A technology that gives claimants more control of the claims process and another that makes data conversion easier for insurers have been named winners of the 2015 ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge.
ACORD, the insurance industry’s global data standards and services association, selected Livegenic and Insurity as winners during a process that included live pitches by the contestants before insurance executives and judges at ACORD’s recent conference in Boca Raton, Florida.
The competition, divided into two categories of ACORD innovators and insurance disruptors, sought to identify firms with technology or ideas that promise to disrupt or improve how the industry currently does business. The two winners were chosen from a field of 12 applicants.
Industry judges and audience members at ACORD’s meeting ranked the firms with the “most ingenuity, potential impact for the industry, applicability to insurance, and quality of presentation.”
In addition to publicity and recognition, the winners each receive a prize package valued at $25,000.
“The judges and the audience members voting during our live pitches in Boca Raton were impressed and, I think at times, amazed, by the ingenuity, passion, drive and degree of innovation represented in these two pitches,” said Bill Hartnett, head of Innovation for ACORD. “It is very gratifying to know that the first year out of the gate we have achieved the mission of the ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge by identifying and rewarding innovations which can begin to transform the industry and the way we do business tomorrow instead of ten years down the road.”
According to Livegenic, its insurance disruptor winning entry, Real-Time Guidance for Claims product, puts much of the control over the insurance claim adjustment process into the hands of the claimant by enabling live video, claimant-provided photographs and audio, thereby eliminating the need for adjuster dispatch, expediting claim resolution and minimizing fraud related risks. The product is now available to insurance companies, managing general agencies and third party administrators. It includes instructions on how to photograph or video a site/claim and walks the claimant through the whole process.
Livegenic, based in Philadelphia, says its mission is to “simplify everyday life through innovative, interactive communication.”
Alex, Polyakov, co-founder and CEO of Livegenic, recently blogged about a nine-city tour he took to speak with insurance professionals and how he came away convinced that interest in innovation in the insurance industry is real and rising. “Everyone in insurance is looking for change and adoption. Though startup’s barriers to entry in insurance remain to be quite high, the industry is moving in the right direction – revisiting its traditional processes and seeking opportunities,” Polyakov wrote.
The second winner, Insurity, was recognized as the top ACORD innovator for its development of a system that eliminates many of the challenges insurers face in data conversion process. Insurity’s data product, Insurance Enterprise View (IEV), which is built upon ACORD standards, eliminates the need for insurers to choose between data and analytics versus core insurance modernization, and allows them to accomplish both effectively and efficiently. According to Insurity, IEV allows insurers to “reduce the time, cost and risk of core insurance modernization projects while simultaneously creating a world-class platform for data and analytics.”
According to Insurity, IEV integrates five components into a one solution: Data Integration Hub, Data Repositories, Reporting, BI & Analytics, and Manual Data Entry, and manages data at the lowest level of detail from any policy, billing, claims, and reinsurance application. IEV currently supports more than 30 lines of business.
Hartford-based Insurity has been developing property/casualty insurance industry software, core processing services and data analytics for 25 years.
The awards challenge is part of a new emphasis at ACORD on encouraging innovation both within the industry and within ACORD itself. Hartnett, a former Microsoft executive who was named ACORD’s first innovation chief in September, recently spoke with Insurance Journal about innovation in insurance, including the interest level in the industry in innovation and the importance of failure in innovation.
Hartnett said that ACORD was hearing from the vendor from vendor community that it is difficult for vendors of any size to spend a lot of time and effort on innovation because they don’t have funds for pure research and development.
“The consequences of failure mean that they lose market share. They lose standing in the marketplace or lose opportunities in the marketplace. The money could be better spent trying to serve what their customers are asking for,” he said of the vendors.
The ACORD Innovation Challenge evolved from those discussions with vendors who were looking for a forum to try out new ideas without suffering the extreme consequences of failure. The idea was to “essentially create an innovation platform for startups, for people that are working inside of existing organizations that might be able to come in and share ideas that could turn into the next big thing in insurance,” he said.
ACORD put out initial calls for proposals in February, with a deadline of May. Hartnett said he thought they would get about a dozen entries; instead they ended up with more than 100.
“It was a great response. Some of them dropped out of the process after a while but we wound up with over 60 that came into the headquarters in June to do live pitches,” Hartnett told Insurance Journal. “It’s ‘Shark Tank’ meets tech crunch environment. It’s a true pitch competition. It’s not a sales pitch competition. It’s like, ‘Here’s my idea; here’s the problem that I see in the industry; here’s my solution. Here is how I think I can change the world of insurance.'”
In the first round, each of the 60 contestants gave a 10-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges, who then selected the 12 finalists who went before the live audience in Florida this week.
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