Week in Post: Amazon Echo; pills that make you hard; CMC scourge and elderly drivers

Amazon Echo

This week Post reporter Rosie Quigley and I were given a tour around the Accenture Innovation Lab at Plantation Place in the City.

The trip was very illuminating as we were privy to a number of demonstrations of technology that could be harnessed by the insurance sector to broaden its analytics capabilities and improve customer journeys.

One of the devices on show was the Amazon Echo (pictured), the voice-enabled wireless speaker that is presently at the forefront of the connected home revolution in the United States.

The online retailer is often name-checked at conferences as being one of the best businesses when it comes to mining data to get a greater understanding of its customers. But it does not always get it right as one of the Post team discovered when they ordered a toy for their son from the CBeebies programme Go Jetters.

Opening the ‘Foz and G.O. Giant' toy on delivery from Amazon, they were a bit perturbed to see that also included in the packet was what could best be described as ‘penis pills' that promised the recipient the mother of all boners.

Thankfully the child for whom the toy was meant was not there, otherwise there might have been a very embarrassing one-to-one chat about the ‘sex sweeties', but it does show that even Amazon is not fool-proof when it comes to customer service. One wonders what an insurance equivalent could be? And before you email or tweet with jokes of the market hardening, that quip has already been cracked in the office.

Outside the world of combating erectile malfunction, the Insurance Act continued to grab headlines with Hiscox making a pledge to pay claims in full to claimants that neither deliberately nor recklessly fail to make a fair representation of a risk under Insurance Act 2015.

As the football season gets into full swing, the insurer results equivalent is coming to an end, with Admiral's solvency ratio and QBE's post Brexit EU strategy very much in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Brightside saw its pre-tax earnings drop by 24% amid what it described as a "brutal" private motor environment.

In other news, it was claimed Buzzmove had completed the largest early-stage super-seed raise in the UK so far for an Insurtech start-up, and a £31.1m insurance arrangement between QBE and Network Rail was not renewed because of "unacceptable terms".

In terms of blogs, Post again returned to the podium, because like Team GB in the Rio Velodrome they set the pace when it came to mining a rich seam of topical and thought-provoking comment pieces.

Particular plaudits must go to James Fawcett at Browne Jacobson who looked at how insurers must face up to the challenge of dealing with the devolution of powers from central to local government and the resulting rise of super-combined authorities; and Axa's David Williams, who admitted he had been encouraged by the growing number of claimant lawyers who accept that CMCs are a "scourge".

Other blogging medals went to David Damsell from Crawford & Company, who reflected on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 London Riots, and Craig Allen at Ageas, who posed the prickly question of what would happen if we had the first subsidence surge year for a decade.

Finally, and blowing my own trumpet, I looked at seven lessons that could be learnt from anyone planning to launch a start-up insurer, based on the experiences of Gable.

To conclude my look at content you might have missed on Postonline over the last week, I would wholeheartedly recommend you read the latest piece by David Worsfold to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, looking at trends in fire claims today, as well as Rachel Gordon's feature on how the insurance industry is looking to deal with the growing number of drivers over the age of 70.

So there we have it. Away from Rio I would like to mention that Post's publisher Incisive Media threw its own Olympics jamboree this week replacing cycling, athletics and swimming with the likes of the egg-and-spoon race, balloon themed frolics and a sack dash. And Gold went to the insurance division team, with Insurance Age's Ida Axling flying the flag for editorial.

As to the Wall of Shame, Post reporter Will Kirkman celebrated his birthday tied for silver with news editor Martin Croucher, as Rosie Quigley lapped them three times.

Tchau

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