Digital Ecosystems in Insurance: Putting the Modern Customer First

With less than 2 weeks before we kickoff WinterHack 2020, it’s time to talk about this year’s theme: Digital Ecosystems. Today, we discuss the concept behind digital ecosystems, why they matter, and how they can benefit insurers who are looking to thrive in the digital era.

What is a digital ecosystem?

Simply put, a digital ecosystem is a network of companies, their customers, and third-party service providers that share digital platforms. These stakeholders combine their offerings to provide services more efficiently, thereby creating greater value for all their customers. Digital ecosystems integrate several industries, allowing participating companies to create targeted products that are better tailored to changing customer needs and preferences.

Why are digital ecosystems important?

Customer expectations are rapidly changing — and providers must evolve in order to keep up with these changes.

Modern customers want customized insurance products, and they want these offerings to be available immediately. They want transactions with their provider to be smooth, quick, and simple. They want the best possible value for the price they pay. And they want to be able to trust their provider to protect their personal data.

In a digital ecosystem, insurers partner with digital service providers to create cross-industry product and service offerings that capitalize on technological capabilities to serve these customer expectations. These ecosystems enable insurers to quickly modify products and services based on changing customer preferences. By collaborating with experts in other fields, the insurer can create true customer value in an efficient, cost-effective, and mutually beneficial way — which is the first step towards building a long-term relationship directly with the customer.

How can you benefit from digital ecosystems?

According to a report published by Accenture in 2019, insurers who do not quickly respond to these changes will miss out on growth opportunities worth USD $177 billion over the next five years.

Collaborations through digital ecosystems allow companies to scale faster than if they stood alone. For example, access to partners’ technological resources makes it easier to roll out new offerings quickly. These cross-industry partnerships provide opportunities for insurers in local and global markets and expand into new sectors by offering complementary products and services with already-trusted partner brands.

Data aggregated from these combined products can be used to generate new leads and lower operational costs, McKinsey says, as well as create targeted products with increased value. It further suggests that insurers can use this data to offer risk assessment, predictive modelling, and other analytics capabilities as a service to partners in the ecosystem.

Insurers must move quickly to adopt a more active role in their customers’ daily lives. By shifting to a digital ecosystem strategy, these insurers can improve product offerings, distribution, and customer relationships while capitalizing on collaboration opportunities that can take them well beyond borders and into a whole new era of globally focused growth.

Wondering how you can adopt digital ecosystems in your insurance organization?

At WinterHack 2020, our Certified Innovation Experts will guide your team through the Design Thinking methodology to help you create an innovative solution around our “Digital Ecosystems” challenges. At the end of the Ideathon, pitch your solution to our esteemed panel of judges and global audience for a chance to win our big prize!

Limited spots remain — sign your team up here!

Relaunched Cookhouse Labs Base for Insurance Innovation/Disruption from Ideation Through Creation

Cookhouse Labs (, InsurTech’s global innovation hub, launched Cookhouse Labs 2.0 this week with a new space in Toronto’s downtown core and a revised menu of programs and innovation opportunities, created based on member feedback.

Cookhouse Labs, which first opened its doors in 2017, offers like-minded insurance pioneers and innovators opportunities to collaborate and co-create to rethink and reinvent insurance. Its new space at 30-34 Duncan St. will play host to myriad innovation/creation sprints, training sessions, lunch & learns and other events that will bring together insurance industry innovators, including insurance companies, brokers, vendors, start-ups and academics.

“With our relaunch, we are actually saying, ‘Welcome Home,’ to all of our members and potential collaborators,” said Sven Roehl, Head of Innovation for msg global solutions and a Co-founder of Cookhouse Labs. “Our ultimate goal is to #MakeInsuranceBetter. During the past nine months, we have taken your input and revamped our Cookhouse Labs menu to meet the needs of the insurance industry and create a home for innovation and collaboration.

“This is your space and we hope you will use it to help the industry meet ever-present challenges.”

