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The Profession

Tim Liberty of Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

This claims expert says the industry is getting better at using technology and data, but it could come at the expense of customer service.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?
I worked at a sporting apparel store at the mall. The CEO was a retired Marine and would watch us through the CCTV at his home. I learned that there is always work to be done. And if not, I learned how to act busy.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?
After college I was desperate for work. I interviewed for an adjuster job, because I thought I would be able to drive around in a company car. Turned out it was a desk job managing workers’ comp claims. The rest is history.

Tim Liberty, senior claims consultant, Baldwin Krystyn
Sherman Partners

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?
I think the community does a good job of sharing knowledge through conferences and periodicals. No matter the issue or topic, the best practices have been shared through some avenue.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?
I think there has been more of a focus on technology and data, which is needed, but the community could do a better job at the fundamentals of customer service. One of the biggest pain points I hear from prospects is lack of communication from carriers.

R&I: How have you seen tech and data being used?
Most of the periodicals I receive have at least one or two stories around tech and data, from drones to predictive modeling and AI. Our firm has embraced the importance of data, and I have seen our capabilities grow substantially. Our clients love to be able to see their performance and trends in an easy-to-read format. The challenge for the risk management community is being able to show the info with real-time data.

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R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?
The increase of cyber and social engineering risks. And it now seems like every auto claim becomes litigated.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?
I’m sure it has been said before, but cyber is only going to get worse in frequency and severity, and hackers are going to get more creative in breaching attempts. Everyone who has employees or clients needs coverage, but not everyone buys it.

R&I: What’s the most interesting or complex problem you’ve had to solve in your career? 

Responding to Irma last year. The majority of my experience has been in casualty, so there was a lot of learning on the fly. Working for an agency as a claims advocate, I am essentially stuck in the middle. I don’t have the authority to adjust claims and have to work with adjusters and managers to get them to make decisions that result in the best outcomes for our clients. During Irma, it seemed like everyone was interpreting policies differently, and many couldn’t give us clear answers for weeks after the storm. Our firm understands that this is a relationship business, and we have cultivated relationships over the last 12 years to where we were often successful in getting interpretations that were beneficial to our clients.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?
I was deployed to Iraq and had the opportunity to lead Marines. I am proud that my Marines made it back home.

R&I: How many emails do you get in a day and how many do you answer?
60 to 75 received. Many of these are claim alerts that require no response. I send around 15 to 20.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?
I have a young child, so I read a lot of books. Snog the Frog is my current favorite. Prior to children, I’d say The Alchemist. Favorite movie is Jaws. Quint’s Indianapolis monologue is hard to beat.

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R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?
I’m a pretty simple guy and like a good diner. In St. Petersburg, Metro Diner’s chicken and waffles is the meal that comes to mind. As you can see, I’m kind of a health nut.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?
One of my clients turned me on to a New Fashioned. It’s like an Old Fashioned but better. It is bourbon, amaretto, orange zest and a filthy black cherry.

R&I: What is the most unusual or interesting place you have ever visited?
When I was in Iraq, the towns we patrolled were made up of houses that were either made out of mud or had dirt floors and were pretty run down. But there was one house that had marble counters, a kitchen, a Playstation and a bidet. That was pretty weird to see.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?
Combat.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?
The parents who teach children to be critical thinkers, financially responsible, decent human beings. Much of society seems to encourage the opposite values and the parents who overcome those societal obstacles are to be commended.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?
I enjoy educating clients on topics they care about in a fun and engaging way. I try to incorporate puns and dad jokes into all my presentations.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?
They think I am in meetings all day and drink coffee.

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Insurtech

Kiss Your Annual Renewal Goodbye; On-Demand Insurance Challenges the Traditional Policy

Gig workers' unique insurance needs drive delivery of on-demand coverage.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 6 min read

The gig economy is growing. Nearly six million Americans, or 3.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, now have “contingent” work arrangements, with a further 10.6 million in categories such as independent contractors, on-call workers or temporary help agency staff and for-contract firms, often with well-known names such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

The number of Americans owning a drone is also increasing — one recent survey suggested as much as one in 12 of the population — sparking vigorous debate on how regulation should apply to where and when the devices operate.

Add to this other 21st century societal changes, such as consumers’ appetite for other electronic gadgets and the advent of autonomous vehicles. It’s clear that the cover offered by the annually renewable traditional insurance policy is often not fit for purpose. Helped by the sophistication of insurance technology, the response has been an expanding range of ‘on-demand’ covers.

The term ‘on-demand’ is open to various interpretations. For Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO of pioneering on-demand insurance platform Trōv, it’s about “giving people agency over the items they own and enabling them to turn on insurance cover whenever they want for whatever they want — often for just a single item.”

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“On-demand represents a whole new behavior and attitude towards insurance, which for years has very much been a case of ‘get it and forget it,’ ” said Walchek.

Trōv’s mobile app enables users to insure just a single item, such as a laptop, whenever they wish and to also select the period of cover required. When ready to buy insurance, they then snap a picture of the sales receipt or product code of the item they want covered.

