FSI Member Spotlight, Episode #9: The Most Interesting Man in Insurance
In a recent FSI Member Spotlight, Praxent Senior Director of Innovation, Lance Vaughn, sat down with insurance industry veteran, author, insurtech thought leader — and yes, The Most Interesting Man in Insurance — Rob Galbraith. Rob has over a quarter century of leadership experience in financial services and is the author of international bestseller The End Of Insurance As We Know It.
Rob and Lance begin their conversation with an in-depth overview of Rob’s background in the insurance industry, explaining Rob’s data-driven approach to underwriting as well as his longstanding interest in innovating the field. Rob explains how he was compelled to author his book, The End of Insurance As We Know It, likening the rapid acceleration towards insurtech, cloud, AI, IoT, and all things digital to the rapid takeover of Google Maps. Rarely do we find ourselves whipping out paper roadmaps when we’re on the go today. Similarly, the traditionally paper-based culture of insurance also finds itself at a crossroads. Rob wrote his book to not only help prepare insurance insiders for the road ahead, but also to inform investors, technologists, and entrepreneurs who have exciting solutions for the insurance space — but may lack the deep insurance literacy required to effectively communicate with insiders.
When Lance touches on the subject of Millenials, Rob gives three main reasons why he views them as disruptors. Millennials are a massive consumer group, many are small business owners, and they are accustomed to the online shopping experience of comparing prices, doing their own research, scanning reviews, and reaching out to experts when needed. The same attitudes and preferences go for shopping around for insurance. Use of digital channels that the consumer prefers is imperative for acting as a trusted expert — by being accessible, you establish credibility with this group. Second, Rob notes that being ‘digital-native versus digital-immigrant’ creates a fundamental distinction between different employee styles. This puts the imperative on employers to find new, creative solutions for offering insurance (as well as other benefits and work environments) to large subsets of their companies. Lastly, Rob brings up the role of Millennials in the startup ecosystem — individuals who have grown professionally with the startups they’ve helped create have marked preferences for tech over traditional insurance models. All this points the way: there can be no go back from digital.
Rob also takes a moment to acknowledge the role of venture capitalists in growing insurtech startups — and contributing to the ongoing wellbeing of the insurance industry. If he could write his book again, he would have taken a more vested approach to discussing venture capital’s role in helping companies overcome technical debt and continue to innovate. Speaking of what-if’s, Lance takes the opportunity to pose a fun hypothetical question to Rob: if he had all the money, resources, and time in the world, what insurance-related solution or insurtech entity would he launch? Rob came to his answer easily — mass customization and a deeply personalized approach to insurance would be his passion project. Making customization work for a transaction that is as complicated and fraught with legality as insurance transactions can be is not as simple as taking an Uber or ordering a latte, Rob notes. Creating simple and elegant personalization remains a challenge in the insurance industry, and regulations often pose additional challenges when it comes to innovating. When insurance becomes part of a larger, holistic offering that is centered on the customer — and when innovation efforts are centered around the marketing strategy of the firm — personalization should be a natural outcome.
List 3+ bullet points of substantial takeaways from the video interview in succinct fashion. Can use Lance’s comments, video descriptions, etc from LinkedIn group to help inspire these takeaways.
- Rob views Millenials as disruptors for three primary reasons: their savvy consumer tendencies, their impact on the changing workplace environment, and their key roles in the startup ecosystem. All three point to being digital-native as key to disrupting the insurance industry.
- Insurance, like most financial services, is fraught with industry-specific jargon and can be difficult for outside parties to navigate. This has initiated Rob and others like him to research, ideate, and write on the industry in a highly accessible manner –which the most promising insurtechs must also be adept at in order to effectively sell a traditionally ‘unloveable’ product to consumers.
- If given unlimited funding and resources, Rob would devote his time to mass customization and personalization of the insurance industry. Serving insurance customers a little more like customers at a coffee shop — custom shots, first name on the cup, extra whip, and all — should be part of a larger effort towards integrating insurance into a holistic offering centered on the unique needs of the customer. Overcoming barriers of regulation (and the discriminatory practices which regulation seeks to eliminate) remains a challenge.
FSI is an exclusive community for financial services executives and digital product leaders who are looking to deepen their understanding of relevant innovation and emerging trends. What you can expect to get as a member of FSI:
- Access to conversations and discussions with your peers.
- Exclusive content focused on helping grow your business.
- A forum to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from some of the top leaders in this field.
This group is not for promotion, and content of an overtly promotional nature will not be allowed. The community is professionally moderated.
Share your experience and find solutions for the greater good. Invite your friends & colleagues!
In bullet points, list any specific resources, websites, companies, etc that were mentioned in the interview. The top bullet point should be a link to the interviewee’s LinkedIn profile.