Roehl offered opening remarks at the relaunch, followed by a panel discussion featuring three industry professionals: Till Heydel, Vice-President, Strategy & Corporate Development for BI&I/Munich Re; Emily Hill, Manager of Insurance Innovation for CAASCO; and Sam Jazayeri, Producer Team Lead for PrimeService Insurance. They discussed How Collaboration and Co-creation Can Help the Industry to Make Insurance Better.

“We don’t want to innovate for the sake of innovating,” Hill emphasized. Heydel noted, “Technology is not a cost center. Technology is our business model going forward! If we don’t get this, we will not survive.” Jazayeri, speaking as a member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, noted, “A lot of the young brokers are in the survivor phase, busy fighting fires. … The value is forcing them to take time away, saying, ‘Okay, you’re in a three-day program at Cookhouse Labs. Let’s think about what 2025 looks like … and how can we actually shape it?” Heydel added, “… Cookhouse Labs has been very beneficial for the Munich Re group. … We are extremely fortunate to have this independent lab focusing on insurance in a city like Toronto, five minutes away from our office.”

Ibeth Ramos, Program Manager and Innovation Coach for Cookhouse Labs, reflected that the panel posed questions that need answers, issues that can be tackled collaboratively at Cookhouse Labs. “Cookhouse Labs is a space that encourages self-disruption, one that arose from our vision of a collaborative process of solving industry challenges,” Ramos said.

Entering 2020, Cookhouse Labs will offer programs themed by season, beginning in January with a focus on Insurance Innovation, followed quarterly by the Internet of Things, Customer Experience and International Collaboration. Annual memberships are offered at a discount through Dec. 31.

The Most Innovative Gifts of 2017

Holiday season is fast approaching and that means it’s gifting time! But with so many new things on the market, how can you be sure that what you’ve picked is something that they’ll love? 

Here at Cookhouse Lab, we’ve compiled your 2017 list of must-have gifts for that innovative friend of yours (or yourself, because treat yo’ self is a legitimate thing) that’s always looking to stay ahead of the curve with the newest, freshest, and most exciting thing on the market today. 

Go ahead – be the holiday hero with these seven gift suggestions that every kind of innovator in your life will appreciate. 

1. Bluetooth Earphones (and AI Technology)

Wires are so last year, innovator. Make your giftee’s life that much easier with these cordless earphones that they can use in places like the office, the gym, and the subway! And since we’ve worked on several projects that integrated the use of artificial intelligence (like our AI in the Claims Process and Delays in APS) we thought these new Pixel Buds (which work alongside Google’s AI service – Google Assistant) are super innovative. Bluetooth earphones have a wide range in price points, which means you ought to find one that works for anyone. Earphones start from just $30 and go all the way up to $200

2. Innovation Books

Yes, yes, I know. Books aren’t the most innovative thing on the market, but all of the world’s best ideas are born from inspiration – which can totally come from the best books. This book (for just over $20!) will take you through the conventional and unconventional ways that you can innovate in your workplace, all backed through extensive behavioural psychology. 

3. An Inspired Course

With New Year’s coming up, many of us are going to work on a few resolutions. Why not give the gift of learning and professional development by helping your innovative friend get a head start on Design Thinking? There are many Design Thinking courses (like this one from the University of Toronto) and literature (like this one by Nigel Cross), and Cookhouse Lab is thrilled to announce that we’ll be kicking off our very own Design Thinking 101 series and courses in 2018. Be sure to contact us to learn more and put yourself on our list!

4. Virtual Reality (VR) Headset

Know someone that couldn’t get away this holiday season? That won’t matter once they have a VR headset like the Oculus Rift, where they’ll be escaping to somewhere new from the comfort of their living room. Although the Oculus Rift is a pricier option (the set starts at $529), you can also get one for less than $50!

5. Molecular Food Kits

Who doesn’t love food? These cool kits not only elevate any culinary experience by the ability to change the look and feel of any ingredient, but they also allow you to deconstruct any dish. Buy the food kit here or for your cocktail-loving friend, the mixology kit here

6. Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin (and blockchain) has been all over the news lately, so maybe it’s time to get aboard the cryptocurrency train and gift that special someone with some. But first, what is bitcoin? What is blockchain? Well, bitcoin is a use-case of blockchain technology, which some are hailing as the biggest new invention since the Internet. Blockchain projects are happening in every sector, including insurance (check out what we learned in our first Blockchain & Insurance project here!). 

