London Market Technology: Past and Future
ACORD Solutions Group asks members of its Licensed Integrator Partner community to share their insights on the digital transformation occuring in the London Market.
Three years ago, ACORD Solutions Group established its Licensed Integrator Partner (LIP) program with the goal of enabling efficient digital data exchange through a global ecosystem of insurance industry service and solution providers.
Our vision was to ensure that software vendors were at the forefront when it comes to market modernisation initiatives, and were equipped with all the latest knowledge and tools available to support their clients on their digital journeys.
The LIP program has grown significantly over the last 12 months, and now supports in excess of 50 major technology service provider members who provide broking, insurer and reinsurance policy administration solutions to the London Market, many of which operate on a global basis and provide their solutions across EMEA and worldwide.
We asked these members of the Licensed Integrator Partner community to share their insights on the digital transformation occurring throughout the industry: “What is the biggest difference in servicing the insurance industry today versus ten years ago, and what will be the biggest difference ten years in the future versus today?”
“Today more than ever, it’s not a question of if we’ll move workloads to the cloud, but when and how. Yet, ten years ago very few insurers considered public cloud a safe and viable infrastructure for their systems and data, and on-prem, highly customised systems were the norm. Looking ahead ten years, very few insurers will have their own data centres, and cloud-native applications and SaaS will be the norm with self-configured, rarely customised solutions. DXC Technology is thrilled to be at the heart of our customers’ transformation journeys.”
– Mark Broadhurst (General Manager Insurance, EMEA, DXC Technology)
“From ten years ago, there is now greater acceptance of technology partners and vendors, as well as new technology. Ten years in the future, we’ll see a high dependence (not just acceptance) on technology to support the market. The vendor community can help accelerate modernisation, and offer specific skills and functionality to add to the market's own developments.”
–Tim Spencer (Associate National Reinsurance Sales Director, Duck Creek Technologies)
“In the last decade, we've seen a shift in the burden of responsibility from the insurer self-managed model, including having to manage the complexity of multiple integrations and systems. With the shift to Cloud, insurance vendors are taking more of the IT lift, freeing up insurers to focus on delivering more business value. In North America we've seen this cloud appetite continue to increase, particularly in the last few years, as insurers are now starting to see examples of the business improvements that early movers have benefitted from – the business agility is no longer a promise, but a reality. There's a fear of missing out.
As to the biggest difference a decade from now, a few trends are clearly on the path to wider adoption: Cloud becomes the new norm across the industry worldwide, and enhanced machine learning is helping massively – data collection, aggregation, analysis and insights retrieved from an ever-richer data source as connected devices are only trending in one direction. Insurers will also have to cater for new risks as a result of environmental and societal changes, and are already offering quick-issue and usage-based insurance products as buying behaviour changes. The nature of Cloud requires continued close partnership between insurers and vendors; those of us servicing the industry have to take the lead on all of this.”
- Paul Mallett (Director of Product Development, Guidewire)
“The biggest difference over the last ten years has been the shift towards modernisation in the front end of delivery landscapes (workbenches and portals) while keeping 'legacy' systems maintainable downstream. Current market initiatives create a platform that facilitates the journey to simplification and, therefore, automation and an opportunity to modernise 'back-end' technology as a result. I believe these will be the focus over the next decade. As part of the London Market’s modernisation initiative, at AdvantageGo, we are working in unison with our customers, ACORD and Lloyd's to ensure that our systems are fully integrated into the Blueprint Two plan.”
- Courtenay Davison, (Programme Manager, AdvantageGo)
“The industry today is more open-minded to change and the digitalisation of its processes than it was in the past. In the future, I think the big players in insurance may not have insurance as their core business (e.g. Tesla)… We need to ensure we understand how better, as a community, to enable our customer to improve their processes through standardisation.”
–Juliette Lockstone (Vice President & Head of UK Insurance, CGI)
“What’s changed from ten years ago? APIs…and the expectation that they are magic. What is reality is that open access to additional data sources, and the commitment to integrations, has made joined-up ecosystems between best-of-breed vendors within the grasp of all market participants, not just the few."
–Kirstin Duffield (Chief Executive Officer, Morning Data)
“The last ten years has seen an acceptance by the insurance market that digital trading is something they have to do or they will be left behind. However, that acceptance has come with a clear understanding that there is not, and probably never will be, a one-size-fits all approach to digitising any insurance market. The best approach that any carrier or intermediary can take is to focus their digital strategy on the parts of the business which have the most unnecessary wastage. There are parts of every business which cost more to administer than they return in profits, and that is the business which is prime for digitisation. Where that area of focus is, will be dictated by market appetite, internal process sophistication, and the attitudes of individuals, but the focus should always be to write business within appetite at the correct price, in a profitable manner.
The next ten years will see change focused on the use of data and the augmentation of the underwriting process… I see two key changes coming in the market, which are driven by data augmentation, process automation, AI/Machine learning, and analytics. Those changes are: a normalised view of risk (the ability for process and applications to remove the unnecessary noise inherent in an insurance submission), and portfolio underwriting (the normalised view of risk will allow underwriters to make their decisions outside the echo chamber which is a single submission, and allow them to view the impact of any submission on their entire portfolio, weighing up appetite vs broker relationships). Changes like this are making underwriters more powerful, not removing the need for them.”
-Richard Smith (Chief Product Officer EMEA, Verisk Specialty Business Solutions)
“Ten years in the future, insurance will be embedded into industries, and technology will facilitate greater transparency with fewer touchpoints. We’ll see more modernisation to processes like the way COVID changed people’s perception of remote working, and how technology expedited it.”
–Sharon Stanley (Managing Director, GPM Development)
“In the last ten years, we’ve seen a higher rate of exchange of structured information in the market. In the next ten years, we’ll see more focus on the cloud. Vendors will continue to be multiplicators who ensure that modernization initiatives are implemented.”
–Dr. Christoph Pflügler (Senior Vice President, msg systems ag)
“Collaboration! And forums like the LIP community.”
–Jonathon Warne (Head of London Markets, Websure)
In our LIP sessions, we are seeing an unprecedented level of engagement and collaboration between vendors who are clearly willing to share and learn from peers on areas that are minimally competitive in nature – such as digital accelerators for standards-based data exchange assets, including highly sophisticated document ingestion and seamless global message exchange via API. The smart vendors have long acknowledged that data is the true asset for the client and they no longer need to compete on the ‘shape of their proprietary electric plug’ – in fact, that is now an additional burden and cost to their organisations. Their true competitive advantage lies in their solutions’ rich functionality, and providing their clients with timely, quality data to drive business insights that enhance decision-making at the right point in the process. Service providers’ employees possess some of the most impressive depth of knowledge and expertise gained from thousands of implementations and workshops with all different departments understanding clients’ needs, so their input is critical.
Engaging participants across the insurance ecosystem in modernisation initiatives is key as the industry continues to advance towards a more digital future. Vendors are an invaluable source of critical feedback, providing an expert sounding board for the market to consult with, test ideas, and understand the impact of technology on the market’s future.