How Canadian insurance firm Economical is using IBM Cloud to deliver new technology


IBM cloud is being used by Waterloo, Ont.-based Economical Insurance to develop new ways to deliver the company’s services to customers.

The news that Economical would be transferring its data to IBM’s hybrid cloud platform was announced in a July 23 press release. Frank Attaie, IBM’s vice president of cloud and software, told IT World Canada that adopting the service would allow Economical to be more efficient and cost-effective while delivering new technology-based services that will differentiate it in the current marketplace.

“The experience of large insurance firms is the need to focus on the digital customer experience,” Attaie said. “The existing customer wants to do business on their mobile phone, wants to be able to get answers relatively quickly, wants to be able to figure out their needs before picking up the phone. The IBM cloud platform gives insurance companies the ability to deliver all those things.”

How Economical will utilize cloud

Specifically, Economical will be utilizing IBM’s cloud platform for its newly launched broker platform, Vyne, and Sonnet, its fully online insurance company.

According to the release, “Vyne will tap into IBM Cloud to help offer an unparalleled experience for brokers that includes updated products, streamlined workflow, and a sophisticated data-driven pricing model.”

A hybrid cloud system allows Economical to consolidate its public, private and on-premise data, moving it onto the IBM cloud while allowing the insurance company to maintain, without disruption, its existing IT infrastructure, release stated.

Economical also said that it hopes IBM cloud will help reduce development time, increase the speed at which it analyzes data and help maintain security.

“We have an ambitious strategy to put the customer first while driving profitable growth and delivering innovation for Economical and our broker partners,” Economical senior vice president and CIO Kelley Irwin said in the release. “We are also focused on ensuring we have a scalable, secure platform. A hybrid cloud environment is the best way to support our business with the speed and flexibility needed for our future success.”

Economical has been in business for almost 150 years, and is no stranger to adopting technology, as illustrated by the creation of Sonnet, its digital home and auto insurance subsidiary, in 2016.

Attaie said that generally 80 per cent of a company’s data sits in its data centres and behind firewalls, and that By using IBM’s cloud products and services capabilities, companies such as Economical are able to uncover – and more importantly, utilize – assets that already exist on their current platforms.

Why IBM

Attaie told IT World Canada that there has been a significant increase of large insurance firms around the world moving to cloud-based services during the past couple years.

When asked why he thinks IBM’s cloud is a better option for businesses like Economical, he said that technology giants like Google and Amazon are ‘clouds for everybody’ that are rapidly expanding into different markets and collect user data.

IBM, on the other hand, is what he calls an enterprise-ready platform focused on and built specifically for businesses and their needs.

It’s also made for organizations that are concerned about who is managing their data and knowing where that data goes.

“As an enterprise, the most valuable thing you have is your data and reputation,” Attaie said. “At IBM, we are not in the business of getting in our customers’ business. We are about enabling people to be successful for their business, and mindful of their data, because it is their data, not ours.”

“For a company like Economical it’s a differentiator,” he added. “Using our cloud allows Economical not only to increases the use cases of its technology but helps in the broader adoption of their technology as customers trust that it’s based in IBM tech.”