SilverBridge to present at exclusive Microsoft partner event

SilverBridge has been selected as one of only 20 Microsoft partners to attend and present at a Microsoft Middle East and Africa (MEA) partners event on 15 and 16 October in Dublin. This sees the African provider of insurance software solutions be given an opportunity to showcase its offerings.

“SilverBridge has continued to work closely with Microsoft as a strategic partner. This has resulted in our insurance product suite, Exergy, being selected as a Microsoft Prioritised Co-Sell Ready solution for the MEA region. This influenced the decision to include SilverBridge at this event and is yet another exciting development with our partnership.” says Lee Kuyper, group COO at SilverBridge Holdings.

In addition to presenting their Co-Sell Ready offers and solutions, the event gives invited partners the opportunity to meet the Microsoft SMB and Corporate sales teams as well as participate in business exchange and opportunity-sharing sessions.

“With more than two decades’ of experience in the insurance technology industry, SilverBridge has continually evolved to deliver on market requirements. More recently, we embraced a cloud-first approach that aligns with what Microsoft is doing globally to ensure our customers in Africa are ready for the new digital age, and what it has to offer. Our partnership with Microsoft not only enables us to create the best technology solutions for our industry using their platform, but also to take these solutions to market together reaching a range of companies that offer insurance in the MEA markets.”

This is not only a great opportunity for SilverBridge to get exposure to several insurance companies and banks that Microsoft work with, but also to position the organisation to key senior people within Microsoft. Additionally, the Microsoft Corporate sales team will get an opportunity to better understand what SilverBridge has to offer in order to identify where their relevant customers have identified needs that match these solutions.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 24 years’ of experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge’s digital insurance suite allows financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology capabilities to help its clients do better business.

SilverBridge launches AI division

In a move designed to enhance decision-making and provide its clients with an innovative way of embracing the latest technology innovations, SilverBridge, a provider of insurance software solutions for the African financial services industry, has launched its artificial intelligence (AI) division focusing on Merlynn’s Tacit Object Modeller (TOM).

“Given the amount of data available to insurers, it has become increasingly important to leverage it with meaningful insights and make more accurate predictions on everything from client risk to policy enhancements. Decision-making in the machine-learning space is largely a rules-based process and does not take intuition into account. TOM changes this,” says Johan Reyneke, Research and Development Executive at SilverBridge.

Essentially, TOM learns from human experts and not from data. It then applies the subject matter expertise based on the person’s experience to make decisions. This experience includes rules but also accounts for the ‘gut feeling’ or humanised decisions. From this, SilverBridge can introduce a virtual expert that aids customers with the decision-making process which can complement data analytics.

“SilverBridge does not want to replace the role of data analytics in AI but use the innovation enabled by TOM to complement it and give its customers the ability to make humanised decisions which is explainable. Unlike more traditional AI tools, TOM empowers an insurer to provide its customers feedback on why certain decisions were made around their policy. This can range from how premiums are determined to the outcome of a claim’s decision.”

TOM can be used to screen all short-term policies on renewal with the intention to reassess the risk associated to the policy or to identify the opportunities for cross or up-selling in real-time. Traditionally, insurers do not reassess all policies on their anniversary. Rather, a selected few flagged as risky. This is because the insurer cannot afford the human resources required to handle the sheer volume of policies to be assessed.

“So, not only do the risks need to be managed better, but also the opportunities that potentially exist must be capitalised on. TOM essentially virtualises the underwriter daily to enable the insurer to understand each of its policies better. In turn, this allows either upselling to take place or policy restructurings to be done more effectively.”

The SilverBridge AI division will therefore provide customers with more agile ways to enhance AI and machine learning in their organisations and capitalise on trends to make decisions faster.

“This intuition-based approach has the potential to fundamentally change not only insurance, but any industry that has been desperate to take AI to the next level,” Johan concludes.

About SilverBridge
SilverBridge has over 23 years’ experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge’s digital insurance suite allows financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology capabilities to help its clients do better business.

SilverBridge recognised at Microsoft AI hackathon

A three-member SilverBridge development team, who participated at the Microsoft Artificial Intelligence (#MSAIHack) Hackathon held in Bryanston last week, was awarded the runners-up prize in the Financial Services Industry (FSI) category.

The team consisted of JC Oberholzer, Henlo Ueckermann, and Yunus Scheepers. The event took place over two days at the Microsoft South Africa headquarters on June 12 and 13.

