In Case You Missed It… Our Most Popular Posts of 2020

Insurance Industry News & Views - January 19 2021

As we head into a new year, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come. For many, 2021 couldn’t arrive soon enough. Of all the colorful language we could use to describe the year that was, let’s just say 2020 was “unprecedented” and leave it at that.

Surveying our most popular blog articles of the previous year provides insight into the hot topics and themes that captured the commercial insurance industry’s mindshare in 2020. Obviously, COVID-19 dominated the discussion – from business interruption insurance claims litigation to rising premiums and a hardening market to the day-to-day challenges of working remotely, managing distributed teams, and meeting the needs of distribution partners and policyholders 100% digitally. Without question, resiliency was a major theme as insurance companies were forced to adapt their operations literally overnight to the new realities of remote work, lockdowns, and disrupted insurance distribution channels. 

Another theme was the accelerated pace of digitization as carriers, brokerages and agencies alike prioritized digital technologies and initiatives to automate manual processes (which proved extremely difficult to adapt to working from home) and improve the digital customer experience. If we can find any silver lining in the pandemic, it’s that insurers were quick to respond and take positive steps toward modernizing core processes in order to adapt to rising digital demands. The work continues, but it is inspiring to see how quickly the industry stepped up to the challenges of COVID-19 and was able to keep operating without missing a beat.

It’s also clear from what insurance professionals were reading that many were educating themselves and getting up to speed on some of the core tenets of applied artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP). AI isn’t magic, but it is undeniably powerful when it comes to solving hard problems that the insurance industry has struggled with for a very long time, such as the extraction of unstructured data trapped in digital insurance documents, automated submission intake, policy checking, and quote comparison, to name a few.

In case you missed these articles the first time around, we’ve pulled together our 10 most popular posts of 2020. These articles and interviews are worth revisiting as we face new challenges and uncertainties and push forward with digital transformation initiatives that will pave the way for future growth.

So, in no particular order, here are our most-read articles of 2020….

AI Wisdom Ep. 11: The Impact of COVID-19 on Insurance with Robert Hartwig

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On this episode of the “AI Wisdom – Talking Insurance Innovation” podcast, host Ron Glozman speaks with Dr. Robert Hartwig, Director, Centre for Risk and Uncertainty Management, at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina about the impact of COVID-19 on the insurance industry across Life, Health, Property & Casualty, Workers’ Compensation and SMB insurance including the controversy surrounding business interruption insurance. As BI claims litigation continues to go before the courts in various jurisdictions, this discussion provides an overview of the key issues and what’s at stake for the insurance industry.

How AI Increases the Value of Human Judgment

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As the insurance industry braces for the rise of machine intelligence, many insurance professionals are plagued with fear and uncertainty about how AI will transform traditional business processes, change how business is conducted today, and impact the workplace. In this article, we look at why AI will augment not replace skilled human knowledge workers in commercial insurance, and how the application of AI actually increases the value of human judgment. While AI is very good at prediction and performing repetitive tasks, it is terrible at judgment. This article discusses how AI and humans work better together.

The Insurtech Landscape in Latin America: Hugues Bertin, CEO, Digital Insurance LatAm

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In this interview, Hugues Bertin, CEO of Digital Insurance LatAm and an insurtech advisor at HCS Capital Partners shares how insurance companies operating in Latin America – and the vibrant insurtech ecosystem that serves them – are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the pace of digital transformation in the region, and what comes next for the insurance industry. “Teleworking is the real success story of the crisis,” says Bertin. “The question is: In the new normal, will insurance executives move work back to the office?” Bertin goes on to ask a fundamental question: Are traditional insurance leaders, who are generally around 50 years old and “quite far removed from the digital tool and digital culture needed to effectively manage millennial teams” ready to be relevant in the new normal world?

Love at First (In)sight: Why P&C Insurance Companies Are Falling for AI

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we looked at why P&C insurance companies are falling head over heels for artificial intelligence. The popularity of this post throughout 2020 suggests that insurers’ love for AI isn’t a fading crush. Let’s face it: the insurance industry has a reputation for playing shy when it comes to embracing new technologies, but AI is proving impossible to resist. A 2018 Accenture study reported that more than half of insurers nationwide were already using intelligent solutions in one or more of their business processes. Here’s why traditionally risk-averse insurance companies are coming out of their shells and putting their hearts (and budgets) on the line for AI.      

