Insurance Innovation Reporter

Insurance Innovation Reporter

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Driving Maximum Business Value With Minimum Viable Products
<div class=”entry-meta”>
<span class=”byline”>Deb Zawisza</span>
// <time class=”entry-date” datetime=”2021-04-02T00:01:15-04:00″>April 2, 2021</time> </div>

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<p><em>(Image source: Shutterstock.)</em></p>
<p>In the Agile world, the minimum viable product (MVP) approach is a key tenet to delivering solutions more quickly and nimbly. The MVP represents a departure from legacy approaches of defining all functions and features up front regardless of business value. The “viable” in “minimum viable product” is that MVPs must deliver business value. The scale of business value may evolve from a small number of users and features to a wider set, but business value must be delivered from the start.</p>
<p>Correctly embracing the concept can be difficult for insurance carriers. Many insurers have long memories of “day one” and “day two” deliverables where “day two” never happened. MVP approaches are intended to build value incrementally with each additional release. They are unlike traditional project approaches, wherein business value is achieved only at the end of a large, onerous, and time-consuming release.</p>
<p><strong>Doing the Most Valuable Minimum</strong></p>
<p>The MVP approach has narrow scope, short cycles, and continuous feedback to improve subsequent releases. The business value will not be as great in each release for an MVP approach, but incremental value will be obtained sooner, accelerating the realization of full business value.</p>
<p>The MVP is an investment in something. The anticipated business value should be defined to guide the product roadmap, measure success, and provide guardrails for feature development. The optimization of business value is a critical outcome of any product that starts with an MVP. If the MVP makes existing processes too complex or too manual, the MVP approach should be reassessed.</p>
<p><strong>A Tale of Two MVPs</strong></p>
<p>A carrier recently launched an MVP to roll out a new product portfolio on a new suite of core systems. The insurer decided to implement one state and one product for the initial MVP release. Subsequent releases focused on automation of business processes to handle volume increases. Before new states or new products were added, the workflows were streamlined. Both internal and external users were getting more value with each release.</p>
<p>As the insurer began to migrate existing business onto the new platform, the business processes were already automated, integrations were in place, and portal capability was robust. The existing business migration focused on product and jurisdictional requirements, not the core processing capability which was already implemented. The MVP approach of building out capability and users over time enabled the delivery team to achieve the minimal viable objectives. Both business and IT thought that the MVP worked well.</p>
<p>Another insurer approached a new core system MVP in a similar fashion. The initial MVP delivered one new product, in all states, with limited automation. Subsequent releases added new products to the platform without additional business workflow improvements or integrations. As the sales of new products increased, manual business processes were unable to scale to meet the increased volume. Tactical fixes on the new platform were implemented to alleviate some of the manual burden, but only as new products were launched.</p>
<p>The operations areas faced a huge challenge. Processes were different depending on product, and it was difficult to support the increasing volume. Although the business leaders were pleased with product sales, agents and customers grew frustrated with service gaps. In this situation, subsequent releases to the initial MVP focused on maximizing product sales rather than expanding capability to create product viability.</p>
<p>Internal views on the success of the MVP were mixed. IT thought they did a great job of execution, keeping automation and integration minimal to deliver products on the platform quickly. Internal stakeholders weren’t sure anymore about the MVP. Sales were great, but the Underwriting, Billing, and Claims organizations thought the legacy platform was much better.</p>
<p><strong>Navigating the Roadmap to a Unanimous Destination</strong></p>
<p>Ensuring that product sponsors are aligned on the goal and objectives of the MVP is key to implementing a successful MVP. Too often, product sponsors have high hopes that the MVP will meet the bulk of their requirements. Product sponsors should be fully engaged on the approach to the MVP and understand the evolution of the product over time. Sponsors should be at a high-enough level in the organization to support the direction and remove roadblocks.</p>
<p>Setting product direction is a critical step to getting the MVP off to the right start. A long-term roadmap that defines functions and features as well as user groups is important to determine how to launch the MVP. Effective product roadmaps evolve functions and features in each release based on user (customer) input. Prioritizing the features and feedback that are aligned to business value is key in determining what goes into the next release.</p>
<p>Engaging a user group throughout the process helps deliver business capabilities that meet the needs and expectations of the group the software is intended for. Listening to the voice of the customer is a powerful approach to prioritizing features and delivering a product that is readily adopted. Incorporating user feedback into the prioritization process encourages maximum business value.</p>
<p><strong>Quality Over Quantity</strong></p>
<p>Since releases in an MVP approach are so fast paced, a common mistake is only to engage users (customers) when the MVP is finished. Doing so means the product team has missed out on valuable feedback that could have been incorporated throughout the release and sprint process. Additionally, unengaged users may potentially hamper full adoption and acceptance of the solution. The cost and impact of not engaging users throughout the life cycle of the MVP is far greater than the cost of involving them from the start.</p>
<p>Traditional projects often rely on fixed scope, dates, and budgets. When these concepts are attached to an MVP, success is far less likely. MVPs are meant to evolve and be nimble. When everything about an MVP is fixed, there is little room to learn and adapt the product based on user feedback. This approach also constrains the valuable discussion about business value and feature prioritization. When scope, dates, and budget are fixed, quality is often sacrificed to be “on target.”</p>
<p>A viable product requires quality, which includes elements of performance, reliability, and scalability depending on user personas. Successful MVP-based deliveries build quality in from the outset and continue to build on quality through automation, ensuring that it is never put on the back burner. When quality is deprioritized or left to the end, the MVP usually becomes a disappointment to stakeholders. It is also much more expensive to re-engineer a product for quality than to engineer it in from the beginning.</p>
<p><strong>Taking It to the Max</strong></p>
<p>The MVP is a powerful construct to increase business value realization and minimize the risks associated with a large release approach. When done well, business and technology teams optimize the approach to delivering software that has positive business benefits.</p>
<p>Challenges arise when some of the concepts of an MVP are only selectively used. Most often, these challenges result from a lack of understanding of the theory behind MVP-based delivery, leading teams to fall back on the use of legacy methods.</p>
<p>For insurers, implementing an effective MVP model can help get products to market more quickly, increase adoption of digital engagement, and limit the investment in “nice-to-have” features that don’t yield business value. Learning from previous MVP attempts and aligning the future approach to best practices is an important step in becoming nimbler and more flexible in a dynamic environment.</p>
<blockquote class=”wp-embedded-content” data-secret=”8HoUInxoWv”><p><a href=””>To Stay Competitive, Embrace the Data Science Team of the Future</a></p></blockquote>

