Why SurveyorTech is an Awesome Tool for a Virtual Risk Management Survey

SurveyorTech Virtual Risk Management Survey

Clearly onsite visits aren’t always possible, but given recent events, clients are much more open to meeting their suppliers remotely.

Video Surveys are a highly effective tool that allows risk management professionals to virtually:

  • Conduct site and facility tours to understand the associated risks.
  • Provide virtual risk management advice and discuss any queries or concerns with a client.
  • Survey or inspect the client’s site, property and other assets.
  • Re-survey a risk that has had a previous on-premises survey.
  • Check progress with previous risk management advice and risk improvements.

I’m sure like many organisations, you are using video conferencing tools like Zoom, Teams, Skype, Google meet etc. to conduct some of these remote survey examples.

Video conferencing tools work well for a general catch up but can create a challenge if you need to record, share or store the survey data.

Multiple Video and images can create large files making surveys clunky to share and will also require some consideration on hosting.

So, if you are a looking for a cost-effective solution for your virtual risk assessments, then SurveyorTech may help you.

How a SurveyorTech Virtual Risk Management Survey Works

As a Risk Management professional, SurveyorTech enables you to survey a property or site remotely via a video call with someone at the client’s premises who is using the SurveyorTech App.

You can communicate with the client via the portal, much like you would with any video conferencing software. 

The client will be able to see and hear you in the App and you can guide them to point their mobile devices camera at what they want to see. 

During the video meeting you can:

  • Capture an image whilst discussing a risk or issue with the client. 
  • Make notes alongside the image to act as a reminder or summary of what was discussed and agreed.
  • Annotate the image to highlight a specific issue or concern and what needs to happen.
  • Record multiple videos of what was discussed and agreed, with the option to add summary text.

Once you have completed the remote survey with the client you can:

  • Update the survey by tiding up notes and expanding on your observations.
  • Upload any other supporting images or video you may have.
  • Link associated images and video together
  • Link an image of a floorplan to images and video so the client can easily see where the issues are.

Once you are happy with your survey, simply press the publish button to create read-only shareable link that is stored securely in our cloud based SurveyorTech portal. 

Sharing and updating a SurveyorTech Survey

Sharing a SurveyorTech survey is easy. 

A published survey link can be copied and pasted into an existing survey report, sent via email or added to the client record in your back-office system.

As the Survey is hosted in the cloud and accessed by opening the link in a web browser, neither you or the recipient needs to worry about the handling or storing of large image and video files.

The recipient of a survey does not need to register with SurveyorTech, nor is there a charge for viewing a survey.

If you need to update the survey once it has been published, you can do this from within the survey saved in the SurveyorTech portal. 

Simply update the survey with any new text, upload any new images or video and then click the update button.

The Survey link will remain unchanged but will now contain the new data for the people you have previously shared the survey with.

Maximise your Virtual Risk Management with an on-premises survey

Your virtual risk management offering can be even more effective if you already have a digital twin of your clients’ site, premises and assets.

With a SurveyorTech on-premises survey you can:

  • Capture 360° images of the building exterior and interior (you will need a 360° camera for this)
  • If you have a Ricoh camera this will work seamlessly with the App. If you have another brand of camera you can upload these 360° images directly into the SurveyorTech portal from your desktop.
  • Link the 360° images to still photos and video for a more detailed survey. 
  • Add drone imagery of the entire site which can be annotated and linked to. Imagine if you could virtually fly around a site from your desktop, click on the door of the building you want to explore and walk around it virtually? (We have a drone partner if you need some help).
  • You can also upload a floorplan or site plan and add links to the relevant images and video. This makes it easy for the recipient to see where the issues you have identified are. 

Here is an example of an on-premises published survey*.

Clearly if you had an on-premises survey it would be an effective basis for a virtual risk assessment to keep this data current throughout the year or as something changes.

How much does SurveyorTech cost?

Pricing is just £50 plus VAT per user per month and includes:

  • Unlimited Surveys (on-premises and remote surveys are included). 
  • No hidden video call costs or additional fee’s
  • No long-term contract commitments simply pay each month and cancel anytime. 
  • Unlimited client downloads of our App
  • Unlimited survey sharing
  • 100gb storage per user, per annum. Additional storage can be made available for a small increase in your monthly fee.

Custom Reports – Coming Soon

Once this functionality is live and for a small increase in your monthly fee, you will be able to recreate any of your risk management templates in SurveyorTech.

Within these reports you will be able to embed any videos, images or 360° walkthroughs you have captured to enrich your report.

Published reports can be shared via our secure link or downloaded into PDF or Microsoft Word.

You will also be able to add your logo and brand colours to the report. 

Interested in finding out more?

Please complete the form on the SurveyorTech website or connect with me on LinkedIn to arrange a demo or discussion

How SurveyorTech remote surveys can help Insurance Brokers reduce cost and carbon footprint

SurveyorTech Remote Survey

As a busy Insurance Broker, I am sure there are times when a visit to a client doesn’t make sense from a time, cost and efficiency perspective. 

If you are concerned about the environment, all that time in the car will be adding to your carbon footprint too. 

A recent report by the BBC said that “transport accounts for around a quarter of CO2 emissions”. So having the software to survey remotely will certainly help insurance brokers do their bit.