Underwriting Priorities 2020: The Digital Evolution of Commercial Insurance Underwriting

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To capture the pulse of the industry, we asked a who’s who of insurance insiders to weigh in on the 2020 priorities for commercial insurance underwriting. Featuring contributions from AF Group, Celent, Insurity, Majesco, Marsh Canada, Novarica, OneShield Software, Paradiso Insurance, reThought Insurance, Slice Labs, Strategy Meets Action, UiPath, and Zurich North America, this crowdsourced eBook brings together expert insights on the insurance industry’s ongoing efforts to modernize underwriting. Finding innovative ways to better manage risk and make underwriting processes more efficient, profitable, and responsive to customers is an ongoing and ever-evolving challenge for insurers. The insights in this eBook are just as timely and relevant today as we head into a new year and ramp up new digital transformation initiatives. Grab your complimentary copy of the eBook here.

Is AI Part of Your Business Continuity Plan?

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The unprecedented events of 2020 put a spotlight on business continuity and the resiliency of insurance operations. The rapid shift in our work and daily lives was a strong reminder that all companies need to have a business continuity plan in place, tested and ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. Business continuity for manually driven, data intensive, paper-laden industries like insurance can be particularly challenging due to the lack of flexibility and the intrinsic inability to cope effectively with major incidents or disasters that require critical business functions to continue because they are so reliant on people. In this article, we looked at how augmenting human workers with intelligent machines or “digital assistants” provides operational resiliency when insurers and policyholders need it most. Download a copy of our in-depth guide to resilient insurance operations to understand the role of AI in laying a digital foundation for growth. 

The Power of the AI Learning Effect with Colin Toal, CTO, Chisel AI

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In this interview, Colin Toal, Chisel AI’s Chief Technology Officer answers ten frequently asked questions about machine learning, natural language processing, and the “AI Learning Effect” in commercial insurance. These are the questions we get asked most often by insurance professionals who are looking to implement AI-driven solutions.

Colin shared his insights into how the AI learning effect works, human involvement in AI-enabled processes, system requirements, and the value Chisel AI delivers to commercial insurance companies: “We use supervised learning ‘teach’ the machine how to read and extract data from insurance documents, and automatically execute key processes on these extracted values,” Toal explains. “We continuously learn from our usage, and our customers. Both insurance brokers and carriers can realize tremendous business value from using an AI platform that is domain specific, understands the industry jargon, and has read millions of pages of documents, much like the Tesla fleet of cars that have driven millions of miles.”

Q&A with Patrick Kelahan: COVID-19, Business Continuity and What Comes Next

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We caught up with Patrick Kelahan, a Building Consultant/Forensic Market Strategist for H2M architects + engineers and founder of the Insurance Elephant, to ask a few questions about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting P&C insurance companies and insurtechs, and what comes next for the industry “AC” (After COVID). Patrick is a passionate defender of customer experience in insurance and discusses how insurers should respond to and communicate with their customers during a unique occurrence like COVID-19, business interruption claims, and why insurance company staff are heroes: “Staff will find workarounds because that’s what staff does – they find ways to get things done.”

P&C Insurance Post-Pandemic: Q&A with Stephen Applebaum

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“One critically important aspect of COVID-19 that does not get nearly enough attention is the impact of work-from-home on people’s morale and mental health,” says Stephen Applebaum, Managing Partner, Insurance Solutions Group and a Senior Advisor to Waller Helms Advisors in this interview. “This may be because it happens gradually and is not something that is easily identified on a video chat or email. People are basically social beings and the loss of human contact with friends and colleagues will take a dramatic toll. This will also impact the health of the employer, more so over the long haul.” In this wide-ranging discussion, Applebaum shares insights on how the pandemic has impacted overall insurance innovation and experimentation, and why insurance companies shouldn’t just follow trends or copy what competitors are doing when it comes to technology adoption.

AI Versus RPA in Commercial Lines Underwriting

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is often lumped into the same broad category of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, but there are some important differences. Depending on the business case being addressed, one might be a better fit than the other, and it might even make sense for them to co-exist. Each has its own merits and can be applied to solve a variety of business cases throughout the insurance value chain. In this tech comparison, we break down the key differences between RPA and AI in the context of commercial insurance.

Stay Tuned!

We have lots of timely and informative articles and feature interviews in the works for 2021. Our readership continues to grow rapidly, and we are committed to providing a relevant industry forum for all things commercial insurance. Subscribe to our blog to have insights delivered to your inbox once a month so you won’t miss a thing.

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