CGI: tackling insurance technology challenges

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InsTech’s Ali Smedley caught up with CGI’s Daren Rudd and Tim Scott-Simmons to discuss the company’s work within insurance, the trends that are likely to disrupt the industry and the technology challenges that need to be addressed.

Daren, Tim - what are your roles within the Business and Technology Consulting team of CGI? 

Daren: I head up the insurance consulting team, which covers technology and business strategy as a combined service. We don’t separate these consulting services, as we believe that companies cannot be successful without thinking about both together. We’re focused on understanding how the insurance market is being impacted by technology and creating strategies for our clients to adapt to these changes.

Tim: I head up the technology and architecture side, working closely with Daren on how we design and implement our own solutions, as well as helping our clients build their own solutions. I also identify what research and development is needed to meet client requirements.

How does CGI help companies in the insurance market?

Daren: We are a global systems integrator and consultancy. At CGI we help our clients to run their existing IT more efficiently and we help them define their digital strategies. We can also help them transform their technology capabilities using machine learning, the cloud and advanced analytics.  

Tim: CGI has local insurance centres of excellence (COEs). This means we can focus on specific issues within the UK general insurance and the London market. We build in-house solutions and together with our partners can address a range of industry challenges around rating and pricing, digital sales and distribution and broker account reconciliation.

What different industries does CGI work within?

Daren: CGI works to support a variety of industries. For example we are currently working with the European Space Agency to analyse and interpret earth observation data as part of our climate change response initiative. Part of this involves analysing the health of seagrass which is seen as a key potential carbon store. Our teams have also used their experience in running satellite systems and data to create predictive wildfire and flood models.

Tim: We’re also doing some exciting work in the ESG space, which includes helping our clients understand and improve their carbon footprint. As part of this we are building an ecosystem around ESG solution providers. Another area CGI has experience in is open finance and open banking. 

What does CGI see as the biggest challenges the insurance industry is facing?

Daren: With technology changing so quickly a real challenge for the industry is creating businesses that can shift and adapt faster. This means that the market is going to have to address legacy systems.

Tim: Reflecting on the last two years, our industry faces some significant macroeconomic challenges.  The energy crisis, the war in Europe and climate change are all inflationary challenges and triggers for change within the insurance industry.

Do you see any disruptive insurance trends on the immediate horizon? 

Tim: I’m seeing three key technology trends; artificial intelligence (AI), APIs and computable contracts. Firstly, I’m expecting AI to enhance our understanding of climate-related risks and disrupt traditional pricing methodologies within insurance. Secondly, I think APIs will allow new and disruptive products to come to market, whether that’s embedded insurance or an enhanced claims experience. Finally, I see computable contracts as a very effective way to deliver insurance products.

Daren: I think we will see a shift from reactive to proactive risk prevention. This will be based around the use of machine learning and new data sources. I don’t think implementing the technology will be the biggest challenge. The necessary shift in the way insurance organisations think about their services will be more difficult.

Why did CGI join InsTech as a corporate member? 

Tim: It’s really important for CGI to hear directly from those innovating in the market. We enjoy talking with people who think about things differently and are working to make a difference in the market. Daren and I both joined CGI because of the ability to make a difference, which we feel we have in common with the InsTech community.

Daren: It’s great to connect with people in the market who are willing to think differently and challenge traditional ways of doing things. Being part of the InsTech community is a great way to test our thinking while learning from others. I also love the social side of the events InsTech puts on.

What companies is CGI looking to connect with? 

Daren: We would love to talk to insurers, brokers or MGAs looking to prepare their companies for the future.
Tim: CGI wants to build truly open ecosystems and architecture, so we are always looking for new partners. We are especially interested in those working within API enablement, AI risk insights and computable contracts.