Soon after 20 years’ working experience in the know-how marketplace ‒ 15 of which have been spent in the economical and insurance policies sectors ‒ Frederic St-Jean Mercier has relished the troubles presented by his most new part as CIO at Canada’s most revered MGA.
GroupAssur was started in 1993, servicing the specialised insurance policies requires of brokers and buyers throughout Canada. The organization supplies underwriting solutions for elaborate insurance policy guidelines on behalf of Canadian insurance policies carriers, intercontinental coverage carriers, and Lloyd’s of London insurance plan syndicates.
Headquartered in Montreal, GroupAssur has usually been actively involved in new complex improvements and approaches, and, early final calendar year, merged with Evolution Insurance plan, an MGA and wholesaler specialising in complicated threats that presents its facilities, programmes and services to Canadian brokers. The shift has ushered in a amount of adjustments, along with the company’s have technological evolution.
St-Jean Mercier, who joined GroupAssur in 2021, is very well-versed in the approach and has substantial expertise with the changeover from conventional engineering stacks.
“Last 12 months, I joined GroupAssur, I felt their vision to pivot to a know-how driven firm, blended with their size was a pure suit dependent on my encounter in both of those substantial monetary enterprises and more compact, nimbler SaaS technological innovation corporations. My purpose is effectively to build value by technology in the organisation and foster a culture of innovation.”
St-Jean Mercier suggests GroupAssur has taken a one of a kind tactic to its specialized transition, in that its teams are redesigning the business enterprise first and then putting systems in spot to in good shape that will need.
“We’re essentially rethinking, reshaping our business design and our operating design dependent on what we can do with systems, so I get the job done very intently with the other executives to really realize their worries,” he suggests. “We share the exact targets and KPIs.
New market offerings and a robust track record
GroupAssur is the major Canadian owned MGA in P&C insurance coverage in Canada. The organization predominantly supplies professional coverage items, and has a large vary of solutions, from Standard Legal responsibility to home. The merger with Evolution Insurance policies has been a symbiotic transfer.
“We experienced really complimentary merchandise, so that created us the amount one Canadian owned MGAin the state,” St-Jean Mercier suggests. “Our purpose is to generate a world-course MGA and expand by the United States.”
Portion of this journey is the deployment of new systems that are established to more improve GroupAssur’s vast portfolio of professional products and solutions. The innovations are including price to broker providers. GroupAssur will be the 1st MGA in the globe to be going dwell on Guidewire ‒ the earth-renowned cloud indigenous, P&C platform for insurers.
It really is just 1 of the factors that now sets GroupAssur apart from the competitors. St-Jean Mercier points out: “Most MGAs are fairly market. We are distinctive mainly because we symbolize most of the national insurers and we do so by means of various distinct insurance coverage products and solutions – which we structure – and build partnerships with them.
“This permits us to present a extremely wide and various variety of insurance plan merchandise, enabling us to deal with very sophisticated risks that most insurance plan firms would not be capable or inclined to address on their own..”
GroupAssur is, in his opinion, capable to assemble a absolutely diverse variety of coverage giving. A different aggressive advantage is the company’s economic means. As Canada’s most significant MGA, backed by highly regarded buyers, it has the skill to invest in technologies at scale, in a way that extremely couple of other MGAs can.
Technology adoption in industrial insurance plan
The need for extra streamlined and digitised industrial coverage is significant, but a restricted amount of common business gamers have decided on to adopt the hottest technological improvements. Instead, they have tended to aim on private lines merchandise.
St-Jean Mercier clarifies: “This has made a gap involving the point out of engineering for private strains coverage and that for industrial insurance coverage.”. Then COVID came, and dramatically improved the landscape, so now customers’ anticipations are even greater when it will come to the digital and self-provider market. This puts even extra force on insurance plan firms to spend additional into personalized traces and will most possible widen the gap even further when it arrives to electronic offerings in the industrial lines sector.
This circumstance has delivered GroupAssur with the opportunity to be at the forefront of entities investing following-generation expert services in the professional lines sector.
“Commercial coverage is our core small business, this is what we’re concentrating on. We’re investing in these technologies so that we can provide major gains and disruption to the field via the use of tech in a way that no-one else has finished ahead of.”
Main values in a transforming industry
As agile procedures and new technologies promptly rework the mechanisms and processes available by GroupAssur, the corporation is intent on earning certain it retains its core values, which are centered in respect and integrity, excellence and unity..
“This is really the bedrock of our organization. We function in the money sector, so our shoppers and our associates want to have faith in us. We require to be respectful and have integrity at all periods. This is non-negotiable.”
