Tag Archives: Alex Polyakov

A Word With Shefi: Polyakov at Livegenic

This is part of a series of interviews by Shefi Ben Hutta with insurance practitioners who bring an interesting perspective to their work and to the industry as a whole. Here, she speaks with Alex Polyakov, CEO of Livegenic, which delivers real-time video solutions to help organizations reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction and mitigate risks. His advice: “Never settle for the way things are, and always discover and share a better way, especially when it comes to seeing the customer’s point of view. The better we serve the customer, the happier we become.”

To see more of the “A Word With Shefi” series, visit her thought leader profile. To subscribe to her free newsletter, Insurance Entertainment, click here.

Describe what you do in 50 words or less:

I run a fast-paced startup that specializes in real-time video solutions in insurance claims.

Name an emerging technology you are most excited about:

There are many technologies that are hot right now like drones, Internet of Things, analytics, etc. However, live video streaming is the technology that I’m most passionate and excited about. Not just because that’s our specialty, but because this technology is mature, accessible, with low upfront investment costs and drives incredible value in productivity and customer satisfaction.

What are you most excited about with respect to Livegenic?

We were able to foresee innovation in insurance. We envisioned developing a video platform that would deliver a powerful impact to the insurance market, and we’ve been recognized for producing the type of innovative solutions this industry needs.

Name a challenge you have faced working in insurance:

While the insurance industry is ripe for innovation in many areas, it adopts innovations slowly. This is one reason why there aren’t that many start-ups in insurance compared with other industries. However, this challenge is also an opportunity because the industry is fueled by competition and the need to differentiate.

Your best piece of career advice for the insurance professional:

Never settle for the way things are, and always discover and share a better way, especially when it comes to seeing the customer’s point of view. The better we serve the customer, the happier we become.

Your favorite news source:

I follow several sites, such as Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, PropertyCasualty360 and of course Insurance Entertainment. They all share great content, but I must admit that Insurance Entertainment makes me laugh — always a great way to start the morning.

When you are not working for Livegenic, you are most likely…

I enjoy competitive table tennis, which is like playing chess at 100 miles an hour. It is a great way for me to take my mind off of things and exercise at the same time.

If you weren’t working in insurance, what profession would you be in?

I am a product and technology guy at heart, so I guess if I wasn’t in insurance, I’d be working in technology in another industry.

Your favorite quote:

“Luck favors the prepared.”

Which term best describes you?

  • Driverless or in control? In control
  • Elon Musk (dreamer) or Warren Buffett (doer)? Doer
  • Risk-averse or risk-taker? Risk-taker

To be honest, I wish I could select a term immediately, but I’m very analytical. The best words I would use when I see these questions are “adaptive intelligence.” Meaning, the answer depends on a situation because I resemble a little bit of both during different times.

What Millennials Demand as Customers

Those of us born in prior generations are used to certain innate complexities about insurance. We are almost immune to the thick stack of documents that accompany a policy. We’re not particularly upset about having to jump in a car to visit our insurance agent’s office to ask a question or pay a bill. We somehow are even understanding about delays associated with getting a claim adjustment or an appraisal completed.

But, in June, Millennial demographics crossed the chasm. Millennials exceeded a quarter of the population, passing the number of baby boomers. The question for business is, Are we ready? Do we truly know our new consumer; do we understand what they want, what they need, and what they like?

It seems obvious that generations get older and that things change, but did we miss the Millennial switch? Are we still stuck thinking about the customer of yesterday and today, or did we start to shift to meet the demands of the customer of tomorrow?

The Millennial consumer does not have our patience and understanding. This consumer has seen great companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and others consistently deliver on their promise by providing excellent service. Millennials demand the same in insurance – the speed and quality, simplicity and transparency, fairness and flexibility.

Millennial consumers do not understand why insurance has to be so complicated that it almost requires a degree in insurance to truly grasp it or why the policy cannot be acquired, managed and paid for easily online or over mobile. This consumer doesn’t understand when 24/7 service is not available and definitely does not understand when certain insurance activities take weeks to finalize. A Millennial knows that he can acquire money from any of his friends worldwide in a matter of minutes and does not understand when payments from a worldwide enterprise take weeks. Likewise, a Millennial doesn’t understand when claim information captured immediately during the incident cannot be delivered and reviewed in real-time and why almost every claim no matter how small must go through a process that could come out of a CSI episode.