I’m sure like many organisations, you are using video conferencing tools like Zoom, Teams, Skype, Google meet etc.

These services work well for a general catch up but can create a challenge if you need to survey a premises or site.

The video and images you capture can be quite large and can cause issues when you want to store the data or share the output with your stakeholders.

So, if you are a looking for a better solution to make your life that bit easier, then SurveyorTech can help you.

What is SurveyorTech?

SurveyorTech is an on-premises or remote property surveying tool that is truly unique in the market.

It is a surveying product that can support 360° images, flat images, video, drone imagery all within a single mobile application and web portal.

How Does a SurveyorTech Remote Survey Work?

SurveyorTech is simple to use and enables you to survey a property or site remotely via a video call with someone on-site (usually the client) using our SurveyorTech App.

All you need to do is set up the date and time you’d like to conduct the remote survey in the portal and a unique sharing code is created.

The person on site simply enters the sharing code in our free to download SurveyorTech App at the allotted survey time.

On the call and within our portal, you can communicate with the client in the App and can guide them to point their camera at what you want to see.  

You can:

  • Capture multiple short videos of what is being discussed or what you see. Each video can be named, and notes can be taken alongside the video.
  • Capture images that can be named and annotated with your observations.
  • Blank out sensitive information or faces within an image.
  • Upload other images, for example if a client has provided you with a floor plan or inspection certificate.
  • Link together Videos and images to build a remote virtual tour of the premises or site.
  • Publish the survey to create a read-only version that can shared with your stakeholders.

Example of a SurveyorTech Survey

Once you have completed your survey you can publish a read-only copy that can be easily shared, added to your back office system or included in a broking presentation.

Here is an example of a published survey*.

This is an on-premises survey, but the principle is the same for remote, just instead of 360° images you’d use a flat image and/or video.

As you can see, a published survey is just a link which can be opened in your browser.  

None of the published information can be changed by the recipient and there are no large files to open or store. 

There is no need for a recipient of a survey to register for SurveyorTech, nor is there a cost to view a survey.

How much does SurveyorTech cost?

Pricing is just £50 plus VAT per user per month and includes:

  • No long-term contract commitments simply pay each month and cancel anytime. 
  • Unlimited client downloads of our App
  • Each user will benefit from unlimited Surveys, either on-premises or remote surveys. 
  • 100gb storage per user, per annum. Additional storage available for a small increase in your monthly fee.

What’s coming next for SurveyorTech

We have quite a large product roadmap for SurveyorTech and will be launching new features all the time. 

If you’d like to be alerted to updates as they happen, please follow our SurveyorTech LinkedIn page.

Functionality coming soon:

  • Our SurveyorTech App will shortly be launched on Android – this will be rolled out to our users free of charge.
  • For an increased user license fee, you will soon be able to create your own white labelled reports, such as Fact Finds or Loss Control Reports that can be used in both on-premises and remote surveys.

Interested in finding out more?

Please complete the form on our website to arrange a demo or discussion. 

How to Create an Awesome Product Name – 9 Key Considerations

Creating an awesome product name will give you such a buzz, it really is a eureka moment.

To help you, I have written 9 key considerations based on my experience of creating new products from concept to execution.

1. Find a Domain Name to Match Your Product

When naming a product you should definitely purchase matching domain names, even if you aren’t looking to create a separate website or legal entity for your product right now.

Finding a domain name that matches your business name can be incredibly challenging.

It’s worth starting with a domain search first to avoid disappointment.

My personal view is you should look to buy the .com and also your local domain such as .co.uk if you’re business is based in the UK.

Avoid choosing a domain where someone else has purchased the same name with another domain extension. Doing so might create a legal conflict in the future or clients could get confused who is who. 

An example of this would be where the name you love is available with a .global extension but someone else owns the .com.

2. Make your product name memorable

If people struggle to remember your brand name or it is difficult to spell you should think again.

You want people to easily recall your product name so they can find it easily when searching online. 

When your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has kicked in this will save you a lot of money in paid advertising – although you may get other businesses bidding for paid advertising on your exact product name, but that’s one for another blog post.

3. Try Word Combinations

It’s highly likely the domain name you want to register is either already taken or there is someone else using a similar term.

It may be useful to blend a couple of words together that have relevance in your sector to create a new brand name.  This is likely to also have a low existing search base so you can quickly stand out for branded name search. 

For example, I used Surveyor and Tech to create the brand name for www.surveyortech.com

I chose SurveyorTech because all the social media names were available, at the time search results for the term “SurveyorTech” was below 5,000.

Plus the name made a lot of sense for a product business all about providing software for people and businesses that conduct surveys.

A simple way to do this is to mind map all of the names and terms that may be connected with your product, business or target audience.  You may well see a perfect combination jump out at you from the page.

You could also search for Synonyms with any of your name ideas which will also extend your potential word combinations.  I use https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/synonym for this.

There is no harm in following your instincts on your selection, be brave, but definitely run the name idea past a few trusted people in your network.

Although, I would add, definitely have a positive outcome for each of the 9 key considerations in this post before seeking feedback.

Your network of trusted friends and contacts will quickly help you decide if you are on to a winner by their initial reaction. 

You might want to think again if they ask you to explain your choice.

If they immediately say your choice is ‘awesome’ then great, you are potentially on to a winner.

