have been in insurance for quite some time, and it might sound amazing to even ask you to consider the possibility that core systems will take a backseat to digital projects. Because of the pandemic, there was a real pause back in March to reassess what the priorities were. How would core […]

Payments at the Speed of Light

While the processing of inbound and outbound payments in insurance isn’t exactly known for its speed, there are significant advancements being made by both insurers and solution providers to hasten delivery of payments and expand payment options. A digital interaction actually happens at the speed of light – it is immediate and, being digitally based, […]

Digital Outbound Payments Heat Up

The heat of summer is kicking in around the U.S., and the temperature is rising, too, in the digital transformation in one area of the market: digital outbound payments in claims. Since February, the pace has accelerated beyond what we even thought fathomable. COVID-19 has been horrific, but it has brought clarity about the areas […]

Cloud Computing Wins in COVID-19 World

Through the countless discussions that have occurred these past two weeks with many insurers, there have been winning strategies that have shone through as insurers have been executing their business continuity plans. And there have been certain challenges on the other side. Were you a company that needed the support of people to be in […]

Core Systems: Starting a Whole New Game?

Of all the software sold within the insurance industry, core systems continue to be the dominant purchase for hundreds of insurers. And just when you think the trend might slow – that every last insurer has bought the system that it will need to support its business – we see another cycle of buying begin. […]

Perspectives of a ‘Smart Home’ Owner

There are so many great advances in the area of “smart homes” and buildings that it makes me wonder what the actual impact has been, or what I might have had to deal with, without all the smart features. The “smart” concept is to be able to secure a building with sensors that can provide […]

What Amazon, Netflix Can Teach Insurers

What insurers face now, digital giants like Amazon and Netflix faced when they moved to operate exclusively in the digital marketplace: transactions increasingly shifting to digital, and operations affected by an unprecedented wave of automation. Let’s explore the lessons these companies learned as they confronted the challenges that insurers face as they adapt to the […]

Paper Checks: Finally Going Away?

Insurers are becoming more digitally based, data-driven organizations that are investing in the customer experience to address the new expectations of today’s consumer. At the same time, there are always some old habits that die hard – habits that need to change but somehow remain the same. Today’s consumer is doing more and more online […]

Quest for the Holy Grail in Workers’ Comp

Quotes from only five data points, or even fewer? Name your number, and you can find an insurer looking to transform the sales experience to match. We have seen a great deal of this momentum in personal lines with increasing attention in small commercial lines. And the line of business delivering today is workers’ comp! […]

And the Winner Is…Artificial Intelligence!

Artificial intelligence stands out as one of the hottest technologies in the insurance industry in 2018. We are seeing more insurers identifying use cases, partnering and investing in AI. 85% of insurers are investing time, money and effort into exploring the AI family of technologies. The focus is not so much on the technology itself […]

Why ‘Modern’ Is No Longer Enough

Insurers, I have some good news and some bad news. Insurers have made tremendous progress in core modernization, purchasing and implementing new core systems and beginning to adapt their businesses to take full advantage of modern core systems’ capabilities. This is genuine cause for celebration – insurers that have made or are making these efforts […]

Cloud Takes a Starring Role

Eight years ago, I was giving a talk on cloud at a conference. The first thing I had to do was explain what the cloud is. It’s a new world, isn’t it? Cloud is no longer for the digital giants, the insurtechs and the early adopters. Today, it would be difficult to go through a […]

Convergence in Action in Insurtech

One of the most pressing questions that has arisen from the insurtech movement is this: Will insurtech startups have a need to utilize the incumbent tech market’s capabilities? In the past three years, startups have been actively partnering with other startups, insurers and tech incumbents. Partnerships, of course, come in many different flavors. The latest […]

Advanced Telematics and AI

Solution providers are quickly advancing innovative approaches to the next generation of emerging technologies that are affecting both insurers and policyholders. SMA has acquired a unique historical view of how solution providers are innovating within insurance through our annual SMA Innovation in Action Awards – and we have seen how it has changed over the six years […]

Innovation Maturing Into Major Impacts

Maturity in innovation means the innovative approaches taken by companies throughout the ecosystem are becoming more comprehensive and systematic. SMA has acquired a unique historical view of innovation in insurance through our annual SMA Innovation in Action Awards – and we have seen how it has changed over the six years of the program. Small-scale experimentation with […]

Change Accelerates in Core Systems

The core systems replacement cycle is speeding up. Twenty years ago, even if you spent your entire career working at the same insurance company, you might expect to go through the implementation of a new core system once, maybe twice. Technology – and the speed of business that it enables – is changing that. Technology […]

Insurers Are Catching the Innovation Wave

As the June 30 deadline approaches for this year’s SMA Innovation in Action Awards, I’m looking forward to seeing the innovative strides that insurers and solution providers have made in the past year. The market is changing so quickly that adaptability is key. The SMA Innovation in Action Awards recognize insurers of all types and sizes […]

Are Core Systems Nearing an End?

