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The theme of this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW was clear: Run Simple in an increasingly complex world. Insurance businesses that can evolve in the data driven environment that we live in now will be the ones that lead and excel.

Today, customers and competitors have more information about your business than you might have about them. How can your business use the data it has, or the data it has access to, to gain the upper hand and provide immediate value? SAPPHIRE NOW provided plenty of advice for insurance companies to use technology to create a competitive advantage.


Stop Reporting the Past and Start Predicting the Future

Tom Wright from Swiss Re, a major reinsurer, highlighted the growth in complexity of reporting requirements since the economic downturn. The shift was simply not sustainable given Swiss Re’s older processes and systems. In order for this century-old company to survive the new landscape and thrive in the digital age, they undertook a shift from manual operations toward technology solutions. Working with SAP, Swiss Re launched a multi-year finance transformation program based on real-time planning, prediction, and analytics. The retooling allowed them to set the target of reducing closing time from fifty-five days down to five, thus providing their partners with the data and the transparency they need in a useful time frame. View the 20 minute session here.

Focus on Simplicity and Sustainability

Allstate, which is a truly global company with over 70,000 team members, had built a robust system for HR operations. The system was built with a focus on function and operation, both appropriate goals, at least at the time. However, the system was overly complex and expensive to maintain. As Brett Winchell pointed out in his session, the mistake, seen in hindsight, was not focusing on the user perspective first and the function and processes of the system second. When designing the new system with SAP, the goals were simplicity and sustainability. In addition, understanding the outcomes from a reporting and analytics perspective was a driving force in all decisions during the process. View the 20 minute session here.

Disrupt or Be Disrupted

The finance and insurance industries are seeing an influx of disruptors from non-insurance financial companies and smaller financial technology companies. Not burdened with legacy systems, these companies develop in an agile fashion, hitting the market early and refining products as they go by asking, “What else can we offer?” In addition, many of these companies are not subject to the same regulations as traditional insurers. Disruptors use new business models and are forcing many established businesses to break out of their risk-aversion mind sets and take the first-mover advantage. View the 30 minute session here.


Insurance technology is rapidly changing and the sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW show how some companies are using data to gain market insight, better manage their competitors, and build customer intimacy. With a simple and sustainable approach, it’s now time for you to reimagine your business.

See all of the recorded sessions here and please share your feedback.

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