About Jeff Goldberg

Jeff Goldberg is a Senior Vice President of Research and Consulting at Novarica. His expertise includes data analytics, SaaS and cloud computing, and data governance. Prior to Novarica, Jeff served as a senior insurance analyst at Celent, Vice President of Internet Technology for Marsh Inc., Director of Web Technology for Harleysville Insurance, and a software consultant for insurers. He also worked at Microsoft and founded and sold a SaaS data analysis health and wellness company. Jeff has a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University and an MFA from The New School in New York. He can be reached directly at jgoldberg@novarica.com.

Purpose-Built vs. All-Purpose Technology

In the latest Internet of Things news for the insurance industry, Argo will be deploying Kinetic wearable devices to help commercial policyholders prevent and monitor employee back injuries while on the job. One of the promises of wearables and IoT is helping commercial enterprises reduce risk, but one of the problems is that these enterprises…

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Top Priorities for Reinsurers Include Business Intelligence and Modeling

Reinsurers are facing pressures from a prolonged soft market followed by an erratic business cycle, losses from man-made and natural catastrophes, and open-ended liabilities like asbestos and terrorism. These pressures are compounded by the lagging technology solutions in the space; reinsurers are looking for stable, robust systems that can support their current business. Focus is…

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C3P-Oh my! The Robots are on Social Media

An editorial in PropertyCasualty360 makes the argument that RPA solutions are the next stage in claims fraud detection, utilizing intelligent automation to investigate social media sites to find evidence to prove (or disprove) the substance of a claim. Insurers have long used a human workforce to uncover fraudulent filings, and social media has been a…

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Does Digital Receptiveness Translate to Digital Effectiveness?

A 2017 IASCA survey assessed how professionals judged their organization’s leadership in terms of digital literacy and receptiveness to emerging technologies. Just over half gave their leadership credit for digital literacy, but only one in four considered them “very receptive” to emerging technology. These are interesting results, and leads me to a more important question:…

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Chatbots Are Just One Option for Enhancing Customer Service

Many insurers — especially regional players with deep ties to their local community — stress that customer service is a key differentiator for their business. Novarica’s position has always been that customer service and technology are not tangential, but rather they are one and the same: having quick access to agent and policyholder data, quoting…

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RPA in Insurance is a Short-Term Solution for Long-Term Problems

The rise of robotic process automation (RPA) in insurance has coincided with many similar emerging technologies, such as AI and chatbots, but interest in RPA is more about fixing legacy integration issues than embracing forward-looking tech. It serves as a cost-effective, short-term solution for complex infrastructure issues – replacing manual integration points with a scriptable,…

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Growth vs. Opportunity in InsureTech Investment

Insurers are continuing to invest in InsureTech in a variety of ways, working out how to best leverage the financial and technological growth of this emerging marketplace. An interesting case is that of Allianz, with the recent announcement that the company is switching models from a startup incubator to a venture fund. In a previous…

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Insurers Need More Than a CISO; They Need Cybersecurity Governance

A recent survey about cybersecurity found a lack of proper skills to be a major hurdle in the ongoing battle of corporations vs. cyber threats. In addition to this lack of skills, other areas of concern were poor organizational training, shortage of staff, and improper prioritization from the top. These are critical findings, especially as…

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Business Intelligence Solutions are Critical to Overall Business Strategy

Over the past decade, insurers have shifted from ignoring business intelligence (BI) and data strategy to making them a significant part of their overall business strategy. However, while the BI space has matured greatly over the past ten years, it has been, and continues to be, a fragmented area, and many carriers struggle with emphasizing…

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Blockchain: To Use or Not To Use?

It’s always good to see insurer blockchain ideas move out of the consortiums and into actual production, as is now the case with Allianz’s blockchain approach for a global captive insurer program. By leveraging the blockchain platform, they’ve better automated the policy renewals, premium payments, and claims settlements across hundreds of countries. As with most…

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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Offer Great Opportunities for Insurers – and Major Risks

The promise of artificial intelligence in the insurance industry is threefold: To help insurers get deeper insights into their business and make better decisions. To automate insurer processes and decision-making for increased efficiency and reduced cost. To create a better customer experience that provides more immediate responses and requires less arduous data collection. But with…

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Transformative Technology Key to Workers’ Comp Strategy

