AI Wisdom Ep. 41: How Brokers & Agents Can Leverage AI to Prioritize the Policyholder

Digital Transformation, Insurance Industry News & Views - October 5 2021

According to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report, forty-one percent of respondents from the insurance industry said expanding the use of AI and machine learning is the most impactful way that technology can help organizations respond to potential changes. Additionally, 34% said that AI and machine learning can improve access to data and maintain security; 33% said that AI and machine learning can increase the delivery of digital platforms for customers.

As technologies like AI undergo mainstream adoption across small and mid-market/enterprise commercial lines, customer experience will be of upmost importance as it becomes a pivotal competitive differentiator. Leading with a customer-first mindset can improve brand trust, lower costs, retention, future customer acquisition, and revenues. According to a 2020 JD Power Associates survey, customers who experience poor service are actually eight times more likely to shop for new insurance. A company’s relationship with its customers and policyholders is about understanding and delivering an exceptional digital customer experience from that initial moment they consider purchasing insurance to the delivery of the policy. Placing the policyholder at the heart of the insurance experience is paramount.

On this episode of AI Wisdom – Talking Insurance Innovation, we catch up with Travis MacMillian, Chief Business Officer, Xceedance to discuss how insurance companies that prioritize the policyholder by embracing Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and AI-powered solutions can accelerate response times, deliver an optimal customer experience, and capitalize on operational efficiencies that drive higher margins and lower expense ratios. We also discuss our new strategic partnership with Xceedance. Travis explains how the affiliation delivers state-of-the-art, AI-powered, on-demand policy checking solution for commercial lines insurance brokers and agents.

With an impressive thirty-year career in the insurance industry spanning underwriting, operations, marketing, business development, claims, reinsurance, analytics and technology, Travis leads global business development, account management, solutions, and partner management teams at Xceedance, an industry-focused managed services company, who partners with insurers, reinsurers, brokers and MGAs/MGUs worldwide. With clients on four continents, their clients rely on them to launch new products, drive operations, implement cutting-edge technology, and deliver advanced analytics capabilities and process optimization. Prior to joining Xceedance, Travis was the Vice President of Insurance at Genpact International and he also served in leadership roles as a Regional Vice President at FirstBest Systems (now part of Guidewire), President and Chief Operations Officer at Greater New York Mutual, and the Vice President of Commercial Insurance and Business Development at OneBeacon Insurance Group.

Travis shares his perspectives on how well the industry is responding to the impact of the pandemic, what’s having the biggest impact across the insurance industry, what factors are driving innovation today, and the three key components on how to become more customer centric. “As we recover globally from COVID-19, I think some of the biggest impact areas for insurers are focused on the creation of the next-generation operating model. This is due in part because of decentralization of the workforce.”

Throughout the discussion, Travis touches on multiple ways that forward-thinking insurance organizations can leverage AI to innovate and improve the policyholder experience. The first being to improve the data. “AI plays a really, really large role in how it can be maximized to drive the value coming out of the information, that’s basically unstructured, putting it into a structured format, so that it’s actionable.”

Just like Nationwide Vice President, Commercial Lines Underwriting and Product, Tony Fenton shared that establishing your North Star is key to aligning operational strategies, Travis emphasizes the importance of having the right culture internally. The leadership of an organization has to be very supportive and committed to enacting the transformational journey that has to take place, especially as you're looking at bringing in technology tools like AI to be able to drive that change.

MacMillian is especially enthusiastic about one thing that the industry should be doing better today to serve policyholders throughout the buying process: Start by understanding - what are your target demographics and how have they changed? The newer buying groups, the millennials, and the Gen Zs, the next up-and-coming generation, they expect a different experience. He goes on to suggest that when you apply the buying traits of your target audience you have to change the tools. When we think about a millennial or a Gen Z's buying characteristics, they want that instant gratification.