4. Think branding from the outset

Consider how your business name will look on your website, logo’s business cards, letter heads etc. 

When picking a name, the shorter the better.

Does it speak to your customers, will they instantly get what you do? 

Will it interest them enough to engage?

Be wary of picking a name for your business based on a current fad or trend if you are in it for the long game.  If the term isn’t cool or trendy in five years time your business or product will feel dated.

Avoid terms in a brand that might cause offence or shock to others.  Keep it centred in your market.

Yes aim to stand out and intrigue people to pause and take a look. In some markets, amusing names can be effective.

A brand name should make it obvious what you want your product to be known for. 

5. Ensure your ideal product name is available on all social media channels

Can you register your brand as a page on all of the major social media channels?  If you can’t then this isn’t the product name for you.

Having social media channels that don’t match with your product name may be confusing to your target audience.  It certainly doesn’t look very professional.

If someone else has a channel with the same or similar sounding name to your product this can make social listening and brand management a challenge.  Worse, that other party could do something damaging online that people may associate with your brand.

If social channels are available that match your product name then that’s awesome! 

You should set up a profile for your product brand immediately on each, even if you aren’t ready to post anything.

6. Check product name options for an online past

Just because a domain name is available, it doesn’t mean someone hasn’t used it before.

It could be that another business used the domain and either didn’t publish web content that is attributed to it or the business failed.

If Google has archived any content for a domain the past the good news you can find it.  Simply use ‘The Wayback Machine’ to find historical content at https://archive.org/web/

You might strike gold with what is called an ‘aged domain’ where Google still recognises a websites authority which you can tag onto to give your SEO a boost.  Beware though, if Google has ever sandboxed that site the opposite can be true.

If someone else had a website for your domain you will find an exact copy here and you can navigate it as it was at a given point in time.

As an aside:

  • If you work for an established business this tool can be great to understand how your businesses web presence has evolved overtime.
  • It’s great to take a look at your competitors website too.  You will be able to see when their site was first indexed by Google, what it looked like then and how it has evolved.

7. Consider how easy it will be for a product name to stand out online

Pick a name with low search results, preferably in the low thousands.

If you can do this it will make it fairly easy for your product name search terms to dominate the first few pages of the search results.

If your chosen name has hundreds of thousands (or more) page results you should think carefully before proceeding.  It may be difficult for you to gain visibility for your own product related search terms.

Look out for negative connotations with the name too.  If there are any you need to factor this into your considerations and potentially avoid. 

8. Think about reputation management

A standout, unique brand can make it easier for social listening tools to identify brand mentions, either positive or negative across search and social that your business needs to quickly respond to.

Are there any similar named businesses or products?  This could result in several potential risks:

  • Your target market might get confused as to who is whom.
  • It makes it more difficult to manage your online reputation, particularly if the other business is larger.  If the other business does something bad online your business brand might get sucked into this.
  • You might have a legal battle if the other business has trademarked their brand to protect their intellectual property.

9. Protect your Intellectual Property

You should plan to trademark your business or product name as soon as possible to prevent copy cats emulating your business, product or service, innocently or not.

A Trademark is a valuable asset too and if you are looking to raise capital, any investors will expect you to have this in place.

Check for potential Intellectual Property (IP) Infringements early. Look out for:

  • Businesses with the same or similar name as your product.
  • Products with the same or similar sounding names.
  • Similar sounding names that operate in the same market or do the same sort of thing as your product.

Only settle on a business or product name once you know it is safe to do so. 

Your IP advisor may suggest that it is highly unlikely that anyone will object to your IP registration if there is no similar business out there.  You may decide to proceed whilst the registration process is formalised as it can take several months to register your IP.

Once you have an awesome product name, pay to protect the IP.  That way if anyone else uses a name similar to yours to emulate (innocently or not) you can force that party to make changes to keep daylight between your businesses.

How to Conduct Remote Surveys with SurveyorTech

SurveyorTech Remote Survey

The current Covid crisis can make visiting a client’s premises or site a challenge.
Covid aside, a client visit may not always make economic sense:

  • Your client is too far away
  • The earnings for the client are too low for a visit; or
  • You just need a quick inspection of something and don’t want to waste too much time on it.

Or you just want to reduce your carbon footprint.

You could use Microsoft Teams or other applications like Skype or Zoom but this can be clunky, for example:

  • You still need to unravel your notes, recorded video and images at the end of the meeting and organise them into a document
  • The output can be a large file that needs to be stored somewhere
  • Large files may be inconvenient for your client to receive

SurveyorTech makes this process seamless whilst saving you and your clients time.

How Does a SurveyorTech Remote Survey work?

Here is a 2-minute video on how both the SurveyorTech on-premise and remote surveys work.

Here is the remote surveying process outlined in the video:

  • Head to the SurveyorTech portal
  • Schedule a live streaming session and share a link with the person who will be on site
  • At the scheduled time, your client can join the live stream via the SurveyorTech app and you can guide them around the premises to show you what you need to see.
  • You can see what the client points their mobile device at in the SurveyorTech portal
  • At any point you can capture images, add notes to the survey and capture short video bursts.
  • When you’re finished, end the session, the recording, and data you’ve captured will be saved to your portal – ready for further notes and annotations to be added and enhanced.
  • The completed survey can be shared securely with stakeholders.

It’s that easy.

