Mike Fitzgerald, principal analyst, Insurance for CB Insights, served as a guest editor for this edition of Carrier Management. In addition to conceiving the idea for the featured topic, geospatial information systems, Fitzgerald developed the individual article topics and interviewed participants in the GIS space, offering perspectives from the worlds of commercial insurance, a global reinsurer, a managing general agent, a consortium of property/casualty insurers, and vendors specializing in flood mapping based on satellite data, as well as offering storm and wildfire analysis based on aerial and satellite images.

A frequent contributor to Carrier Management, Fitzgerald also served as the guest editor for a section of CM‘s May/June 2019 magazine, titled “Innovation How-to-Guide.”

Last year, he also moderated Carrier Management’s Virtual Roundtable—”Is Insurance Innovation Overrated?” (available on demand on the Carrier Management channel of InsuranceJournal.TV).

Over the course of a 40-plus-year career, Fitzgerald was himself involved in leading innovation initiatives in the insurance industry, working on both the technology and business sides of the insurance sector.

“My background is a hybrid background,” he said. “I’ve worked in IT; I’ve worked in business operations. I have my CPCU as well as my PMP, the project management designation. So, I’ve actually had a foot in both the core insurance world as well as the IT automation world.”

The dual perspective, “at times, has really caused me to feel a bit like the Swiss diplomat who can speak many languages, seeing many sides to the same problem,” he told CM in a 2019 interview. “That uniquely set me up for the analyst job I stepped into 11 years ago,” he said, referring to a prior role at Celent and his current position at CB Insights, where he has been involved with researching the application of technology for business value in insurance.

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Before becoming an analyst, Fitzgerald said he was able to work on many change-the-business assignments—the longest lasting four years when he was in charge of the area that revamped the legacy automobile system at Royal & Sun Alliance in the U.S.

Shorter assignments at other organizations saw Fitzgerald working on major change initiatives and introductions of brand-new products. At Zurich, for example, he was part of a redesign of their product management process, working on the technology needed to support a different method of building insurance products.

Research at CB Insights

Fitzgerald joined CB Insights in 2020. Earlier this year, he co-hosted the CB Insights event “Tech Market: Digitizing P&C Insurance,” a two-day event featuring more than 25 rapid-fire demos across six major technology categories shaping insurance, including geospatial analytics for underwriting and claims. During the event, he reviewed funding activity and patent activity related to image processing and graph algorithms. Featured geospatial analytics vendors were Cape Analytics, Betterview, urbanstat and Guidewire’s HazardHub.

More recently, he contributed to the CB Insights research report “Geospatial Analytics In P&C Insurance — ESP Vendor Matrix, ranking GIS vendors based on their execution strength (evaluated based on team strength, funding and patents) and market strength (based on business relationships and partnerships). Featured vendors offering three different types of solutions—satellite data collection, insurance-specific turnkey apps and geospatial data analysis tools—included Arturo, Cape Analytics, Carto, Descartes Labs, ICEYE, Insurdata, Planet and SafeGraph.

Companies adopting geospatial technology from these providers include AXA XL, Canopius, State Auto Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine Insurance Group, The Philadelphia Contributionship, among others.