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Insurance Outlook, 95 percent of insurers expect to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Stemming from MacMillian’s experience, here are three organizational factors every insurance organization should consider when embarking on their digital transformation journey:

  1. First, you need to ask yourself what are your current challenges or what are the changes that you want to embark on as a company and how does that align to your strategic direction today and in the future? You have to map that out.
  2. Understand who are you going to partner with, that has both deep technical capability and insurance acumen, to help you envision the journey.
  3. Start small. Dip your toe in, test it, drive it quickly. If you're going to fail, fail fast, and then learn why you failed and then do it again. If you try to do something really large right out of the chute, the likelihood that you won't be successful is too great, at least in my experience.

As MacMillian puts it insurance organizations are thinking about how do I create more capacity, how do I create more profit for the organization, and how do I transform the way I'm doing business today, to continue to capitalize on the marketplace that's ever-changing. He also highlights many have a need to create capacity in their operations to grow the business and do it in a way that doesn't increase costs at the same rate. Just like Tina Osen, President, Hub International Canada advocates the industry’s digital aspirations need to be a lot bolder to drive tremendous results, Travis agrees that technology and technology transformation play a huge part in how an organization can create the capacity to grow profitably.

To hear more great insights, examples, words of wisdom, and how AI-powered on-demand policy checking services are helping brokers and agents deliver an exceptional customer experience listen to the full episode. Click below to listen to the full episode (listening time: 41 minutes) or read the full transcript.

Full Transcript

Ron: Hello and welcome to AI Wisdom – Talking Innovation in Insurance. On this podcast we talk to business and insurtech leaders about how artificial intelligence is transforming the way we buy and sell insurance. I am your host Ron Glozman, Founder of Chisel AI and a strong believer in the power of AI to help people work smart and enrich their lives. So, let us get into it.

The past year has been disruptive on many fronts, the impact of COVID-19 on our everyday lives, the hardening market, the acceleration of M&A activity across the industry, and increased digital competition, leading carriers, and brokers to embrace digital capabilities to optimize operational efficiencies, lower expense ratios, and deliver a better customer experience. As experience, trends, and policyholder expectations rapidly change, the pressure to innovate and adapt has escalated, as carriers and brokers strive to evolve existing processes by capitalizing on the capabilities delivered by natural language processing, machine learning, and AI.

I'm joined today by Travis MacMillian, Chief Business Officer, Xceedance, to discuss how insurance organizations that prioritize the policyholder by embracing natural language processing, machine learning, and AI power solutions can accelerate response times, deliver an optimal customer experience, and capitalize on operational efficiencies that drive higher margins and lower expense ratios. Welcome, Travis.

Travis: Thank you, Ron. Happy to be here.

Ron: Thanks for joining us. So, before we jump into our conversation today, can you please introduce yourself?

Travis: Sure. Thank you. My name is Travis MacMillian. I'm the Chief Business Officer at Xceedance. Basically, I have global responsibility for all revenue-generating activities, partnerships, solutioning, marketing communication for the organization. But just by way of background, I spent 30 years on the carrier side of the business, started in the '80s, for a company called Commercial Union, followed that through the merger of Commercial Union and General Accident to CGU, and ultimately, to OneBeacon, where I was overseeing small and mid-commercial business. And then later went and ran a mutual insurance company out of Manhattan for a few years before getting on to the vendor side of the business. So, my focus has really always been insurance and I apply that same lens to everything that I do within Xceedance.

Ron: I love it. So, I'm curious to hear, because obviously, a 30-year career is quite a long one, and you've never wavered from your path of insurance. Was it by choice? Have you always been passionate about insurance, or was it something that you stumbled into because you knew somebody in the business or something like that?

Travis: So, it's a funny story. So, first is I actually come from an insurance family. My father was in insurance. He actually ran Travelers for some time. While I was going to school, out in California, I decided at one point to take a break from college, changed my major and as part of that, I needed to find a job that had benefits, because back in the '80s, if you weren't going to school, you weren't covered for health insurance. So, I saw in the newspaper a job for a file clerk for a company called Commercial Union. I had no idea who they were. All I knew is I could definitely numerically and alphabetically file, and it provided benefits. So, I went and applied for this job, and hadn't even gotten home yet, and the call had come in, "We'd like to hire you." A month after starting there as a file clerk, they threw me into this underwriting training program and before I knew it, it was just one thing after another. I was on a fast-track program in the insurance system.