If Bitcoin is a bit out of your price range (currently sitting at just over $23,000 CAD as of 12/19/17), other cryptocurrencies deployed on a blockchain include Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. For Canadians wishing to purchase, QuadrigaCX is a popular exchange. For Americans, Coinbase is an option. 

7. Drones

Drones are super cool for everybody. They’re interactive, and it’s thrilling to make something fly. And drones are not only impacting entertainment technology for the average user, they’re shaking things up in other sectors (Have you heard of drones being tested for things like mail delivery?) Want to get in on the drone action? Beginner drones start for less than $30, but make sure you read up on drone insurance!

There you have it! Simple as that. Enjoy your upcoming holiday season innovators – we can’t wait to have you back in the Lab in 2018. If you can’t wait until then to hear from us, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for all of our insights, delivered straight to your inbox. 

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Blockchain & Group Benefit Coordination: Learnings & Wrap Up

Blockchain has been one of the most talked-about technologies of 2017, with some even calling it the most revolutionary technology since the widespread use of the Internet.

How will blockchain technology affect the insurance group benefits coordination process?

Over the course of a 5-week sprint, Cookhouse Lab’s blockchain & group benefit coordination project team went on a mission to find out. Using the lab’s design-thinking methodology, the team identified key customer and business pain points within the current coordination of benefits journey, developed a future state blockchain-based process, and created a set of wireframes for the MVP. Finally, they were able to leverage resources from the project’s build partner, msg global, to build a final MVP based on their wireframes and processes. 

The proposed blockchain & group benefit coordination MVP

The team’s MVP enables policyholders, covered by multiple insurance companies, to submit an extended healthcare claim (eg, vision, physio, massage) once to their primary provider. The claim will be adjudicated by the primary provider, then passed on via a blockchain to the secondary provider, who will adjudicate the claim for the remainder of the balance. 

Technology used to build the MVP

This MVP was built with Hyperledger Fabric and hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The former is a blockchain framework implementation that was originally contributed by Digital Asset and IBM. This framework allows for various components, including consensus and membership services to be plug-and-play. The latter is a secure cloud computing service which provides the necessary database storage.

How will this blockchain MVP benefit group benefit coordination?

Although the benefits of this solution are primarily customer-focused, insurers will also undoubtedly gain from this technology. Here are two of the major ways in which this MVP will improve the group benefit process:

  • Time efficiency: Policyholders would no longer need to submit claims multiple times when covered by multiple providers, which will enable policyholders to more easily receive the compensation they are entitled to.
  • Cost efficiency: Secondary insurers would benefit too. By receiving claims directly from the primary insurer, they can place more trust in the claim information, and avoid the resource cost of reaching back to the customer for further details.

What are the limitations of blockchain?

While building an MVP for blockchain in a 5-week sprint is a huge accomplishment, it is still important to be aware of its limitations. This technology is still in its infancy, which means that development protocols are still being established and roadblocks are found often. 

What’s next for blockchain technology?

While blockchain does have limitations, we can be optimistic in assuming the above issues will be rectified in due time. As the technology increases in sophistication, and as new consensus protocols are developed and implemented, blockchain will continue to become a more viable and efficient solution.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is that this technology offers a fantastic solution for transactions that take place across multiple parties. For this reason, and those detailed in the diagram below, blockchain lends itself well to solving the Coordination of Group Benefits use case.

Next steps for the Blockchain & Group Benefits Coordination MVP

Whenever a project comes to completion in Cookhouse Lab, organizations involved in the project assess the MVP internally before deciding on next steps. For this project, organizations will meet again in early 2018 to determine next steps. 

Want to get involved with blockchain?

We want to thank our participating members The Co-operators, Great West Life, Manulife and Sunlife on bringing their innovative minds together for this project! If your organization is interested in joining this group of innovators for the next steps for this project, please contact us.

But wait! This innovative fun doesn’t stop there. Cookhouse Lab is gearing up for 2018, and we’ve already planned some exciting sprints. Check them out!

