The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on every facet of our lives – and it’s likely that we will be dealing with the aftereffects of COVID-19 for some time to come. With some countries and US states taking their first steps toward opening up their economies, we wanted to know how the insurance industry is rising to the challenges of COVID-19. To kick off our new interview series, we caught up with Arlind Mucaj, MBA, HSB IT Intelligent Automation Product Manager and Chief Experience Officer at InsurTech Hartford. Arlind shares his perspective on the short and long-term impacts this crisis will have on the insurance industry and insurtech.
Arlind, many in the insurance industry have been working remotely for the first time. Leaders have been managing distributed teams and everyone has had to learn to collaborate 100% virtually and stay focused and productive. How has your team stayed connected and what are you finding works (or doesn’t work) during this new normal?
COVID-19 has not spared any industry. In the insurance industry, companies are trying to figure out what the new normal is. I started in insurance over 12 years ago and have observed that some functions have had prior experience working remotely due to the digital business transformation that has been taking place. However, the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic brought remote working upon us was unprecedented, and many insurance companies were not prepared to be effective and operative immediately upon government-mandated lockdowns. Prior to the impending lockdown, our technology leaders met with our business leaders to determine the best options for keeping the company operating. The initial focus was on the basic technology needs (i.e. connection to internal network, access to various applications, etc.). Once we made the decision to work from home, we scheduled daily calls with our management and the rest of our teams for two reasons: (1) to understand how everyone is doing, (2) to see what issues if any were being observed by our teams. At the slightest chance of an issue, we scheduled a SWAT team call including our Business Product Owners to assess the issue, quantify impact, develop a plan for resolution and create open lines of communication.