Our annual Summit held two weeks ago in London was one of the most successful Earnix events ever! Over two days, 28 presentations were delivered that included financial services industry innovations, best practices, and customer successes. While most of the presentations focused on the future of the insurance and banking industries, we also saw presentations on Google’s use of data and analytics, how analytics are leveraged in sports, and how innovation centers of excellence are being formed to impact the customer experience of the future. While it’s certainly difficult to summarize two days of great content into one blog post, I did want to recap and highlight some key themes that I heard over the course of the two-day event.

New Technology Adoption.

It feels like we have been talking about technologies such as machine learning, IOT, and telematics – among others – for quite a while now. What we saw last week was that these technologies are indeed being actively implemented within financial services.

For instance, during the opening session of the Summit, Reuven Shnaps asked the following question –

“What is your sentiment toward the following statement: Why are you not getting value from your Machine Learning and Data Science?”

This shows that about 84 percent of attendees either are or expect to gain value from their Machine Learning initiatives. At the 2017 Summit, Reuven asked the same question and the results were almost identical! This indicates that progress on machine learning adoption is slow year over year, but the sentiment towards the technology remains the same.

New technologies such as telematics are also being experimented with and slowly implemented, as Michal Kwiecinski saw in his session, which focused on pricing excellence. The question posed was – “How significant is telematics for you?”
Enabling and then leveraging telematics for pricing and product initiatives can be a lengthy process, but 65% of insurers are using this technology. Finally, one of the most interesting technology related questions for me was posed by Peter Kelly of Hastings Direct, who asked “Which of the following is your most recently implemented technology?”

Very interesting that so many respondents to this question chose Gradient Boosting Machines. This indicates that incorporating machine learning techniques such as Gradient Boosting and Random Forest is top of mind for organizations and is often occurring with the help of Earnix.

Shift of Distribution Channels.

Another interesting theme that was reinforced last week at the Summit centered on how consumers buy insurance and banking products – and the fact that it is changing. Traditional agent and consumer banker style models, while still present, are decreasing in favor of new digital methods. For example, during Oren Kohavi’s session, titled “Auto Insurance Pricing in a Highly Dynamic Market – Winning the Comparison Sites Game”, he asked the question:

“What percentage of your current New Business volume is coming from aggregator sites?”

A large dichotomy exists here as almost half of the respondents (41.4%) say over half of new business is coming from aggregator sites, where 36.2% say less than 10% is coming from these sites. I believe this is not only indicative of the shift in distribution, but also the differences in geography. Aggregator sites are very common and highly leveraged in some European countries, as we saw the 50% plus responses coming only from conference attendees based in the UK, Germany, and Switzerland. I personally believe usage of the aggregator channel will slowly increase across geographies into the future.

The Opportunity for Personalization.

Finally, with new technologies being adopted and the channel engagement model changing, the need for personalization increases significantly. One of the topics that was discussed heavily at the Summit and has been a point of emphasis for Earnix in 2018 is the need for better personalization in financial services. As Earnix and our customers look at how they can go beyond personalizing not only price, but insurance bundles and banking packages as well, many questions have been asked about the current state of personalization. Throughout the Summit presentations, Earnix executives, Earnix product management, and even consultants and customers spoke on the personalization topic. Just as Netflix and Amazon personalize their offerings to drive better engagement, loyalty, and retention – insurers and banks should as well. One question Michal posed during his pricing excellence session was:

“Do you personalize the product offer?” he asked. The results were surprising:

This answer indicates that while 43.1% are performing simple rules-based personalization, another 41.4% aren’t doing any personalization at all! There is certainly room in the market to leverage advanced analytical techniques like optimization to perform personalization in the future and provide your customers with a more customized offering.

If you’re interested in reading more about personalization and the current state of the insurance market, Earnix has recently completed research with Marketforce on the topic, which can be found here. If you’re interested to understand more about our events and attending an Earnix Summit in the future, please reach out to us as well. It was a great event – if you attended, thank you for joining us and if not – we hope to see you next year!