In the first six months of 2022, Travelers Europe planted over 2,000 trees thanks to employees volunteering hours through a partnership with onHand.
onHand is a volunteering platform designed to connect its users with local volunteer opportunities called “missions.” Employee participants earn one tree for their first mission and for every ten missions completed, with the opportunity to earn extra trees by participating in competitions.
Common missions in the app include calling an isolated individual to say hello, running errands for those in need, and making sustainable swaps like choosing reusable coffee cups or opting to air-dry clothes. Each activity completed via the app contributes to trees in the ever-expanding “Travelers Europe forests” – located in regions around the world severely impacted by deforestation including Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Madagascar, as well as reforestation projects in Scotland.
During the past year, Travelers Europe has also purchased additional saplings to boost environmental sustainability efforts, including offsetting carbon produced by several internal events and planting trees on behalf of customers and brokers in gratitude for their continued partnership.
“Working with onHand forms a key part of our sustainability activity,” says Matthew Wilson, CEO of Travelers Europe. “Planting 2,000 trees is a gratifying milestone, and I’m thankful to all of the employees who helped us reach it”.
Over the next six months and beyond, through the continued generosity of our Europe employees, we look forward to larger forests and smaller carbon footprints.
Patents with a Purpose – Travelers Tech Employees Drive Innovation with New Inventions
At Travelers, innovation is part of our DNA. That’s never truer than during the Travelers Innovation Jam (InJam), an annual hackathon that provides Travelers employees the opportunity to develop new technologies that answer business challenges and aim to improve the experiences of our customers and employees. The inventions that come out of InJam and other working groups embody the spirit of innovation at Travelers, and several have become contenders for U.S. patents.
Travelers has filed 70 employee-driven U.S. patents in the last five years thanks to innovators like Michael Gammon, an Information Systems Engineer. Michael’s team created HomeSafe, an app-based system powered by machine learning which allows consumers to measure water usage more effectively. The team was inspired to create HomeSafe by personal experience. “Our team decided to focus on mitigating water damage after a particularly cold winter in the Northeast,” Michael said.
In creating this technology, they balanced researched-based findings and consumer needs to allow users to better protect their homes from water damage. In the same vein, the patented Wildfire Defender uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assess wildfire risk. “After the world experienced several years of devastating wildfires, we wanted to focus on the potential impact of vegetation when assessing wildfire risk in a proactive way,” said Stefanie Walker, Manager, Information Delivery.
Where HomeSafe shook up the consumer technology space, other Travelers patents focus on innovating in commercial tech. “When cargo is stolen, the first 24 to 48 hours of an investigation are crucial,” says Scott Cornell, National Practice Leader for Inland Marine Transportation. In response to this issue, Scott and his team developed The Cargo Theft App, which uses AI to prevent theft and aid recovery. “This app makes it possible for drivers to photograph their truck, trailer and cargo, and warns them about areas where theft has recently occurred along their planned driving route. If something gets stolen, the app can instantly send pertinent information to Travelers, vastly accelerating the investigation and supporting recovery,” he said.
Scott’s teammate Ernesto Jaramillo, Senior Information Systems Director and Circle Lead, highlights how crucial their interdisciplinary team was to the app’s development. “The keys to our success were our agile mindset and the fact that our team was cross-functional. If I had been at InJam with just engineers, we’d have been coding without a business partner’s expertise. And if our business colleagues had been working on a concept without engineers, it could have remained a mere idea.”
After working on Intelligent Imagery, another patented technology that applies computer vision models to aerial image data to determine a building’s footprint and characteristics, Data Scientist Murat Yasar, Ph.D., also credited the app’s success to a multifaceted team. “We approached the idea for this system with an inclusive, collaborative mindset, which brought out each person’s perspective,” Murat said. “Our team included people from product development, data science and architecture. And from that we could better consider every angle, outlining how our solution would benefit not only Travelers but also our customers, agents and brokers.”
At Travelers, innovation and collaboration go hand in hand—and everybody benefits. Each of these patents, which benefit stakeholders from large companies to the average consumer, is proof of the power of tech and of teamwork.
For the second straight year, Travelers has been selected by the CIO 100 Awards competition, which honors 100 organizations whose teams use technology in innovative ways to deliver business value. This year’s recognition is based on our enterprise-wide approach to digitizing key aspects of our business value chain, and for transforming the way we engage with customers, collaborate with partners and maintain our competitive advantage in risk expertise.
The highlights of our nomination included our powerful use of deep-learning AI models, the Business Owner Policy (BOP) 2.0 product offering, the Claim Virtual Visit tool and our Unified Chat platform capabilities.
