News Consultants

News

David Burnie shares the second article in a series on the future of P&C insurance in Canada. 

In our first article outlining the future of P&C Insurance in Canada, we discussed how insurers have been and are continuing to invest in digital transformation agendas in an effort to reshape distribution and service in an industry that has been relatively slow to adopt modern business practices. We illustrated how the sector will evolve by focusing on how consumers (both individuals and small-medium enterprises) are beginning to interact differently with carriers and brokers to obtain new policies and have them serviced once those policies are in force.

In part two of our three-part series, we focus on how insurers are changing their underwriting and pricing practices to be more sophisticated, efficient, and profitable.

Underwriting and Pricing

From an underwriting, pricing, and risk selection perspective, two factors will impact risk assessment, pricing, and underwriting in the future:

Data collection and use

Increased use of automation and integration of technology

Data collection and use

Concurrent to the digital transformation wave is the rise of big data. As a result, many insurers are looking at their enterprise architecture and setting up data lakes in the hopes of realizing benefits down the road. The promise of these benefits is high as the variety, velocity, and volume of data continues to increase, and insurers create the infrastructure, capability, and culture to exploit this data. Historically, external data sources have been expensive in Canada relative to other geographies, such as the UK where much of the data used for selecting and pricing risks is free. Still, the provincial regulators and collaborative organizations such as the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) understand how valuable data can be to the industry. Data enables insurers to underwrite and price policies more effectively while serving customers better, improving combined ratios, and passing collective savings on to customers.

 

Key points include:

  • Intake & Triage
  • Risk Assessment and Pricing
  • Underwriting Processes

 

Read the full article, The Future of P&C Insurance in Canada: Part 2 – Underwriting and Pricing, on the BurnieGroup.com.

From his company blog, David Burnie shares the first article in a three-part series on the future of P&C insurance in Canada and how the sector is evolving within. The series explores distribution, pricing and underwriting, and claims.

For many years, the insurance sector had been notoriously slow to evolve. Customers viewed insurers as difficult to do business with, while insurers saw little need for change. Products were largely commoditized. To “win,” many insurers had to form stronger relationships with brokers than customers to get a bigger piece of the pie, while sufficiently maintaining these key relationships to promote positive risk selection and maintain profitability.

What has changed in P&C insurance?

Over the past five to ten years, insurers reached a tipping point where fundamental change was inevitable. Legacy policy administration platforms were ageing and no longer supported, which exposed the sector to increased risk; insurers could no longer ignore the need for updated technology. Although the motivation for this transformation was to stabilize the business for continuity purposes, modernizing technology offered ancillary benefits in the hopes of creating more nimble and efficient organizations, supporting customer-centric cultures, and accelerating the pace of overdue innovation and change sector-wide.

Changes are the most apparent in the way insurers serve their customers. Customers can now interact with insurers in ways that they hadn’t been able to do in the past. Digital quotes are now virtually ubiquitous amongst carriers, and brokers and aggregators are evolving to enable digital purchases, though this is in its infancy in Canada. Moreover, insurers are beginning to offer customers the ability to service their policies online or through their mobile apps. Perhaps the most significant changes are emerging out of claims groups that are now starting to offer a complete end-to-end digital experience, which we will elaborate on in the third part of the series.

Insurers were late to the game, but they are beginning to meet the minimum expectations of customers in an ever-increasing digital world. Though many large-scale platform implementations are completed or underway, we’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg since many of these implementations are still going through growing pains for myriad reasons, such as:

Large-scale programs have been descoped in this age of minimum viable product (MVP) to get the core system off the ground and meet time and budget constraints.

Add-on technologies such as CRM and/or specific Insurtech products that will unlock benefits by integrating with core systems but were not included in the initial business case and require their own independent cases to get off the ground. In many cases, these have stalled or have their own long-term implementation time-horizon.

Insurers continue to adapt their long-standing processes to new ones to meet the out-of-the-box configuration offered by vendors or pre-configured cloud-based system integrators.

The transition from legacy to modern platforms is challenging. Moreover, converting policies from old to new is not without errors and inefficiencies when teams must work in two separate technology environments.

 

Key points include:

  • Distribution and service
  • Cost savings
  • Digital innovation

Read the full article, The Future of PC Insurance in Canada – Part 1 – Distribution, on BurnieGroup.com.