As an industry, we are already too late. The industry finds itself experiencing a true generational gap between the insurance organization and the Millennial consumer.

What the new insurance customer demands requires more than just fine tuning of existing methods, technologies and business processes. There is a need to re-invent insurance as a whole, and innovative technology and products are the key.

3 Ways for Video to Reinvent Claims Work

There are lots of great technologies and innovative products being developed that can help redefine the future of the claims process. Most recently, real-time video has been taking its place among industry disrupters such as drones, the Internet of Things and telemetries.

We’ve seen Esurance, USAA and Erie Insurance adopting various video technologies. Yet, the use of video is still very narrow, focusing on real-time applications. In fact, there are three types of video capabilities, not just one, that can deliver a powerful opportunity to redefine the claims process.

Live or Real-time Video Streaming With the Insured

Live video streaming and video collaboration is one of the most critical pieces in being able to acquire a quick visual of the claim from the hands of the policyholder at first notice of loss (FNOL) or in any subsequent conversation. This technology has proven to drive significant efficiency savings by accelerating the collection of claim information, improving triage and even being able to estimate and settle claims remotely.

The largest impact of real-time video on the claims process is made by enabling quick resolution of small claims. Each organization defines its own thresholds for what defines a small claim, but typically any claim above a certain threshold will still trigger a traditional field loss inspection.

Yet, the insureds who are communicating from an area of poor connectivity or insureds who may not be comfortable using the video streaming technology to settle their claims will still require a field inspection. This is where there is an opportunity to apply video in another way to help streamline the field inspection process.

Field Video Claim Documentation

Unlike live video interaction, which is designed to help an inside claims professional see a transmission of what the policyholder is pointing at with a mobile device’s camera, video documentation focuses on a different problem – how to improve the field documentation process and accelerate the collection, delivery and preparation of the claim report.

A deeper look into the field operations shows that a field claims professional is overloaded with many responsibilities – traveling to the loss location, documenting the loss with pictures and preparing a report. With multiple assignments back to back, it becomes an almost impossible task to document and prepare a report one claim at a time. Instead, many claims are inspected with pictures and notes quickly taken on-site, and all the reports are prepared together once every day, every two days or even once a week. This approach delays the delivery of timely field information and hence delays getting the claims to closure.

Claim cycle time is critical in ensuring high quality of customer satisfaction. Video claim documentation breaks up the claims handling process in two. It allows field claim professionals to focus on getting to the customer and conducting quality on-site inspections. Meanwhile, the inside claim teams can focus on processing the claim as soon as video content is delivered. To enable this process, the field claims professionals simply document the claim in video rather than pictures, speaking freely as they capture the video of the claim. Think of it as “visual voicemail” for claims.

You may think that is nothing new. Everyone can take videos using smartphones. The challenge, however, is not whether video can be captured. The challenge is how the video content can be delivered into the business in a uniform and timely business process. This is where the right technological solution is needed to provide the means for field claims professionals to conveniently capture video in the field and deliver it to the inside teams. This means providing support for handling large video files, synchronizing video content, alerting about the arrival of new information and being able to support well-connected, low-bandwidth and “offline,” unconnected environments.

What if the customer has already captured the claim on video? This scenario identifies the next workflow – customer self-service.

Customer Self-Service Videos

Studies found that customers who participate in self-service during an issue that is well-handled experience higher rates of satisfaction. They feel that they have been a direct, significant contributor to the positive resolution. Hence, allowing the customer to deliver video claim information to the insurance company is a big opportunity to increase customer satisfaction.

Most customers capture loss information. Some take pictures. Others prefer to take video. Yet, most organizations do not have a convenient way to acquire large files from the customer. Typically, pictures are acceptable as long as they can be sent over email or uploaded online or through a mobile app. Acquiring a large video file from the customer frequently encounters technical limitations and requires a different approach.

To address customer self-service demands, it is important to account for two types of scenarios. First, imagine the customer calling to report the claim for the first time, before having recorded any visual information. In this scenario, the customer is instructed how to most effectively record the data and how to make the video available to the claims handling team. The second scenario provides the insured an ability to conveniently upload video of the claim to the organization after it has already been captured.


There are numerous additional workflows that can benefit from applying video capabilities, like underwriting, supplemental claims and contractor quality review. The key is that the right technological platform needs to be able to support all three key video workflows to cover the main scenarios that are encountered in the claims process. This includes not just providing the mobile technology to help capture or deliver videos to the inside claims teams, but also a convenient way for the inside claim handlers to receive, access and review the video content to complete the reports and settle the claims.

