For the second straight year, Travelers has been selected by the CIO 100 Awards competition, which honors 100 organizations whose teams use technology in innovative ways to deliver business value. This year’s recognition is based on our enterprise-wide approach to digitizing key aspects of our business value chain, and for transforming the way we engage with customers, collaborate with partners and maintain our competitive advantage in risk expertise.
The highlights of our nomination included our powerful use of deep-learning AI models, the Business Owner Policy (BOP) 2.0 product offering, the Claim Virtual Visit tool and our Unified Chat platform capabilities.
We’re applying our models to streamline the underwriting process and improve customer service – especially in the aftermath of weather catastrophes. Our Roof Shape Classification AI Model is one of the latest examples of how we use aerial imagery, deep learning models and geospatial data in an AI-powered tool now used by our agents.
For BOP 2.0, we built a product enabled by a technology platform that includes an AI-powered recommendation engine and uses geospatial and third-party data to predict the business type based on information submitted by agents to properly classify and accurately price businesses up the underwriting process.
And we rolled out a major release for our Unified Chat platform in response to the escalating customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, retraining an AI-powered, self-service chatbot within 24 hours to better answer pandemic-related questions.
Mojgan Lefebvre, Travelers Chief Technology & Operations Officer, says, “It is a tremendous honor for Travelers to receive this year’s award two years running. It further demonstrates how an innovative mindset plus advanced analytics and AI can power exceptional customer experiences.”
Read the CIO 100 press release to learn more about the award and consider joining a winning team through a technology career at Travelers.
By Mojgan Lefebvre
EVP, Chief Technology & Operations Officer, Travelers
This post is featured as an article on Mojgan Lefebvre’s LinkedIn profile page.
As a talented software engineer or data scientist, when you imagine your dream job, you may envision working in a thriving “startup” culture of innovation. You may look for a place where you can learn and work on a diverse set of technologies, from internet-connected devices and deep learning models to intelligent process automation, blockchain and machine learning.
Maybe insurance doesn’t immediately come to mind. But if you knew the extent of technology’s impact on the industry and the really cool work we do at Travelers in the Analytics and Tech organizations, you wouldn’t look further. I’ll share with you a few reasons why you should seriously consider a career in technology at Travelers, a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business.
As a new computer science graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1990, I couldn’t have predicted a career path leading to my current role. I’ve always been drawn to opportunities that balance the transformative benefits of technology in people’s lives with the practical business outcomes that enable companies to grow. I recognize that same spirit of purpose-driven career choices in many of our Travelers’ technologists today.
I entered the insurance industry in 2010, after working across Asia, Europe and the Americas in the fields of high-tech and health care. I was amazed at the level of investment that the IT organization was making and how heavily the industry relied on data, analytics, risk management and digital capabilities.
In 2018, I was drawn to Travelers’ storied reputation for constant innovation in the world of insurance – especially the way the more than 165-year-old insurer nurtures and supports an openness to change. We’re focused on continuously transforming the way we engage with customers and collaborate with partners while extending our competitive advantage in risk expertise.
This work spans all our major business lines and has made a tangible difference in how well we were able to respond to the pandemic. I am proud of the way our Travelers teams have risen to every challenge over the past year.
Last March, we pivoted to a remote work environment. Our goal was to keep our people safe without compromising the high-quality service we provide to our customers, agents and brokers. To do that, our Tech and Operations teams had to equip 30,000 employees with all the necessary tools. And they did it seamlessly – we didn’t miss a beat.
Our success was the result of sound business continuity planning and the investments we have made in processes, tools and technologies over the years.
For instance, our AI teams quickly spotted unanswered questions related to COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic. Our data science and engineering teams jumped on the opportunity to improve our AI algorithms to quickly recognize COVID-related questions. This ensured that we could improve the customer experience by answering questions more accurately through our chatbot. With the volume of increased queries, the AI models continued to learn and improve over time.
Another example is our expanded Claim Virtual Visit tools, which Travelers’ Claim organization built to help our professionals safely interact with customers, claimants and other third parties and virtually conduct property or auto inspections. We saw the use of these tools multiply during the pandemic. Our cross-functional agile teams also got the opportunity to continually adjust capabilities based on customer feedback.
Across the insurance value chain, Travelers is leveraging advanced technologies, such as geospatial and deep learning models to come swiftly to the aid of customers whose houses are damaged from wildfires or weather disasters. Such solutions not only create a positive experience for our customers but also keep our employees safe as they work with our claimants. These are just a few examples of how our technologists see their work making a difference in people’s lives.
