Insurance Industry News & Views - June 2 2021
Abel Travis is Vice President and Head of Fundamental Underwriters, a division of AF Group. A 17-year veteran of the commercial insurance industry, Travis started his career in insurance as a multiline underwriter for The Hartford. Prior to joining AF Group, he was head of Commercial Lines Product Management at The Hanover. He also hosted the long-running podcast series “The Insurance Innovators Unscripted” and is a top 50 InsurTech Influencer and InsurTech mentor. We caught up with Abel to ask a few questions about how insurance companies can build a culture of innovation, attract new talent, and ensure diversity and inclusion in insurance leadership.
Abel, we recently curated our second annual crowdsourced eBook Commercial Insurance Underwriting Priorities 2021 and Beyond. What’s your take on which technologies and digital transformation initiatives commercial lines carriers should focus on to make their underwriting processes more efficient, profitable, and responsive to customers?
The state of innovation in the insurance industry has changed, and a lot of the customer expectations we are witnessing have nothing to do with the industry itself. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, we’ve seen digital adoption and acceleration in North America increase multi fold and, as of the end of 2020, 65% of consumers maintained digital interactions across their daily lives, and 90% of consumers preferred to interact with carriers on a digital basis.
Because of this, at its core, carriers must drive digital transformation and enablement within their own organizations, just to be able to consume new technologies that require a scalable and flexible digital infrastructure. Agents have been one of the most important conduits to industry customers, and single threaded carrier integrations are no longer viable for agents, meaning that carriers must deploy an API strategy or be faced with the inability to engage with agents who are going digital, and face more limited distribution. Agents are partnering together – take BrokerTech Ventures, for example – to invest in their own future and digitized capabilities, and they have been selectively disengaging with carriers that have limited and archaic digital infrastructure.