About Chuck Ruzicka

Chuck Ruzicka is a Vice President of Research and Consulting at Novarica. Prior to joining Novarica he served in a series of senior technology management positions at major insurance and financial services firms and has most recently been an independent consultant. His prior experience includes Liberty Mutual where he was CIO /SVP of their Agency Markets division and subsequently responsible for global infrastructure software and security. Chuck also was CIO at several regional insurance companies and was Vice President at Progressive Insurance where he was responsible for financial system architecture, billing, divisional policy and financial systems. Chuck holds an MBA in Finance from the Ohio State University. He can be reached directly at cruzicka@novarica.com.

Should Your Next Core System Implementation Be Headless?

Carriers, from MetLife to startup pet insurer FIGO, have been going headless, i.e. implementing new digital insurance products that leverage underlying commercially available core systems with their own user interfaces. Carriers are looking to provide a differentiated user experience, and they are realizing that headless implementations on top of modern core systems can give them…

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Making Connections at Guidewire’s Connections 2017

I recently attended the 13th annual Guidewire user conference, Connections 2017, held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event attracted over 2,000 attendees from all insurer levels. What struck me was the number of attendees from large companies. Several of these carriers sent over 20 people to the conference, representing all areas of IT, as well…

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Knowledge is Power, Especially When It’s Personalized

The Zebra just introduced a new tool that provides drivers with information that helps to demystify their insurance premiums: the insurability score. The real value of offering an insurability score is the marketing (or brand image) impact it has on potential insurance buyers. By establishing transparency, The Zebra suggests an openness and willingness to empower…

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The Incredible Shrinking Policy Administration System

Will policy administration systems cease to exist as we know them? Insurance core systems have evolved from monolithic policy, billing, and claims suites that were primarily for accounting functions to fully functional, componentized service offerings. Configuration capabilities were added next, reducing the size of the code base. Solution providers are now aggressively working to offer…

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Driverless Cars to Hit the Road by the Thousands

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the first set of federal laws for self-driving cars. The Self Drive Act is a bipartisan bill that limits states from controlling how automakers construct and design self-driving cars, and would also allow automakers to deploy 25,000 self-driving cars in the first year, a number that would rise…

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Payment Gateways Offer Digital and Security Advantages for Insurers

Payment gateways are being increasingly utilized across the insurance industry. As the expectations of consumers change, insurance carriers are moving towards fully digitizing processes, with payments as no exception, in order to retain business and profitably grow. Payment gateways allow insurers to respond to a variety of challenges, including customer needs and trends, changes, and…

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P/C Underwriting Losses Continue Through Q1

The underwriting loss trend seen in 2016 is continuing into 2017. A recent article describing an A.M. Best report on Q1 P/C results shows significant P/C underwriting losses. While the industry average is low, it should be noted that some carriers saw both growth and profitability in Q1. When thinking about what this means for…

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Personal Lines Carriers Investing in Technology to Contend with Competition in a Rapidly Changing and Uncertain Market

The personal lines sector of the insurance industry continues to be competitive, with technology bearing an increasingly large impact on the ability of insurers to attract, retain, and profitably serve clients. In many cases personal lines carriers are investing in InsureTech to gain early access to new ideas and developing technologies. Others are targeting digital-oriented…

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Machine Learning: Leveraging New Kinds of Data in Novel Ways

Insurance is a data driven industry. New technological advances like drones, telematics, and IoT are providing insurers with more data, and data of different and unstructured kinds, than they’ve had access to before. As insurers look to data analytics for better opportunities, under pressures from cost and pricing segmentation, machine learning offers insurers a powerful…

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You Can Lead Potential Buyers to a Website, But You Can’t Make Them Drink With Technology Alone

Closing a sale takes a human touch. Consumers often need reassurance or a slight push to make a buying decision. A recent J.D Powers study confirms that this is still true for auto insurance, despite advancements in technology and increasing comparison tools and pricing information. The pricing and features of auto insurance policies are so…

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Can Agents Help Carriers Grow Despite Stagnating Auto Insurance Shopping?

Insurance carriers must give agents a reason to switch customers to their company, as well as the tools to support them. A recent J.D. Powers study demonstrates that auto insurance shopping activity is stagnating. With the additional decline of new auto sales, this creates a real challenge for any company that is striving to grow…

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Key Topics in Personal Lines

On April 26 I facilitated the Personal Lines Special Interest Group at Novarica’s 10th Annual Insurance Technology Research Council. With six insurers represented during our meeting, I had the opportunity to sit in on some great discussion coming from a variety of viewpoints. Personal lines continues to be one of the most competitive sectors in…

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For Self-Driving Car Debut, Ford Aims for Full Autonomy

Recently, Ford noticed something about their engineers who were supposed to be supervising test rides of their self-driving cars: They were falling asleep. Apparently, the engineers found the ride so smooth that, even after Ford added in bells, buzzers, and even other engineers to help them stay awake, they could not help dozing off. Now…

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CIOs Contend With Increased IT Demands As 2017 IT Budgets Stay Constant

Over the past several years, insurer CIOs have had to contend with the challenges revolving around improving the performance of their IT organizations, and acquiring and retaining the talent to manage increasingly complex technology environments. Concerns over talent management in particular have continued to grow in response to demands for new skills and IT resource…

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Could Automatics Disrupt Intermediaries Down the Line?

