Winners Announced for the 2018 Strategy Meets Action Innovation in Action Award Winners

September 17 2018 | Karen Furtado

Insurer and Solution Provider Awards Presented at the 2018 SMA Summit

Boston, Massachusetts, September 17, 2018 – Strategy Meets Action (SMA), a leading insurance strategic advisory firm, announced the winners of the SMA Innovation in Action Awards yesterday during the annual SMA Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. The 2018 insurer winners for innovative initiatives are Beazley Group, Cake Insure, Pie Insurance, and West Bend Mutual Insurance Company. The solution provider winners are Cape Analytics and Hi Marley.

2018 Awards Logo 200"Our annual awards program gives SMA the opportunity to recognize and celebrate true innovation within the insurance industry. The speed and impact of change can be seen in an increasing number of insurance companies,” said Karen Furtado, SMA Partner. “In the seven years we have presented these awards, we have seen clear evidence of the incredible strides being made within our industry by insurers and solution providers alike. We congratulate all of the winners and participants on their successes in reimagining the business of insurance for the new digital age!"

The following insurers won 2018 SMA Innovation in Action Awards (in alphabetical order):

  • Beazley Group introduced their personalized digital Weather Guard policy – a first in the commercial lines insurance market. The policy tackles the structural challenges that often make paper or PDF policy documents a nightmare for the layperson to understand. Each policyholder receives a link to what is, in effect, a personalized website containing their policy information. Coverage is laid out in plain English with no declarations page and no endorsements because both are integrated into the policy wording. Definitions pop up when the user clicks on defined terms, eliminating the need for a definitions section as well. Parametric triggers within the policy mean that a policyholder has no need to file a claim: when the weather conditions specified in the policy are met, the claims process is triggered automatically. The clarity that Beazley has achieved with this redesign sets a new standard for how insurers can communicate with policyholders.
  • Cake Insure is a digital MGA started by Pinnacol Assurance. Pinnacol is a 100-year-old insurer who incubated Cake with the mandate to reinvent the purchasing experience for workers’ comp insurance. The result, Cake’s online platform, gives consumers a responsive, mobile-friendly experience. Visitors to the platform can quickly receive a quote and purchase coverage with only a few data points and five minutes or less of their time. An AI-driven policy classification engine uses natural language processing and machine learning to enable straight-through processing for more than 90% of new policies. This technology enables Cake customers to simply enter a description of their business in their own words to get a quote, with no industry jargon or class codes required. Certificates of insurance can be generated and shared immediately via the Cake client portal or email. Cake’s success demonstrates how an established insurance company can embrace greenfield thinking and reinvent their customer experience.
  • Pie Insurance is a full-stack digital MGA for Sirius Group that set out to change the workers’ comp market for small businesses, an underserved and often overcharged business segment. The company uses predictive analytics and high-quality data sets in real time to give small business owners a seamless, mobile-friendly way to find the coverage they need at the right price. According to Pie’s proprietary data, 80% of small businesses overpay for workers’ comp, often by as much as 30%. The company provides consumers with a detailed breakdown of the coverage and pricing that is appropriate to their risk and offers an online quoting experience that is as easy as getting an online quote for personal lines insurance. Pie can sell workers’ comp policies online in eight states to date, with additional state approvals coming in the near term. Pie’s use of predictive analytics and external data to transform the customer buying experience for business owners showcases the potential for disruption in the workers’ comp market.
  • West Bend Mutual Insurance Company is revolutionizing the claims experience by leveraging Hi Marley’s AI-based conversation platform. Claims representatives use the Hi Marley solution to collaborate and communicate with their customers to receive photos, send proactive updates, and gather real-time feedback via text messaging. West Bend was the first company to pilot the Marley virtual assistant and immediately saw benefits, including fewer phone calls and voicemail, faster claims resolution, and higher customer satisfaction. Based on this success, West Bend implemented the platform across auto and property claims, with plans to extend it to other areas across the enterprise. West Bend’s embrace of AI and SMS messaging has enabled them to give their policyholders a true 21st century customer experience.

The following solution providers won 2018 SMA Innovation in Action Awards (in alphabetical order):

  • Cape Analytics’ solution uses computer vision and machine learning to automatically identify properties shown in geospatial imagery and to extract property attributes relevant to insurers. Its scalable AI turns imagery from any source into structured data for any property, including roof condition, building footprint, and nearby hazards. The resultant data combines the accuracy and detail of an on-site inspection with the speed and automation of property record pre-fill. Property insights from over 500 million data points can be plugged directly into an insurer’s existing workflows for faster, more accurate quoting and underwriting, inspection optimization, and portfolio risk management and monitoring. Cape Analytics can also identify property attributes that have changed throughout the life of the policy, such as a new roofing material or condition. In addition, insurers and reinsurers can also analyze their entire portfolios at the same level of granularity.
  • Hi Marley’s AI-based conversation platform is helping insurers revolutionize the customer experience with easy, fast, and transparent communication. Built for insurance, with industry-specific artificial intelligence and functionality, the platform has flexible APIs and requires zero integration to get started. As a B2C platform, Hi Marley provides an interactive way to communicate with customers through text messaging, including receiving photos and sending proactive updates. The Marley virtual assistant can provide immediate answers to a variety of customer questions, taking routine follow-ups off representatives’ desks. By enabling asynchronous communication, both policyholders and insurers can communicate according to their own schedules. Hi Marley has partnered with insurers to discover other potential use cases across the insurance value chain, including claims, underwriting, and policy servicing. Hi Marley has given insurers a powerful way to transform interactions with their customers.

Additional information about the 2018 winners and the awards program can be found at