For outsiders, the insurance industry can be a somewhat staid industry. But even if this may have been the case a decade ago, the onslaught of digitization has made insurance one of the most innovative and exciting places.
Since 2016, many of the best projects have been competing in the annual Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards, which recognize the insurers and insurtech companies that are transforming the industry.
The sixth award program will take place this year. It celebrates the world’s most innovative projects and ideas in this field while providing a forum for organizations to share best practice.
Last year there were 360 submissions from 240 institutions in 45 countries, with the winners coming from Australia, Belgium, Germany, India, Italy and South Africa. (You can read more about the 2020 winners here.) This is truly a global competition.
This year’s categories are:
- Global Innovator (overall winner)
- Networked insurance & ecosystems
- Core insurance transformation
- Customer experience
- Insurance engineering
- Product and service innovation
- Employee transformation
Each entry is judged on three criteria: originality; its strategic ability to achieve long-term competitive advantage and a return on investment; and its adaptability for use in other markets and countries. Submissions are possible online until April 2nd, the winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on June 3rd.
Broker: a helping hand
The good news is you don’t have to wait until June to find out who is innovating right now in the insurance sector. We also run a monthly competition based on the submissions for this year’s award.
The January winner was Azur with Smart Home – an underwriting solution launched at the Azur Hub in 2019 that leverages technologies like machine learning, big data and an API to help brokers.
While many customers rely on brokers to provide risk advice when buying home and home insurance, Azur notes that most of the innovation in this area of personal insurance is focused on the customer experience.
While this focus is understandable, Azur is right when he says that insurers have put less effort into making the broker’s job easier – even as price comparison site brokers are coming under increasing pressure.
Azur’s smart home bridges this gap and creates a modern realtor experience that uses mixed proprietary and third-party real estate data to help in four areas:
- Tailored product coverage based on more accurate risk data
- A great brokerage experience where customers only have to answer eight questions, with the ability to self-service in just 90 seconds
- Improved productivity and profitability for brokers
- A sleek front-end that only requires five basic customer questions to be answered, with an API-driven back-end that gathers data for 62 other valuation factors (such as market value and square footage).
In this way, Smart Home ensures that brokers can offer their customers flat-rate building insurance as well as unlimited content and global all-risk coverage – more efficiently and with better margins.
Digital steps forward
Smart home has a number of unique advantages. This includes straight-through processing over the entire life cycle – not only the creation of the complete offer on a self-service basis, but also the support of new business, extensions, medium-term adjustments and cancellations. Smart Home also fully integrates broker accounting.
This makes brokers more efficient and helps them grow their business. Unsurprisingly, says Azur, Smart Home has generated a lot of positive feedback: Brokers have a high quality product on AIG paper that helps them hold their own against price comparison sites.
Smart Home also enables more accurate underwriting for Azur as it searches 30 million mortgage surveys and enriches that data with the company’s claims history.
Because it’s a simple, self-service solution, brokers also save time and don’t have to resort to email or phone. And throughout its entire life cycle, the self-service tool ensures that you can shop online from the comfort of your own home.
Azure CEO Graham Elliott says the solution will get his business where all insurers and MGAs want to be.
“We have the wind behind us, but we know that others are catching up quickly,” he says. “In addition, Smart Home has a significant leverage effect on our sales growth with only minor increases in fixed costs.”
Elliott says the award is in recognition of the team that put smart home together, including its clients and brokers, as well as the company’s underwriting and technology staff. He also credits partners like Salesforce, which provided the core platform, and Outra, which provided the enriched risk data.
We congratulate Azur on winning the competition in January. Keep an eye out for our next blog where we highlight February’s winner.