Canadian Underwriter

2018 Outlook: Greg Somerville, President, CEO, Aviva Canada

January 3, 2018   by Greg Somerville

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There is no denying that natural hazards such as B.C wildfires, multiple flooding events and the hurricanes thrashing our neighbours have been top of mind for the property and casualty insurance industry of late. Too often, these major incidents are followed by horror stories in which insureds discover they have no coverage in place to pay out a costly claim.

The increasing frequency of natural disasters highlights an important opportunity for the insurance industry to get better at minimizing uncertainty for customers. To do this, we can support the customer in their purchasing journey, help them understand the coverages they are purchasing, be there for them when they make a claim, and provide service in the format they prefer, whether digitally or in person.

A customer buying insurance does not make any distinction between the claims and sales sides of the business. Delivering the best service and claims experience is what matters most to customers. The industry needs to adapt to customers’ changing needs. A few key examples of how to meet Canadians’ evolving expectations include 1) strengthening internal technology foundations, making it easier to process claims; 2) opening up Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to allow for better communication between insurer and brokerage systems; and 3) remaining committed to supporting emerging technology through investments and meaningful customer propositions.

Insurers and brokers have a moral obligation to help customers understand their coverage, highlight coverage exclusions and make valuable recommendations based on risk assessments. They also have an obligation to make it as easy as possible for customers to get the service they need in the most convenient way possible, often during difficult or confusing times. Continuing to put the customer at the heart of everything should continue to be the priority for 2018 and every year after that.

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3 Comments » for 2018 Outlook: Greg Somerville, President, CEO, Aviva Canada
  1. linda says:

    the role of broker is diminished. we don’t know enough about claims, or technologies are outdated and no one uses a phone unless it is to take selfies or keep them at hand otherwise if you call they ignore you until they need something

  2. Frank Cain says:

    I have to admit I’m confused. When I started in insurance in 1952, it was without digital programming, computerization, cell phones, Wi-Fi, and the closest we came to blue tooth was making sure we used Ipana toothpaste and believe it or not, insurance worked and it worked fine. But I believe the confusion comes from our tendency to mix up which came first; the technology that slaps us in the face every time we turn around and our preconceived notion that we must as an industry bow to every conceivable method to make insurance an ongoing system of dot coms or is the insurance way of life today patterned from the specious dictates of the general public and the idea that what they want, they want now, and like a barber shop of insurance brokers – six chairs – no waiting!

    I believe that because insurance is a constant, that no matter the era in which it has thrived, it is unchangeable, unfettered and uncompromised in its survival. Bring on all the technology possible to enslave the industry into a greater robotic form, like a driverless car so that it handles itself and automated on-line with the simplicity of a door that opens with the wave of a hand. And as with the insurance of 1952, you can bet your boots it will be sitting back and laughing.

  3. V L says:

    I have no issues embracing technology and digitization of the customer insurance experience, however….the insurance industry as a whole needs to ensure superior customer education in the face of the drastic changes in the environment that will only multiply in the years to come, to ensure the general public is aware of exactly what coverages they need to purchase – at affordable rates. Increasingly insurers are scaling back on their broker partnerships when brokers have to skills, knowledge and expertise required to educate their customers. If insurers continue to expand upon the call centre and online sales and service insurance outlet, then they need to make sure their agents are fully trained experts in the coverages available, and be capable of explaining those coverages and their value to customers in such a way that customers do not feel they are being pressured just for the insurer to “make a sale”. Customers need to know the value of the coverages being offered, and indeed, the need for these coverages in the face of our ever-changing world.

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