Given WC insurance’s high sensitivity to state regulation with an assortment of mandated rates and benefits, carriers are under increased pressure to drive down the loss ratio and maximize profit. Most carriers are investing in technology to meet these needs through multiple paths to achieve underwriting insights and operating efficiencies. Investing in agent portals continues…

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InsureTech Labs vs. InsureTech Funds

One of the interesting things about the new insurance track of the NY FinTech Innovation Lab is how many of the partnering insurance companies already have their own InsureTech funds or participate in funds elsewhere. It seems every week there’s a new article about an insurer starting or increasing a fund (such as MassMutual Ventures…

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Insurers Will Evolve Into a Full Cycle of Risk Services

At the Drone Expo in California there was promising news about lower death rates for communication tower workers. This is thanks in no small part to drones allowing fewer human trips up towers and helping better prepare in advance when humans are required to make the climb. While there was talk at the event about…

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Growing Incremental Value in the Budding Technologies of Big Data, IoT, and AI

Insurers are challenged with how to best understand and leverage emerging technology while continuing to maintain and manage existing systems. Big data, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence are three of the most important new technologies and a focus of the insurance industry, but everyone (including analysts) tends to put each individual new technology…

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Making Sense of Startups: InsureTech for Insurers

The insurance industry is currently buzzing about “InsureTech,” with unprecedented amounts of money being poured into startups. Despite the importance of InsureTech to the industry, most of the media and research focused on InsureTech startups is directed towards innovators and investors, not insurers. However, this approach neglects to address the two central questions for any…

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Three Approaches to Artificial Intelligence Value

In two previous articles, I wrote about the three distinct phases through which insurers progress in their efforts to implement big data technologies and work with the Internet of Things. Though different insurers have achieved varying levels of maturity for each technology, one key lesson is evident—there is real value available for a company even…

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The How’s and Why’s of Investing in InsureTech

It’s exciting news whenever an insurer makes a big investment in InsureTech, and the $25 million-dollar fund by State Auto is no exception. Both Silicon Valley investors and incumbent insurers are betting heavily that startups and emerging technology will impact the future of the industry. In fact, 25 million dollars is a relatively small number…

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Teaming Up in an Industry Teeming with Data: Geospatial Satellite Imagery in Wake of Natural Disaster

The insurance industry is at a turning point when it comes to data availability. In a very short amount of time we’ve gone from never-quite-enough-data to far-too-much-data, with very little chance to enjoy the zone of just-the-right-amount-of-data (like a lovely New England spring that lasts two days before crossing the thermometer boundary to too hot).…

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Will Blockchain Result in Crowd-Sourcing Risk?

The Insurance Journal recently published an interesting article about blockchain being used to pay out a catastrophe bond. Novarica has long been predicting the use of blockchain to support policies with parametric triggers, and this is a great example. One interesting and counter-intuitive issue with trigger-based policies on the blockchain is that insurers may be…

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Building Cooperative Blockchain Opportunities

When it comes to blockchain in insurance, it sometimes seems like there are more blockchain councils, consortiums, and coalitions than actual blockchain implementations. Add the new LIMRA Blockchain Advisory Council to that list. But this isn’t a failure of the industry to capitalize on a new technology so much as it is a reflection of…

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Hybridizing Vendor Approaches Towards the Claims Process

Genpact’s acquisition of OnSource is another in the recent trend of vendor M&A in the insurance industry, this one with the express focus of improving the claims process. OnSource is an interesting and multi-faceted company, bringing to the table a technology platform for insurers to utilize, as well as a large staff of on-the-ground resources…

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Three Phases to Produce Real IoT Value

In May, I wrote about The Three Phases Insurers Need for Real Big Data Value, assessing how insurance companies progress through levels of maturity as they invest in and innovate around big data. It turns out that there’s a similar evolution around how insurers consume and use feeds from the Internet of Things, whether talking…

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Telematics Programs Should be a Win-Win For Everyone Involved

Travelers is the next big auto insurer to offer a telematics program with driver incentives. One of the interesting (and important) parts of this announcement is the focus on driver behavior, to help improve driving over time. Discounts for participation in a telematics initiative are certainly a good way to lure new consumers to an…

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Beyond the Hype: Real World Use Cases for Cognitive Computing

Carrier Management recently published terrific article about cognitive computing in the insurance industry that should be required reading for anyone interested in the topic. With any new and emerging technology, one of the roadblocks for carriers is a lack of understanding about how the tech will be used in their business. It’s hard to calculate…

