Agents Council For Technology Releases Hard Trends Report

The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) Strategic Future Issues Work Group has released the first phase of an initiative to identify key trends that affect the future of the independent insurance agency system.

ACT 2015 Hard Trends

“The real value of the Hard Trends Report is the great discussions and involvement of so many in the creation of the report,” says Rick Morgan, ACT Strategic Future Issues Work Group chair and senior vice president of Aartrijk in Springfield, Virginia. “We expect the release of the report to generate further discussion on the challenges and opportunities these trends present.”

The following seven trends were identified and evaluated in phase one:

U.S. Internet Speed Among Slowest in the World

The Internet first became available to the world in the late 80s through dial-up connections — Think AOL and “You’ve Got Mail.” Initially, these dial-up connections were able to reach a maximum speed of 56 KB/s.

Fast Internet access does make is key to making full use of the Internet. Fast Internet access is found in many different parts of the world. The United States, which arguably has produced some of the biggest Internet companies, has some of the slower speeds in the developed world. It’s 11th in the list of countries with the fastest Internet speeds in the world. Hong Kong has one of the fastest connections, averaging over 50 Mbps, with America lagging behind with an average high of only 39 Mbps.

Is there a Drone Under Your Tree? Better Register!

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

picture of drone flying at sunset

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Erie Insurance Uses Drone on Property Claim

Erie Insurance applied to the FAA for an exception to experiment with using drones in the claims adjustment process. This short video shows how they used a drone to inspect a homeowners roof. This is just the beginning of how drones are transforming the insurance business.

Question: What other examples of drone usage in the insurance industry have you seen? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Insurance Innovation? Oxymoron or New Focus for the Industry?

in·no·vateˈinəˌvāt/ verb
– Make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
– Introduce (something new, especially a product).

ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge

Is insurance innovation an oxymoron?

This phrase might qualify because the words “insurance” and “innovation” have historically had opposite meanings — old set in our ways versus introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

I’ve been quite critical of the insurance industry as a whole for not embracing and adapting faster to rapidly changing technology and the resulting change in consumer expectations.

Over the last few years, I’ve been hearing from an increasing number of businesses and individuals that are working on bringing some very creative and dare I say, innovative methods, ideas, and products to the industry. One of their big problems is getting enough visibility for their ideas and products — which is why they seek me out.

Fortunately, ACORD (the insurance industry standards body) has also recognized this problem and is taking steps this year to provide a platform that will highlight innovations within the industry. The 2015 ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge provides a platform to showcase the best and brightest within the global insurance industry.

The ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Challenge is the first insurance-specific technology and innovation competition. It is open to individuals and organizations of any size, from anywhere in the world. The only criteria? Have a new method, idea, or product that can be applied to transform the way the insurance industry does business.

Winners will be selected based on their ability to develop products and services that have the potential to bring significant innovation to the industry.

“Everyone in the industry is talking about disruption, so we wanted to give them a chance to stop talking and start acting,” said Malou August, ACORD Director of Event Programs. “People are challenging ‘business as usual’ in other industries right now. This event is an opportunity for insurance industry players to step up and create the actual innovations we need.”

The deadline for applications is May 1, 2015. A panel of nine independent judges will review these initial applications. These judges will score the submissions and the top five or more candidates in each category will move to the next round.

These winners will be invited to present a 20-minute pitch to the judges on June 18, 2015, at the ACORD office in Pearl River, New York. Three finalists will be chosen from each category.

Showcase finalists will receive a speaking slot before an audience of potential investors, partners, press, and employers at ACORD2015, the flagship ACORD event taking place November 2-4, 2015, in Boca Raton, Florida. At ACORD2015, judges will select the winners, who will receive prizes valued at up to $25,000.

How Do You Apply?

Do you have a great idea? Are you proud of your company’s accomplishments? Itching for you and your colleagues to get the peer recognition you deserve? Then complete an application and let the insurance world know what you have done. Remember, the deadline for applications is May 1, 2015.

Complete information about the ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge is available at acord.org/innovate.

(Originally published on LinkedIn, April 6, 2015)