How much does SurveyorTech Cost?

Pricing starts at just £50 per month per user plus VAT and supports unlimited live stream surveys!

The downloading and use of the SurveyorTech App for your clients is FREE and requires no registration or log-in.

We also include our on-premise surveying solution in the same price, which also supports unlimited surveys!

Why Use SurveyorTech for Remote Surveys?

There are a number of reasons why SurveyorTech should be considered for your remote inspection needs:

  • Save time and expense with more remote meetings.
  • Provide a better service to smaller clients where a visit is just not cost effective to:
    • Check out their premises
    • See how they are adhering to your advice and risk improvements; and
    • Spot opportunities to add more value.
  • Combine both SurveyorTech‘s on-premise and remote surveys to build up the data on your client’s premises and risks over time.
  • All survey data is stored securely in the Cloud and hosted on Microsoft Azure.
  • Remote surveys are easy to share using a secure sharing code.
  • Recipients of a shared survey won’t need to host SurveyorTech data, it is accessed via the SurveyorTech portal.
  • Software Solved (the developers behind SurveyorTech) are also Microsoft Gold Partners and hold the ISO/IEC 27001 for Information Security Management so you can be confident your data is in safe hands.

What’s coming next for SurveyorTech Remote Surveys?

  • One to many live streams so that multiple stakeholders can contribute to the survey
  • The ability to create risk fact finds or Health and Safety or Risk Management templates that can be combined with images, annotations and video during or after a remote live stream survey.
  • The option for either you or your client to upload other multi-media files such as other images, documents and video to support a video stream survey either before, during or after the live stream has ended.
  • Reinforce brand awareness with your clients by choosing to have a white label, branded version of the SurveyorTech App on the App Store.

SurveyorTech can also be flexible based on your needs.  

Either buy SurveyorTech and use it straight out of the box or talk to me about a custom remote surveying solution that uses SurveyorTech as the base platform with the option to integrate with your existing workflow, software and data systems

If you want to find out more, you can register your interest on the SurveyorTech website or connect with me on LinkedIn to set up a video call to discuss.

How SurveyorTech can help brokers win and retain more clients

SurveyorTech App, Portal and 360° camera

SurveyorTech is an affordable and easy to use on-premise and remote property surveying product, priced at just £50 per month per user plus VAT, with no cap on the number of surveys and live video streams.

Here is a short video that explains the current functionality:

The 360° camera we recommend is the Ricoh Theta V and is priced at just £349 and available direct from the Ricoh store – https://theta360.com/en/about/theta/v.html.  We have built our App so that it will work with any Ricoh 360° camera in the range.

If you don’t have a 360° camera, you can also use your mobile phone to capture and annotate flat images.

Benefits for Insurance Brokers

Whether you are broking a risk open market or have a scheme or facility, SurveyorTech provides a number of benefits:

  • Develop broking submissions that stand out by including a visual property survey to help underwriters and risk managers appreciate and assess risks remotely. 
  • Capture your clients property and site risk information quickly and store securely in the SurveyorTech Portal for future reference. 
  • Build up visual information on your clients risks and inventory over time, either remotely or onsite by adding to previously captured information.
  • Enhance claims defensibility with a 360° walkthrough evidencing your clients property condition at the time of the survey. This can reduce the potential for disputes with insurance carriers whilst speeding up the claims process should a client suffer a loss.
  • Both on-premise and remote surveys can be shared with key stakeholders such as the client, underwriter and risk manager via a secure sharing code. 
  • Stand out in the market and negotiate preferential terms and exclusivity to win and retain more business
  • Reduce the need for pre-cover surveys or quotes subject to survey where questions can be answered with a visual inspection
  • For smaller or remote clients that are not economical to visit use a SurveyorTech video survey to remotely document their assets, check compliance with warranties and conditions and record operational risks remotely.

A number of broking businesses have already signed up to SurveyorTech and the feedback we have received so is influencing our future development.

Why not join the SurveyorTech movement, be part of the journey and help influence the future?

What’s coming next?

What you have seen in the video and read above is only the start.    

We are working on a range of additional functionality, here is a snapshot of what we have planned:

  • The capture and hosting of short video bursts either remotely or on-premise with data automatically aligned to a structured questionnaire and report
  • The ability to create visual risk fact find templates to combine the visual surveying abilities of SurveyorTech with text that can be captured on premise or remotely via our App and Portal. 
  • The option to upload multi-media files such as other images, documents and video to support your broking and risk management offering.
  • Integration of Drone 2D images captured by our Drone partner to provide an aerial view of the clients site and property that can be annotated and linked to.
  • The option to white label our App and have your own branded version on the App store.

If you’d like to find our more or arrange a demo, please get in touch.

SurveyorTech Connect. Live Streaming for the Insurance Industry. Fancy joining our free pilot?

SurveyorTech Connect Live Streaming

About SurveyorTech Connect

SurveyorTech Connect is a one to one recordable live video stream solution developed by Software Solved that can be used by Insurance Brokers, Underwriters, Risk Consultants and Claims professionals to remotely survey risk pre and post loss.

SurveyorTech Connect is expected to be ready to pilot by the end of June.

We are looking for a small number of insurance organisations to join the pilot and test the solution with their clients (many thanks to those of you who are already in the pilot and for your feedback so far).

