Highlights from Virtual TINtech 2022


The key takeaway points from Virtual TINtech 2022

Please see below for some of my key learnings and takeaways from Virtual TINtech on Tuesday. This is very much a ‘rough and ready’ blog rather than a polished industry report, but I hope it will both give readers a taste of the day, and some food for thought, to mix two culinary metaphors!

Enabling the Digital Insurer

The day started with a keynote session featuring from Alan Patefield-Smith, Group CIO at Admiral, Ben Spencer, Group CIO at Beazley and Chris Payne of EY, our main sponsor

Alan Patefield-Smith set the scene by explaining that Admiral’s ‘North Star’ is “change agility” (my jargon, not his) by which I mean an organisation’s ability to respond to the VUCA (Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) business environment (think inflation, war in Europe, pandemics, climate change, widespread industrial action (!!), rapid tech change etc). As Alan succinctly put it “The why is uncertainty”

This lead to some really interesting insights into the evolving role of the CIO, but also the evolving role of function / LOB heads, all of whom are having to also become change leaders and transformation experts.

Ben Spencer was eloquent about removing friction and complexity from processes. Insurance is complex, but are our organisations unnecessarily complex? The goal should be to remove “valueless complexity” from our processes and customer journeys.

Chris Payne discussed the emerging importance of customer orchestration, something I think we’ll be hearing more about this year and next, but also described a shift away from big, centralised, enterprise-wide transformation projects towards more product and service driven transformations that by their nature are region / LOB / even departmental or functional specific. That’s a significant shift in perspective and focus for some of the big international composite insurers…

Other highlights of the keynotes for me were the discussion about creating work environments (both remote and office based) that retain key staff, and the ever-increasing importance of, and focus on, data and analytics as the key to digital enablement (more of that later!).

It was a great session to start the day, highlighting some key themes for further exploration in the sessions that followed.


Digitising the London Market

Next up was the Digitising the London Market session with Bob James of Lloyd’s, Toby Ducker of AXIS Capital Holdings and Paul Willoughy. Toby came up with a killer quote that picked up that theme of data and analytics:

“data is the blood that pumps through the veins of the market”

Its clear to me that data is now the key to the collaboration that is necessary across the market to deliver the improvements to the client experience that lie at the heart of the modernisation agenda.

Bob provided a clear and honest appraisal of the progress so far and timelines into 2023/4.

The panel discussed the CDR as an opportunity for individual players to improve the way they leverage data internally as well as how they connect with partners in the value chain. Toby made the point that the earlier in the process the CDR is defined the better, but post-bind is a lot better than never. Everyone lauded the work Rob Myers is heading up on pre-bind data, and bringing in the CDR earlier, describing this as ‘the beginning of the next stage’, but also highlighted some tricky questions about who does what, and who is responsible for what in relation to the data, and whether we need all participants in a risk confirmed before the CDR is created.

It seems to me that the market has never been more engaged in the modernisation agenda, and the panel agreed that the transition from BP1 to BP2 with its focus on data and the digital spine was a real tipping point, possibly because this signalled a closer alignment between the objectives of the centrally driven modernisation and individual companies’ transformation agendas.

I’m going to finish this section with a quote from Kirstin Duffield who chipped in to the post discussion Zoom and on LinkedIn exchanges after the event (thanks Kirstin!)

“Standards, the real answer is standards, it's what supports interoperability”


Enhancing the customer experience

The “Enhancing the customer experience session” featured James Russell at esure and Ruth Fisk at Smart Communications. Two key takeaways for me here:

  • Understanding what the customer wants is very difficult, and very different for various product lines, demographic groups and geographic regions. One size does not fit all, and sometimes comparisons with other sectors can be as misleading as they are informative
  • Don’t automate bad processes is an old mantra, but in this context its essential to look at processes through a CX lens to evaluate which ones remove friction and enhance CX when automated, and for which ones human intervention are required and desirable. This links to another old mantra: use automation to free up people for more value-add activity. Yes, but before you do, make sure you know what that value is!


Open Insurance

The afternoon started with a really engaging discussion featuring Arvinder Mudhar of Unum, Todd Zino at By Miles, Rinesh Patel of Snowflake and Paul Hollands at Hastings Direct on a topic that is really fascinating me: open insurance, how likely it is to come about, how it will come about if it does, and the opportunities and implications for insurance.

Open insurance needs a “North Star” – what are we trying to achieve here? And for whose benefit?
And looking at it from an insurer perspective: where’s the business case?

Unlike open banking we have different data sets that are used differently in different context – QTB, claims and pricing / underwriting. There’s a challenge in that arguably the most valuable of these 3 – the claims data – is also the most private.

Will the industry wait for the regulator to impose its own version of open insurance, or proactively collaborate, anticipate the regulator and collectively design a version of open insurance that benefits both customers and the industry? (I’m not taking bets on this one!)

I took away 3 key challenges: TRUST, standardisation of data, industry inertia.


AI & Automation

This was followed by the AI & Automation session with Tom Clay, Chief Data Scientist at Covéa Insurance, Dr. Annarita Roscino, the Group Claims Data & Insight Leader at Zurich Insurance and Ed Jones, Strategic CX & Digital Transformation Advisor at Verint.

Tom set up the discussion with a brilliant case study outlining how they introduced elements of intelligent automation to validate customer details from the DVLA as part of the claim process. The point that really resonated with me was that if you can make your AI models trustable, your customers will trust you – and your users will trust the AI. And in order to do that your users need to “understand the algorithm” and your customers need to be able to immediately feel the benefit of sharing their data with you.

For me there’s no longer any doubting the importance of conducting an end-to-end process review to establish how processes can be improved BEFORE automating. Again the key is data – automation and AI are powerless without great data. It is paramount that insurance companies lay the foundation for efficiency by investing in cleaning up their data.

Finally on the topic of the ethics of automation, I was taken by Annarita's assertion that “Sustainable AI is ethical AI”, that bias in AI a product of bias in design: you have to build ethical AI “by design”.

Delivering Transformational Change

The last session on delivering transformational change was with Scott Thomson, CTO at Adiona Insurance, Vicki Heslop, Director of Customer Experience, Covéa Insurance and Virtual TINtech veteran Bart Patrick, Chief Revenue Officer at Genasys.

This was a wide-ranging discussion taking in people, process and technology challenges and discussing both operational and cultural change success factors. Once again I am just going to list my key takeaways:

  • Start small and showcase success, communicate well and get everyone involved from the outset
  • Everything as a Service – API driven pay as you go services allow entrepreneurs to focus on developing and delivering customer focused products
  • Always leave a “route to human” when automating a process, especially in claims.
  • Delivering change incrementally can avoid the change fatigue that can set in with large transformational change programmes over 3 - 5 years
  • Orchestration is going to become a critical differentiator
  • Don’t build stuff to be permanent

I’d like to thank all our speakers and sponsors for their “change agility” in flipping to digital with us as a result of the train strikes on Tuesday. We’ll be revisiting some of the issues discussed above at the in-person TINtech 2022, will now take place on October 11th. You can register here.



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