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As growth remains sluggish, technology and innovation are key to drive agile growth, EY insurance outlook 2019 reveals

Vlad Poptamas

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EY - Building a better working world
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Global insurance sector growth is expected to remain weak, and companies must focus on technology and innovative initiatives that optimize costs, drive wider distribution and market reach and explore local niche market segments, to spur growth reveals EY Insurance Outlook 2019. The latest editions of EY insurance outlook series ‒  covering the three regions, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe ‒ are the result of several think tank sessions of EY industrial and functional professionals as well as strategists and technologists, and cover the major trends, disruptions and innovations that are impacting the global insurance industry.

David Hollander, EY Global Insurance Leader, says:

“We are at an exciting and opportune time as insurers are investing more than ever to transform their business models to take advantage of subtly different growth opportunities around the world. The EY teams are energized by the possibilities that exist for insurance ‒  deliver better ways of working, drive a clearer sense of purpose, adopt more effective use of technology and leverage our industry’s distinctive ability to promote financial wellness.”

Life versus P&C insurance outlook 2019

While global life and property and casualty (P&C) insurance show sluggish growth overall, non-life/P&C insurance has shown considerably higher performance in Americas and Asia- Pacific markets. Life insurers are facing growth challenges globally due to regulatory issues, outdated distribution and lack of relevant products to the changing customer needs. To address these challenges the EY Insurance Outlook 2019 report lays out specific strategic and tactical actions that include expanding the product value proposition toward financial wellness, partnering with InsurTech companies for wider reach, innovating and developing new products rather than just regulatory compliance and digital transformation to support innovation and speed to market.

Non-life/P&C sector has shown considerable growth; however, it can face headwinds due to projected prolonged economic slowdown. To navigate these, the report identifies key opportunities that include using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) for accurate analytics, adapting to rising customer expectations, partnering with InsurTech for innovation and routes to market, and exploiting fast-growing niche segments like health and cyber in Asia-Pacific.

The EY Insurance Outlook 2019 has, among others, recommended the following top imperatives for companies in the sector to facilitate growth and profitability:

1. Digital transformation is no longer optional, but necessary to optimize costs and invest in relevant, innovative areas

Today’s intense margin pressures mean that cost efficiency, a perpetual goal of all insurers, is more important than ever. Across all regions, insurers should carefully design operating models and deploy technologies that can deliver short- and long-term cost and performance improvements. The report identifies the top technologies for insurers to think about in terms of their transformation programs:

  • Blockchain for authentication, underwriting and claims attribution
  • IoT for accurately underwriting policies using real-time data and reducing or eliminating claims using allied services
  • AI for enhancing customer experience cost-efficiently and streamlining claims management, especially for simpler cases (e.g., auto damage)

2. Distribution: think human and digital – not human or digital

Spurred by experiences in other industries, customers expect to increase their transactions with insurers through direct and online channels that have the advantages of increased transparency and improved experience. Further, the research reveals that customers seek advice from experts before making substantial investment decisions. In the Americas and Europe many insurers are investing in InsurTech as a way to improve distribution and optimize costs. The additional complexity of the Asia-Pacific region comes from the critical importance of agents and bancassurance partners in the value chain.

With often deeply historic roots, insurers often find themselves grappling with the challenge of what role to play in an emerging technology-driven ecosystem and how to work with InsurTechs. The report finds that an imperative for insurers is to make the critical decision about what capabilities they should own and manage themselves and what to outsource. Further, insurers must digitize their antiquated customer experiences and develop a streamlined, omnichannel proposition, supplemented by new advisory services that will build trust and further cement customer loyalty.

3. Life insurers key value proposition: financial wellness, not just insurance

It’s clear that today’s consumers are buying less life insurance and fewer annuities than in the past. Shifting customer preferences are the key determinants to these changes – with millennials, for example being less inclined to maximize wealth (e.g., through investing in insurance), instead preferring to invest in experiences such as travel and recreation.