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Investing in “Creative Carrier” InsureTechs

The additional investment in Next Insurance is a good sign for the continued growth of “creative carrier” InsureTechs. It remains to be seen whether Next Insurance and other startup carriers will expand to become incumbent players in their own right, get acquired by larger players and merged into the traditional insurance space that way, or—as…

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The Way to Policyholders’ Data Is Not Through Their Wallets

More and more consumers are embracing the concept of sharing driving data with their insurer via connected cars. We still have a long way to go to execute on that concept, but willingness of drivers to share the details of their driving behavior is good news for an industry that is looking to make smarter,…

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The Three Phases Insurers Need for Real Big Data Value

More insurers are investing in big data and unstructured data environments, but many of these projects remain in the area of “innovation,” meaning that the intended ROI is not always clear. Even when insurers don’t have a specific goal or use case in mind, there’s a general understanding that the ability to process and analyze…

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Intertwining AI, IoT, and Big Data in the Current Tech Explosion

I attended Dig|In’s “Digital Future of Insurance” event last week, and enjoyed meeting with insurers and technology vendors to talk about emerging technology. It was my privilege to moderate a discussion with Roel Peeters of Roost and Assaf Wand of Hippo Insurance about IoT in the home, as well as join a panel with Kathy…

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Cyborgs Are (Still) Better Than Robots

A recent article in WSJ talks about MunichRe’s data and analytics initiatives which combine IoT, AI, and Big Data. While IoT provides a tremendous amount of valuable data for risk modelling, it is true big data in its velocity, volume, and variety. MunichRe is also investing in natural language processing to monitor news and information…

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With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility

Insurance Journal published a recent article about a series of cases where insurers have denied claims or accused claimants of fraud based on cell phone data. In each case, the insurer in question asserted that the location of cell phone towers where the claimant’s phone connected at the time of the incident helped prove that…

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Lost-Income Coverage: an Insurance Product from a Real Customer Need

An MGA working with Lloyd’s has established a lost-income coverage for businesses who are suspended from the Amazon.com seller’s marketplace. This is a great example of an insurance product starting from a real customer need, and in this case it was in fact a customer who first suggested the offering. Too often insurance companies begin…

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How Smart Home Automation Platforms Impact Insurance

The trend of big insurers launching apps on smart home automation platforms continues with Progressive’s announcement of their plans for Google Home. It remains to be seen how quickly consumers will adopt these new smart home appliances, and even if they do, it’s still questionable whether people will want to interact with these appliances for…

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After AWS Outage, IT Managers Should Look Critically At In-House Failsafes

By now everyone is aware of the server outage that broke the East Coast internet on Tuesday, when problems with AWS’s S3 storage slowed or stopped a significant number of websites around the country and took hours to resolve. There are a few lessons for the insurance industry (and all industries) that can be drawn…

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USAA Offers Valuable Lessons for Insurers Looking to Innovate

The insurance industry is facing more and more pressure to take a “consumer driven” approach to products and innovation. Much of the disruption we see coming out of InsureTech startups and Silicon Valley is taking advantage of the fact that insurers haven’t caught up with this mentality, and companies like Lemonade and Slice are hoping…

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Competitive Industry Makes Technology Invaluable for Reinsurers

The reinsurance industry remains highly competitive, and technology is more important than ever for attracting, retaining, and profitably serving clients. Years of soft market conditions followed by sudden, sharp periods of hardening, plus massive losses from man-made and natural catastrophes, and the risk posed by open-ended liabilities like asbestos and terrorism have combined to put…

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Grange’s Bet on Amazon Shows Importance of Building Flexible Core Systems

The major tech players are all betting that smart home automation and digital assistants will be the next big thing for consumers. Grange is taking advantage of this emerging area with their recent announcement that Amazon’s voice-controlled Alexa can now help users learn about Grange insurance or find local agents. It’s clear that the insurance…

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With Yodil Acquisition, Duck Creek Continues to Broaden Its Offerings, and Core System Consolidation Continues in the New Year

2017 has barely begun and the 2016 trend towards core system consolidation in the insurance industry is showing signs of going strong for another year. Duck Creek’s recently announced acquisition of Yodil comes as no surprise, as it both continues the willingness by Duck Creek to invest in broadening the scope of its offering as…

