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3 Insights From ITC 2019

I recently attended my first InsurTech Connect conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. Aureus has been attending and exhibiting at this conference, so I thought I knew what to expect. What surprised me the most about ITC 2019 was the sheer volume of people and the efficiency with which it was handled. I was impressed with how well organized it was.  

ITC's mobile app was a great way to encourage networking. The app enabled me to speak with over 150 attendees from insurance companies, agencies, brokers, and other technology providers. From these conversations, there were three topics that seemed to be on everyone’s mind this year.

1. Analytics Solutions Are Being Used

One similarity I found with all the people I met was that most of them were already using some form of analytics. Their usage ranges from business analytics to predictive analytics. In just about every case, they wanted to do more and felt that understanding customer sentiment was the key to furthering their use of analytics.

This shows that analytics in the insurance industry is on the rise. Insurance companies are getting on the bandwagon and realizing how effective big data is, and how important it is for the success of business.

2. There is an Excess of AI Vendors

Most of the people I spoke with seemed to have a basic understanding of what AI can do. However, a few did seem to be somewhat overwhelmed by the plethora of companies who claimed to use AI for business benefits.

According to the article, “The Top 10 Most Hated Technology Buzzwords for 2019…And What They Really Mean,” the term “AI” is the #7 most overused buzzword in 2019. My impression is that vendors feel the need to include the term “AI” to promote their products and company, or they may be somehow missing out on something.

The overuse of the word “AI” or “Artificial Intelligence” has actually diluted the term and created the opposite effect for vendors. People I spoke with seemed somewhat frustrated that everyone offers an AI-based solution. They struggle to understand specifically what AI technology each vendor employs, and how it can enhance their customer offerings

At least one person looked skeptical and questioned me about how AI can be used to identify sentiment. When I explained that our approach is to analyze explicit as well as implicit feedback from customers to get a sense of their overall sentiment, she was more interested in what it had to offer and could envision how it could help her company.

3. Agent/Advisor Analytics is Getting Hot

Agent/Advisor analytics seems to be a hot topic with insurers. Insurance carriers are showing increased interest in working more with insurance agents, and to understand how this relationship will improve their business. When I showed them our Customer One View, they were interested in learning ways to better understand agent sentiment to further improve their relationships. In this case, the agents or brokers were viewed by the insurance company as their customers as opposed to the policyholders.

Agent/Advisor Analytics is getting much more attention these days. Insurance companies see it as a way to improve customer satisfaction. Everyone I spoke with was interested in understanding the customer sentiment and how they can improve the customer experience.

Conclusion

It was evident that insurers have many solutions to choose from. This large number of vendors combined with the overused term “AI” has created a new challenge for insurers to develop an internal filter to help them identify the correct vendors to evaluate. Many vendors are trying to be “all things to all people” making it difficult for an insurer to really understand where the vendor’s real domain expertise lies.

Insurance consumers are becoming more demanding and diverse. Insurance companies must make use of all the data at their fingertips – data that until recently, wasn’t being used.

ITC 2019 was a great event and was well managed considering the size of the venue along with the number of people who attended. Now that I’ve got my first ITC event under my belt, I am looking forward to attending next year!

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Dr. Nilesh Karnik
Dr. Nilesh Karnik
Dr. Karnik is the Chief Data Scientist at Aureus. In this role, he is responsible for development of algorithms and mathematical models that help large organizations with advanced analytics solutions. His PhD dissertation made a substantial contribution to the theory of Type-2 Fuzzy Logic Systems and his work is still widely referenced.

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