The report suggests that to remain viable, life insurance products must dramatically change and become something consumers understand, want and value. To address this shift in generational views requires a multipronged strategy focused on holistic financial wellness for example, new affordable and relevant products must be developed that cater to all aspects of financial wellness including protection, retirement and health, and even provide the means to manage day-to-day finances. Further effective communication and education are imperative to build traction.

Hollander says: “In the future, digital trust will be the bedrock on which business value will be created for consumer-focused businesses. To achieve that, insurers must move beyond “thinking about digital” and start “thinking digital.” This will give insurers the agility to seize emerging opportunities and adapt to rising customer expectations.”

Editor - With a passion photo photography, webdesign and content, it made sense for me to also integrate news editing and press release publishing. I am also passionate about the car industry, so you will surely find some exciting news reporting from my side about the automotive industry.

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Alternative Energies

Greengate Power’s 113 MW Stirling Wind Project in Alberta Awarded 20-Year Contract by AESO

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: stirlingwind.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Greengate Power Corporation (“Greengate”) is pleased to announce that its 113 MW Stirling Wind Project (“Stirling Wind”) was awarded a 20-year Renewable Electricity Support Agreement (“RESA”) by the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”). Stirling Windis jointly-owned by Greengate, Potentia Renewables Inc. (“Potentia”) and Paul First Nation with Potentia owning a majority interest. With the award of this key contract, the project is expected to be under construction in the near future.

Stirling Wind is located in the County of Warner No.5 and Lethbridge County approximately 30 km southeast of the City of Lethbridge. Located on a large plateau of cultivated and grazing land, the project has an excellent wind resource which is among the best in Alberta. Under the terms of the RESA, Stirling Wind will receive a guaranteed price for all the power it produces for a period of 20 years.

“The Stirling Wind Project is among the first successful renewable energy project partnerships between industry and a first nations community in Alberta. We applaud the Government of Alberta for the continued success of its Renewable Electricity Program which is delivering long-term, low-cost clean power for Albertans,” said Dan Balaban, President and Chief Executive Officer of Greengate. “Stirling is the third wind energy project successfully developed by Greengate in Alberta and demonstrates Greengate’s continued leadership in Alberta’s fast-growing renewable energy sector. We look forward to completing Stirling with our partners so that its social, economic and environmental benefits can be realized by all involved.”

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Alternative Energies

OXIS Energy Key Component of Safe Road Electrification Project to Launch in January

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Lithium Sulphur for Safe Road Electrification (LISA) 43 month project starts on the 1st January 2019. It is worth over €7.9m and consists of 13 European partners including OXIS Energy UK Ltd. The overall goal is to design and manufacture a lithium sulfur technology that will enable safe electrification of EV applications.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are a key technology for reducing the environmental impact of road transport and reaching the EU sustainability goals in terms of reducing CO₂ emissions and oil dependency. With stricter environmental regulations, automobile manufacturers are now urged to produce electric or hybrid vehicles, including a commitment to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030. One of the main challenges is to increase market acceptance and deployment of EVs on European and global roads. This requires new battery technologies to overcome the limitations of current EVs, particularly in terms of driving range, charging time, costs and safety.

Due to the fact that Li-ion batteries are still the limiting factor for mass scale adoption of electrified vehicles, there is a need for new batteries that enable EVs with higher driving range, higher safety and faster charging at lower cost. Li-S is a promising alternative to Li-ion – free of critical raw material (CRM) and non-limited in capacity and energy by material of intercalation.

LISA advances the development of high energy and safe Li-S battery cells with hybrid solid state non-flammable electrolytes validated at 20Ah cell level. LISA will solve specific Li-S bottlenecks on metallic lithium protection, power rate and volumetric energy density; together with cost which is the main selection criteria for EV batteries. The sustainability of the technology will be assessed from an environmental and economic perspective.