Ron: You must have really impressed them with that interview if they called you back that quickly,

Travis: I guess. It's funny how that happens. But that's old school, old days. Nowadays things are completely different.

Ron: Nowadays, you'd get a text with a winky face or a thumbs-up being like, "You're hired."

Travis: Exactly.

Ron: So, I'm curious. Let's focus on a little bit of your work today. You work at Xceedance, which is one of the top 20 global managed services companies, focused on P&C insurance. What would you say makes Xceedance different from some of the other managed service and BPO business process outsourcing firms out there?

Travis: Great question, Ron. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to give a little level set on who Xceedance is. We're a managed services business process outsourcing and technology company. Really there's three key attributes that I think make us different. First is, when we think about the industry, the only industry Xceedance focuses on is insurance. And that's critical. We don't do other things. We only do insurance.

The second is that as a company, we were actually born out of an insurance company, believe it or not back in 2013 and we have deep acumen around all areas of insurance. In fact, we're structured to mirror an insurance company, from an operational standpoint. So, a lot of people always ask me, "Xceedance does everything. So, how do you really sum up Xceedance in one sentence?" And what I would say is that we actually emulate an insurance company, other than two things. We don't expose the capital, we don't take the risk, but operationally, we do everything else, literally everything.

The third point is really around the team members that are part of Xceedance. They're all insurance professionals and that's really, really important. So, no matter what area of the company you work in, whether it's finance and accounting, whether it's underwriting, actuarial claims, policy processing, technology, BI and reporting whatever it might be, there's a fundamental baseline that says, "You have to understand insurance." So, whether we're pulling in an executive from an insurance company to become part of our team or we're hiring what we call a fresher right out of college, they have to go through a certain level of training to understand the different types of insurance, what a named insured is, what a deductible is, what coverages are, etc., because that's just table stakes. If you can't sit down at the table and understand the insurance lingo, then how can you take technology and really drive it through a process? That's just baseline. So, those fundamental roots are now core to our foundation and that's really what differentiates us in the marketplace.

Ron: I think that's a very unique position to be in. I don't think there's many managed services companies out there that can say that they spun out of an insurance carrier or insurance company and have that deep level of experience. So, obviously, you work with everybody across the board, whether that's traditional insurance carriers, could be the reinsurers, brokers, the MGAs, the MGUs, across many markets globally. What would you say are the common challenges that you see these organizations facing today across the board?

Travis: That's a great question. What we hear, and this is looking at it globally, from the perspective of clients, and with that broad backset, it's really in the area of how do I create more capacity, how do I create more profit for the organization, and how do I transform the way I'm doing business today, to continue to capitalize on the marketplace that's ever-changing. Many have a need to create capacity in their operations to grow the business and do it in a way that doesn't increase costs at the same rate. So, to that end, if you add people, you're continuously going to grow your expense at the same level in which you're growing your opportunity and that's problematic. So, that's where technology and technology transformation play a huge part in how an organization can create the capacity to grow profitably. However, that brings two other elements of challenge, the fact that the insurance industry as a whole has always been behind the curve when it comes to technology and technology transformation. I would say that as I reflect on 30 years, there's been more transformation in the insurance industry in the last five years than there has been in 25 years prior to that.

Travis MacMillian Quote #1 FFFFFF

I'm going to date myself, but I got into the marketplace when facsimiles were just coming to bear. There was no email. There was no internet. So, think about where we are today. It's very transformative and then couple that by tools today that we're going to talk about, like artificial intelligence, couple that with machine learning, natural, language processing, robotics all of that. I mean, that's going to further build the platform for the future, once all of the different insurance constituents figure out how they should apply it to their current processes aligning it to their strategic direction.

