How This Cyber Insurer Finds the Connection Between Tech and Humanity

Coalition's head of insurance believes people underestimate how much of the insurance industry is based on human interaction. He's setting out to change that image.
By: | September 26, 2019

For Shawn Ram the insurance industry is personal.

As head of insurance at Coalition, Ram understands that even cyber insurance, an area of the industry that draws to mind images of computer screens and lines of code rather than the human face, is based on human interaction.

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“One of the stand out things about a role in insurance is that it pushes you to put yourself in other peoples’ shoes,” he said.

“A lot of people think insurance is a transaction field, but really it involves a lot of customer service, relationship building and the ability to transition from one client’s industry segment to another.

“When I realized this career gave me the opportunity to sit down and get to know people, coupled with the responsibility of servicing a diverse array of clients at once, I knew it was a great fit for me.”

Ram knew from the start that he wanted interpersonal interactions to play a major role in his career. Mentorship was hugely important to him. So when an insurance company showed up at his college’s job fair and offered him both a mentorship and a position in their rotational development program, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up; Ram became a broker.

“My start with them sealed my fate in the risk management industry,” he said.

From there, he realized that the insurance industry was the underpinning of nearly every business and that it played a major, if sometimes invisible, role in people’s lives. It was an industry that allowed him to make a difference, while also providing him with “ample learning opportunities.”

“Insurance plays a meaningful role in driving the world economy. From moving products around the world, to health care, to game shows, to sports athlete’s contracts — insurance plays a critical role in managing the risks of business throughout the world. The opportunity to play a role in assisting the management and transfer of this risk is exciting and fulfilling,” he said.

As he worked his way through the industry, technology provided Ram with even more opportunities for learning.

“Technology is revitalizing the industry and creating new forms of peril (such as cyber) as well as ways of determining risk and helping to prevent it,” he said.

“This industry is very forward-looking given its efforts to be capital provider for various risk factors. As a result, the industry is very interested and focused on the risk profile of the future. This leads to this constant effort to consider what is occurring in the future, what can the industry do to prepare, and how can we best quantify the risks that lie ahead.”

While some people may argue that technology and all of the data that comes with it is making the industry less personal, Ram disagrees. He thinks tech can help the industry shed its reputation by transforming the role of brokers and giving clients more information about their policies.

“Our industry is viewed by others as a financing mechanism that is heavily transactional, but I see it growing to be an industry that will be focused on acquiring and using data to meet client needs,” he said.

“The efficiency of our products through data will increase tremendously, improving the buyers’ visibility toward pricing coverage, exposure, bench-marking, and more, such that the role of a broker will grow into a risk adviser rather than solely a transactional role.”

Read More: 10 Reasons Why Insurance and Risk Management Is a Great Career

This mission of using technology to make information about insurance coverage more accessible to buyers is what drove Ram to join the founding team of Coalition, a company that hopes to cause a “revolution” in cyber insurance.

“With cyber threats posing such a significant risk to businesses and mitigating this risk being so tedious, we sought to create an easier way,” he said. “Our work at Coalition has changed how our buyers have historically thought about cyber risk.”

One of the ways Ram makes purchasing cyber insurance easier is by streamlining the process of applying for it. Previously, buyers had to fill out an application that could range anywhere from eight to 25 pages. They then had to go through a 10 day process in order to get their coverage.

Now, Coalition has been able to reduce the whole process so that buyers can purchase cyber protection is as little as two to three minutes.

“It’s been really rewarding to see our platform grow and have thousands of businesses and access coverage daily,” Ram said.

Since starting off as a broker and progressing into a role as a founding member of his company, Ram has had plenty of opportunities to both be mentored by others and to serve as a mentor himself. As he has taken on new roles, his former leaders have become mentors to him and he’s excited to pass their wisdom on to his own mentees.

“Because of all the great mentors I’ve had, I value the opportunity to be a mentor to many of the people I work with today and help better utilize their skill sets to help the company and enhance their personal career growth,” he said.

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“The most important thing about mentorship is having an individual you can count on when you’re young who understands the business you’re in and has a desire to understand you. Their desire to understand you and teach you will have a positive impact on improving the company, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Ram is thankful for the ways both his career in insurance and support from his mentors have allowed him to create a unique career path. His work has allowed him to pursue new opportunities and meet a variety of interesting people.

“In a lot of industries, the corporation plays a significant role in your growth, but in insurance the individual has the opportunity to mold their career trajectory into what they want,” he said.

“You can influence where your career goes and the specific work you do, which is unique compared to other fields. If you’re willing to put yourself on the edge and work hard, the insurance industry won’t slow you down.” &

Courtney DuChene is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]