Blog & News

May Innovation Projects: Delays in APS and Blockchain

[fa icon="calendar"] May 24, 2017 11:56:17 AM / by Natalie Ho

Natalie Ho

May Innovation Projects.jpg

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 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 

APS Kick Off.jpg

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 

Blockchain and Insurance Inno project.jpg

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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Topics: innovation project progress

Natalie Ho

Written by Natalie Ho

Head of Marketing at LOGiQ3 Group and Toronto's First #InsurTech Innovation Lab, Cookhouse Lab.

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