Ron: Great answer. I'm curious to get your thoughts. We've had a lot of episodes recently focused on COVID-19, and fingers crossed we're now at the end, hopefully. So, putting aside COVID-19 for the first time in 12 months, how do you feel about the industry in terms of what's having the biggest impact, what are the factors that are driving innovation today, and how well is the industry doing at responding to those factors?

Travis: Yes, so it's an interesting question. I am going to thread in a little bit around, obviously, the pandemic, just because of the fact that it was a wake-up call for the insurance industry at the end of the day. Especially those that were laggards and there's still plenty of them. As we recover globally from COVID-19, I think some of the biggest impact areas for insurers are focused on the creation of the next-generation operating model. This is due in part because of decentralization of the workforce.

Overnight, companies had to change from, "I had 1,000 people in a building" to "You have to all work from home." Some companies had the infrastructure to support that. Others didn't. And it literally turned their lights off for a period of time until they could figure that out. I think that as we go forward, companies have to take that into consideration, because it does a couple of things for them.

One it will change the way in which they operate, fundamentally. But it also affords them the ability to attract talent from anywhere, that could be really, really good, and they don't have to be within the four walls of their office.

In addition to that, I think that when you think about brick-and-mortar that's a fixed cost. It's expensive. If you can have your entire team working remote, think about the expense you save there. You could take that money; you can reinvest into other things. You can invest into new product lines, invest it into new businesses, invest it into more people, and truly transform the way you operate, if you think differently and continue to push the fold there.

So, I think that as we look at the industry in total, I think they're doing some right things, but I would have to say that there's still a long road ahead for many. This is really primarily due to the lack of insights into how can AI and other digital tools really change the future of operations across the areas of insurance. This is where the industry, and companies around it need to leverage a managed services provider like Xceedance. And there's others that have not only the deep insurance knowledge, but actually have a heightened understanding around the transformational tools, and how to apply them to a process to create that capacity, to create that better customer experience, and to ultimately create an outcome, which is to be expected.

Ron: I think that's so important, because being able to scale your business without adding headcount is something that you touched on there for a minute. I think that's so powerful because, especially today, you have the ability, like you said, you don't have to have people in the four walls. You can leverage technologies and people across the world. And that ability, I used to think, how scary it must have been to open a business back in the day. You had to invest in a brick-and-mortar business, and it was a whole outlay of money. And there was no Google Maps or anything, so the only way you were getting traffic was if somebody passed on the street, versus nowadays people spend 20 bucks on Shopify, and they can distribute their product globally. I think that's what managed service firms are offering to the insurance industry, is this ability to really bring down the cost. You don't have to invest in your own agency storefront, where a customer can walk in, and then somebody to do the accounting and the billing and everything else. It can allow you to just scale so much faster.

Travis: I mean, think about that in the context of before the internet. That's what really, you're referring to and I remember when the internet first came out, and people started thinking about, "Well, I could sell insurance on the internet." People thought they were crazy. "Sell insurance? Nobody's going to buy insurance on the internet. They need to sit down and have a conversation about the coverages they need, etc.," where today there are businesses, whether you look at the Geicos and the Progressives of the world that have been doing it very successfully for a long time, to these new startups like Lemonade, that come out of anywhere because they're insurtech, and they've figured out how to leverage technology to drive that experience coupled by what I'll call the demographic change between Gen Z's and millennials that are now buying customers. They're decision-makers, they're business owners and they expect a different experience.

Ron: A hundred percent. So, I want to ask you, because you recently published an article on titled, "Three Ways to Better Leverage AI" and you talked that, or you stated that the most important part of the process should be prioritizing the policyholder, or one of the most important parts should be prioritizing the policyholder. Can you elaborate a little bit on how carriers, brokers, agents, MGAs, etc., can embrace innovation and AI to actually be more customer-centric? Because I think that's what you were driving to is be more customer centric.

