IIG News

IIG Insights: Technology’s Bold New Contribution to Insurance

Laura Drabik: Chief Evangelist of Guidewire

Darryl Grater, President of IIG, kicked off the IIG Insights Webinar in a very chilly Johannesburg and Cape Town. Darryl welcomed Guidewire, who were in attendance live from San Francisco. He also thanked them for being a host to the 2019 IIG International team last year.

Darryl introduced Laura Drabik, known as the Chief Evangelist of Guidewire. Laura is an experienced executive, who brings technological fields to life. She has been known to host excellent hackathons and mentorship programmes. She also hosts a highly respected blog, has done successful TED Talks and hosts her own Podcast which won Silicon Valley’s Woman of Influence Award.

Laura Drabik began her discussion providing an outline of what to expect.  The purpose of the session was to provide an overview of global themes – she shared a light-hearted video of the changing perspective of technology. Kids of varying ages couldn’t figure out old technology.

Working in the insurance industry means it’s crucial to stay ahead of the changing technology curve. Our industry is about being bold and through technology we can certainly be bold.

Millennials are an underlying global force that influences change – defined between 18-34yrs old and will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. First digitally owned generation:

  • First digital native generation – sets very high digital expectations
  • They have less disposable income
  • Price sensitive
  • Not brand loyal


Amazon can be used on your phone or laptop or called directly while shopping.  Amazon will always record up to date information no matter what channel a customer moves through  – start on phone, transition to the web and then to a human without losing a customer’s information and transaction.

A tweet from a millennial inspired a carrier to build an omnichannel service environment to sell insurance.  Consumers want the choice of having access to both online and human interface. Consumers are capable of multi-type services regardless of age.

ChatBot  is an incredible way to extend omniservice channels, another way to deliver a 24/7 service computer programme that interfaces with a human to create a conversation. They are cost efficient and can perform high volume and low complexity transactions. They free up humans to do work that only humans can do, for example if you require empathy or intelligence.

Three components of a ChatBot:

  • Interface – chatbot  and human through a messaging app
  • Intelligence – understand and solve customer queries and learn patterns
  • Integration with other systems & platforms to access humans

Laura shared a video demo that showed the use of chatbots for high volume and low complexity requests like policy documents. Another example was settling low complexity claims.

The presentation covered the following topics:


Netflix is a great example of recording and digesting personal information and making personalised content suggestions. Spotify partnered with Ancestry has an offering that uses DNA to make suggestive playlists.

Empowering Small Business:

A small business focus group was created to ascertain needs

  • Speed – need to find info quickly
  • Ease of use – easy to find things & easy checkout
  • Insurance should be seamless & intuitive
  • Pricing will determine choice of insurer
  • Personalised
  • Diversity in products


  • Carriers weren’t serving the market as customers desired
  • Don’t focus on every class of business
  • Quick and easy – 60 second quote
  • Empower the end user through online documentation and guidance and easy to understand language
  • Mostly focus on sales side – they push the life-cycle or transaction of business onto the carrier

Analytic insights:

  • Smart sprinkler controllers – due to extended dry zones, one needs to be smart with water usage
  • Cloud based systems will use geolocation and future forecasting to change the water frequency and usage – right information to the right role at the right time to be brilliant in the moment.
  • AI is used to empower the human – it tracks dialogue speed, pauses in the conversation including interruption as well as tone of voice to assist call centre workers to modify their speaking behaviour.
  • We expect 30 billion Internet of Things devices by 2020 – network of physical devices embedded with electronics e.g. vehicles, home appliances, electronic devices for purpose of communicating with each other and exchanging info.
  • Great value proposition and reasons to choose wearables for an example a kinetic device,  that can be worn on a belt buckle and vibrates to alert workers when they’re lifting heavy boxes incorrectly. It proposes to reduce workplace accidents & injury, assists with correction of posture and notifies supervisors as well, for effective management.

Telematics are another example of analytics and assist with collating dashboard info to assess and assist driver behaviour. It also alerts the driver to distracted driving. One in four collisions are a result of cell phone usage while driving.

On-Demand Economy:

Completely changes the paradigm of insurance – it’s not just for the young and wealthy. We shouldn’t be segmenting by age, but, segmenting by behaviour.

According to Swiss-Re, natural global disasters cost USD 150 billion of damages in wild fires which represents hundreds of thousands of families that are displaced. We need to be bold and leverage technology to serve our community.

Laura thanked IIG for the opportunity to present as she closed her session.  The session ended with a Q&A session and Darryl closed the session and thanked Laura Drabik – Chief Evangelist of Guidewire.

IIG Insights article by Asiya Swaleh