<p><strong><a href=””></a></strong> <a href=””>(Why?)</a></p> Fri, 02 Apr 2021 04:01:15 +0000 Anthony O’Donnell
IT & Business Strategy
IT Governance

Farmers Insurance Partners with SimpliSafe to Provide Home Security Systems
<div class=”entry-meta”>
<span class=”byline”>Anthony R. O’Donnell</span>
// <time class=”entry-date” datetime=”2021-04-01T16:38:43-04:00″>April 1, 2021</time> </div>

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<p><em>(Image source: SimpliSafe website.)</em></p>
<p><a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Farmers Insurance</a> (Los Angeles) has undertaken a pilot in partnership with <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>SimpliSafe</a> (Boston), maker of award-winning home security systems to help make preventative smart home protection available to homeowners in&nbsp;Ohio,&nbsp;Iowa&nbsp;and&nbsp;Alabama. The pilot effort aims to help insured homeowners protect their homes in those three states against theft, fire and water damage, while also providing them with potential savings on their homeowners insurance policies, according to a statement from SimpliSafe.</p>
<div id=”attachment_33814″ class=”wp-caption alignright”><a href=””><img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-33814″ loading=”lazy” class=”size-full wp-image-33814″ src=”” alt width=”175″ height=”200″ srcset=” 175w,×70.png 60w” sizes=”(max-width: 175px) 100vw, 175px”></a><p id=”caption-attachment-33814″ class=”wp-caption-text”>Carolyn Wald, Head of Innovation Integration, Farmers Insurance.</p></div>
<p>Throught the pilot, Farmers&nbsp;customers in the three participating states who bind a new Smart Plan Home policy between&nbsp;April 1, 2021&nbsp;and&nbsp;May 31, 2021&nbsp;will be qualified to receive an included custom 7-piece home security system from SimpliSafe, provided with their homeowners insurance policy at no extra charge. The system will include key components, including the SimpliCam&nbsp;HD camera and both water and motion sensors, as well as one month of SimpliSafe’s most comprehensive 24/7 professional monitoring.</p>
<p>SimpliSafe pitches its smart home technology and professional monitoring as helpful with early detection of theft and water damage issues before they become major insurance claims, saving homeowners unexpected costs down the line.</p>
<p><strong>Opportunity to Offer Home Security and Monitoring Services</strong></p>
<p>“At Farmers, our determination to adopt and offer the latest technology to benefit customers continues to grow,” comments&nbsp;Carolyn Wald, head of innovation integration, Farmers Insurance. “With SimpliSafe, we saw an opportunity to offer home security and monitoring services to customers when they are purchasing homeowners’ insurance, a time when home safety and security is likely to be top of mind.”</p>
<p>“We are excited to work with Farmers on this smart home insurance program to help customers spot and address potential hazards early on,” Matt Wolf, Head of Partnerships, SimpliSafe. “We’re aligned in our commitment to providing homeowners with flexible and affordable options and are eager to see how we can deliver on making home the safest and best place on Earth.”</p>
<blockquote class=”wp-embedded-content” data-secret=”Catcw6K1Hy”><p><a href=””>Hippo Insurance SimpliSafe Partner on Smart Tech-Driven Homeowners Policy</a></p></blockquote>