 

David Burnie shares a post from his company blog on how automation in the first step of claims processing can help streamline the process. 

The First Notice of Loss (FNOL) – the first step in claims processing – is one of the most crucial customer touchpoints for an insurer. Yet, for most carriers, FNOL continues to be a lengthy, manual, call centre-based service requiring extensive data gathering. This process translates to high operational costs and cycle time and a less than satisfactory customer experience.

Providing a fast, streamlined and transparent claims intake process is no longer aspirational; it is table stakes for customers who expect nothing less from their interactions with all their service providers, including banking, retail, and entertainment.

Luckily for insurers, the intelligent automation landscape has advanced significantly over the last few years, enabling insurers to innovate rapidly and cost-effectively.

Traditionally, the key barriers to change for insurers included long-established processes that rely on legacy systems and a workforce under strain. A transformation roadmap for claims starts with re-imagining the end-to-end customer experience at each stage of the claim. Intelligent automation and artificial intelligence (AI) offer a proven pathway to produce a better claims service while leveraging core legacy systems. Intelligent automation brings systems, both legacy and new, into the process to create a seamless experience.

 

Key points include:

  • Automating FNOL in auto insurance
  • Automating FNOL in travel insurance
  • Benefits of intelligent automation in insurance

 

Read the full post, How Automation Can Support First Notice of Loss (FNOL) Reports, on the Burniegroup.com.

 

 

From David Burnie’s company blog, a ten-point checklist that can help make a post-merger integration successful.

 

For most companies, mergers do not occur regularly or recurringly, bringing with them a host of uncertainty and doubt. When two companies merge, it is a unique experience for both companies requiring a particular course of action, capabilities, and skills.

The Burnie Group team has supported numerous post merger integrations from $10M up to $1B across various industries, including insurance and financial services, professional services, pharma, beauty and cosmetics, software and technology, and senior living, to name a few.

Here are ten critical things to get right in every post-merger integration (PMI), no matter the merger type, size, or industry.

  1. Use the time leading up to the closing day wisely

The pre-closing period begins as soon as the due diligence is complete and both sides negotiate and agree upon the terms. Though this period may range from a couple of weeks to several months, we found that a typical pre-closing interval is between four and eight weeks. The pre-closing period is driven by the need to get all Day 1/Closing Day checkmarks in place, such as legal aspects, permits, financing, etc.

Knowing how much time is available before Closing Day will dictate the scope of work that can be realistically completed. From our experience, it takes at least a few days to get an integration project management office (PMO) and integration workstreams set up, including governance with roles and responsibilities.

Suppose you have only a couple of weeks. In that case, the scope of your pre-closing integration topics should focus on must-do legal aspects, financing, clear communication, and most urgent people-related topics.

If you have four to six weeks, a more detailed integration plan can be developed involving all relevant workstreams (e.g., technology, operations, sales and distribution, etc.)

If you have six to eight weeks, you will have the luxury of approaching Day 1/Closing Day in a very planned fashion. In addition to completing all of the above tasks, you can develop the target operating model for the integrated companies.

It is worth keeping in mind that the further out the Day 1/Closing Day, the more likely the merger news will slip through. Thus, the communication workstream should closely manage internal and external communication.

 

Key points include:

  • Friendly vs. hostile takeover
  • Human resource topics
  • The target operating model for the PMI

 

Read the full post, 10 Things You Must Know to Make Your Post Merger Integration a Success, on theburniegroup.com. 

 

 

From David Burnie’s company blog, a post that identifies how COVID-19 has impacted contact centre benchmarking and offers three key considerations to improve the benchmarking situation.

Now more than ever, contact centre benchmarking is crucial to understanding performance, and assessing and improving the quality of service provided to customers. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically shifted the way contact centres operate, and by extension, benchmarking measurements considered meaningful pre-pandemic are now less important – or carry no importance at all.

Traditional measurements such as average handle time (AHT), service level, and occupancy still have great relevance. However, since the pandemic has forced companies and their employees to work from home and refocus their efforts on digital channels, like web, chat, and IVR, different measurements have become important indicators of contact centre success. Consequently, it important to define measurements that broaden the evaluation of service.