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Google Spins Off “Waymo”, Readies its Self-Driving Cars for the Market

This week, Google announced it’s spinning off its self-driving car unit into its own standalone company, Waymo. Fundamentally, this is news about internal corporate restructuring that is mostly making headlines because we tend to be captivated about any news regarding Google and self-driving cars. Whatever Google chooses to call it, Waymo is still part of…

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Lemonade Questions the Integrity of the Insurance Industry at its Own Peril

One of insurance startup Lemonade’s key values is surely its ability to generate constant news about itself, keeping their profile high and helping position themselves for more funding and exposure to potential customers. After a lot of hype about peer-to-peer, Lemonade has evolved to be not so much an insuretech startup, but rather a new…

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S&P Predicts InsureTech Companies Won’t Replace Traditional Insurers. We Agree.

A recent S&P report predicts that insuretech companies will work together with traditional insurers rather than displacing them. This has been Novarica’s stance as well, most recently in the report “ABCs of InsureTech for Incumbent Insurers” as well as “Understanding Insurance Disrupters”. Disruption doesn’t mean destruction, and just because new and innovative technology will impact…

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Metromile and CoverHound Partnership Shows There’s Room for Experience in Innovation

The announced partnership between Metromile and CoverHound shows how innovation and disruption can work within the paradigm of traditional insurance industry modes of business. Metromile is a “creative carrier,” with new ways to productize auto insurance policies. CoverHound is a “digital distributor,” bringing a new, web-based approach to the agent channel. It turns out even…

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Workers’ Compensation Special Interest Group Members Find Agreement on Cybersecurity, Core Systems Replacements

Four members of the Novarica Research Council special interest group for Workers’ Compensation met in mid-November, at a meeting hosted by Builders Mutual in North Carolina. A summary of key topics of discussion is below: Cybersecurity There was general consensus that the best overall security strategy was containment and damage control. Insurers understand that attacks…

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Travelers used Drones to Survey Damage during Hurricane Matthew

The use of drones by Travelers to survey damage from Hurricane Matthew is an excellent application of new technology to the insurance industry. It lowers risks for everyone in the process, it allows a more rapid response for policyholders, and–rather than technology replacing human jobs–it serves to bring new and old skills together and allow…

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Case Study Highlight: Enterprise Data at Farm Bureau Financial

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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Insurers Need to Focus on Time to Value for Core System Replacements

Insurance core systems are not going to last thirty years anymore. That’s one of Novarica’s key messages about core system replacement. The pace of change, as always, is increasing, and a system an insurer puts in place today will have a lifespan of about ten years. Sometimes systems stick around longer than their actual lifespan–as…

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Insurance: The Original Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing and insurance may not seem like a likely pair, and AIG’s latest move to offer “Crowdsourcing Fidelity” to protect investors on crowdfunding platforms against fraud could be erroneously interpreted as an attempt to capture attention via the embrace of the latest technology trend. But what is insurance if not the oldest form of crowdsourcing…

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Blockchain’s Growing Reach

As we covered in our 2015 report on Bitcoin and insurance, Blockchain has far-reaching implications for the insurance and financial services industries. At a basic level, Blockchain enables the creation of trusted contracts in a publicly-verifiable setting. Since insurance policies are a form of trusted contract, many people have envisioned a future where those policies…

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Managing Chaos in the Reinsurance Industry

While insurers talk about simplifying products to appeal to consumers and maximize online channels, reinsurers are going the other way. As insurers decrease complexity for customers, they increase the complexity of their reinsurance relationships. Reinsurers are also facing severe pressure from legacy issues like mold, asbestos, and other mass torts, as well as professional liability/malpractice…

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Why Aren’t Insurers Doing More With Their Data Strategy?

While the business intelligence space has matured greatly in the last decade, it has been and remains an area where insurers need to work with a variety of platforms and tools to build out their capabilities. This requires a mix of technical skillsets, business expertise, and vendor relationships. While few efforts at an insurer are…

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Workers’ Comp Insurers Look to Analytics and Core Systems

In our most recent Novarica Council Special Interest Group meeting, several Workers’ Compensation CIOs discussed core systems replacement strategies and long-term visions, as well as emerging uses of mobile, analytics, and end-user-facing technologies.   All the attendees were in various stages of core system replacement—ranging from just-completed to the initial stages—so they were eager to…

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Unexpected Impediments to Change

I heard a great story this week from a friend in insurance technology sales and he gave me his permission to retell it here. I’ll start with the story and end with the (questionable) lesson. *** Back some years ago a man worked selling agency management systems and traveled down to Texas to pitch the…

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Emerging Technology and Commercial Lines

Commercial insurance is often by complex coverages, heterogeneous exposures and risks and individually negotiated and priced contracts. The selling process involves complex negotiation back and forth between the policyholder, the agent or broker, and the carrier. Over the next few years technology will play a vital role for commercial lines insurers, as prices firm up…

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What is the Impact of Agile Methodology Use at US Insurers?