<blockquote class=”wp-embedded-content” data-secret=”8iJSFPbFXe”><p><a href=””>Perspectives From a Smart Home Owner: How Insurers Can Help</a></p></blockquote>

<p><strong><a href=””></a></strong> <a href=””>(Why?)</a></p> Thu, 01 Apr 2021 20:38:43 +0000 Anthony O’Donnell
News & Analysis
Customer Experience

London Underwriters Launches New InsurTech Bunch Insurance on INSTANDA Platform
<div class=”entry-meta”>
// <time class=”entry-date” datetime=”2021-04-01T15:10:37-04:00″>April 1, 2021</time> </div>

<img width=”540″ height=”304″ src=”×304.jpeg” class=”attachment-post-featured size-post-featured wp-post-image” alt loading=”lazy” srcset=”×304.jpeg 540w,×169.jpeg 300w, 750w” sizes=”(max-width: 540px) 100vw, 540px”>

<p><em>(Image credit: Getty Images.)</em></p>
<p><a href=””>London Underwriters</a>, a Miami-based wholesale broker specializing in admitted and non-admitted insurance in all 50 states, has implemented <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>INSTANDA</a>’s (Hartford) technology to create a new InsurTech:&nbsp;<a href=””>Bunch Insurance</a>.</p>
<div id=”attachment_33809″ class=”wp-caption alignright”><a href=””><img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-33809″ loading=”lazy” class=”size-full wp-image-33809″ src=”” alt width=”175″ height=”200″ srcset=” 175w,×70.png 60w” sizes=”(max-width: 175px) 100vw, 175px”></a><p id=”caption-attachment-33809″ class=”wp-caption-text”>Daniel Feigenbaum, CEO, London Underwriters and Bunch Insurance.</p></div>
<p>Founded in 2010, London Underwriters turned to INSTANDA for help to evolve its business strategy In July 2020, according to an INSTANDA statement. As a traditional binding authority, it recognized that new InsurTech entrants were disrupting the way brokers were doing business. Rather than be removed from the distribution model, London Underwriters decided to augment its own processes by developing its very own InsurTech product without expensive systems implementations.</p>
<p>London Underwriters selected INSTANDA’s cloud-native platform to become the foundation of a mobile, flexible and malleable commercial insurance product Bunch Insurance, the vendor reports. As a new InsurTech program offering Commercial Property and General Liability coverages, the product is fully customizable and provides users with complete control of its development, INSTANDA says.</p>
<p>“INSTANDA challenged our thinking of what we thought insurance was and could be,” Daniel Feigenbaum, CEO, London Underwriters and Bunch Insurance remarks. “By being open minded, we have now created a minimum viable product that we can test and iterate on the fly, enabling a higher rate of success for our business. This is just the first of a ‘bunch’ of products we want to create for our consumers. We’re looking forward to partnering with INSTANDA on those future projects.”</p>
<p><strong>Low-Code Platform</strong></p>
<div id=”attachment_33810″ class=”wp-caption alignright”><a href=””><img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-33810″ loading=”lazy” class=”size-full wp-image-33810″ src=”” alt width=”175″ height=”200″ srcset=” 175w,×70.png 60w” sizes=”(max-width: 175px) 100vw, 175px”></a><p id=”caption-attachment-33810″ class=”wp-caption-text”>Greg Murphy, EVP, North America, INSTANDA.</p></div>
<p>INSTANDA says its low code platform enabled London Underwriters to combine different binding authorities, along with API friendly distribution partners, to create a single user experience. Bunch Insurance aims to tap into as much third-party data possible, which means less friction for the customer when applying for a quote. It also means more speed for agents and clients when quoting and binding policies.</p>
<p>“London Underwriters is a prime example of a traditional insurance company that is willing to think and act differently,” comments <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Greg Murphy, EVP, North America, INSTANDA</a>. “INSTANDA’s platform is agile, user-friendly and easily adaptable to the needs of any insurance business. We’re excited to see how Bunch Insurance is received. We look forward to supporting London Underwriters to create sustained innovation in a complex market.”</p>
<p>The Beta version of Bunch Insurance was launched in September 2020 in the state of Texas. Bunch is now available in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.</p>
<blockquote class=”wp-embedded-content” data-secret=”c7Ld6CPG2s”><p><a href=””>New Empire Group Deploys INSTANDA for Policy and Billing</a></p></blockquote>

<p><strong><a href=””></a></strong> <a href=””>(Why?)</a></p> Thu, 01 Apr 2021 19:10:37 +0000 Anthony O’Donnell
News & Analysis
Customer Experience
IT & Business Strategy
Policy Administration