Connecting the dots at AudaVision Toronto 2014

By Mike Davey

Toronto, Ontario — January 31, 2014 — The sectors of the auto claims economy are more interconnected than ever before, and the trend is toward even greater connections. Highlighting these growing connections was a major focus during the morning session at AudaVision Toronto 2014, taking place today at the Airport Marriot Toronto.

Anthony Giagnacovo, Managing Director of Audatex Canada, helped to highlight these growing connections during his opening remarks.

“Our world keeps changing and the connections keep magnifying,” said Giagnocovo. “There are many more connection lines between both individuals and organizations. That’s our expertise, as we’re delivering this new platform, to make it better, faster and easier for businesses to communicate with each other and their customers.”

Giagnocovo also referenced how Audatex Canada draws on its international connections to source the best solutions from around the world, combines them, and then uses that experience to develop solutions that are uniquely suited to the Canadian market. Giagnocovo noted that this is part of the culture of the parent company, Solera. In fact, “Solera” refers to a Spanish method of wine making where young, raw wine is blended with more mature wines.

Giagnocovo was followed by George Cooke, the keynote speaker for AudaVision Toronto 2014. Cooke is the President of Martello Associates Consulting and the former CEO of Dominion of Canada Insurance. He offered his personal observations on the property and casualty claims industry. Cooke offered insight into the future by focusing on autonomous vehicles, also sometimes called driverless cars.

“We’ve all heard about the driverless car, but I was surprised to hear that there are already three states that either have or soon will have legislation to allow these cars on the road,” said Cooke. “The fact that this is happening will be a catalyst for an enormous amount of change in our industry”

Cooke outlined a number of items that he sees as the most important when it comes to impact on claims and how they’re dealt with. The first of these is weather change.

“For those of you from Toronto, you know that we’ve had the coldest winter in decades,” said Cooke. “Global warming? I don’t really care. The fact is that it’s different.”

Cooke also touched on the recent acquisition of State Farm Canada by Desjardins.

“I talked to a government person the other day, who said, ‘Isn’t it great that Desjardins wants to get into Ontario auto?’,” said Cooke. “My response was, ‘Isn’t it interesting that an international company wanted to divest itself of its interests in Ontario auto?’”

Cooke summed up with three distinct points with an underlying theme. His first point was that, like it or not, good drivers are paying more than they should, and conversely, bad drivers are paying less than they should. Second, that there are gross levels of inefficiency inside the distribution channel. Third, on the claims side, there is opportunity to do certain things that were essentially impossible five years before.

“One piece of technology that underlies those things is telematics,” said Cooke. “Telematics, in my view, will be a very disruptive and transformative technology. The data play is inherent with that technology, and telematics underlies the driverless car. In the immediate future, it will create both challenges and opportunities in the industry as we know it today.”

Cooke was followed by Rick Tuuri, Vice President of Industry Relations for Audatex, who spoke on the topic of Trusted Date and the Future of Technology. Among other topics, Tuuri used a personal experience to discuss the importance and the challenge of ensuring the right replacement parts are used. 

A sheaf of short presentations on recent innovations in claims services followed. Presenters included Andrew Lumsden, Sr. Director Strategy, Chrome Data Solutions; Gary Gumushian, Vice President-OEM Global Relations; Art Lane, Ontario Sales Manager for Audatex; Kelly Merchant, Senior Regional Service Manage for Audatex and Scott Westbrook of APU Solutions. The session was facilitated by Gabor Toth, CFOO and VP Operations for Audatex.

Sessions continued after a break for lunch with “Customer Experience in the Age of the Digital Consumer,” by Glenn Gibson, President – Business Operations, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and “Improving Insurance Telematics,” by Louis Dore, Director Strategic Partners, Baseline Telematics.

An in-depth examination of AudaNet: The Next-Generation Claims Platform followed, facilitated by Anthony Giagnacovo, and featuring commentary from Colin Moore, Manager of Software Engineering and Massimo Pecchia, Product Manager. Commonwell Mutual, formerly Farmer’s Mutual, had been engaged in testing the new platform and provided a testimonianl on the value they have seen. 

The last session of the day focused on OnStar and 4G LTE technology, delivered by Gary Gumushian, VP-OEM Global Relations and Mark DuBois, OnStar Manager of New Business Development.

Giagnocovo returned to the podium to deliver the closing remarks for the day.

“Don’t strive to hit achievable objectives,” said Giagnocovo. “Strive to achieve those objectives that are so far out there you will always hit above the mark. Aim high.”


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