The hackathon was designed to facilitate the creation of innovative prototypes that leverage AI and machine-learning services in the Microsoft Azure cloud. It was used as a platform for developers to showcase their talents and build something innovative by highlighting how Azure AI services can improve people’s lives and experiences in the FSI and Health services industries.

Six teams competed against one another by creating prototypes and presentations using Microsoft Azure AI services.

“The SilverBridge developers used the cognitive Services Vision API (application programming interface) with a specific focus on facial recognition to build an app focussed on client services within the FSI sector,” says Yunus Scheepers, CTO at SilverBridge Holdings.

The facial recognition would identify customers walking into a service centre and provide the support personnel with information on that individual.

“AI and machine-learning have the potential to fundamentally change customer service in the digital age. The SilverBridge app highlighted just how far-reaching this impact would be by empowering FSI employees with all relevant customer information once a person walks into a service centre such as a bank branch. We are incredibly proud of our team for the recognition they received at the event,” concludes Scheepers.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 20 years’ experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge has introduced an enhanced service offering allowing financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology to help its clients do better business.

Local Azure data centres to drive cloud growth

Earlier this year saw the launch of Microsoft data centres in South Africa. Located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, this world-class cloud infrastructure that will power emerging cloud, AI and edge computing innovations across the continent. Azure is the first of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services to be delivered from the new datacentres. Office 365 and Dynamics 365 are anticipated for later in 2019. Lee Kuyper, COO of SilverBridge Holdings, believes this will provide local insurers with significant opportunities.

“For one, the benefits of the cloud become far more tangible for most businesses. Cloud computing has been around for a while but has always been something removed for most in Africa or something that happens ‘somewhere else’. With the new Microsoft data centre regions, it becomes something that is closer to home that can be practically implemented.”

Even though financial services organisations have become more open to move to the cloud in recent years, there has been a general hesitancy to fully embrace it.

Locally available

The new Microsoft Cloud region will offer the same enterprise-grade reliability and performance as offered in the over 40 cloud regions around the world with the added benefit of data residency.

“So far, the reception from our customers to these data centres has been positive. Although some have been working with and have embraced the cloud for a while, there are benefits to be realised from having the option of local data centres.”

For one, data is stored locally. South Africa’s two regions provide geographic redundancy capability, meaning that data replication can happen within the country for backup and recovery purposes. There will also be private connection available via Azure ExpressRoute which provides 99.95% dedicated availability.

Opportunity for the industry

“Insurance is an industry which is typically risk averse and in many cases for valid reason. Insurers deal with very sensitive customer information but also provide a critical service which requires a high level of credibility and trust. Having the option of local data centres just supports these underlying fundamentals. In addition, it also serves as a basis for the industry to drive innovation in terms of the way their customers interact with and experience insurance.”

The Microsoft cloud provides a level of security and compliance far beyond what any business could invest into on their own. Insurance is a highly regulated industry and by using the Microsoft cloud, insurers can tick many of the required boxes.

“From a regulatory point of view, local customers can rest assured that no data protection issues will be raised as all data is hosted within South African borders, rather than in other geographic regions. With these concerns removed, the improved speed and accessibility of new cloud environments as well as certain Azure functions that deliver better data and application management, will result in improved service delivery to customers.”

Furthermore, the fact that there are now physical Microsoft servers in the country mean SilverBridge customers can have a faster connection to the data centre thereby improving responsiveness of the applications on customer devices.

“Perceptions around the cloud are already changing even without the local data centres. However, their arrival will accelerate this and give South African business an improved ability to leverage the power of the Microsoft Cloud. Of course, the cloud on its own will not deliver the full value available. To really gain benefit, insurers will need to move towards business applications that are built for and that leverage the cloud not just from an infrastructure perspective but also from the wide range of services which are available on the platform.”

According to an IDC study, commissioned, spending on public cloud services in South Africa will nearly triple over the next five years, and the adoption of cloud services will generate nearly 112,000 net new jobs in South Africa by the end of 2022. The study also shows that increased utilisation of public cloud services and the additional investments into private and hybrid cloud solutions is enabling organisations in South Africa to focus on innovation and building “digital businesses at scale.” In turn, this enablement will help businesses generate close to R80 billion in new revenue over the next five years.

About SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 20 years’ experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge has introduced an enhanced service offering allowing financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology to help its clients do better business.