Travis: So, first, you're going to test my memory here a little bit pulling up something that was back, I think, 2019 might have been when that was published. Just as a backdrop, I think to expand on leveraging AI and the importance of prioritizing it for the policyholders, first, let me just set a little bit of a backdrop. There's three key components. I think the first is around the data and you would know this as an AI company. Many insurance organizations are plagued with what I'll call dirty data. and the result of this systems, they don't allow for the data to be extracted. You think about these old legacy green screens that are terrible. That's one. Companies have merged and acquired companies and as they migrated that data over it wasn't clean.

If we think about the first step is to improve your data, which includes both structured and unstructured data, AI plays a really, really large role in how it can be maximized to drive the value coming out of that information, that's basically unstructured, putting it into a structured format, so that it's actionable.

So that's one of the first key steps. There's only three that I see, at least through this discussion.

The second is focused on the right culture internally. Historically, insureds of all shapes and sizes have been designed and have a very slow adoption rate to change. They're risk averse. Having led a couple of insurance organizations, I mean, that's in my DNA. You want to be risk averse. That's part of being in insurance.

Innovation penetrates the traditional settings, and the leadership of an organization has to be very supportive and committed to enacting the transformational journey that has to take place, especially as you're looking at bringing in technology tools like AI to be able to drive that change.

AI influences a new and positive transformation for the policyholder. To elaborate on specifically how carriers, brokers, MGAs, MGUs, can expand on leveraging AI, and embrace innovation and technologies to be more customer-centric, I think it's really around creating a ground-up process, and reinventing their products, their workflows, and the data to drive that customer-centric experience, really focused on how can I make it so easy for you, you can't say no.

As an example of that, if an insurer today has a large segment of very homogeneous business, and there's a lot of companies out there that have this most likely they have some good data there, that then they could leverage as part of future customer acquisition. Because if you understand the segment that you're writing better than the industry, you can position yourself differently. So, taking that as the first piece, coupling that using the data, and leveraging AI for both not only that first-party information, but also the third-party, and coupling that together in the underwriting process, can then enable the underwriter, or the underwriting system, to drive a consistent underwriting output through that risk selection, and at the same time, create an ease of placement that is lacking in the marketplace.

I'll give you a couple of examples, at Xceedance, because we work across many clients at all different levels of AI. So, Xceedance uses AI across all of the areas that we focus on, because we see it as advantages, right, to help insurers really transform to go to that next level. So, we had a client that was looking to create a new business line and they wanted to leverage their data and external data so that you had limited informational inputs as a customer, to then get a quote and ultimately issue a policy. Well, through the advent of using AI, and through some integrations with some other third parties, etc., we were able to wire it down to you had to put in four key elements, your name, your address, your date of birth, because it was for auto insurance, and everything else we could grab once we had that.

Literally, we could quote your auto from those three data points, because of the information that exists, and drove an entirely different customer experience, which increased their growth exponentially, and profitable, because you're able to segment the customers based on the information that you would see.

Ron: I think that's such a great use case. I'm sure that that product line is probably a great customer experience, and it's probably going to, hopefully, be a profitable product line at the end of the day, because that's probably one of the most important things. So, can we dive a little bit deeper into that? Because I think one of the things that we talked about a little bit earlier, and it's coming up a little bit here as well, is a digital customer experience, specifically. Because there's a difference between the customer experience and the digital customer experience. Sometimes they're the same thing in companies that are very forward-thinking, but oftentimes, they're not. So, in your experience, what can businesses do to evolve what they're doing today to be more digitally focused and deliver a more digital experience, rather than filling in 50 questions on a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet? Which I've done. What you just talked about seems so much better. So, how can companies move towards that?

Travis: I think it first starts with that you need to understand what's your strategic direction? What are you trying to do? How are you trying to evolve your business? And once you have that laid out, then I think it's to say, "Traditionally, I've always done things this way." "I've collected data, A, B, C, D, E, F, G all the way through Z," and those are my data points. Then I put that into an underwriting process, the underwriter goes through and evaluates the exposures, they end up with a price. They put the price out there, the client either says yes or no, and then blah, blah, blah. I think you have to challenge the past, and say, "Is there a different way to do it? And is that way better? Is it transformational?" Because I think the answer is yes.

