Insurance Brokers Association of Hamilton

February 2017 Luncheon Recap

Posted Apr 4th, 2017 in IBAH News

 We were honored to welcome Paul Stone, Vice President of Sales & Distribution for Business Insurance at Travelers Canada back as a presenter for our February Luncheon.

Paul joined Travelers (which was The Dominion at the time) as a Trainee in 1996.  Over the course of his 20 years with the company, he has held progressive positions in Personal and Business Insurance, Business Analysis, Head Office, and most recently held the national role of Field Vice President, Small Business. He has spent his insurance career focused on working with the Company’s broker partners to develop strategies to successfully and profitably grow their business.

The Changing Landscape that is the Insurance Industry

Paul began his presentation focusing on the evolving environment concerning the digital standpoint and implications for not only insurers but for brokers as well. He discussed the trending change in consumer behaviours and expectations through outlining four interesting assumptions to consider:

  1. Do customers really value the human touch? Well, they do and they don’t. Paul explained that customers prefer face to face where there is creativity or empathy, however, in the insurance environment we are labeled as mostly pure transactional. It is the customer experience that drives how we do business.
  2. We need to be automated as much as we can. Paul referenced recent innovation in mining automation. To some, it may seem as a job elimination method since it removes human labour from the mining process. However, in addition to increasing efficiency, this system actually reduces mining accidents dramatically and strengthens workplace safety. 
  3. Working as an integrated company slows us down and weakens our creativity. The past is the past where many companies had the choice of that slow centralized commanding control office or more local present. With Digital technologies and strategies, we should have the best of both worlds and must be able to read data as a capital asset and still be responsive in your local environment.  
  4. Will strategic assets that brought success in the past be just as valued going forward? The answer is not so black and white; we need to leverage the talents that we have in the digital space but stepping back from the things that don’t differentiate us or provide an advantage.
Paul continued to emphasize that customers are rapidly evolving; they are well informed, highly connected, incredibly impatient and more mobile than ever. Service is measured totally differently in today’s society; consumers are not only comparing to similar businesses but to all customer experiences as a whole, ranging from the interaction, ease of process to connectivity. Everything they are experiencing, they are assuming why can’t it be like this somewhere else?

Our speaker stressed that consumer to consumer marketing such as online reviews has deemed traditional marketing somewhat worthless. Paul shared some shocking numbers:
  • 92% of consumers read on-line reviews 
  • 40 % of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews
  • 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 86% hesitate to purchase from a business just from reading negative on-line reviews

Paul also referenced Deloitte & Accenture findings, stating that 40% of P&C customers are looking to switch insurers in the next 6-12 months and over 40% of P&C customers have already switched providers in the last 6-12 months.  Thirty percent have switched over the last 6 months. These statistics exemplify that we are dealing with a highly connected and very demanding customer base.

Mr. Stone proceeded to focus on the evolving digital landscape. He stressed that digital does not mean direct – they are not related and are two completely different things. Digital is referring to useful analytics, data mining and how you use data to manage your business.

Furthermore, insurer consolidation is responsible for leading the trend of rising competitive intensity. The top three life insurance carriers in Canada own about 77% of the business. Due to a recent influx of mergers and acquisitions, it is predicted that within the next few years, the market share of the Top 10 P&C insurers will rise from 43% in 2004 to a whopping 85%. In addition, Paul shared Deloitte’s projection that the top 10 brokers will hold two-thirds of the marketplace.

Paul pointed out that Canada is lagging compared to the rest of the world in regards to the movement of technological advancements and information explosion. For example, Paul referenced the insurer Lemonade out of the United States; This up and coming tech company selling personal insurance settled a claim for a stolen Canada Goose jacket in three seconds, not hours or minutes, but three seconds! Utilizing third-party data analytics and keeping up with the technological advances is essential in today’s competitive landscape.

Paul urged that we must study the external and internal technological disruptors in order to help us open the doors to opportunities and use the information we have to develop a product. External disruptors include the sharing economy and autonomous vehicles. Some of the internal disruptors encompass telematics and alternative distribution.  

Above all, big data analytics are expected to have the largest impact on insurers in the next three years. Insurers should be able to develop a deeper understanding of customer behavior and better predict lifetime value if the customer. To adapt to this new landscape, insurers can potentially implement real-time premium changes. Paul stressed that we need to continue to embrace innovation through doing “things” better and doing “better things.” (2017 US P&C Industry Outlook: EY 2016).

It is crucial for brokers to leverage this data and steer away from the historical model of descriptive and diagnostic analytics. We need to look to the future and be predictive and prospective.

Looking beyond the analytics, Paul noted that the key to successful growth is a resilient digital strategy. Again, Paul stressed that digital does not mean direct. We need to welcome innovation in order to deliver value to customers and remain open and responsive in adapting to changes in all aspects of the business.

Paul concluded his presentation by emphasizing that we must take a holistic approach through the development of new products, engaging employees, technology, customers, strategic partnerships and managing communication channels.

To extend our appreciation to our guest speaker, the IBAH donated $125.00 to the United Way. We would also like to thank all of our guests for attending the luncheon and special thanks to April from Gore, who donated a lovely bottle of wine. We encourage everyone to join us at our upcoming luncheon on May 10th as we welcome Debbie Coull-Cicchini, Senior Vice President, Ontario of Intact Insurance.

Photo Gallery


  • Revamping Your Business Through Digital Transformation, MT Sloan Management Review (2015)
  • Reimagining Insurance Distribution: Accenture (2016) 
  • Property & Casualty Insurance Reimagined 2025: Deloitte (2015) 
  • 2017 US P&C Industry Outlook: EY (2016) 
  • Deloitte Analytics Trends (2016)

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