For example, evaluating the percentage of employees working from home and the percentage of customer interactions made by channel provides crucial information to inform the evolving operating model for delivering service. Other measurements that require more focus include expanded customer experience evaluations that go beyond net promoter score (NPS), percentage of call transfers, and chat wait time.

 

Key points include:

  • Leveraging the data to impact positive change
  • Learning from peers
  • Budget, resources, and time commitment

Read the full article, How COVID-19 Has Impacted Contact Centre Benchmarking, on burniegroup.com.

 

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, David Burnie’s company hosted a fireside chat in partnership with Bell on empowering women in the technology and automation industry. He shares the video and transcript from the conversation.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChoosetoChallenge. Though the technology and automation industry has come a long way in gender equality, there remains a gender gap three times larger than that in other industries. The World Economic Forum estimates that more than 70% of professionals with artificial intelligence (AI) skills are men.

From challenge comes change, so let’s choose to challenge the gender gap in the technology and automation industry.

 

Key topics covered in this webinar:

  • Why it is important for organizations to promote opportunities for women in automation throughout the career cycle.
  • How women in tech and automation can develop a long-term career plan.
  • Advice for young women who are considering a career in Automation.
  • How young women can find mentors, and how we encourage women to dream bigger.

 

Watch the video or read the transcript, Challenging the Gender Gap and Empowering Women in Automation, on burniegroup.com.

 

 

David Burnie shares an article and video on implementing an automation CoE at SCM Insurance Services.

 

Insurance organizations like SCM Insurance Services are using automation and AI to streamline administrative processes, drive efficiency, and enhance customer experience.

‘All right, I think we have quorum. Let’s get started. Welcome. My name is Sean Hinton. I am the country leader for UiPath here in Canada, and I’m really excited to have you all join us for a fun conversation with, with a few of my colleagues talking about SCM and the recent hyper automation journey they’ve been on. Before we get going, just a couple of housekeeping rules, the chat functions deactivated. But please use the Q&A function to ask any questions. We’re going to be monitoring that and try to add those questions in as we go along. And we’ll cover as many of them as we can throughout the call. If we run out of time and there are additional questions, we’ll follow up with the answers in subsequent communications. And unlike the NHL games or basketball games, EA Sports did not provide us with a laugh track as we’re going on. So, there will be no other noises other than the four panelists on the screen.

Today, I have some fun colleagues with me. I’ve got Mike from SCM, we’ve got David Burnie from the Burnie Group, and we’ve got Brandon from SortSpoke. We’re gonna have a conversation about the journey that SCM has been on over the last 12 months. But before we get into that: brief intros for everybody. So again, my name is Sean Hinton, I lead the Canadian business for UiPath. We have about 30 employees here in the Canadian market. And UiPath, if you’re unfamiliar, is a leader in the RPA segment, according to Gartner, and a number of other analysts. We provide a platform for hyper automation within your organization starting from discovery all the way to gaining insights from what you’re inputting. I’m going to pass it over to Dave. Mr. Burnie, can you introduce yourself?

 

Key topics covered include:

  • How SCM Insurance Services undertook their intelligent automation journey and built their automation Centre of Excellence
  • Recent advances in intelligent automation and document extraction technologies
  • Types of processes that can be successfully automated using intelligent automation and savings that can be realized
  • Best practices and lessons learned for a successful automation journey

 

Watch the full video, Transforming Insurance Operations Through Automation and AI, on BurnieGroup.com.

 

 

David Burnie shares a post that explains why now is the time to refresh your growth strategy.

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted businesses worldwide. Globally, governments have put economies on pause, and businesses have shuttered their doors to try and limit the virus’ spread. Factories have idled, and customers have sheltered in place as the world weathers the storm. Whether or not this strict response was necessary, or an overreaction, is a side debate – it happened. As we move from the frenetic pace of survival into recovery, businesses now need to seize the opportunity that has been presented.

Deloitte Canada’s recent September 2020 Economic Outlook noted that Canada’s economic activity is not expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2021. Businesses still operating have withstood the immediate shock to revenues and survived the initial downturn; now they need to leverage this recovery period and set the foundations for future growth.