After Opening Day of baseball season last week and the release of SMA’s new report on core systems buying trends, I realized that you could equate the progress being made in core modernization with that of a baseball game. Could it be that that we have entered the seventh inning stretch of this phase of […]

How Smart Is a ‘Smart’ Home, Really?

During this past year, I built a home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and determined early on that it would be a “smart home.” Now, I speak about insurtech trends often, so you would think building a smart home would not be difficult. You would be wrong. To truly test the possibilities, I […]

Clock Is Ticking … and Stops for No One

If you feel like insurance is changing faster every day, you’re not alone. According to our most recent research, published in 2017 Insurance Technology Priorities and Spending, 37% of insurers reported that the pace of change is keeping them up at night. Insurers find themselves facing two very different challenges: the accelerating pace of change […]

‘Core in the Cloud’ Reaches Tipping Point

Core in the cloud is a hot topic that has garnered a lot of interest and an equal amount of debate as insurers confront the challenges that the digital world brings to our industry, and, certainly, insurers’ use of cloud has increased. Even though there has been a lot of discussion on this topic, the […]

A Look at 3 Leading Next-Gen Insurers

As the June 30 deadline approaches for the 2016 SMA Innovation in Action Award submissions, let’s take a look back at our insurer winners from 2015: Haven Life Insurance Agency, John Hancock and USAA. Their innovative projects and initiatives have demonstrated how they are rethinking and reinventing the business of insurance and furthering their progress toward […]

Outsiders Retreat From Insurance

Cargill, Monsanto, Wells Fargo and John Deere are officially out of the crop insurance business, according to a recent article from Bloomberg. Large companies like these expanded into different aspects of the agriculture industry over the past few years, and their debut in the insurance industry made quite an impact. With their newly acquired insurance operations, […]

A Better Question for Evaluating Tech

Earlier this month, my colleague Monique Hesseling wrote about the power of asking the right questions in product development. That is just as important with new technologies. As we have seen with social media and smartphones, what were once “emerging” technologies can become widely available and widely used in a very short time. Insurers have […]

Innovation Awards for Solution Providers

Three solution providers have been recognized for truly ground-breaking projects and initiatives with demonstrable real-world impact, following the recognition of three insurers. SMA also published a collection of case studies on all the solution provider award submissions this year, showcasing the remarkable innovation taking place in the industry today. The insurance ecosystem encourages the holistic […]

Hurricane Joaquin: Why the Model Matters

It has been fascinating watching the progression of the forecasted path for Hurricane Joaquin — what a perfect example this is of the importance of a modern data and analytics platform! The big news is that the hurricane is not expected to make landfall on the East Coast of the U.S., but the new forecast […]

‘Innovation in Action’ Award Winners

SMA has announced the winners of the 2015 SMA Innovation in Action Awards, recognizing three insurers for truly ground-breaking projects and initiatives with demonstrable real-world impact. In conjunction with the announcement of the winners, SMA published a collection of case studies on all the insurer award submissions this year, showcasing the remarkable innovation taking place […]

Claims Lessons From the Feds (Truly)

The federal government is likely not the first place you would look for innovative inspiration and lessons on implementation. The old stereotypes of stacks of paper gathering dust in corners, outdated technology and endless processes still exist to some degree, but the government is making huge strides in the digital space, and insurers can take […]

‘Core Transformation’ May Not Be Enough

In the 1920s, Hollywood had a pretty good grasp of what it took to be a leading lady. She had to be able to use exaggerated gestures and facial expressions to convey what was going on without the benefit of sound, and she had to look attractive onscreen. Nobody cared what her voice sounded like […]

Core Transformation – Start Your Engines!

Ready, GO, set! That might not describe every core modernization project, but it certainly can seem that way in today’s fast-moving environment. Now that the insurance industry recognizes modernization as an indispensable tool for remaining competitive, it is worthwhile to take a step back and look at the technical capabilities that insurers really need from […]

Policy Administration: Ripe for Modernizing

Modern core systems are essential to an insurer’s ability to compete effectively in today’s increasingly complex and dynamic market. Policy administration systems (PAS), in particular, are ripe for modernization — policy administration is the heart of an insurer’s operations, and it provides the information that feeds other core systems as well as most of the […]

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