None of the above can happen without the talented technology professionals who recognize the vast career opportunities the insurance industry has to offer. During the pandemic, Travelers hired and virtually onboarded more than 300 employees into our Tech organization, and we remain committed to recruiting great new talent. Our technologists and data experts will continue to play a key role in helping to automate and improve the experiences of our customers, agents and brokers throughout the insurance life cycle.
If what you’ve read sounds like the kind of place where your dream job could flourish, I invite you to discover your career under the umbrella.
How does a large company tackle complex business challenges in imaginative ways? One effective method is to tap into the creativity data-driven employees bring to the table, providing them development opportunities and generating outcomes to create the products that best serve our customers.
Bring on the friendly competition.
During the 2020 Virtual Predictive Modeling Competition, 75 companywide data scientists, data engineers and technology-oriented employees formed into 21 teams with one challenge: to develop a new model that helps our Claim organization more swiftly predict the severity of an accident at faster rates and improve payout predictions.
The eight-week competition gave participants the chance to work with new technologies and frameworks that deepened their skillsets and provided opportunities to collaborate across departments. The event was sponsored by Travelers Claim Business Intelligence and Analytics (CBIA) and Enterprise Data and Analytics (ED&A).
Teams relied on their knowledge of AWS cloud technology, graphics processing units, unstructured data sources and machine learning to analyze a range of information to develop and build their models.
According to the competition winners, reviewing data from customer interaction with claim handlers was paramount. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel, but our model predictions were sensible and could predict high severity claims with a high level of confidence,” said Murat Yasar, Analytics & Research, Business Insurance.
“I saw the competition as a great challenge. It was also a great way to network and share knowledge – which is really a precious opportunity, especially during the pandemic,” said Susan Ye, Data & Research, CBIA.
Travelers began these modeling competitions in 2016 with the goal of providing training opportunities around deep learning and image analytics. But the impact of the work goes far beyond training.
“The winning solution from the 2018 competition is still being used at Travelers – it’s like a Swiss army knife for data scientists,” said George Lee, who leads the Data Science team in ED&A’s AI Accelerator. “That’s our hope for this year’s winning solution.”
2020 CIO 100 Award
From a field of more than 400 nominations, Travelers made the 2020 CIO 100 Award honorees list for an innovation that is especially relevant today, the Wildfire Loss Detector (WLD), which uses high-resolution geospatial imagery and a deep-learning model to quickly identify properties that are total losses.
As a result of this tool, this year alone, Travelers has helped many of our customers in California and Oregon begin the recovery process before returning home following wildfire events.
Mojgan Lefebvre, EVP, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, was interviewed about WLD during a breakout session at the CIO 100 Virtual Symposium, Conference & Awards entitled “How Travelers Uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Accelerate Wildfire Damage Assessment and Claims.” She spoke about the positive business outcomes that AI-driven technologies can deliver directly to customers.
“By using AI – along with existing and emerging technologies – we can accelerate the transformation of our data into actionable insights that enhance the experience for our customers while allowing us to better manage risk,” Mojgan said. “And while advanced analytics have always been utilized in the insurance and financial services industry, the use of AI is amplifying that usage and giving it greater momentum.”
In addition to securing the CIO 100 Award for WLD, the solution also earned a Gartner Eye on Innovation Award in 2019.
2020 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award
For the second consecutive year, Travelers made the list of finalists for the Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Financial Services – this time, for the AI Roof Shape Model.
This Personal Insurance (PI) innovation was named one of the top nine finalists out of more than 220 global nominations for the award, which recognizes innovative use of digital technology-enabled capabilities, products or services for financial services in the Americas.
The model can identify a roof’s shape with high accuracy using aerial imagery and machine learning. This provides rating consistency and pricing accuracy and improves the customer experience.
Mano Mannoochahr, SVP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, says, “The AI roof shape work has led to several other imagery-based automations, including solar panel identification and roof condition assessment. It’s also helping us reduce friction from the underwriting process while improving risk segmentation and pricing.”
Read more about our 2019 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award.
For more than 165 years, Travelers’ innovative employees continually ask themselves and their colleagues, “what’s next?” And throughout the years, their curiosity has led to the development of creative solutions recognized by the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office.
Check out what creativity looks like at Travelers in the following six U.S. patents received this year by members of the Travelers Technology team.
Through Travelers’ Innovation Jam Hackathons and day-to-day innovative thinking, our multi-disciplinary teams will continue to put their creative minds together to produce solutions that make a difference in the lives of our customers and each other.
As we look forward and wonder what’s next for our business, are you wondering what’s next for your career in technology?