The news this week that telematics manufacturers Automatic has added another auto insurer to its list of partners demonstrates how significantly the barriers to implementing telematics and usage-based auto insurance products have dropped. Carriers no longer have to partner with telematics vendors to develop and provide hardware — instead, they can simply implement a finished…

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Tesla Gets a Win from Federal Regulators, But More is Still to Come

Federal regulators gave Tesla some good news this week when they cleared the automaker’s “Autopilot” system of responsibility for a fatal crash in 2016. Instead, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the driver of a Tesla car that collided with a truck (the article says the car “drove itself into” the truck) ignored…

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BMW Enters Self-Driving Cars Space With Correct Innovation Mindset

The consensus among those keeping an eye on the development of self-driving cars is clear: Autonomous vehicles are coming, sooner rather than later. Still, all the analysis in the world doesn’t speak as loudly as one of the world’s premier automotive brands, BMW, announcing it is releasing a fleet of self-driving cars onto U.S. and…

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Intel’s Move into Self-Driving Cars Paves Way for More Innovation

This week, Intel announced a new partnership with Delphi and Mobileye to develop computing systems for self-driving cars, increasing their commitment to this space. Intel is a huge company whose resources are now aligned with makers of self-driving cars. Completely autonomous cars are therefore one step closer to becoming reality. Looking beyond autonomous vehicles, the…

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Agent Acceptance of Core System Changes

Carriers should expect some agent skepticism whenever they announce the intent to modernize or replace their core systems, and proactively take steps to improve the acceptance of their proposed changes. Most independent agents have moved books of business to new systems. This movement temporarily causes additional work for the agency and can be very disruptive.…

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J.D. Power Study Shows Digital is About Customer Service, Not Just Cost-Saving

In today’s environment where retention is critical, the quality of a carrier’s claims service and handling is a major source of competitive advantage. Other than the bill, claims are often the only contact that a customer may have with an insurance company. A new study from J.D. Power found that while the majority of claimants…

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Allianz, Toyota, and BMW are Partnering on Autonomous Vehicle Development

Rather than choosing to ignore the undeniable emergence of self-driving cars, Allianz had chosen to engage in this development by leveraging its resources, data analytics capabilities, and risk management skills. What better way to understand the future than to help create it. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of the software and having access to…

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Hartford Steam Boiler and Church Mutual Partnered on an IoT Initiative

The Internet of things is just beginning to change risk profiles and loss costs for insurers. The recent IoT partnership between Hartford Steam boiler and Church Mutual shows that collaboration between carriers and third parties can accelerate implementation of new services. It is also a terrific example of an insurance carrier thinking about how to…

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Case Study Highlight: Core Systems Replacement at CSAA

As we approach the announcement of the Novarica Impact Awards in the fall, we will be highlighting one Impact Award nominee each week on our blog. The Novarica Impact Awards are voted on by over 300 members of the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council, making them the only purely peer-reviewed awards program in insurance technology.…

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The 13 “Don’ts” of Core Systems Implementations

Implementing a new core system is always a learning process for an organization. While every insurance company is different, all of their system implementations tend to encounter the same sorts of difficulties. In my most recent executive brief, I outline the following 13 common mistakes to avoid in core systems implementations. Keeping these 13 “Don’ts”…

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Cloud Adoption for Core Applications: The Outlook is Clear

Many insurers have embraced cloud and SaaS-based applications for functions such as sales and HR administration, but core solutions are finally beginning to gain momentum. In our recent survey report on cloud adoption for core applications, the majority of participants indicated that they had either implemented a SaaS solution or had projects in progress. These…

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To Move Forward, Insurer CIOs Must Look Outward

In our recent report on IT Budgets and Projects for 2016, CIOs cited their top challenges as IT operations, talent availability, and budgetary restrictions. How can you address, i.e. move forward on these issues? CIOs indicate that are looking outward and that they will be increasingly using cloud-based services and outsourcing to address these challenges.…

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Consider the Future when Evaluating Today’s Insurance Systems

Over the past few years, I’ve worked with many insurers on core policy administration vendor selection, and I’m excited to have joined a team with so much existing experience in this area. While most selection processes focus heavily on features, configuration tools, architecture and implementation methodology, it is equally important to understand the vendor’s upgrade…

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Divisional CIOs: A Guide to Serving Two Masters

Often standardization of common services or platforms does not yield improvements in functionality or capabilities in the short term. Divisional CIOs need to balance the corporate oversight desire for centralization of services and standardization with their business unit needs to improve agility and capabilities. Failing to do both can cost them their jobs. So how…

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