Below is our recent interview with Jim Suchara, Vice President of Digital Innovation at Amerisure:
Q: How did Amerisure’s digital innovation journey start?
A: Amerisure established its digital innovation practice in early 2018. Our CEO, Greg Crabb, and CIO, Shawn O’Rourke, recognize the digital disruption currently faced by the insurance industry and want to maintain our marketplace edge in this “sea of change.” We aim to develop a sustainable pipeline of innovation that will allow us to better serve our agency customers and policyholders. Our commitment to relevancy can enhance their profitability, reduce risk and promote the ease of doing business with Amerisure.
Q: How does Amerisure think about its digital innovation practice?
A: Amerisure has established key service pillars that are foundational to our digital innovation practice. We aim to:
• Develop key industry and technology partnerships
• Build and maintain strong scouting and research capabilities that leverage our internal business partners in the process
• Consult with our executive leadership team regarding new innovative capabilities that can help us achieve our business strategy and enhance our superior service promise
• Execute against a portfolio of experiments and proofs of concept (POC) that support a “test and learn” environment
• Deliver select projects that can ultimately be operationalized for use in our broader organization
Q: What areas is Amerisure innovative in?
A: We seek to innovate in all areas across the insurance value chain, and have noted successes in a variety of experiments and proofs of concept during our first year of the new innovation practice. One notable area where we have been innovating at a high rate is risk management, which has been exploring and testing a number of technologies like augmented reality-enabled inspections; AI-enabled image processing; mobile apps; and connected devices such as wearable sensors and telematics; that can advance the ability to serve our customers. Of these, our mobile app and wearable sensors are already fully-operationalized. As risk is reduced, our policyholders may experience fewer injuries and losses, while simultaneously enhancing business efficiency and protecting their bottom line.
Another area of growing innovation is cIaims, where the team is embarking on a number of analytics, automation and digital service-related efforts that can make the department more efficient and enhance the ease of doing business. An innovative idea generated by our claims staff — enabling the ability for our adjusters to communicate with policyholders and injured workers via texting — is currently being piloted in one of our service centers, and will be introduced to all policyholders in November. Our hope is that Amerisure’s award-winning claims service will be more accessible to agencies and policyholders through these technologies. We’re also able to build on our superior service promise through new ways of contacting and sharing information with adjusters, which may ultimately lead to faster resolution of claims.
Q: What are the biggest keys to Amerisure’s digital innovation success?
A: In the earliest days of our new practice, we found success by establishing innovation service pillars and delivering quick, visible wins to gain momentum. Developing industry and technology partnerships was also crucial.
Perhaps the biggest key to our success to date, has been the involvement of business partners from marketing, underwriting, risk management and claims, as champions of the innovation scouting process. Utilizing the perspective of these champions, and their interactions with our agency customers and policyholders, we can determine innovations that will most benefit those we serve.
A major point of pride for us was earlier this year, when our strategy and quick wins were recognized with a Novarica Impact award. It’s an honor to see the early success of our practice reaffirmed by so many insurance peers.
Q: How does Amerisure plan to approach the future of its digital innovation practice?
A: One of the best ways that we can ensure long-term future success is to drive a culture of innovation throughout our broader organization. To support this endeavor, we are working with our staff to incorporate a greater sense of design-thinking through exercises like customer journey mapping — which takes an outside-in-view of our customers’ needs and our ability to service them.
We also are several months into a business agility initiative that we expect will make us more responsive to changing market demands and those we serve. Combined with other existing strategies, we feel that we can create a sustainable pipeline of new innovations that will keep us at the forefront of our market and allow us to best serve our agency customers and policyholders.