How cloud adoption is transforming the insurance industry

Share this post:

Many insurance providers are now at an inflection point in their cloud transformation journey. Going beyond a “lift and shift” strategy with Infrastructure as a Service and focusing on Platform as a Service (PaaS) are the next steps for insurers in gaining cloud maturity. Applications hosted in the cloud cost less to maintain, are easier to change and enable the business to move quickly–for example pushing out new functionality faster for customers looking to file a claim.

The advantages of deciding to move to cloud are a no-brainer, but the majority of insurers still need a clear understanding of what it will take to make the journey to the cloud a successful one. At Think 2019 in San Francisco, several leading insurers will share their best practices and lessons learned in cloud transformation in the insurance industry. Here are a few sessions I recommend below.

Aetna’s hybrid cloud platform for the next-generation consumer experience

The insurance industry is leading the way on hybrid cloud adoption. Rather than following a traditional approach of moving from private cloud to public in a strict sequence, the necessity for agility and cost saving means a hybrid approach is being embraced. Hybrid cloud infrastructures offer the flexible and responsive IT that insurers’ high-pressure businesses demand. A hybrid cloud system goes one step further by combining both private and public cloud alternatives within a single portal. Hybrid cloud also unifies customer data across web servers, eCommerce and ERP applications, order and fulfillment systems, as well as Insurance business applications to enhance productivity, customer service and brand reputation.

Learn first hand from Claus Torp Jensen from Aetna on how Hybrid Cloud is transforming customer experience by attending the session on Aetna’s Hybrid Cloud Platform for the Next-Generation Consumer Experience on Thursday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM in Moscone South, Level 2 | San Francisco Ballroom 203

USAA: How cloud and AI can transform financial services data and analytics organizations

Insurance companies have long used data analytics to help direct their strategy to maximize profits. Ideally data analytics helps eliminate much of the guesswork involved in trying to understand clients, systemically tracking data patterns to best construct business tactics and operations to minimize uncertainty. Not only does analytics determine what might attract new customers, often analytics recognizes existing patterns in data to help better serve existing customers, which is typically more cost effective than establishing new business.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data work well together. That is because AI needs data to build its intelligence, particularly machine learning. Big data can provide the data needed to train the learning algorithms. AI drives savings for insurance carriers, brokers and policyholders, plugging into existing transformations within the insurance industry.

Learn first hand from Kristen Harris and Will Self from USAA on How Cloud and AI Can Transform Financial Services Data and Analytics Organizations on Wednesday, 9:30 AM – 10:10 AM in Moscone South, Exhibit Level, Hall C | Data & AI Theater D

Investing in a cloud-first strategy: Migration and application modernization at Manulife

Insurance companies spend a large amount of their technology budget on maintaining their core legacy apps. This is an opportunity cost for them as they could have spent that money to change and innovate on other fronts like new product development, distribution channels and customer experience. Although risk averse in terms of adopting a new technology, such as cloud, insurance providers are now at an inflection point in their transformation journey and are in a for a rude awakening when they actually get into the nitty gritty of migrating core applications. The ease or difficulty of moving any application to the cloud depends on how it was designed.

Join us on Wednesday from 5:30 PM – 6:10 PM | Session ID: 5050A, AMC at Metreon, Level 3 | Theatre 12 to learn from Justin Proud of Manulife on assessing cloud services, including IBM Cloud for Skytap, and aligning them with different application needs; the challenges of re-architecting applications for hyperscale clouds and how to avoid them; and the best practices for transitioning from on-premises to cloud-driven app development.

Acme on modernizing IT and cyber resiliency

Cybersecurity is about reacting. Cyber resilience is about anticipating. There are six ways insurance companies can plant strong roots for cyber resilience: improve basics, embrace cloud for security, implement data-centric security, demand application security by design, leverage software-define networking, engage in proactive defense.

Join us for an interactive discussion about how Acme modernized their IT and cyber resiliency strategy on Thursday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM | Session ID: 6743A
Moscone South, Level 2 | San Francisco Ballroom 207

Zerto and data centers on cloud

Hybrid cloud is the new norm. Many insurers are adopting the hybrid cloud model to transform their data centers. Hybrid cloud, defined here as the mix of public and private clouds with traditional IT, has given organizations the flexibility to support a new generation of application workloads and deliver on rising expectations for simplicity, agility and choice. The hybrid cloud environment offers game-changing potential for the insurance enterprise.

