To outsiders, insurance can seem like a somewhat weakened industry. But while that may have been true even a decade ago, the rush to digitize insurance has made it one of the most innovative and exciting places.
Since 2016, many of the best projects have gone head-to-head during the annual Efma Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards, which recognize the insurers and insurance companies that are transforming the industry.
This year, the sixth awards program is presented. It celebrates the world’s most innovative projects and ideas in the field, while providing organizations with a forum for sharing best practices.
Last year, there were 360 entries from 240 institutions operating in 45 countries, with the winners from Australia, Belgium, Germany, India, Italy and South Africa. (You can read more about 2020 winners here.) This is truly a global game.
This year’s categories are:
- Global Innovator (overall winner)
- Linked insurance and ecosystems
- Transformation of nuclear insurance
- Customer experience
- Product and service innovation
- Transformation of workforce
Each entry will be judged on three criteria: originality; its strategic ability to generate a long-term competitive advantage and return on investment; and its adaptability for use in other markets and countries. Submissions may be made online until April 2, with the winners announced during a virtual ceremony on June 3rd.
Brokers: a helping hand
The good news is that you do not have to wait until June to find out who is innovating. now immediately in the insurance space. We are also holding a monthly contest based on submissions for this year’s award.
The winner of January was Azur with Smart house – an underwriting solution launched on the Azur Hub in 2019, using technologies such as machine learning, big data and an API to help brokers.
While many clients rely on brokers to give them risk advice when buying homes and content insurance, Azur points out that the bulk of innovation in this personal insurance space focuses on the client’s experience.
While the focus is understandable, Azur says insurers have put less effort into facilitating the broker’s work, even though brokers are coming under increasing pressure from price comparison sites.
Azur’s Smart Home fills this gap and creates a modern real estate experience that uses mixed real estate and third-party data to help in four areas:
- Customized product coverage based on more accurate risk data
- A superior brokerage experience, requiring clients to answer only eight questions, with the ability to self-service within 90 seconds
- Improved productivity and profitability for brokers
- A smart front-end that requires answers to just five basic customer questions, with an API-driven back-end that collects data for 62 other rating factors (such as market value and square footage)
In this way, Smart Home ensures that brokers can offer clients coverage, as well as unlimited content and global coverage for all risks – and can do so more efficiently and with better margins.
Digital step forward
Smart Home has a number of unique benefits. This includes direct processing during the life cycle – not only generates the full price on a self-service basis, but also supports new business, renewals, mid-term adjustments and cancellations. Smart Home also fully integrates brokerage billing.
It makes brokers more efficient and helps them grow their business. It is not surprising, says Azur, that Smart Home has delivered very positive feedback: brokers have a high quality product on AIG paper that helps them compete against price comparison sites.
Smart Home also generates more accurate underwriting for Azur as it detects 30 million mortgage surveys and improves data with the company’s claims history.
Being a simple self-service solution also saves brokers time and means they do not have to use email or a phone. The self-service tool ensures that they can shop online at home with little hassle, with its full life cycle.
Azur CEO Graham Elliott says the solution is a business where all insurers and MGAs want to be.
“We have the wind behind us, but we know that others are catching up fast,” he says. “In addition, Smart Home has a significant leverage effect on our revenue growth, with little increase in fixed costs.”
Elliott says the award is recognition for the team that Smart Home put together, including its clients and brokers, as well as the firm’s underwriting and technology staff. He also acknowledges partners such as Salesforce, which provided the core platform, and Outra, which provided the enriched risk data.
Congratulations to Azur on winning January’s match. Look out for our next blog where we will highlight the winner of February.