In return for helping us pilot SurveyorTech Connect and providing feedback, it will be free to use for the duration of the pilot.

Pilot organisations will also be given a discount if they wish to subscribe to SurveyorTech Connect after the pilot.

I feel that a free live stream product, particularly right now given the challenges around lockdown and social distancing will add significant value to the insurance market.

If you think this would add value to others in your business or your network, please like and share this post to help spread the message.

Why are we developing SurveyorTech Connect?

We were always going to develop a live stream product as part of a broader SurveyorTech digital surveying proposition but decided to bring this forward to support the insurance industry given the current pandemic.

Right now, Insurance Professionals face the challenge of not being able to visit client premises during lockdown and social distancing measures.

Which means that the commercial insurance market has stalled.

Even when business returns to normal, there is of course always the chance that another pandemic could occur.

The UK government have also suggested that regions of the country could face further lockdowns if the rate of infection begins to grow again; which would of course continue to impact the insurance sector.

But even after the pandemic has ended, SurveyorTech Connect will continue to add value to the Insurance Market by reducing both the cost of surveying and carbon footprint.

SurveyorTech Connect will facilitate more remote surveying which will help the insurance market increase its survey footprint, reduce the growing survey backlog and meet future demand.

What are the benefits to the Insurance Market?

Live Streaming will benefit the insurance market in a number of key areas:

  • Brokers: Will be able to reduce time at a client’s site and meet with multiple stakeholders at a convenient time from the comfort of their desk.
  • Underwriters: will be able to hold a live stream direct with the client to check specific features of a risk to help them apply the right underwriting terms
  • Risk Consultants: Can use live streaming to re-survey risks remotely, check on the progress of risk improvements or meet with key individuals to discuss specific processes and loss prevention controls.
  • Claims professionals: Can assess property claims remotely and use the live stream as the basis of starting settlement for simple claims or decided what other action is required.
  • Clients: will benefit from more risk management support, early identification of risk improvements and potentially quicker claims settlement.

How will SurveyorTech Connect Work?

SurveyorTech Connect has been designed to be simple to use and without training.

You will be able to provide your client with access to a SurveyorTech Connect App that they will use for a secure, private, live stream. All your client will need to do is point their mobile camera at what you want to see.

You will see what the client sees in the secure SurveyorTech portal which you will access with a username and password.

The process is straightforward:

  • You set up a secure, private live stream in the SurveyorTech Portal which generates a live stream sharing code that is shared with your client along with a meeting invitation.
  • At the allotted time, the client simply needs to open the App on their mobile and input their unique sharing code to join the live stream.
  • When the live stream starts it immediately begins to record.
  • During the live you will be able guide the client to point their mobile camera at specific features or explain processes and loss control methods.
  • You will be able to see what the client sees and will have the ability to take still images and make notes as you progress the survey, all within the portal.
  • At the end of the live stream the recording has its own record along with all images and notes that have been taken. The finished live stream can also be shared securely with other stakeholders

How secure is SurveyorTech Connect?

Each live stream is private, and all live streams are hosted and recoded in our secure SurveyorTech portal which is hosted in Microsoft Azure.

We are also Microsoft Gold Partners and hold the ISO/IEC 27001 for Information Security Management.

What will the pilot look like?

The pilot is expected to take place through July and will end and move to a launch phase once we have received sufficient feedback and endorsement from pilot users.

During the pilot, we expect SurveyorTech Connect to immediately add value to your business, it will be fairly close to the final product.

SurveyorTech Connect will be free to use during the pilot, all we ask for is:

commit to use the technology to an agreed volume during the pilot
to spare the time to feedback on how you found the product via short surveys or a call with our product manager

There is no commitment to buy anything, you can leave the pilot at any time without paying a penny.

Our pricing of the final product will be extremely competitive as we want to drive mass adoption of SurveyorTech Connect and If you join the pilot we will of course share our proposed pricing model with you.

At the end of the pilot, for those that wish to continue to use SurveyorTech Connect as a paid service there will be a discount as a reward for your support.

How to sign-up to the pilot

To register your interest, please visit the SurveyorTech website.

If you think this would add value to others in your business or your network, please share this post to help spread the message.

Why I love the AALP Data Maturity Model

AALP Software Solved

I have worked in the Insurance Industry for over 23 years for both large insurers, brokers and software houses.  

Almost all of these organisations were sat on a gold mine of data across a range of software applications, data sources and departments.  

Often data was difficult to access and analyse in one place and was likely to be unstructured, particularly where text-based legacy systems are used.

Insurance organisations that embrace and implement advanced analytics such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics will have a distinct competitive advantage to those that don’t.

Adopters will benefit from improved efficiencies, reduced operating costs, easy identification of new product opportunities, niches and more through having a consolidated data view across distribution, underwriting, risk consulting and claims.

But if insurance organisations have disparate, potentially unstructured data systems, where do they start and what are the short, medium and long-term objectives of a winning data strategy?

Why I love the AALP Data Maturity Model

Identifying and understanding where your business is in terms of its data maturity can be a mammoth task.  

I love the AALP Data maturity model that we use at Software Solved as it makes the process of identifying and planning a data maturity strategy simple.

The AALP model breaks the process down into smaller, more manageable stages that unlocks value as the organisation progresses, quickly providing a return on investment.