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Blockchain & Group Benefit Coordination: Project Update

Blockchain has been all the buzz and last week, Cookhouse Lab kicked off our second project in our Blockchain series. During this four week sprint, the project will delve into group benefit coordination to produce a prototype using Blockchain technology to improve the coordination of benefits process.

The problem and what we have learned to date:

The group benefit coordination process occurs when a customer is covered by multiple insurance providers, requiring the customer to submit a single claim multiple times to receive their full coverage entitlement.

In Week One, the team worked together to develop a joint understanding of the current state journey, and pains felt by both the insurers and customers within. This led the team to their initial problem statements:

“As a customer, submitting extended healthcare claims when covered by multiple insurers is complicated and confusing. I am required to submit multiple times, often have to call in, and it takes a long time for me to get my money back.”

“As a second/tertiary insurer [in the Coordination of Benefits process] I don’t know whether the shared information in an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) is valid. This can lead to required resubmissions which result in higher effort, cost, and lower customer satisfaction.”

<<< Obsessed with Blockchain? Find out what kind of future we would find ourselves in with this technology. >>>

Next milestone:

  • Build out the future state process
  • Conduct customer testing and develop wireframes
  • Gather requirements with our build partner, msg global solutions
  • Develop the Blockchain prototype using Hyperledger technology


  • The Co-operations
  • Great West Life
  • Manulife
  • Sunlife

Our project MVP will be unveiled in just two weeks! Continue to follow us on our co-creation and open innovation journey by subscribing to our blog and news updates

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[Blockchain Series: Part 1] Revolutionizing the Insurance Customer Experience

Amongst the hottest innovation trends today, Blockchain is often mentioned.  Although Blockchain is often just associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, this technology has enormous potential to impact the future customer experience. From our first collaborative Blockchain project, we’ve learned that countless insurance use cases are ripe for exploration. These use cases span from back-office improvements, fraud detection, to positively impacting the role of insurance from the consumer’s perspective. 

Let’s take a moment and think about what the future of insurance will look like once Blockchain is widely used and implemented.

Onboarding & Identity

Engaged to be married and to start a family, Julian looks to purchase a home.  After he gets his financing in order, he is then proactively presented with several “peace of mind” options.  Through his smart device, these options are presented to him as “smart contracts” that Julian can choose from. Instantly executed, Julian selects to protect his family home, car and his health.  No identity, asset or health information is needed as this information is already collected and verified automatically from trusted sources.  


Several years pass and on one unfortunate day while practicing his culinary skills, Julian’s home is damaged by small home fire. All Julian has to care about is that his family is safe and sound. He does not need to worry about coverage or claims as his IoT devices have already shared the necessary information using trusted sources which then triggers a repair funds to be transferred to his account and a preferred service provider to repair and restore the damage to his home the next day. 

Risk Prevention

Over the years, Julian continues to be a loyal customer. But unfortunately, he has had a couple of small vehicle accidents during his daily commute. Based on predictive analytics, Julian is gifted a telematics safety device that incents him for safe driving but also acts as a proactive safety measure, alerting him when he is likely to get into an accident. This provides Julian with additional preventative peace of mind while he is travelling for work or for a family vacation. 

Curious about insurance blockchain use cases? You may be interested in: Blockchain & Insurance Management Report


As Julian gets closer to retirement, his term coverage is about to lapse.  Julian still visits his physician regularly and is in good health. By pulling information from health record oracles and updating his smart contract accordingly, Julian is presented with a renewal option. Without the need to worrying about lapsing coverage or the need to get any additional information, Julian is proactively presented renewal options on his smart device. With one touch, Julian renews and his “peace of mind” continues. 

The Future is Coming…

Does this sound like science fiction? My son Julian is 1 year old today. Do we really have to wait until he grows up to make this customer experience a reality? The building blocks for making this customer experience real is readily available today through Blockchain innovation.

Co-create with us on our upcoming blockchain projects to move and influence our industry to revolutionize the future of insurance!