There are 5 key reasons outlined within this article as to why businesses need to invest now in refreshing their growth strategy:

To convert crisis urgency into future momentum

To gain first-mover advantage on emerging trends

To adapt to a technology-focused market

To take advantage of the robust talent pool

To build resiliency into their strategy

By heeding to these reasons and acting to refresh growth strategy, businesses can position themselves for success in the recovery and post-pandemic world. They will better understand their customers’ problems and what they as a business can do to solve them, thus working towards increasing market share, entering new markets, and growing revenues.

 

Key points covered include:

  • Converting crisis urgency into future momentum
  • Gaining first-mover advantage on emerging trends
  • Adapting to a technology-focused market

 

Read the full article, Why Now is the Time to Refresh Your Growth Strategy, on BurnieGroup.com.

 

 

David Burnie shares a post from his company blog that identifies six change management guidelines designed to help manage change effectively. 

While they say that nothing in life is certain except death and taxes, this proverb is missing another of life’s key inevitabilities: change. As highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, business and organizational change can be both planned and unplanned. Regardless of what instigates change, it must be properly managed for success.

Not everyone enjoys change. In fact, most people do not. There is a variety of psychological, social, environmental, and cultural reasons for why people don’t enjoy change, but that’s a moot point –organizations often need to change. Thus, they must be able to manage the fact that people resist change.

To this end, here are six best-practice guidelines that organizations can follow for effective change management.

Change only what’s needed

Change is important to organizations – it ensures they stay current, continue employing best practices, seize opportunities when they present themselves, and succeed in the competitive landscape. However, one of the most effective ways of managing the change process is by regulating the pace of change,  – changing only what’s required to succeed.

While this might seem counterintuitive and beyond the control of the individuals setting out to manage the change process, it rings true if you consider the underlying message behind this statement.

 

The remaining points covered include:

  • The single source of the truth
  • Public timelines
  • Change champions

 

Read the full post, 6 Ways to Manage Change More Effectively with Your Team, on the Burnie Group’s website. 

 

 

As the disruption continues, many businesses struggle to retain their employees. This post from David Burnie’s company provides strategies that can help keep employees on board, engaged, and motivated.

Happy, successful employees are critical for a successful company. While companies must consider how to retain employees at the best of times, employee retention is an especially pressing topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario continues social distancing indefinitely, maintaining an engaged staff will offer a sense of stability to companies amid flux.

How can companies retain top talent to ensure maximum productivity, motivation and success?

Employee retention strategies can be implemented by employers to ensure that employees feel valued and engaged, even with current remote working practices. This can support lower turnover rates, higher productivity and improved organizational performance.

 

Suggestions included in this article:

  • Recognition programs
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Health, safety and wellness programs
  • Communication 

 

Read the full article, Employee Retention Strategies During COVID-19, on the Burnie Group website.

 

 

David Burnie’s company has published a timely blog on the 21 common mistakes many companies make when rolling out their business continuity plan. 

A business continuity plan is essential for preventing and recovering from emergencies and incidents that can disrupt a business.

We recently shared our top 13 priorities for a strong BCP. While not having a BCP is a sure-fire pitfall to successful business continuity, there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some of the common pitfalls to look out for when executing business continuity plans.

 

The mistakes covered in the article include:

  • Business continuity preparation
  • Leadership
  • Communication approach
  • Processes
  • Systems failover
  • Budget

 

Read the full article, 21 Things Companies Do Wrong When Executing Business Continuity Plans, on the Burnie Group website. 

 

 

As more employees work from home, it is important to establish clear guidelines and routines, this post from David Burnie’s company provides ten questions businesses should ask to ensure the switch to working remotely runs smoothly. 

Establishing a work from home (WFH) program is an essential part of a business continuity plan.

In the current COVID 19 crisis, executing a work from home (WFH) policy is a top priority for organizations. A robust work from home policy will enable an organization to continue operating during a significant disruption while limiting the impact on employees and customers.

A WFH policy requires a broad set of considerations to ensure it is adequately developed, including the provision of tools (e.g., laptop, headset, increased VPN capacity) and revised processes and practices. To assist organizations in making the shift to working from home, we developed ten questions to consider to build an effective WFH policy.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Tool required
  • Secure access
  • Scheduling
  • Tracking and managing performance

 

Read the full article, Work from Home Best Practices, on the Burnie Group website.