AALP Stands for Access, Analyse, Learn, Predict.

Here is an overview of each stage:

1. Access

You might think that being able to access all of your data is obvious but many businesses with a variety of disparate systems struggle with this first crucial stage.  

If you can understand where and how your data is stored and how it aligns to your business objectives it will enable you to consider how this data can be integrated and accessed centrally.

This could be via data integrations between your chosen business intelligence tools and your various software applications or via a data warehouse.

2. Analyse

Once you have established easy access to your organisations data you will be able to consider how to analyse this data and what insights you want to glean.  

This could be using smart visuals to simplify how your data is summarised or, it could be focusing on unlocking new value in your data.

Examples could be, identifying opportunities for improving efficiency, reducing cost, profitable business lines or segments, new niches and products.

Having centralised data can enable your business intelligence tools to bring all of this data together across your key business functions such as distribution, underwriting, risk consulting and claims.  

This enables data driven decision making and the development of regular automated reporting that help identify insights quickly across your organisation.

Your business intelligence tools will also enable you to identify issues with data accuracy and any areas of unstructured data that need resolving before moving on to more sophisticated data applications such as Machine Learning.

3. Learn

When data analysis becomes a business as usual task, and you are unlocking more value from your data you can start to explore how machine learning and artificial intelligence can benefit your organisation.

Before the learn phase commences it is important that you are satisfied that the accuracy of your data can be relied on and that any potential bias has been identified and excluded.

At this point, the organisation is effectively trialling machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to find those that best suit their data needs.  

The organisation may also be performing other manual data mining investigations to understand ‘What If’ type queries or just to basically understand if the data exists to answer specific questions.

Here are some basic examples of the application of Machine Learning in Insurance:

⦁ Advice: from managing the initial interaction with the client to determining which cover a client may require (like how Amazon recommends products to its customers). An obvious example would be a chat bot that automatically provides answers to basic customer queries, thus reducing employee time on the phone.  

⦁ Claims: automating processes from claims registration to claims settlement. Some Insurers are using Machine Learning to identify cases that may be fraudulent.  

⦁ Sales: Automatically identify cases that are likely to lapse in advance for a focused sales effort

An Insurance Providers Data Analysts may also use Machine Learning to discover predictors in claims activity which can help identify assumptions and feed these into its pricing models, underwriting and risk analyses and actuarial analyses.

If your organisation gets this stage right, the benefits can be significant.  

It also paves the way for implementing data automation and advanced levels of trends and insights.

4. Predict

The last stage in the AALP model is Predict.  

When an organisation reaches this point, it should have developed a good understanding of which machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches work for them and have begun to implement them into their data production systems.

This will move them away from manual data insights to automation.

In addition, the Predict phase lays a strong foundation for experimenting with predictive analytics which has multiple applications and benefits for insurance organisations.  

Imagine being able to automatically predict outcomes with a high degree of accuracy using a number of internal, open source and external data sources?

Examples could be:

⦁ Predicting future loss probabilities based on current data trends

⦁ The impact on profitability following a rate, excess or cover change 

⦁ Benchmarking your enquiries against your current clients to predict profitability based on your historical claims, risk and underwriting data overlaid with recent (or even real time) data such as crime and weather patterns.

⦁ Assessing how a constantly changing business mix might affect your portfolio in real time

⦁ Automatically attributing a risk score by property peril based on data insights from internal, paid and open source data such as how the current crime rate affects theft and malicious damage

⦁ Predicting the impact on profitability following the investment and implementation of a risk improvement

⦁ What your book could look like if a specific cover or product is introduced

The list can be endless.  

How long would it currently take to model this data? Imagine a world where this level of insight was instant.  

What do you think?  

Has this helped you visualise how you could tackle your data challenges?

If you need some help on understanding your organisations data maturity and implementing a winning data strategy, Software Solved can help in a number of ways by providing:

1. A Data Maturity Assessment which helps a business develop a blueprint of its data and systems progression across a number of key areas including data access, visualisation, machine learning and AI and Predictive Analytics. 

2. Consultancy on Data Warehousing and Data Integrations to help you successfully navigate complex projects.

3. Flexible Resource for instances where you need additional data analysts, developers, business analysts and project managers on a short-term basis to help you shape and implement data projects.

9 new habits I am forming during lock down

As I write this post, we are three weeks into a lockdown designed to slow down the coronavirus outbreak, a crisis on a scale most of us have never seen in our lifetime.

It’s fair to say this crisis is going to change the way people and businesses work for the long-term, the world seems a gloomy place right now.

But there are positives. 

Lockdown is already having a positive impact on my life and how I operate in my role as Insurance Practice Lead for Software Solved.

Pre-lockdown I was used to working from home a couple of days a week with the rest of my time split between travelling to Exeter where our office is based (usually a 4 hour trip) or London, the main location for most of my clients.

My working week was hectic. 

Thankfully it’s still hectic, but the extra hours I have spare at each end of the day as a result of being in lock-down have enabled me to find time for new positive habits that will enrich my life, the time I spend with my family and maybe even the mark I make on the world.

Here are the 9 new habits I am forming, hopefully by the end of lockdown these will be ever present habits in my routine.

