We asked Debb Smallwood, CEO & President of insurance strategic advisory firm Strategy Meets Action (SMA) about their investment strategy and how they’re navigating ITC.

What does SMA look to achieve at ITC this year?

Every year we send more people, and this year we have a booth as well.  Our strategy is twofold – gauge the pace change happening in our industry and expand our insurer network.  There is a lot of hype and noise, but under it all – there are successes and stories of lessons learned.  Between the conversations at our booth and formal meetings and dinners, we hope to gather new insights and validation on what is hot, what is not, and the speed of the momentum on innovation, transformation and insurtech.

What are the most important shifts you see in the investment strategies of the commercial p/c insurers this year?

The three major shifts in commercial around first the clarity of strategies, plans and investments on small commercial with overlaying of digital transformation investments.  Insurers are leveraging many emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, new customer experience technologies, and new data sources and advanced analytics to expand self service capabilities, and helping agents/brokers with servicing. And the third is expanding risk management services to the middle market, and deepening the agent/carrier relationships as well. 

The annual SMA Summit: Transformation in Action just took place on September 17 in Boston. What were your big surprise takeaways?

Our 7th annual summit was a reflection of the transformation that is occurring in insurance.  Seven years ago, we were defining big data, social media, cloud, and innovation. This year, insurers presented and shared stories on their maturing innovation initiatives, changing business models, and transforming the customer experience.  Artificial Intelligence and digital platforms were the two common technology highlights, and the SMA partners shared insights on the new era of computing.  The big surprise is the acceleration of change in just one year.