Travis MacMillian Quote #2 FFFFFF  (1)

So, why would I ask you a question, number one, if I'm going to do nothing with that information? And there are examples of this. I look at it now as an underwriter and I laugh at it. For example, on every restaurant application, one of the questions it'll ask you, "Do you own or operate an aircraft?" Let me see. You're running a restaurant. Do I really care about that? Probably not. Unless the aircraft is part of the named insured and then yes, you pick up some exposure there. But outside of that, it's not important. What I do care about are things like, "Oh, do you have an ANSUL system, or a fire suppression system, over your cooking apparatus?" "Yes, I do." "Great. Is it also regularly cleaned and maintained?" "Yes." "Great." Those are the things that I want to know because it's going to protect, the risk from a fire.

It's really challenging that, to say, one, what are the right questions? And then, can I get that information from somewhere else without having to ask you. Because if that's true, the information is probably more reliable, because you might not paint it gray, it's going to be black or white. Either you do this, or you don't do this and then the outcome becomes more streamlined. So, I would say that you have to challenge the way you used to historically do something, and you also need to challenge the questions you're asking, why you're asking them? Are they actionable, not actionable? And ultimately, are they going to lead you to a conclusion that says, "Yes, this is a good risk. This is not a good risk. I should price it this way. I should put these terms and conditions on," etc. And if they do that, then I think they'll find their business to evolve.

Ron: For sure. I think they'll find that they'll have more customers renewing, just because that experience is also so much better as a customer.

Travis: Absolutely.

Ron: So, we're going to take a quick 20-second break to tell you where you can find more information, insights about insurance innovation. We'll be right back.

[If you liked this episode of AI Wisdom, subscribe to our blog, Writing the Future: AI in Commercial Insurance at for feature articles, interviews, opinions, and more.]

Ron: We're back with our featured guest, Travis MacMillian. Let's jump right into the next question. In your opinion, what's one thing that everybody in the commercial insurance space should start doing today to better serve policyholders throughout the buying process?

Travis: That's actually a great question and it's something I reflect on quite a bit, actually. So, my suggestion would be that you start by understanding what are your target demographics and how has that changed? The reason I say that is because if you think about the newer buying groups, the millennials, and the Gen Zs, and I think the Gen Is are the next up-and-coming generation they expect a different experience from people like me, Generation X. I want paper. I want to sit down and have a conversation. My kids, they want to text you. They want instant gratification. They want it now. So, when you apply the buying traits of your target audience you have to change the tools, because your lens is different. To go a little bit deeper, when we think about a millennial or a Gen Z's buying characteristics, they want that instant gratification relating it to real-time, instant results on digital tools. They want to transact everything from a mobile device.

_Travis MacMillian Quote #3 FFFFFF  (1)

So, traditional buying, and buying processes and commercial lines outside of what I'll call emerging insurtechs, in some cases, won't drive that segment of business owners to their solution. So, they have to challenge themselves to say, do I need to do things different if I want to attract that customer base, and why is that attractive to me? Because, you know what? It is an attractive customer base. I think when people really drill into that, they'll realize, these are the upper comings. This is the future of the world and you got to figure out how you capitalize on that.

Ron: That's right. Because if you don't, you're going to be left behind.

Travis: Exactly.

Ron: What would you say are ways to combat change management, and some of the struggles that can sometimes occur? Because people can be afraid of technology, and oftentimes, organizations can be very slow to make decisions. So, what would be your recommendations for people who are trying to get their organizations to implement new technologies and business models, and might be trying to convince the senior leadership to take action?

Travis: That's always an interesting one. I think that everybody has a different view on what is change management. Some people think, "Well, okay, we're going to change organization, let's send an email out to everybody," and "We check that box and we're done." But change management truly is an organizational movement and from my standpoint, you can't do a top-down change management or a bottom-up change management. You have to do them both together. I'll explain why.

