June 14, 2017
Insurers Are Catching the Innovation Wave
Some insurers have combined the best strengths of our industry today with the best new ideas from insurtech and the digital world.
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 who are rethinking, reimagining and reinventing the business of insurance. In recent years, we have recognized a number of traditional, established companies that are propelling themselves forward. They have combined the best strengths of our industry today with the best new ideas from insurtech and the digital world. And this convergence of the old and the new is the true path to success.
See also: Key Trends in Innovation (Parts 4, 5)
Our winners have showcased this type of mindset by blending their existing projects and goals with very targeted uses of insurtech, emerging technologies and new data sources.
- Experiment with new technology and customer experiences. John Hancock’s Vitality Program (2016 winner) engages policyholders through gamification and personalized guidance to increase their healthy activities, like exercise and annual physicals. Policyholders can report data online or through a free wearable fitness tracker. In the next phase of this project, John Hancock has expanded the customer engagement model to now provide discounts on healthy foods from participating stores. Each time the policyholder buys a healthy food, the discount and brand appear on the checkout receipt, reinforcing John Hancock’s role as their partner in healthy living. In addition to the creative application of emerging technologies, John Hancock is shifting from a transactional relationship with their customers to one based on value-added services.
- Engage with emerging technologies. Texas Mutual (2016 winner) tackled a loss-prevention challenge, engaging workers to learn and follow onsite safety procedures by creating virtual reality scenarios to train construction workers. Texas Mutual’s Safety in a Box app was designed for easily accessible, familiar technology: the user’s mobile phone with a free cardboard viewer. Texas Mutual also distributed viewers at construction industry conferences and filmed in both English and Spanish to reach a broader audience.
- Incubate innovation. Incubating Haven Life (2015 winner) internally allowed MassMutual to test a new business model: selling life insurance completely online in about 20 minutes. Underwriting Haven Life’s policies relies on external data fed through proprietary algorithms, reducing the time and complexity for the applicant.
- Look at the big picture – but start small. Motorists (2016 winner) completed the first phase of its plan to achieve complete organizational transformation within 10 years. The ultimate goal is to operate as an “85-year-old startup” designed for innovation and collaboration, and the company redesigned a key workspace to foster this cultural shift. It built around cutting-edge technology to enable work to shift seamlessly across time zones and continents. This first step is intended to encourage more collaborative work styles to spread throughout the company, bringing Motorists closer to its vision.
One of the best parts of our awards program is to showcase how innovation is flourishing within our industry – and not just with greenfield insurers or those partnering with insurtech firms. Together, John Hancock, Texas Mutual, MassMutual and Motorists have more than 400 years of experience in writing insurance. They demonstrate how no company is ever too established to embrace change.
See also: 3 Ways to Leverage Digital Innovation
For more information on the SMA Innovation in Action Awards and to create your own submission, visit www.strategymeetsaction.com/awards. Submissions are due by June 30.
We will also be focusing on the power of convergence at our annual SMA Summit in September.