We’re applying our models to streamline the underwriting process and improve customer service – especially in the aftermath of weather catastrophes. Our Roof Shape Classification AI Model is one of the latest examples of how we use aerial imagery, deep learning models and geospatial data in an AI-powered tool now used by our agents.
For BOP 2.0, we built a product enabled by a technology platform that includes an AI-powered recommendation engine and uses geospatial and third-party data to predict the business type based on information submitted by agents to properly classify and accurately price businesses up the underwriting process.
And we rolled out a major release for our Unified Chat platform in response to the escalating customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, retraining an AI-powered, self-service chatbot within 24 hours to better answer pandemic-related questions.
Mojgan Lefebvre, Travelers Chief Technology & Operations Officer, says, “It is a tremendous honor for Travelers to receive this year’s award two years running. It further demonstrates how an innovative mindset plus advanced analytics and AI can power exceptional customer experiences.”
Read the CIO 100 press release to learn more about the award and consider joining a winning team through a technology career at Travelers.
How does a large company tackle complex business challenges in imaginative ways? One effective method is to tap into the creativity data-driven employees bring to the table, providing them development opportunities and generating outcomes to create the products that best serve our customers.
Bring on the friendly competition.
During the 2020 Virtual Predictive Modeling Competition, 75 companywide data scientists, data engineers and technology-oriented employees formed into 21 teams with one challenge: to develop a new model that helps our Claim organization more swiftly predict the severity of an accident at faster rates and improve payout predictions.
The eight-week competition gave participants the chance to work with new technologies and frameworks that deepened their skillsets and provided opportunities to collaborate across departments. The event was sponsored by Travelers Claim Business Intelligence and Analytics (CBIA) and Enterprise Data and Analytics (ED&A).
Teams relied on their knowledge of AWS cloud technology, graphics processing units, unstructured data sources and machine learning to analyze a range of information to develop and build their models.
According to the competition winners, reviewing data from customer interaction with claim handlers was paramount. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel, but our model predictions were sensible and could predict high severity claims with a high level of confidence,” said Murat Yasar, Analytics & Research, Business Insurance.
“I saw the competition as a great challenge. It was also a great way to network and share knowledge – which is really a precious opportunity, especially during the pandemic,” said Susan Ye, Data & Research, CBIA.
Travelers began these modeling competitions in 2016 with the goal of providing training opportunities around deep learning and image analytics. But the impact of the work goes far beyond training.
“The winning solution from the 2018 competition is still being used at Travelers – it’s like a Swiss army knife for data scientists,” said George Lee, who leads the Data Science team in ED&A’s AI Accelerator. “That’s our hope for this year’s winning solution.”
2020 CIO 100 Award
From a field of more than 400 nominations, Travelers made the 2020 CIO 100 Award honorees list for an innovation that is especially relevant today, the Wildfire Loss Detector (WLD), which uses high-resolution geospatial imagery and a deep-learning model to quickly identify properties that are total losses.
As a result of this tool, this year alone, Travelers has helped many of our customers in California and Oregon begin the recovery process before returning home following wildfire events.
Mojgan Lefebvre, EVP, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, was interviewed about WLD during a breakout session at the CIO 100 Virtual Symposium, Conference & Awards entitled “How Travelers Uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Accelerate Wildfire Damage Assessment and Claims.” She spoke about the positive business outcomes that AI-driven technologies can deliver directly to customers.
“By using AI – along with existing and emerging technologies – we can accelerate the transformation of our data into actionable insights that enhance the experience for our customers while allowing us to better manage risk,” Mojgan said. “And while advanced analytics have always been utilized in the insurance and financial services industry, the use of AI is amplifying that usage and giving it greater momentum.”
In addition to securing the CIO 100 Award for WLD, the solution also earned a Gartner Eye on Innovation Award in 2019.
2020 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award
For the second consecutive year, Travelers made the list of finalists for the Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Financial Services – this time, for the AI Roof Shape Model.
This Personal Insurance (PI) innovation was named one of the top nine finalists out of more than 220 global nominations for the award, which recognizes innovative use of digital technology-enabled capabilities, products or services for financial services in the Americas.
The model can identify a roof’s shape with high accuracy using aerial imagery and machine learning. This provides rating consistency and pricing accuracy and improves the customer experience.
Mano Mannoochahr, SVP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, says, “The AI roof shape work has led to several other imagery-based automations, including solar panel identification and roof condition assessment. It’s also helping us reduce friction from the underwriting process while improving risk segmentation and pricing.”
Read more about our 2019 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award.