The technology will be delivered ready for use within the corresponding state of charge estimator facilitating battery pack integration. Today, Li-S is twice as light as Li-ion and has reached only 10% of the sulphur theoretical energy density (2600Wh/kg) at cell prototype level (250-300Wh/kg), with potentially 800Wh/l (600Wh/kg) achievable by improving materials, components and manufacturing. LISA is strongly oriented to the development of lithium metal protection and solid state electrolyte and will incorporate process concepts enabling integration in future manufacturing lines. Moreover, the outcome of the project in terms of new materials, components, cells, and processes will be transferable to other lithium-anode based technologies such as Li-ion and solid state lithium technologies. As such, LISA will have a large impact on existing and next-generation EV batteries, delivering technology with higher energy density beyond the theoretical capacities of chemistries using CRM – i.e. natural graphite and cobalt – or silicon-based chemistries inherently limited by their manufacturability.

Steve Rowlands, Deputy CTO at OXIS says, “The LISA project ties in perfectly with OXIS Energy’s future business strategy in entering into the electric automotive sector including trucks and buses. Continuing our collaborations with LEITAT, Arkema, Cranfield University, IWS Fraunhofer and Renault as well as working with new partners is an exciting prospect in taking OXIS technology to the next level in terms of safe automotive electrification.”

The partners involved in the LISA project are LEITAT (co-ordinators), OXIS Energy Ltd, Cranfield University, Varta Micro Battery GmbH, CIC Energigune, ARKEMA, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Förderung De Angewandten Forschung, Pulsedeon Oy, ACCUREC Recycling GmbH, Optimat Ltd, Technische Universität Dresden, VDL Enabling Transport Solutions BV and Renault.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 814471.

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Alternative Energies

Solar Power for Home Use – How Efficient is it?

Sunil Rathi

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Photo by Carl Attard from Pexels
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Power requirements for homes are increasing with each passing day. This is because people are using wide varieties of appliances, electronics as well as electrical gadgets in their homes for ease and convenience of work. It is quite obvious that power utility bills are also increasing with increased consumption. The only way to minimize the bills is by using renewable sources of energy for power production. And in this regard, there is nothing better than that of solar power.

Solar power is being harnessed in extensive manners globally and quite a huge percentage of power requirements is being met with the same. There was a time till which solar energy was being used for commercial sector only as the initial cost of installing solar panels and other things was quite high. However, the ROI is so high that many people are looking to power their homes with solar energy for minimizing power bills in the most effective manner.

Solar power for home use

Solar panels at Long Island Visitor Center

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsnortheast/13912422474

It has been seen that many homes are using solar power now. You definitely have a fair idea of the power consumption of your home each month and you can plan for solar power in a likewise manner. Solar panels or solar cell systems have to be installed in the house for trapping solar energy. It is not only important to have an open roof or a large yard for this. It is also important to ensure that there are no obstructions of any kind like buildings, trees or other houses. When the panels are installed in an area with no obstructions, it can absorb the maximum amount of sunlight in the most effective manner.

There are many places where sunlight is abundant, but there are too many obstructions around. In such places and areas, solar energy is not the right kind of renewable source of energy. Fuel cells or wind energy can be thought of other options in such areas. The solar energy which is trapped in the solar panels can be converted into electrical energy and used in the home as per needs.

Are residential and commercial solar panels different?

Though the concept on which solar panels work is the same for residential as well as commercial use, there is a slight difference in the solar panels which are used. Solar panels which are used for commercial purposes have huge capacities and they have the capacity of powering a company’s complete operations or even power a town completely. The scale and the cost of the panels are quite high due to obvious reasons.

On the other hand, residential solar panels are smaller and fewer in numbers. Residential solar power systems have a capacity of holding approximately 5 kilowatts of energy on average. It is true that this is quite a small scale, but the amount of energy saving which can be done is highly noteworthy. It is possible to save quite handsome amounts of money with such steps. The affordability of the panels for home use has also made it a viable option.

Cost of installing solar panels for home

With increasing demands of solar panels for residential usage, many companies are manufacturing the same. Initially the costing of these panels was quite high, but with time they became pretty affordable. The company from which you purchase the panels will come and install them in the area of the house where it will work most effectively. Charge of maintenance is also taken by the company. Initially the cost of installation of the solar panel at home might seem to be pretty expensive, but the savings that it will make will become effective in the long run.

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