Like many industries, insurance has become more exciting than ever as technology continues to inspire new trends, products and innovations. Daren Rudd, Liz Mirecki and Sarah Oldreive from our Insurance team tell us why insurance is an increasingly fascinating field, especially for our teams at CGI!
Despite common perception, insurance has always been a dynamic and innovative industry. It’s a field a lot of people find themselves in by chance, but once they’re there, they quickly discover how interesting it is.
“Like many people, I didn't choose insurance, but when I fell into it, I quickly found it fascinating,” says Daren Rudd, CGI UK’s consulting, innovation and product lead for the insurance area. “My career actually began in marketing, back in the early days of the internet, but I transitioned across to a role as a Business Analyst as I was always asking why! From there I’ve worked in various IT leader roles in a number of insurance organisations.”
“The thing is, without insurance, satellites wouldn't launch, films wouldn't get made, and you would think twice before going on holiday! Insurance makes it possible for industry and people to do amazing things.”
Daren joined CGI four years ago to head up our insurance consulting department, and together with his teams, looks at industry and technology trends and what that means for our clients. “We find opportunities to make a difference for them, and then we work with our engineering teams to bring our products to life. Today, with advances in technology continuously driving the industry, it’s more exciting than ever.”
Liz Mirecki, Head of Intellectual Property (IP) Programme Delivery on our Insurance Product team agrees. “Gone are the days of two to three year projects. The speed in which a product can be in a customer’s hands has drastically increased, which means we’re constantly exciting the market with the art of the possible.”
Key shifts revolutionising the industry
Certainly, technology is playing a much bigger and more direct role in the development of insurance products and services. “We have things like connected devices Internet of Things (IoT) enabling parametric insurance (e.g. paying out on a specific event without the need to review the claim - think automatic payment of a cancelled flight) while more data mixed with Application Programming Interface (API) allows new embedded insurance products,” explains Daren.
Adds Sarah Oldreive, Head of Product, “The insurance industry has evolved to become more customer-centric, with an emphasis on implementing products that meet customer needs. That’s led to the use of big data analytics to create more granular and tailored products, while AI and machine learning help us to create more user-friendly, streamlined products and processes.”
Daren spends a lot of time working with our Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to plan out how we can make the most of new technologies. “Right now, we’re working on a lot of great projects, including one that involves using large language model Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support underwriters, as part of our Workbench product.”
“I also meet regularly with our technology partners to understand how we can use them within our ecosystem as part of the solution,” he continues. “A significant shift in recent years has been
people coming in from outside the insurance market, without traditional insurance knowledge, and developing innovative offerings. This is driving all of us in the industry - and certainly here at CGI - to look at problems in a completely different way, and think deeply about what’s out there and how we can leverage it to do amazing things for our clients.”
“It’s making the industry more interesting for everyone by challenging the established thinking,” says Liz, whose role encompasses creating the overall milestone plan that supports the ongoing development and improvement of our insurance product suite. “I’m seeing it inspire a lot of creativity, and impact ideation and development in a very exciting way.”
Insurance technology is exciting at CGI
Thanks to our diverse client base, and our offices in Canada, Australia and the UK, our members are exposed to a broad range of work - a novel experience for many, and one of the most appealing aspects of CGI.
“I have to say that I really enjoy the diversity here,” says Daren. “Some years ago I was instrumental in an InsurTech startup, where we developed an innovative, low-code insurance platform from scratch - an incredible experience. However, for the last four years I have loved using that knowledge and experience working across multiple projects and clients at CGI.”
Liz feels the same. “As well as the excitement of working in London, the big deal breaker for me when choosing CGI was the opportunities you get at a global consultancy. I’d been working in-house at a fast-growing insurance company up north, which more than prepared me for the challenges CGI was offering.”
“I help to operationalise the ideas, define clear delivery plans, and identify any potential risks that could prevent a successful outcome. I believe that without a strong delivery expert operating in any business, you generally find that good ideas don't tend to go further than that - a good idea. With my skill set, I am able to bring ideas to life and add value to customers, CGI, and the industry.”
Most rewarding of all?
Most of all, what we do at CGI is highly rewarding. All too often, companies get too excited about what the technology can do, and lose track of the human perspective. At CGI, we start by asking, “How do we make a difference to the individual? How are we making their life better?”
Workbench is a great example. “When we first started looking at the main challenges for underwriters in the market, we went to them with a hypothesis of problems based on our experience in the market,” says Daren. “As we listened to them however, we quickly pivoted. We learned that underwriters don't really want to be digitally transformed, but they do want to be freed up from drudgery to underwrite! So that’s what we’ve focused on, and that’s how we make a meaningful difference: we listen. We ask ‘Why?’ a lot so we can really understand a client’s motivations, and then think deeply about how best to help them achieve their goals.”
“Overseeing our Elements360 product suite enables me to showcase my skills in product development as well as my passion for developing people in roles,” says Sarah. “I really enjoy our fast-paced environment, building solutions that really make a difference to peoples’ lives, and the challenge of product development. CGI empowers and supports me to get the very best out of me and my teams.”
“My role is highly rewarding. It’s dynamic and hands-on. I can be in the weeds of the details in one session - shaping features and discussing design - and then exploring strategies for the future road map in the next. We strive to be at the forefront of innovation in the insurance space, and I’m proud to be part of a team that’s constantly looking for solutions to better serve customers.”
Bringing our teams together to enhance our existing products or build new solutions - it’s all driven by a core desire to solve problems that matter to our clients. Ultimately, that’s behind everything we do at CGI: everyone here just wants to make a difference.
“I do run a tight ship,” Liz finishes up, “But I love to inspire my teams as we go. What we’re doing is exciting and there’s something new evolving all the time. Whatever we’re working on at any given moment, I like to motivate people on the journey at CGI - I’m always trying to ensure they have as much fun as I do along the way!”
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