First, you have to have leadership that's completely on board with a transformational change, and they're sponsoring it, and they're aligning it to their strategic direction to say, "Organizationally, here's where we want to go."

At the same time, they need to surround a group of folks that are the doers, they're the workers doing it every day, and get them to embrace the vision, and how they can see the transformation really impacting their roles from a bottom-up standpoint. And when you attack it from both vantage points, the outcome there is successful. If you do one or the other, you have the potential of failing, from my experience. So, it has to be attacked from both ends and I think that when it's done right, I think that companies will be successful. The other thing that I would lay out there is that you can't take that journey alone.

Most companies don't understand all of the intricacies involved with AI-type tools, and how to apply them to transform. That's where they need to rely on people that have that experience whether that's an Xceedance or another type of company that has that deep insurance domain and technology background around AI that's what they need to leverage.

Or somebody who's partnered with a company like Chisel AI, to be able to do that. So, we can drive together that transformational aspect with that. But I think that at the end of the day, it's really that combined area and the last thing I would share is that a lot of companies talk about doing POCs, and they have these grandiose ideas, "I want to do this large POC," and really drive something as a proof point.

I would encourage them to do is something small. Dip your toe in, test it, drive it quickly. If you're going to fail, fail fast, and then learn why you failed and then do it again. You can't have these things beyond, I would say they take weeks instead of months or years. Traditionally, that's been one of the major impacts why the insurance industry as a whole has been slow to transform, because you think about, "Oh, I'm going to institute a new policy admin system." Great. It's a three to five-year project. Sometimes it's successful, sometimes it's not and it's costing people hundreds of millions of dollars to do that.

Ron: That's so true. I love your example about working from both ends, because there's a couple similes that come to mind. But the best one, and it's super real is oftentimes, when possible, you actually dig a tunnel from both ends, because it ends up being twice as fast. And that, to me, is the perfect real-world analogy for where you just talked about, because if you're working one way... Now, the problem with digging a tunnel from both ends simultaneously is you have to be very precise, because if they don't line up, then you're going to have a really fun time at the end. So, it might be a little bit more work, but it's certainly the better way to get it done.

Travis: I would agree.

Ron: Now, you touched on something that I'm super excited about, I'm excited to share with our listeners that we recently formed a strategic partnership with Xceedance to deliver best-in-class on-demand AI-powered policy checking and review to commercial insurance organizations. So, Travis, can you share with our listeners a little bit about how Xceedance plans to offer the on-demand solution, how it works, how it enables organizations looking to gain operational efficiencies and deliver a better customer experience to achieve these goals?

Travis: Absolutely. Ron, we're extremely excited about this partnership as well. I think that it's going to be industry-changing for a lot of people, especially if they want to embrace this. So, we've partnered, with Chisel AI to leverage your proprietary AI technology that's focused on policy checking. Historically, what Xceedance has done is, we've done that work before, but we've always done it manually. So, we align people to the process. They get in the information, they do the manual check, and they put it out, very much the same way an agent and broker does it today. Now, that exposes them and exposes us to things like errors and omissions. You're going to miss things. You're human. It also takes an inordinate amount of time to be able to go through 100-page policy and make sure that are all the terms and conditions right. I wanted the policy issued like this. Is it truly that way? I don't know. So, you have to go through and read it and compare and make sure that everything's there.

With our on-demand partnership, and the solution that we put forward, now we're taking the best of both worlds. We have insurance experts, coupled with technology that's cutting edge. If you think about it in the context of, I get in a quote and a binder that the agents issued along with the policy, and I take those documents, and put it into Chisel AI. What it returns to me is to say, "here are all the things that line up, here are the things that don't." The things that don't, I can hone right in. Something that may have taken me 30 minutes to do before, now it takes me a couple of minutes. So, what does that mean to our clients? It means it's going to cost you a lot less to buy this service.