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Delays in APS Project – Learnings and Wrap Up

It has been six months since the Cookhouse Lab opened its doors to the insurance industry with the vision of making insurance better.  There have been several amazing co-creation projects to date including Insurance Loyalty & Rewards and Blockchain Use Cases For Insurance.  Each of these produced valuable outputs for the individual participating member insurance companies, and the Delays in APS project was no different. This project is the first since the inception of our lab (though we anticipate many more) that delivered a solution scope for an industry minimum viable product.

For any life insurance business, the requirement for an attending physician’s statement (APS) is an unpleasant experience for underwriters, physicians and applicants.  As this is a 30+ year old process today, a new industry solution for a single source for APS information would benefit all parties.  It was this shared pain for the APS that brought the consortium of insurance companies together which included three carriers and three reinsurers. 

Members at times expressed their potential concerns of IP conflicts and creating new value with peers that one completes within the market. As we continue to embark on our co-creating journey, we are persistently being challenged by:

“Are competitors willing to work together?”

Cookhouse Lab has proven, over the last several months, that yes, competitors are not only willing to, but motivated to work with other peers to solve for problems that they collectively face.

Throughout our 90-day journey together, as expected, there were hesitations amongst the group of industry peers at first. However, through an iterative approach, several techniques were used to support and improve this unique collaborative effort.

From Day 1 to Day 90, the project team always referred to themselves as APSync, which was their tribe name and identity when they worked in the Cookhouse Lab.  Not only did this bring the team together, but it also discouraged identifying themselves with their own organization when working on the project.

Defining A Shared Problem Statement

Although the pain of long delays, a legacy paper based process and physician relationship friction are shared amongst all insurance companies, it was the clear focus on the impact of these deficiencies on the customer/applicant experience that unified the effort of the companies.

Introduce A Mutual Discovery Experience

As an insurtech innovation lab, Cookhouse Lab introduces many new concepts and insurance startups to incumbent insurance companies.  Although there are varying degrees of awareness, we purposely introduced a wide spectrum of current (eg. medical clinic interviews) and bleeding edge innovations (eg. Insurance focused OCR, machine learning and underwriting API’s) to keep the team motivated and excited to discover together.

In addition, what also supported the success of the project’s MVP output was the focus on the problem statement throughout the 90 days. Living through the pain felt amongst all of the APS ecosystem was shared amongst all team members whether you were an underwriter or part of our customer feedback groups who listened to customers who felt the pain.

Supporting Shared IP Creation Through Clear Role Definitions

Although it would be ideal to have a team of generalists that could fluidly move from one role to the next, I have found that member companies have been sending role specific project members.  By assigning clear key roles towards the MVP output, no one member or organization has the entire picture until delivery date.  For this particular project, some role areas include: 

  • APS industry stakeholder statistics & current state scan 
  • Financial analysis – investment, forecast & valuation 
  • New underwriter role definition & training 
  • International market opportunity & MVP context 
  • Technology architecture 
  • Go to market strategy & phased roll out

Through everyone’s unique and valuable talents, this project led to the creation of a highly attractive opportunity of ~$90MM that is supported by the proposed project MVP. This opportunity is composed of cost savings, productivity and new business all of each were uncovered by the team at the Cookhouse Lab who leveraged our unique co-creation design thinking experience.

As the 90 day sprint came to a conclusion, the project team had a distinct experience at the Cookhouse Lab.  It was more akin to saying farewell to good friends rather than the conclusion of another company project.  It is a unique opportunity to work with a competitor.  One that has produced surprising innovation agility and output, and quite amazingly produced an MVP that can vastly improve an APS process that hasn’t changed in over 30 years. Marrying innovation trends such as machine learning and API’s with legacy insurance experiences sparked several new ideas and insights that the members will keep beyond their time on the project. Do you have a competitor collaboration story? 

Want more? Check out the Delays in APS project management report:

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Blockchain & Insurance Use Case Project – Learnings and Wrap Up

Cookhouse Lab’s first month-long Blockchain & Insurance project came to a close on Friday June 2, with the project team presenting their outputs to 40 stakeholders from their respective organizations. In the two weeks since the previous project update, the team developed a long list of potential use cases, then identified their top three categories based on selection criteria they prepared. We are proud of the effort the team put in and the outputs they achieved.