How to Avoid Pitfalls in Insurance Innovation

The words “disruption” and “innovation” are in everyday lexicon surrounding many concepts, products and services. At times, it seems almost impossible to navigate the full range of opportunities for insurance innovation. This makes it extremely difficult to make the right choice to adopt a specific technology or strategy to redefine or reinvent a business.

Certainly, budgets are not limitless, and time is scarce. How do we ensure that we invest in the right technologies at the right time and prioritize the investments in proper order? How do we make sure that the opportunity to adopt a new technology is not being overlooked or unintentionally delayed?

Innovation Teams

Many insurance carriers deployed innovation teams to stay on top of the technological landscape and drive forward-thinking decisions. These teams have done a marvelous job.

Yet, even with these teams in place, most organizations seem to drastically fall behind in adopting the technology early enough to make the most impact. With modern, cloud-based SaaS offerings that can be fielded without internal IT investments, with very little set-up requirements and with lean operations provided by young ventures that drive most of the innovative technologies to the front lines, why do we still find it difficult change?

In a recent article, Steve Blank, a serial entrepreneur recognized for customer development methodology that led to the Lean Startup movement, described two of the most common issues with deploying innovations teams to drive organizational change. The first: making it easy for innovation teams to drive the selection of the right business units to field the solutions as soon as possible. The second: ensuring that the organization separates the execution part of the business, which operates an existing business model, from the innovation business unit, which is modifying the existing model or creating one.

Beyond the Innovation Noise

The key to a successful continuous innovation cycle is looking beyond the hype and the related group think about innovations.

Technologies such as big data, analytics and Drones receive a lot of attention. However, getting full value from them is far from simple.

Big data, for example, interprets information with analytics tools. To derive value from it, however, it is important to identify what purpose is to be achieved, what data is important and where to acquire it — before using the analytics. Experts say the most critical, time-consuming and expensive part of adopting big data comes from the effort required to analyze the business and all of the data sources, so the upfront investment is quite high.

The spotlight on drones often seemingly ignores the limitations of the technology. In certain weather conditions, like wind, rain and fog, the control of the drone becomes challenging, and the video quality drops. In addition, use of drones is highly unscalable, as one operator can only control a single drone within the line of sight.

In addition, satellite imagery can be significantly more effective in collecting real-time aerial imagery of an area hit by a storm, if visibility allows. This is a possible threat as real-time satellite technology becomes more affordable to the masses.

Is there a future in drones? Absolutely, but it will take time to perfect this technology, as the industry is still exploring the right fit in the field. This is where looking outside the box provides the clues that prevent falling into a common innovation trap.

Think Outside the Box, Think ROI

Sometimes, looking too closely at a solution creates a commitment to a technology that has a much longer innovation and implementation cycle than expected. Playing with new technology is always fun, and there is value in being recognized as the first to explore new tools for the organization. However, the goal has to be generating a competitive advantage that provides the highest benefits – the best ROI.

Today’s most important technologies are the ones that can be implemented with very low up-front investments in IT support and employee training and the ones that can simplify or even eliminate the largest, most unscalable and expensive operations.

Technologies that deliver enhancements to existing business processes like mobile tools, real-time video communications, litigation document management solutions and field resource planning and dispatch platforms are easier to acquire and evaluate. These technologies are less expensive and cause less conflict with an existing part of the business. At the same time, they deliver substantial tactical improvements in operations and can be quickly deployed within the necessary workflow.

Larger-scope solutions such as claims management, policy management and billing systems typically require a significant modification or a complete replacement of existing systems. Implementation or upgrade of these systems is a high-risk exercise, while the projected ROI is mostly strategic — long-term efficiency, productivity and other future capabilities.

To assess the value of investment in a specific technology, most enterprises have adopted the Lean Startup model, piloting software before full adoption. There is, however, a significant difference between a proof-of-concept and a proof-of-value approach to identifying the right technologies. Proof of concept starts at the business problem and validates a solution using specific technologies, while proof of value begins by looking for a specific solution to a known business problem. The first validates that the technology works; the latter ensures the investment is worthwhile.

For any organization looking to continuously change and innovate, the right approach is in proof of value – being able to quickly assess and adopt solutions with the lowest barriers, fastest implementation and highest returns.