Because I can do it for less, so you're going pay less. In addition to that when you think about an errors and omissions exposure, we're eliminating that. So, we're willing to take up that as a risk. Theoretically, you're pushing that off to us, right, as your provider. We're okay with that. Why? Because we know the stuff that we're going to be putting out the door is predominantly going to be 100% accurate, which is great. So, whether an agent or broker needs a capacity burst. "Look, I've got 1/1 coming up. It's a huge part of my book, and I've got five CSRs or account managers, and they can't handle that. So, it takes me three or four months to clear out that backlog." They could contact us and say, "I need to buy burst capacity for 300 policies or 500 policies or 1,000 policies," just as a quick, here you go.

There's others that might say, "Look, I want to alleviate my CSRs and account execs of doing this, operationally, because I want them to be focused on cultivating those relationships with new clients and helping us grow the top line." So, companies may say, "Look, let us just offload this to Xceedance." We're happy to do that work or anything in between and then we'll take it a step further because the other part, and you guys know this because you've been doing it, as well, is around the carrier experience within policy check. It's a little bit different because they're not checking necessarily terms and conditions. They're checking for accuracy. Did our raters or our input people capture the information correctly? Did they put in the name right? Was it spelled right? All of that. So, then you can have a quality assurance that the policies going out the door are right the first time. Why is that important to a carrier? Well, because if you put it out wrong, guess what happens? You get an endorsement. Or 2, or 3, or 15, or 20. And it creates more work. So, when you get it out the door right the first time, you don't have that additional work coming in the back. Well, you're more efficient and all that translates to you have more capacity, you're able to make more money, because it's costing you less to do things.

Ron: That's exactly right. I think that's something that people can certainly take advantage of today. So, as we start to wrap up, I wanted to ensure that our listeners take away three things that they can do, effectively immediately, to provide a better policyholder experience. So, Travis, in your opinion, what would be the top three things that every insurance organization should be considering, and how can AI or other technologies enable these initiatives?

Travis: I think my thoughts there really go with respects to these three things. First is you need to understand what are your current challenges, or what are the changes that you want to embark on as a company, and how does that align to your strategic direction today and in the future. You have to map that out. I think that's table stakes. So that, to me, is number one. And you have to start with the basics, looking at it that way.

I think the second is understanding that you really need to consider who you're going to partner with, that has both deep technical capability and insurance acumen, to help you envision that journey. You can't do it alone. I truly believe that. Having sat in the seat of many insurers, I would tell you, it would be scary to try to do it on your own. Even if you pull in people from the industry to help you, I think companies are better by getting experts that truly know it.

The third is what I would say, and I said this a little bit earlier, you got to start small. While you can envision something that's grandiose, and how it's going to change everything for your organization you want to start small.

Literally just structure it as sound bites and let those build. You'll get to the end journey quicker. It'll be much more streamlined and if things along the way need to be adjusted, to adjust a small tweak because something didn't work the first time, it allows you to redo that quickly, whereas if you try to do something really large right out of the chute, the likelihood that you won't be successful is too great, at least in my experience.

Ron: Great words of wisdom. So, as we wrap up, is there one piece of innovation wisdom that you'd like to share with our listeners?

Travis: In my opinion, I think the biggest impact... Well, the biggest thing that I would say from an impact standpoint is that you can't be afraid to try something new. We've done things as an industry very traditionally. Step out, be the change agent, be the leader, and push the boundaries. And again, you may fail. Fail fast, correct, try again, until you're successful. And that's a repeatable process.

Ron: I love that! Those are great words of wisdom. So, Travis, where can people find out more about you and Xceedance?

Travis: You can come visit us at, or feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. It's Travis MacMillian, and be happy to have any dialogue with anybody who's just looking to have a conversation and learn more.

Ron: Awesome. As always, if you're looking to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in insurance innovation, check out Thank you.

That’s a wrap for this episode of “AI Wisdom” hosted by Chisel AI and me, Ron Glozman. Thanks for listening.

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Join us next time for more expert insights and straight talk on how AI and insurtech innovations are transforming the insurance value chain. See you on the next episode!

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