Public vs. Private Ledgers

There were two key discussions which occurred frequently throughout the duration of the project. The first discussion of ‘Public vs Private Ledgers’ split the team between those who valued the ability of private-ledger based blockchains to suit existing business requirements, and those interested in the innovative new-market opportunities offered by public-ledger based blockchains. The team reached a consensus that private-ledger blockchains would be the best starting point for incumbents within the insurance industry, though recognized the potential disruption of disintermediation that will be enabled by public platforms such as Ethereum.

Broad vs. Focused

The second discussion centered around where to start. Blockchain technology has the potential to transform system environments. However, a large-scale implementation is not a practical possibility in the short term given the complexity of the current state, the lack of a demonstrated MVP, and the low level of understanding of blockchain technology across the industry. Hundreds of use cases have already been documented by professional services firms, consortiums and start-ups within the broader financial services sector. Many of these use cases are currently being developed into working prototypes or MVPs.

It was decided that the primary purpose of any MVP developed through Cookhouse Lab is to enable insurance organizations to see how blockchain technology works. With this in mind, the team developed nine selection criterions against which each use case was assessed including “Barriers to Entry” and “Customer Impact”. The final rankings were determined using an adaptation of Karl Wiegers’ Relative Weighting Formula. Ultimately, the team selected use cases that face minimal barriers to entry, focus on isolated issues, and can deliver business value quickly.  

Final Use Case Categories

  1. Automated Insurance Products/Claims Payments
  2. Communication and Integration
  3. Industry-Wide Blockchain Applications

Project Milestones

  • Developed a long-list of blockchain use cases
  • Developed a set of selection criteria
  • Selected the top three use case categories (two use cases within each category)
  • Completed the Innovation Report
  • Completed the final project presentation

Where to From Here?

This project is intended to be the first in a series of several. The Cookhouse Lab will run at minimum three additional Blockchain & Insurance projects this calendar year, each dedicated to developing an MVP, initially based on the top three use case categories identified by the current project team.

It was a privilege to work with such a large and diverse team of insurance professionals across both life and P&C disciplines. I asked a few members to share their experience with us, this is what they had to say:


“Collaboration with Cookhouse Lab is an opportunity to establish new tracks for like-minded companies that want to run together towards big things. The coaching is top-notch and the way of working is agile.” – John Gray, Technical Accountant at Munich Re

“My experience at Cookhouse lab was an excellent one. Each session was led by an Innovation Chef who took us through a design thinking process which was coupled with weekly coaching sessions. Each helped by training your brain to think in a new way and come up with innovative ideas. The team consisted of highly knowledgeable Industry colleagues which led to great collaboration and excellent networking opportunities.”  – Amanda Calder, Claims Examiner at Temple Insurance Company (Munich Re Group) 

“Where else, as an insurer, can you get access to collaborative space with other insurer companies to work on innovation? And that helps us challenge perceived wisdoms of our proposition and to look at potential use cases in blockchain to partners in the future with other insurance firms. All growth happens outside of your comfort zone. The engagement allowed us to validate new ideas with insurers much faster than before. It brought us in contact with fantastic mentors that we will continue to work with.” – Binal Bhavsar, Enterprise Solution Architect at The Co-operators

If you’re interested in working through any one of our next Blockchain & Insurance innovation projects, be sure to contact us and find out how you can become a member

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May Innovation Projects: Delays in APS and Blockchain

We ended April on a strong note with the wrap up of our first innovation project – Insurance Loyalty & Rewards. We obviously had to keep up with the strong momentum and therefore kicked off two new innovation projects in May. 

If you’ve not had the chance to experience what Cookhouse Lab has to offer, each innovation project (various sprints) is facilitated by one of our in-house Innovation Chefs utilizing our unique Innovation Methodology that combines lean innovation, design thinking, and a robust insurance/insurtech ecosystem.

I took the opportunity to ask Jason Yu and Rhiannon Snell to share a glimpse of our two new projects –Delays in Attending Physician Statements (at time of Underwriting) and Blockchain & Insurance

Project Kick-Off: Delays in Attending Physician Statements 

Start Date: May 1, 2017  |  Sprint: 12 weeks 

The problem and what we have learned to date: 

When a life or living benefits insurance customer applies for coverage, there may be a need for insurers to obtain an attending physician statement (APS) to support the underwriting process.  Unfortunately, the turn around time for these requests can take several months which has led to a loss of business, incomplete data and applicant death.