Welcoming Trōv: A New On-Demand Arrival

While Walchek, who set up Trōv in 2012, stressed it’s a technology company and not an insurance company, it has attracted industry giants such as AXA and Munich Re as partners. Trōv began the U.S. roll-out of its on-demand personal property products this summer by launching in Arizona, having already established itself in Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Australia and the UK were great testing grounds, thanks to their single regulatory authorities,” said Walchek. “Trōv is already approved in 45 states, and we expect to complete the process in all by November.

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group.” – Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group,” he added.

“But a mass of tectonic societal shifts is also impacting older generations — on-demand cover fits the new ways in which they work, particularly the ‘untethered’ who aren’t always in the same workplace or using the same device. So we see on-demand going into societal lifestyle changes.”

Wooing Baby Boomers

In addition to its backing for Trōv, across the Atlantic, AXA has partnered with Insurtech start-up By Miles, launching a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy in the UK. The product is promoted as low-cost car insurance for drivers who travel no more than 140 miles per week, or 7,000 miles annually.

“Due to the growing need for these products, companies such as Marmalade — cover for learner drivers — and Cuvva — cover for part-time drivers — have also increased in popularity, and we expect to see more enter the market in the near future,” said AXA UK’s head of telematics, Katy Simpson.

Simpson confirmed that the new products’ initial appeal is to younger motorists, who are more regular users of new technology, while older drivers are warier about sharing too much personal information. However, she expects this to change as on-demand products become more prevalent.

“Looking at mileage-based insurance, such as By Miles specifically, it’s actually older generations who are most likely to save money, as the use of their vehicles tends to decline. Our job is therefore to not only create more customer-centric products but also highlight their benefits to everyone.”

Another Insurtech ready to partner with long-established names is New York-based Slice Labs, which in the UK is working with Legal & General to enter the homeshare insurance market, recently announcing that XL Catlin will use its insurance cloud services platform to create the world’s first on-demand cyber insurance solution.

“For our cyber product, we were looking for a partner on the fintech side, which dovetailed perfectly with what Slice was trying to do,” said John Coletti, head of XL Catlin’s cyber insurance team.

“The premise of selling cyber insurance to small businesses needs a platform such as that provided by Slice — we can get to customers in a discrete, seamless manner, and the partnership offers potential to open up other products.”

Slice Labs’ CEO Tim Attia added: “You can roll up on-demand cover in many different areas, ranging from contract workers to vacation rentals.

“The next leap forward will be provided by the new economy, which will create a range of new risks for on-demand insurance to respond to. McKinsey forecasts that by 2025, ecosystems will account for 30 percent of global premium revenue.

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“When you’re a start-up, you can innovate and question long-held assumptions, but you don’t have the scale that an insurer can provide,” said Attia. “Our platform works well in getting new products out to the market and is scalable.”

Slice Labs is now reviewing the emerging markets, which aren’t hampered by “old, outdated infrastructures,” and plans to test the water via a hackathon in southeast Asia.

Collaboration Vs Competition

Insurtech-insurer collaborations suggest that the industry noted the banking sector’s experience, which names the tech disruptors before deciding partnerships, made greater sense commercially.

“It’s an interesting correlation,” said Slice’s managing director for marketing, Emily Kosick.

“I believe the trend worth calling out is that the window for insurers to innovate is much shorter, thanks to the banking sector’s efforts to offer omni-channel banking, incorporating mobile devices and, more recently, intelligent assistants like Alexa for personal banking.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.”

As with fintechs in banking, Insurtechs initially focused on the retail segment, with 75 percent of business in personal lines and the remainder in the commercial segment.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.” — Emily Kosick, managing director, marketing, Slice

Those proportions may be set to change, with innovations such as digital commercial insurance brokerage Embroker’s recent launch of the first digital D&O liability insurance policy, designed for venture capital-backed tech start-ups and reinsured by Munich Re.

Embroker said coverage that formerly took weeks to obtain is now available instantly.

“We focus on three main issues in developing new digital business — what is the customer’s pain point, what is the expense ratio and does it lend itself to algorithmic underwriting?” said CEO Matt Miller. “Workers’ compensation is another obvious class of insurance that can benefit from this approach.”

Jason Griswold, co-founder and chief operating officer of Insurtech REIN, highlighted further opportunities: “I’d add a third category to personal and business lines and that’s business-to-business-to-consumer. It’s there we see the biggest opportunities for partnering with major ecosystems generating large numbers of insureds and also big volumes of data.”

For now, insurers are accommodating Insurtech disruption. Will that change?

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“Insurtechs have focused on products that regulators can understand easily and for which there is clear existing legislation, with consumer protection and insurer solvency the two issues of paramount importance,” noted Shawn Hanson, litigation partner at law firm Akin Gump.

“In time, we could see the disruptors partner with reinsurers rather than primary carriers. Another possibility is the likes of Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, with their massive balance sheets, deciding to link up with a reinsurer,” he said.

“You can imagine one of them finding a good Insurtech and buying it, much as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods gave it entry into the retail sector.” &

Graham Buck is a UK-based writer and has contributed to Risk & Insurance® since 1998. He can be reached at riskletters.com.