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Thoughts from Insurance Technology Congress 2013, London

Craig Beattie
Insurance Experts' Forum, October 3, 2013

Insurers and vendors met in London to discuss insurance technology in late September this year. The audience mostly consisted of those with an interest in the London market and Lloyds, though there were representatives from general insurers in the United Kingdom too.

I was glad to see that the tone of the meeting had shifted. In years past, there has been a theme of technology and modernization being necessary but too difficult. This is a market that has seen some high profile and expensive failures in IT along with successes. While at the conference, I heard again the call to action, the need to modernise, but there was a much clearer sense of optimism, a way forward.

There are still very large, expensive projects in the market, with Jim Sadler, CIO of XChanging, giving a colourful view of the latest deployment on behalf of the market. Alongside these are independent initiatives, demonstrating the value of standards and cooperation amongst competitors in the market.

A panel discussing the eAccounting initiative, Ruschlikon, led by XL Group’s Simon Squires, gave a surprising, engaging and transparent story of how a group of insurers and brokers collaborated and delivered technology that fundamentally improved their operations and speed of response to the insured. Genesis offered another example of a group of insurers coming together and collaborating to fix an issue that again, slowed down the market and affected customer service. In the course of the proceedings the architect of Genesis mentioned the best thing for the project would be that it is superseded by something that worked better, but that wasn’t a reason not to do it.

Throughout the discussions there was a theme of automating where human interaction didn’t add value, but not automating for the sake of automation. There were discussions about delivering smaller projects, doing it quicker, collaborating and adopting standards where this didn’t affect competitive advantage and not doing so harmed customer service.

As before and for the last few decades, there was a sense of a need to modernize, to attract new talent, to move the market forward. This year there was a real sense of optimism, sample projects that have moved quickly and gained adoption, a way forward.

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent.

Craig Beattie is an analyst in Celent's insurance group, and can be reached at cbeattie@celent.com.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Craig using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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