Last month, Gore Mutual hosted the second edition of its Fast Forward event at Toronto’s breathtaking Koerner Hall. The sold-out event brought together 750 brokers and industry professionals who came to hear candid conversations about the challenges facing the Canadian insurance industry as the pace of climate, societal, economic and technological change continues to accelerate.

The key themes of artificial intelligence, machine learning, customer-centricity, omni-channel marketing and technological partnerships dominated discussions. Mukul Ahuja from Monitor Deloitte introduced everyone to the term “coopetition,” which surprised the packed room and punctuated the panel on Technology and the Customer Experience.

The concept of new models of collaboration between business competitors for mutual benefit was first introduced by Heidi Sevcik, President and CEO of Gore Mutual, in her opening remarks.

“We are living in a time of exponential change, and it’s only just begun,” she said. “Our mutual success depends on our ability to work together – brokers, insurers, reinsurers, technology companies and InsurTechs – and to look beyond what is in front of us today to solve the problems of tomorrow.”

While iconic Canadians Rick Mercer and Peter Mansbridge delighted everyone early on with their inspiring and unique takes on Canada’s diversity and values, it was the Idea Accelerator panel discussions that stole the show.

“This is where all the action happens,” said Idea Accelerator host Paul Jackson, Gore Mutual’s Chief Marketing and Distribution Officer, as the industry discussions began.

Addressing the insurance brokers in attendance, Jackson went on to add that, “At Gore Mutual, we are very serious about change and transformation and we’re very serious about doing that in partnership with you.”

Jackson and his Idea Accelerator co-host Lyndsay Monk, Gore Mutual’s Senior Director of Finance, then led three dynamic and fast-paced panels boasting 13 industry experts who provided their perspectives on change and windows into the future. Brian Timmis, Managing Director from the Dalton Timmis Group, startled some attendees with his wake-up call that, “We’re in a war right now. Like it or not. If you’re not reinventing and investing in yourself, you’re going to die.”

Industry Outlook 2018, the first of three industry panels, dissected the impact of emerging business models, new technology, weather catastrophes and the broker workforce. The need for changing the way brokers do business was all too clear for HUB International’s President, Tina Osen, who stated, “No matter the size of our business, we really have to shift our thinking to create new environments for this next generation that allows us to test and learn, innovate and move things along.”

The second panel, Technology and the Customer Experience, looked at how the industry could collaborate to deliver better technology to brokers and improve the customer experience. Monitor Deloitte’s Ahuja was asked if the insurance industry was ready to address shifts in consumer expectations. In his response, he praised an increase in awareness and some of the efforts that are being made, but said it was time to turn, “experiments into much more viable commercial opportunities and really change the game from a customer experience perspective.”

Artificial intelligence was a cornerstone of the discussions in the day’s final panel, titled Broker of the Future. Navacord’s President and CEO, Shawn DeSantis, observed the rapid rate of the technology’s evolution and growth commenting, “I don’t think it’s going to take 10 years to impact our business, I actually think it’s impacting our business now.”

Check out a highlight video from the Idea Accelerator panel discussions below.

During each of the three panels, Gore Mutual introduced new initiatives the company is launching to underscore its commitment to broker distribution including its new Commercial Value Proposition, ClaimCare – its bold new approach to its great claims service, and its vision for the broker of the future. The company will be sharing more information about all of these with its broker partners over the coming months.

Fast Forward attendees were engaged not only with the wealth of content being shared throughout the event, but also on social media as well and helped the forum trend at #1 on Twitter.

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