The use of Agile methodology has become increasingly common in the insurance industry over the last decade, delivering a broad range of benefits to insurers including improved quality and delivery time for IT projects. Novarica’s new Agile at Insurers report, based on a survey of 58 insurer CIOs from the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council,…

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An Honest Look at the State of Big Data in Insurance

With the recent publication of Novarica’s Analytics and Big Data at Insurers report, it’s time to take an honest look at the state of big data in the industry. One of the most telling–and disappointing–charts showed that of the insurers working with big data, seventy percent were using traditional computing, storage, database, and analytics technology,…

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Top Technology Priorities for Personal Lines Carriers

Today’s personal lines marketplace is more competitive than ever due to slow growth, intense price competition and customer acquisition costs rising. Personal Lines insurers have always been a leader in insurance technology innovation and conversations with CIOs and research in the space shows that trend will continue, with technology playing an ever-larger role in insurers’…

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Advice to Vendors Preparing for IASA

With the IASA annual conference rapidly approaching, we’ve been getting a lot of questions from core systems vendors about how to best present themselves at big events like this. The advice is not the same for every vendor, but there are some points that are true for just about everyone. 1. Your sales team will…

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Prediction: Insurer Investment in Reinsurance Management Systems Will Significantly Increase in the Next Five Years

As a follow up to Mitch’s blog post on reinsurance trends, I wanted to add some thoughts about the systems insurers are using to manage their reinsurance. Historically, insurers haven’t focused much of their budget in this area, and most are either using legacy technology or custom Excel spreadsheets to manage their reinsurance. But lately…

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Will Big Data Replace the Enterprise Data Warehouse?

At our 8th annual Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council Meeting, we had some great conversations about data, both as part of the formal event agenda and also via informal discussions during breaks or meals. Many of the trending or future technologies being discussed (Internet of Things, wearable devices, social media) from an insurer perspective are…

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Overcoming Reluctant Users: Part II

Back in January I blogged about an issue that comes up frequently when talking to insurers about change management: how to handle end users who don’t want to move to a new system. It’s a frustrating (and yet common) experience, with one, two, or a handful* of people not “getting” the value of a change…

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Agile and Continuous Delivery in a Regulated Environment

Many insurers are interested in the modern development methodologies of Agile and Continuous Delivery, but worry about how those approaches will work in such a highly regulated industry. When done properly, using an Agile development methodology and/or a Continuous Delivery approach shouldn’t prevent an insurer from putting controls and reviews in place to satisfy external…

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Making a Project Succeed with Users Who are Reluctant to Adopt a New System

When planning for change management or a core system replacement, we focus a lot on getting buy-in and sponsorship from leadership. But even though end-users may be required to go along, getting their support is critical to success. So how do you handle it when the users of a system are reluctant or even openly…

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The Evolving Data Analytics Group: Applying Lessons from IT Organizations of the Past

I’ve been working with a lot of insurance companies who are struggling to find the right home for data analytics within their organization and I’m struck by the similarity these questions have to the more general evolution of IT organizations over the last two decades. Matt Josefowicz pointed this connection out in a blog post…

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Mitigation versus Prevention: Three Questions Insurers Must Answer In Order to Evolve in a IoT and Big Data World

The insurance industry is only just beginning to deal with a host of emerging technologies, including Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and a vast wealth of sensor data such as automotive telematics, smart watches, and fitness trackers. In 2015 it’s likely that the industry as a whole will take some small steps (and…

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Three Questions to Ask about Every Analytics Solution in Order to Get Actionable Insight

I recently joined Novarica as a Principal after a brief hiatus from the insurance industry during which I founded and eventually sold a SaaS data analysis and business intelligence company in the health & wellness space. For most of my career I’ve been thinking about how to best leverage insurance data, and after spending so…

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