Canadian Underwriter

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

May 13, 2018   by David Gambrill, Editor-in-Chief

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Colm Holmes has replaced Greg Somerville as president and chief executive officer of Aviva Canada. He had been at  Aviva plc for four years, two of those as CFO and two of those as CEO of the UK General Insurance business.

Q: Are there ideas from the U.K. that you might import into Canada?

A: This is not about, ‘We are going to change the Canadian market.’ On the contrary, customers control the market, not insurers. We’ve invested very heavily in digital technology and capability for our broker channel. I know oftentimes media spin it as, ‘This is some kind of direct channel.’ This is simply not the case. We are digitizing our entire business — our claims operations, our broker distribution.

Colm Holmes, president and chief executive officer, Aviva Canada

We’ve created broker portals so that brokers can access data about risks and industries, and they can access the risk of their own customers. We also offer the Digital Marketing Consultancy (DMC), a service for brokers who are transforming their business digitally. The DMC team acts as strategic marketing consultants for brokers. They provide best practices and  ecommendations on several topics — strategy, branding, digital assets, analytics, customer usability, customer lifecycle, and digital marketing.

Am I bringing some new channel to Canada? Absolutely not. That’s not our intention. I believe that by digitizing the broker channel – and I believe brokers do need to focus on doing that –  that will stop the need for customers to look elsewhere in terms of how they source their insurance. If brokers fail to digitize, then obviously they leave themselves open to the fact that consumers want a much simpler way of executing business. They want to do it fast, they want to do it quickly, they want to do it cheaply. And digital technology allows them to do that.

Read the full article in the Digital Edition of the May 2018 Canadian Underwriter.

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