Join us to learn from Mehran Hadipour of Zerto Inc and Jordan Shamir of IBM on how a leading financial services company chose Zerto to migrate myriad workloads to IBM Cloud, providing unmatched performance and a pay-for use cost model. Thursday, 12:30 PM – 1:10 PM | Session ID: 2114A, Moscone South, Level 2 | San Francisco Ballroom 204

Markel’s journey to cloud

Insurance companies looking to migrate to cloud have five major pain points that we have identified:

  • “How do I reduce my costs?”
  • “How do I simplify, consolidate, optimize my IT operations?”
  • “How do I rapidly deploy and scale these services”
  • “How do I disrupt my industry, increase competitiveness, and increase revenue?”
  • “How do I reduce risk, business, technical, regulatory, talent, skills, and attrition?”

Insurance leader Markel experienced these issues firsthand as they initiated a strategic IT transformation starting with an overarching cloud adoption strategy. Markel initially partnered with IBM to define the cloud adoption strategy and build a foundation for the transformation journey. More recently, Markel has expanded the IBM partnership to jointly execute the journey. This session will cover Markel’s experience in their journey to cloud, including challenges faced and lessons learned.

Join us to hear from Mike Scyphers, Markel and Shai Joshi, IBM on Markel’s Journey to Cloud on Thursday, 8:30 AM – 9:10 AM | Session ID: 6502A, InterContinental Hotel, Fifth Floor

Allstate’s move to hybrid marketing

In this modern marketing era, CMOs are facing an expanded mandate to reimagine their role within the C-suite and across the enterprise. Their challenge: To set new standards for how marketing gets done. As brand stewards and customer champions, CMOs need to strategically address how to help their organizations compete by increasing value; creating exceptional, personalized customer experiences; and transforming corporate cultures to think and operate in truly customer-centric ways.

Join us to learn from Lana Murray of Allstate Insurance and Stanton Willins from Covalent Marketing on how Allstate Insurance added IBM Watson Campaign Automation (WCA) to its IBM Marketing software, and shifted its marketing technology architecture from an on-premises to a hybrid model. The discussion will cover the challenges they faced, how they overcame them, and where they plan to go next. Thursday, 5:30 PM – 6:10 PM | Session ID: 5261A Westin St. Francis, Level 1 | Tower Salon A


On Wednesday, February 13 from 8:30-10:00 AM, don’t miss the IBM Financial Services Networking Breakfast at Think where you can hear from Tom Eck, CTO and VP of IBM Cloud and Financial Services, and Sandip Patel, General Managing Director of IBM Insurance, and join banking and insurance industry experts and like-minded peers in discussions of the key imperatives and new technologies driving the industry. Please pre-register as there is limited space available.

Visit the Think website and session planner  to learn about the many other insurance-specific sessions. Simply choose Insurance under the Industry filter in the planner. The conference provides an exciting list of sessions with a large attendance of insurers offering lots of opportunities for networking and enjoying the beautiful city of San Francisco.

–>Browse more Think 2019 insurance blogs and sessions by topic

–>Explore IBM Insurance solutions

–>Watch the Think Concierge videos to learn how to make the most out of Think 2019.

Also follow these social media platforms to stay informed with the latest updates

Event Hashtag: #Think2019


Global Services Executive & WW Cloud Lead - Insurance Industry

More Cloud stories

To energize innovation in financial services, take it outside

Financial companies have always been innovators. But in this age of digital transformation, innovation in financial services is more important than ever to stay competitive. Innovation processes, traditionally limited to product development, are now spreading throughout the entire organization. Many companies, however, are not yet well-positioned to reap the benefits. When researchers from the IESE […]

Continue reading

Four ways to stem the growth of financial crime in insurance

Insurers have long understood that the ability to quickly detect fraudulent claims not only stems losses, but also minimizes the impact to legitimate customers as well. But as more complex financial crimes like money laundering, employee fraud, and corruption have gravitated toward insurers more recently, many don’t have the programs in place to combat these […]

Continue reading

How can insurers stay relevant when insurance ceases to be mandatory?

Insurance and insurers have been around for millennia, with modern insurance starting in the U.K. more than 300 years ago. For much of this time, incumbent insurers have been protected from competition by four big barriers: regulation, the law of large numbers, the trust nature of insurance, and, last but not least, the inertia of […]

Continue reading