Recipes for Success From Our Impact Award Winners

Recipes for Success From Our Impact Award WinnersDuring last week’s Client and Council Member Virtual Panel, Aite-Novarica Group Head of Life Insurance, Annuities, and Benefits Rob McIsaac and I were joined by four winners from this year’s Research Council Impact Awards. Each of our panelists was the leader of an insurance technology project recognized by ANG’s Insurance Technology Research Council as exemplary in generating real business impact for their respective companies.

These projects spanned predictive analytics for fraud detection and claims severity, electronic policy document delivery, and a data lake for better customer view and insights. Here’s what the panelists agreed were the keys to their successful projects:


One panelist explained the importance of properly scoping the project before it began. They decided the goal of their AI fraud detection system would only be to indicate the probability of a given claim being suspicious rather than trying to confirm fraud. Ensuring that everyone understood what was achievable in the project time frame and that they all agreed with the goal of the project from the get-go were central. The panelist noted that the key word for their project was “partnership.” There’s also an element of “success breeding success” in the project methodology, which allows lessons learned in one phase to be rapidly incorporated into subsequent phases.

True Partnership

All of the panelists agreed that partnership, communication, and a culture that fosters both are vital to the success of these complex, multi-team projects. Especially important is maintaining communication with business stakeholders to ensure that features and scope remain clear. As one panelist put it, “From day one, every week, every sprint, the claims fraud department was as well represented as my team.” Another panelist agreed that the partnership and collaboration between the business teams, the IT development team, and the data innovation team were crucial to delivering the project.

Communication and Culture

Of course, true partnership can only work with the right culture and good communication practices in place. Since the projects were implemented during a global pandemic, project teams had to adapt quickly in an unfamiliar environment. “We worked hard to recreate those ‘whiteboard moments’ through Google tools,” explained one panelist. Another made sure to continue Agile ceremonies and frequent check-ins to replace the serendipitous hallway encounters that might previously have been used for updates or new ideas.

No matter what communication tools are used, however, collaboration will fail without the right culture. “It comes down to culture,” the panelists agreed. The pandemic showed how a cultural commitment to continuous learning was prerequisite to providing the agility needed to keep projects on track as circumstances all around the teams shifted.

“Failure Is Not an Option”

Finally, many of our panelists saw their projects as absolute necessities for conducting business. “Do or die” can be a great motivator — assuming the proper partnerships, communication, and culture are in place.

The complete list of this year’s Research Council Impact Award winners can be found in our Digital, Data, Core, and IT Practice Case Study Compendiums. A complete recording of last week’s Client and Council Member Virtual Panel can be accessed here. The next Virtual Panel Discussion on insurer budgets and projects takes place on Tuesday, November 9 at 1 PM ET. More details and registration for the session can be found here.

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