Digital Acceleration and the future of insurance distribution

The impact of changing consumer buying habits and the potential of D2C


22 & 24 June 2021 | 1PM ET | Hosted in our online boardrooms

The global disruption of the past year has led to a significant shift in buying habits, and many carriers are re-assessing their distribution strategies in order to respond to new digital-first customer demands in order to gain a competitive edge in a rapidly changing market.


This roundtable, held in association with Smart Communications, will bring together senior experts in customer experience, digital, innovation, transformation, and strategy from insurance carriers to explore how digital acceleration, new technologies and the opportunities of D2C models are shaking up traditional distribution structures, and how insurers are overcoming digital deficits in order to provide excellent customer experiences in a new ‘digital-first’ normal.

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The discussion

What significant shifts in buying behaviours have been elicited by the global pandemic?

How are D2C models shaking up traditional distribution structures?

What distribution strategies can help respond to new digital-first customer demands?


Ruth Fisk

VP - Insurance MarketingSmart Communications

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Ruth Fisk, Smart Comms | Insurance Innovators
Ruth Fisk

VP - Insurance Marketing

Smart Communications

Ruth Fisk brings more than three decades of experience in the insurance industry to her role as the VP, Insurance Marketing at Smart Communications. Having worked 14+ years as a manager at a P&C Carrier and then 18+ years working within the global insurance industry using technology and services to meet the business needs of insurers.

Ruth Fisk has visited, worked with, and served as a C-Level consultant for leading insurers in more than 90 countries. Ruth’s global perspective is complemented with first-hand knowledge of insurance operations, including more than 30 years using technology & services to successfully help them to significantly reduce operating expenses, increase efficiency, impacting their bottom line.

Prior to joining Smart Communications, Ruth expanded the insurance solutions at two of the top OnBase resellers, after she ran the global insurance practice at Hyland Software. She has worked with numerous insurance companies helping executives to align information management strategies to core business objectives.

During her tenure at an insurance carrier, her primary responsibility as a manager was to improve overall operational efficiency and to reduce expenses. Ruth oversaw insurance operations across eight business units including the deployment and administration of the Customer Communication Management solution at a $600 million direct-written premium (DWP) carrier.

Ruth Fisk has presented in her capacity as an industry expert within many insurance specific venues including presentations at: ACODESE Puerto Rico, ACORD U.S., AIIM U.S., AMIS Mexico, Americas Claim Event, ASIA Insurance Review CEO SUMMIT Taiwan, ASIA PACIFIC CEO SUMMIT Singapore, CIO SUMMIT, Singapore, CONSEGURO Brazil, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Insurance Event Dominican Republic, FENESEG Brazil, FUJITSU Insurance Systems Workshop Japan, IEA FUTURE OF GENERAL INSURANCE United Kingdom, INESE Spain, Insurance Executive Summits U.S, , Insurance Accounting & Statistical Association U.S., Insurance-Canada, ISO Technical Tradeshow U.S. , IAC/LIMRA/LOMA St. Kitts, IAC/LIMRA/LOMA Puerto Rico, IAC/LIMRA/LOMA Port of Spain, IASA U.S., LIMRA Strategic Issues Bali, 2008 LIMRA Boston, LIMRA/LOMA Philippines, MICROSOFT Mini Insurance Summit Mexico, MICROSOFT Latin American Conference, MICROSOFT EMEA, LATAM Industry Sessions, National Underwriter Technical Tradeshow U.S., OPENCROM Venezuela, PFU/Fujitsu Insurance Seminar Japan, RECALL iDay Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand SERCOMCA El Salvador, and SOLDISA Guatemala, SIC LIMRA/LOMA South Korea, SIC LIMRA/LOMA Malaysia.

Marcus Oberholzer

Business Lead, Nationwide InnovationNationwide

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Marcus Oberholzer, Nationwide | Insurance Innovators
Marcus Oberholzer

Business Lead, Nationwide Innovation


Marcus is a Business Lead in Nationwide’s Innovation unit. He’s responsible for developing new business models and revenue streams, and leading the execution from concept development through in-market launch. He has played a role developing, launching, and leading spinouts of many varieties, spanning insurance and technology categories.

Prior to joining Nationwide, he worked in Strategy and Corporate Development at Battelle Memorial Institute, a leading scientific research and development firm in Columbus, OH. There, he led the commercialization process of promising technologies, led due diligence teams to assess acquisition targets, and other strategy corporate development opportunities.

Prior to Battelle, Marcus worked as a management consultant at a boutique management consulting firm in Washington DC, working with clients across the federal government and White House policy councils on strategic planning and policy execution challenges.

Marcus earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering as well as an MBA. He lives in Bexley, Ohio with his wife, Julie, and three kids, and loves hiking and camping in the great outdoors.


June 22 or 24 at 1PM ET
90 minutes
  • Introduction to the roundtable
  • Keynote presentation: Distribution in a digital first age

Marcus Oberholzer, Business Lead, Nationwide Innovation, Nationwide


  • Roundtable discussion

24th June: moderated by Ruth Fisk, Smart Communications

  • Assessing consumer buying behaviours: how have changing consumer needs driven a demand for digital transformation in insurance distribution?
  • How can carriers utilize digital platforms to create consistent, personal, and memorable customer experiences? How can forms transformation help here?
  • The potential of virtual advisors and chatbots to change the distribution landscape: What are the opportunities for acquisition, relationship management and up-selling?
  • Overcoming digital deficits: as carriers digitalize, what must be done to ensure that agents are connected and integrated into new digital environments?
  • The future of agents: What new technologies will empower carrier and agent relationships in the future?
  • How can carriers use digital tech to empower their agents at point of sale, to deliver more and offer the best possible customer experience?
  • Driving optimal value from the customer/insurer relationship of the future: in what could the D2C model be optimised to acquire and retain customers?
  • Looking ahead: what technology trends should be considered for future distribution initiatives?


  • Closing remarks

Request an invitation

This roundtable is designed for senior figures working across customer experience, digital, innovation, transformation, and strategy from insurance carriers.
Fill in this short form if you meet the above criteria and would like to participate in the discussion. All invitation requests will be vetted and approved (or declined) by the organiser.

Sponsored by


Smart Communications™ is the only provider of a customer conversations management platform. More than 500 global brands rely on Smart Communications to deliver smarter conversations across the entire lifecycle—empowering them to succeed in today’s digital-focused, customer-driven world while also simplifying processes and operating more efficiently. This is what it means to scale the conversation. Smart Communications is headquartered in the UK and serves its customers from offices located across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The Smart Communications platform includes the enterprise-scale customer communications management power of SmartCOMM™, forms transformation capabilities made possible by SmartIQ™ and the trade documentation expertise of SmartDX™. To learn more, visit