“Excellence translates into the high quality of our work, both for what we offer to our brokers and how we symbolize our insurance carriers. Our KPIs are pushed close to excellence, as perfectly as the value we can bring to our companions.
“This is where the innovation element will come in. We produce expertise as a result of technological know-how and innovation. There is certainly no other way to do it. You will find a restrict to how you can scale applying handbook procedures, pen and paper and folks. So excellence is the driver of technological innovation for us.”
The closing core value for GroupAssur is unity, which is applied to the company’s inner operations as significantly as to its purchaser goods and products and services.
“We share all the exact same objectives,” states St-Jean Mercier. “Whether you’re in technologies, functions, underwriting or business enterprise growth, there are the identical goals across the board. We acquire together since we’re all accountable with each other. It is pretty critical for us.”
Electronic transformation and heading cloud indigenous
GroupAssur is at this time in the process of transitioning to a cloud indigenous product on the Guidewire platform. The integration approach will be done before long, creating the insurance coverage supplier the initial MGA in Canada to operate in this way.
“Guidewire is at the centre of the main coverage operations ecosystem that we are developing. But about this we are utilizing a large amount of different systems ‒ some of which is AI-driven and some of which is centred all-around automation, data and analytics, as properly as enterprise intelligence,” carries on St-Jean Mercier.
As element of the transition, GroupAssur’s crew developed a Facts Lake featuring data from throughout the company’s full landscape of legacy devices to give a unified dimension which AI algorithms will leverage to assist the enterprise make selections.
“A good deal of our transformation is not all-around replacing the humans ‒ it can be all over 3 factors. Velocity, effectiveness, and insight.
Foremost, velocity is of the essence. We seem at the velocity at which a case moves through our pipeline, getting rid of any type of clerical or knowledge entry operate for our workers.
“This will allow them to aim on doing actual underwriting work devoid of acquiring to go and lookup for all of the facts that they will need to make a decision. It really is genuinely about simplifying their procedure we are not removing the human from the equation, simply because we are an underwriting business.
“We also think that engineering is not at the stage, for the foreseeable long term, where by it can make underwriting decisions. Those are far too elaborate, specially in the commercial sector. Rather, what we are executing is building guaranteed that our technological innovation routes the appropriate case to the suitable underwriter ‒ the one who is the most certified to accomplish that situation incredibly competently.”
GroupAssur’s new processes are created attainable by its partnerships and new APIs. The organization has solid numerous alliances with facts suppliers that are previously built-in into Guidewire’s platform. The AI-pushed solutions extract the details from the different channels that receives submissions. They then feed that straight into Guidewire alongside with some of its individual inferred examination & insights ‒ so absolutely taking away the information entry and clerical do the job part of the labour.
The availability of insights is also critical, claims St-Jean Mercier, since it guides all administration decisions in the company’s system.
“We have already developed a reside organization intelligence hub that tracks all of our KPIs, all of our performances, our markets, our brokers’ overall performance in the course of the years, month by month. We can slice it anyway we want and go back as significantly as 10 several years. It contains unified information from all the diverse legacy techniques that we have, and we made it so that it can scale with acquisition, due to the fact component of our system is all over acquisition.”
Within just just a few quick months, GroupAssur can deliver a legacy process from an acquisition onto the data lake and start off migrating it more than to the Guidewire system. Ultimately, they aim to finish the put up-merger integration of the total method in just a few-to-6 months following a transaction.
“That’s the gist of our transformation,” St-Jean Mercier states. “So, what form of price does it carry to our stakeholders?
“If I am an coverage corporation and I see that GroupAssur’s technology enables faster and extra economical quoting to their brokers – at no additional value to them and with a loss ratio equivalent to or bigger than the latest ratios, than it can be a no-brainer for these organizations to lover with us and create much more packages. . “
“From the broker standpoint, It truly is all about giving them overall flexibility and velocity. They you should not want to have to enter details on a portal for six distinctive MGAs and 4 different insurance policies carriers for every quote. That’s not sustainable. So we want to make it effortless for them to deliver cases to us, and we want to make it easy for them to perform their business, even when it is a incredibly complicated possibility
“Finally, when we speak to prospective organizations that we want to purchase or merge with, in addition to the wide selection of insurance items and knowledge that we bring, we convey technological innovation that they never have and that would be quite high priced to put into action. Their knowledge and merchandise array, combined with our aggressive gain, helps make it simple for them to choose to sign up for GroupAssur.
“They bring us their abilities and their items, and we bring them our tech, o ur items, our abilities. It is really a gain-gain for absolutely everyone.”