In Canada, approximately $60 million is spent on these requests from which 60% are faxed and 35% are snail mailed. Three direct insurers, three reinsurers (including members from the UK and Brazil) and a consulting firm has signed on to participate in Cookhouse Lab’s twelve week APS delays project with the goal of creating a digital minimal viable product (MVP) that would accelerate the time and improve data quality. 

During this early stage of the project, the team walked through several lean startup and design thinking exercises to create APSync Inc., a conceptual new venture focused on creating a new third party digital solution to address an initial problem statement:

“Physicians are not motivated to expedite the completion of APS requests because of a lack of patient value awareness, complex fax & paper based process and non-existent insurer relationship”.

The innovation team will spend the next several weeks iterating through this problem statement. 

Accomplishments to date:

  • Based on the developed personas, we defined our initial bold problem statement for the current sprint stakeholder focus
  • Designed the first lean business model canvas to express the team’s first go to market and business value proposition pitched to Highline Beta
  • Designed first dynamic digital mock-up to be tested with practicing physicians along with several proposed recognition programs
  • Completed two rounds of surveys with physicians and insurers and have received ~40 respondents
  • Identified two healthcare-related insurtechs and have started collaboration with one machine learning insurtech startup

Next milestone:

  • Create clickable mockup for upcoming customer interviews and focus groups
  • Prepare next insurer focused sprint


  • Foresters Financial
  • Hannover Re (Ireland) DAC Canadian Life Branch 
  • IRB Brasil Re
  • KPMG (Canada) 
  • Manulife Financial 
  • RGA 
  • The Co-operators 

Project Kick-Off: Blockchain & Insurance

Start Date: May 8, 2017  |  Sprint: 4 weeks 

The problem and what we have learned to date: 

Presenting the potential to cause major disruption, Blockchain is a trending topic within the insurance industry. Six major Canadian insurance companies and one insurance publication have signed on to participate in Cookhouse Lab’s initial month-long blockchain project – the end goal being to develop a set of relevant blockchain use cases (that may be accelerated into MVPs in future project cycles).

The project began with a crash course on blockchain delivered by industry experts representing Cryptiv, R3 and IBM. Team members spent Week One participating in guest lectures and brainstorming sessions, familiarizing themselves with the functionality of blockchain, investigating existing use cases, and discussing how blockchain could be used to disrupt the insurance landscape. In Week Two, the team took a step back to identify and prioritize customer and business pain points within the insurance lifecycle.

The team will use these pain-points, once validated through interviews, surveys and secondary data,  to begin the process of generating blockchain use cases specific to the insurance industry.  

Three of these use cases will be introduced as subsequent innovation projects. 

Accomplishments to date:

  • Developed an understanding of blockchain including high level technical functionality, history, existing use cases and its potential future application with help from industry experts from Cryptiv, R3 and IBM
  • Identified and prioritized customer problems across the insurance lifecycle
  • Identified and prioritized business problems across the insurance lifecycle

Next Milestones:

  • Validate the prioritized business problems with the wider companies belonging to the team members
  • Develop use cases
  • Test use cases with customers and insurers
  • Prioritize and select final use cases


  • AIG
  • Insurance Canada
  • Manulife Financial
  • Marsh & McLennan Companies
  • Munich Re
  • Royal Sun Alliance (RSA)
  • The Co-operators

Following the approach of Design Thinking, the importance of learning, designing, testing, and modelling is critical to the development of Cookhouse Lab and the value we bring to our members. During our first innovation project, we received tremendous amount of valuable feedback from project participants. Through this insight, we continue to iterate and modify our offering with the objective to deliver the best possible solution to our membership

We were amazed to see what the project team was able to accomplish within a 12 week sprint and continue to challenge ourselves with shorter sprints and greater results.

As always, continue to follow us on our co-creation and open innovation journey by subscribing to our blog and news updates

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