  1. Spend more time with the kids
  2. Develop my personal brand
  3. Write a blog
  4. Use a whiteboard
  5. Use LinkedIn more strategically
  6. Use Video for client and internal meetings
  7. Meditate Daily
  8. Write a daily journal
  9. Read more books

If you have time to read on, here is the detail of what I’m doing differently.

9 new habits I am forming during lock down

1.Spend more time with the kids

I guess I’m no different to most busy professionals, the long hours can affect family time during the week.  Family time has usually been restricted to the weekend.

Each morning I now quiz each of my three girls on what their day is going to look like and if they are prepared for their home schooling, checking in at lunchtime and as they finish their allotted study time. 

This is something I normally enquire about at the end of the day.

As I have replaced commuting time with a couple of extra hours work early in the morning, I can now make sure I finish work no later 6pm than and do something together as a family. 

Obviously, we are restricted to what we can do on lock-down but that may include going for a walk along the canal by our house or going outside to play simple games together followed by winding down with a meal and family movie.

Weekends are now strictly family time, unless there is an emergency or tight deadline on something. Weekend working no longer being the norm.

I really hope this is one of the habits I can maintain.

2.Develop my personal brand

I’ve changed career direction in the last 12 months with a move to a consultancy and innovation type role which I absolutely love but this does mean that not all of my contacts understand what I do.

Personal branding was something I’d always wanted to develop but didn’t have the time. 

If I’m being honest it has been a recent challenge trying to explain everything I do in a concise way, especially given I have had such a varied background. 

This is something I found out when trying to explain what I do to a specialist personal branding consultant and it really got me thinking.

So, I have spent some time on this and developed a concise overview. 

In a nutshell, I am a Chartered Insurance Practitioner specialising in providing Technology and Data solutions to the insurance sector. 

I also lead an exciting new InsurTech called SurveyorTech with a mission to accelerate the insurance markets move to digital surveys using affordable and familiar technology.

Personal Branding is no longer a nice to have, moving forward I shall spend time on this each week for the benefit of my sales, marketing, networking and positioning of my future career development.

3. Write a blog

As a result of reviewing my personal brand I have decided to write the blog you are reading now as a medium to share what I’m up to and showcase my thoughts and skills.

In doing so I have developed a new skill.

Whilst I don’t want to be a web designer I am pleased to have learned how to do it (if you are interested, I used a combination of WordPress and Elementor).

I plan to write a post of some form every week, writing a few hundred words a day to ensure this happens. 

The topic of my blog is ‘Winning in a Digital World’ so content will be insurance sector related, covering all of my sales, marketing, insights and innovation skills.

4. Use a whiteboard

My desk is what I would call organised chaos.  My wife calls it a mess.

So, in a bid to reduce Post-it Notes, task lists, reminders on slips of paper and frequency of being told off by the wife I have installed a whiteboard to track the key things I need to do and focus on each week.

The result is I have a happier wife and my desk is a lot easier to work from.

This is a habit I have to stick to.

5. Use LinkedIn more strategically

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a novice LinkedIn user however I probably wasn’t using LinkedIn to its full potential. 

My Social Selling Index was slightly above average, probably low 60’s and I used it to keep in touch with people I had met and share the odd post.

I am now using it to proactively build new relevant connections, not selling to them (I find that really annoying when people use LinkedIn to sell to me).

I will take the time to develop a relationship with my connections, overtime earning the permission to take the conversation offline.

I now designate time each day to build my network and I record the results on my whiteboard i.e. new connections that week so I can track results.

I’m also sharing more content that is more relevant, interesting and educational to my network, mostly third-party content initially but over time there will be some of my own.

My social selling index now fluctuates between 79-81 out of 100 and puts me in the top 1% for both the insurance industry and my network. 

If you’d like to understand your Social Selling Index score, you can view this at https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi where you will see your score broken down by:

  • establishing your professional brand
  • finding the right people
  • engaging with insights; and
  • building relationships. 

This is useful as it helps you quickly identify where you need improve.

6. Use Video for Client and Internal Meetings

Client meetings:

Like most people I am using video more for client meetings and I now always ensure that my webcam is on to make the meeting feel more personal, particularly where I haven’t met the attendees before.

Some of the meetings I have hosted would have always been a face to face meeting before lockdown, however the video meetings were not any less effective.

I feel using video for external meetings could quite easily become a long-term habit. 

A number of people I have spoken to recently would change the “lets catch up for a coffee in London” habit to a meeting from home or virtual coffee meeting.

Video meetings are a great way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and expenses – although nothing beats a face to face meeting but those can be saved for meetings that truly warrant the time and expense.

Internal meetings:

I have used meeting software for internal meetings for years, initially Skype for Business and now Microsoft Teams (which is fantastic).

Most people tended to use Teams with video turned off (me included) but I have started to switch video on in every meeting I am in.

For one, it ensures I keep my office tidy…

But also, I think it is beneficial to my colleagues and also its easier to have fun on the call. 

I have a few colleagues who wear crazy hats or bunny ears on an internal video call (this isn’t a habit I’m adopting though) and its great fun.

Moving forward, if I’m using video call, my web cam will always be on, irrespective of how long I have gone without a haircut.

7. Meditate Daily

Meditation isn’t new to me and I have found it very useful to start my day well, unclutter my mind for 10 minutes during the day or unwind at night to position myself for a restful sleep.