Important Performance Indicators driving method
GroupAssur’s expansion system is guided by critical performance indicator (KPI) info that directs our system and drives our growth.
St-Jean Mercier explains: “Our two major KPIs are our loss ratio and our time-to-quotation. When you do underwriting, you want to make certain that you do it suitable ‒ that you check every single box ‒ that you cover just about every angle, since you you should not want to have a terrible risk. You cannot hurry the method, but you nevertheless want to be rapidly. So our time-to-quotation KPI is counterbalanced by the loss ratio. We want to have a loss ratio that much exceeds something that coverage organizations have mainly because it really is critical for them.
“We depict them, so we have to execute greater. In the end, 1 most important KPI is enabling the business to quotation speedier and deliver them with all the information and the insight they need to have to estimate one thing very effectively, allowing for them to make the suitable decision at the suitable rate, making use of the correct facility.
By taking care of the KPIs effectively and scaling fast, GroupAssur has implemented an ambitious growth system that will empower it to enter the US current market before long. “We want to develop to the US current market, we are truly at the moment searching for MGAs around there that want to companion with us in this undertaking.
St-Jean Mercier states that, inside 3-to-6 months ‒ based on the original technological innovation stack and procedures ‒ an MGA that was relying on legacy programs will be in a placement to swap, in its entirety, to a wholly new electronic proposition.
Difficulties experiencing the coverage business
Although engineering is fast paced transforming legacy corporations to slick, electronic operators, it’s effortless to imagine the approach has been challenge-no cost. This is not the situation, according to St-Jean Mercier, who emphasises the truth that the war on talent is a really actual stumbling block to the insurance industry in normal.
“It’s very really hard ‒ and like any person, we are going through the very same issues. Labour shortages, primarily in tech, are seriously challenging for the reason that the pace at which technological innovation is evolving has accelerated. You have a difficult time discovering expertise, but a yr later on you have to find extra talent for more recent technologies , which complicates the obstacle.”
GroupAssur is running the scenario strategically by coming up with its core tech workforce to be composed of superior performers with large accountability that are mainly geared toward architecture and small business analyst roles. The group conceptualised and developed the high level architecture and then developed the roadmap. They have a company comprehending of the company’s technique and goals. They are also very well-versed in a varied spectrum of systems so that, if the have to have arises, they can be paired with a digital lover to execute a new challenge.
The digital ecosystem has turn out to be a crucial driver for all of GroupAssur’s scaling strategies ‒ in fact, St-Jean Mercier describes it as critical. “There’s no way we could have shipped Guidewire in these a smaller amount of time if it hadn’t been for the assist of our ecosystem partners. We partnered with Ernst & Young Canada. They have a phenomenal team, and I have been so amazed with how much expertise and expertise they can pull in at scale.
“This is a prime case in point of how, when you’re going through a labour lack, a companion with international scale can pull abilities from all around the globe and establish an insurance plan application program follow in record time. It’s been eye-opening.
“We’re chatting plan centre, billing centre, producer engage portals, shopper engage portals, replacing four distinctive legacy devices, on-monitor and underneath finances in under a calendar year ‒ that is just phenomenal.”
The other husband or wife GroupAssur has occur to depend on is SIA Companions. The French fintech corporation has headquarters in Canada and has a strong standing for AI and facts science. SIA manages the coding and algorithm constructing essential by GroupAssur as the company continues to scale and enter new marketplaces.
“We think it truly is a actually very good crew. We have been doing the job with them for the creation of knowledge and the initial iteration of our AI algorithm, which is presently managing in manufacturing. So these are just two of the numerous excellent associates we have. But I would say that all those are the two key ones.
New horizons for GroupAssur
The long term is certainly brilliant for this forward-pondering company that has embraced innovations and systems, not only to drive their have processes, but to transform the offerings of their stakeholders and clients, as well.
“In phrases of the foreseeable future, the 3 places of emphasis for us will be completing the transformation that we’re currently effectively into, and then pivot
to turn into a technological know-how-driven insurance plan business,” enthuses St-Jean Mercier. “After that, we want to leverage improvements to revolutionise the commercial insurance and MGA Industry. That is our major target for the foreseeable future, as effectively as consolidating our leadership in Canada.”
The move into the US is yet another major move, and an enlargement that is remaining actively worked upon. St-Jean concludes: “We want to increase that to a place exactly where we become unreachable by the level of competition. We are actively searching for other MGAs in the US that want to bring their knowledge to us, although we carry our engineering and skills to them. The US is a incredibly important milestone for us in our upcoming, and the very first ”