Matt Korte is the Chief Technology Officer at Central Insurance, a successful property and casualty carrier operating on a strong foundation of core values. Matt was interviewed by Ron Rock, Senior Director at JobsOhio, a private nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion efforts.
Matt, what accomplishments are Central celebrating?
“There have been quite a few things. We reached a big milestone in 2022, celebrating our 147th year in the property and casualty business. Despite all the volatility that we had in the financial markets and one of the most active and catastrophic weather seasons on record, we had a hallmark year and posted some of the best results we've had in the past seven years. Our policyholder security fund, which is really the strength of our company, surpassed a billion dollars last year, bringing us to an all-time high.
To meet the needs of our growing staff, 2022 also marked the groundbreaking of our new 48,000-square-foot Bridge Park location, which is housing our technology office. We have had a presence in Dublin since about 2015. We've outgrown our current space, so we are looking forward to taking occupancy of the new location in Q4 of this year.
In the past year, we also introduced a new benefits package that includes 12 weeks of one hundred percent paid parental leave, eight weeks of one hundred percent family caregiver leave, eight weeks of one hundred percent paid bereavement leave and an expanded vacation and paid sick time. We really value our people at Central. We're culturally driven and always looking for ways to maximize the flexibility of our staff, so that was a big achievement. The way we look at it is, we're big enough to matter, but still small enough to care. So we try to attract really smart people into our organization, embed them in our culture and empower them to move our company forward.”
What has prompted the relatively recent momentum behind Central’s growth?
“We're working hard to meet our customers where they are and drive differentiation of the Central Insurance product in the market. From technology to our services, we're dedicated to innovative changes that make an impact in the industry and the policyholders we serve. As a result of that, we're experiencing modernization throughout our organization and certainly, technology is no exception to that. From a tech standpoint, we tend to build a lot of our own technology. That’s unique in the industry as a lot of other carriers tend to purchase commercial software solutions. So, to meet the need of improving the customer experience and our technology stack, we continue to bring people into the organization. In fact, by the end of 2026, the plan is to add approximately 60 new positions to our current team of 79 in our Dublin location.”
Why has ownership over both your insurance and technology stacks been an important part of Central’s mission?
“Our growth strategy is all about enriching the connection with our agents and our policyholders, and we're constantly looking for ways to bring new value to those relationships. Ownership of both our insurance and tech stack provides us with complete flexibility in doing just that. At the core of what we do, our product is insurance. And to meet the evolving expectations and needs of our customers, we have to continuously evolve that product. But just as important as the product, is how people experience our insurance product, and technology plays a key part in that. We need to continuously evolve and find new ways to bring value and build innovative solutions that provide differentiation in how people experience Central Insurance. Ultimately, if we didn't own both of those tech stacks, we would be somewhat limited in how we could respond to those expectations. Owning them gives us complete flexibility and allows us to respond to those needs much more quickly.”
What can you share about leadership’s outlook for 2023?
“What's super exciting is the people that we've been able to attract into this organization: the level of skill, level of dedication and the capabilities that we're building out. Seeing that come together and building an organization where we truly empower our employees to help move Central Insurance forward is thrilling. As I alluded to earlier, there's modernization occurring throughout the organization, so it's going to be super exciting to see that come together and ultimately result in improved products and better experiences with those products.
Additionally, since we build much of our own technology, we have significant initiatives to roll out. We're investing heavily in our tech. That new tech is what's going to allow us to compete more quickly, respond to customer expectations much more rapidly, help drive differentiation in the market for our agents and bring differentiated value to our policyholders to help move Central forward.”