It has been something I do inconsistently, even though I pay for a Headspace subscription (if you haven’t tried this there is a free account that includes a useful 10-day program).

I now meditate at the start of each day without fail for 20 mins.  I also meditate for 20 mins at the end of the day to clear my mind. 

If I need it, 10 minutes of my lunch break includes a meditation to rest and de-clutter my mind.

I feel a lot better for it, less self-doubt and stress that is a natural by product of lockdown.

8. Write a daily journal

I’m used to working remotely, I have done this for over a decade, but I have to admit I do struggle with this when it is 100% of my week.

I work in a role that requires me to network, sell and meet clients. 

The combination of not doing this face to face and having the same level of activity as before lock-down can have a negative effect on your mental well-being.

I often have had the voice in my head say things like “I wonder whether my colleagues know how hard I’m working” type thoughts – “I know I’m working flat out but do they?”. 

I know I’m not alone in this.

Its also natural for sales numbers to not quite look the same as they did before lock-down so its easy to beat yourself up, particularly if you are competitive like me.

I have started to write a one-page journal and it is one of the best habits I am forming and it doesn’t take long to do

At the end of each day I record how long I’ve meditated for, my sales and marketing activity, how much exercise I have done and then importantly 3 things I am grateful for.

The compound effect is that by the end of the month I have achieved a lot, even by only doing a small number of positive activities each day.

The plan is not to beat myself up when other things, like internal meetings get in the way.  I just plan to do more the next day.

This is a habit that I will 100% stick to.

9. Read more books

I probably have most business Audible books that are worth listening to on my iPhone.

I used to listen to at least a couple of books each month by incorporating Audible into my regular commute. 

I still bought books occasionally and have a reasonable library in my office.

I have decided to put my Audible description on hold during lockdown as I now have time to read, which is far more absorbing.

I’ve bought several great books recently (still with a business focus) and have been reading a chapter a day. 

I find the content and ideas are sticking far more than listening.

This will be a challenge to maintain but I still feel I can maintain one good physical book a month, even when I switch Audible back on.

I hope you found this post useful. 

What new habits are you forming during this historic time?

Software Solved’s approach to custom software development

In this short video I discuss Software Solved’s approach to custom software development.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, please check out the transcript below.

Transcript

Hi I’m Rob Faulkner Insurance Practice lead here at Software Solved and in this short video I’m going to talk you through exactly what custom software solutions from Software Solved means.

If you’re looking for a custom software solution it’s likely you want a system that fits with your specific requirement and are no doubt facing the weigh up between custom built and off the shelf.

Ultimately this decision should come down to achieving an outcome that doesn’t see you compromise on critical functionality and also provides the best Total Cost of Ownership.

Having developed many customer applications during the last 20 plus years covering risk engineering, policy administration, rating engines, customer portals and apps you can rest assured that we understand how important it is to make the right choice and ultimately improve efficiencies and gain a competitive edge.

We are flexible in our approach to development and can use either agile or waterfall methodology.

With a proven track record of working as an extension of our customers teams you can rest assured we’re there to make sure projects are delivered to a high quality, on time and on budget.

Our experienced team are here to support you with consultancy, development and support to deliver your projects.

Our business analysts work with you to understand your business objectives and project requirements ultimately creating a specifications document for your solution.

Our project managers keep the project on track both in terms of time, cost and deliverables by continually monitoring the project and budgets.

Our developers are the team that turn the specifications document into a reality. Skilled in a wider range of technologies including .NET, SQL Server, JavaScript, PowerBI, Azure and Xamarin.

Our testing and QA team are an essential part of any successful project.

Our stringent test processes are ISO 9001 certified, providing quality assurance before projects are deployed.

If you need to extend your team on a temporary basis, we can provide access to our expert teams on a short-term contract to assist with large projects or busy periods.

If you want to discuss the potential of Software Solved working with your organisation, get in touch.

An Introduction to Software Solved’s Insurance Practice

In this short video I provide an introduction to the consultancy services provided by my Insurance Practice at Software Solved.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, please check out the transcript below.

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Rob Faulkner.

I joined Software Solved in 2019 to lead the Insurance Practice.

I’m a Chartered Insurance Practitioner with over 20 years personal experience in the insurance sector having worked for insurers, brokers and software houses across a number of disciplines such as sales, marketing and product management.

My passion is to help those in the Insurance sector identify how to use and implement InsurTech and digital solutions to improve; efficiencies, customer experience and gain a competitive advantage.

Software Solved are a data and software specialist based in Exeter.

We’ve been developing software solutions, predominantly in the Insurance sector for over 20 years.

Our team is comprised of experienced and skilled developers, business analysts, technical consultants, project managers and testing experts.

The team combined have the skills to support our clients at any stage of the custom software lifecycle from consultancy, creating requirements specifications, system and architecture design, development and support.

Everyone at Software Solved is committed to producing the highest quality software which is demonstrated in our ISO 9001 quality management accreditation and ISO 27001 information security accreditations.

Our objective on any custom software project is to get the solution right first time whilst ensuring it meets your business objectives and provides competitive advantage.

Our detailed approach to requirements analysis, specification development and project management on every project is key to our success.

We have been Microsoft Gold Partners since 2010, so you can be confident that we work to the highest standards demanded by Microsoft. If you’re currently facing a challenge with your organisations data or outdated inefficient software systems why not get in touch?