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InsurTech Ohio Spotlight with Kerry Macca

Kerry Macca is the CRO at Five Sigma, an intuitive cloud-native claims management solution making claims processing smarter and simpler with automated claims management software. Kerry was interviewed by Matt Workman, Senior Client Partner at Persistent Systems.

Kerry, how do you guard against bringing in point solutions vs. platforms to help alleviate pain points?

“As an insurtech, Five Sigma approaches this challenge with a focus on the bigger picture. While point solutions may offer a quick fix for a very specific pain point, the ultimate goal is to provide a holistic platform that alleviates current issues but also anticipates future needs. We do this by collaborating with our clients to deeply understand their pain points and long-term objectives. We engage in a comprehensive discovery process that identifies these inefficiencies and areas where technology can be a significant business enabler. The commitment to building a platform rather than just a point of sale allows for the ability to create a cohesive ecosystem. This means that our clients can access a unified end-to-end solution that addresses the core challenges while providing scalability and flexibility for their future.

Furthermore, we leverage modern technologies such as APIs, cloud native architecture to ensure a platform seamlessly integrates with other systems and solutions. This openness allows clients to build an ecosystem that suits their needs without limitations or siloed point solutions. In essence, delivering a strategy that provides a platform that acts as a foundation for innovation and growth, ensuring that clients not only overcome their immediate pain points but also stay agile and well prepared for the ever-evolving landscape of the insurance industry. This approach offers the best of both worlds, immediately optimizing and alleviating the specific pain points and a path to a long-term successful strategy.”

How do you build the trust necessary to drive change within a carrier?

“Building trust takes time and a deep understanding of the carrier before approaching them. Do your research and understand their mission, values and business goals. The carrier marketplace doesn't want to teach us their business. They expect us to come to the conversation with an understanding of the market and their business as well as to teach them something new about how to leverage modern technology to help them improve efficiencies. Quite frankly, they want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace as they're in a very competitive industry. So, take the time to understand them before approaching.”

What’s some advice for other insurtech startups as they partner with insurance carriers and MGAs? What are the concerns that you hear from carriers?

“Partnering with insurance carriers and even MGAs can be a transformation of journey for insurtechs and startups, and there are some key considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, it's critical to approach these partnerships with a deep understanding of their unique challenges and priorities for them. There are a few pieces of advice for insurtechs that I might recommend. One, understand the carrier's pain points as I mentioned earlier and take the time to truly understand those pain points and challenges that carriers and MGAs have and are dealing with. This involves active listening, engaging in meaningful conversations and conducting thorough research. The better you understand their needs, the more effective you can tailor the solution. Two, flexibility and configurability; recognize that one size doesn't fit all. Carriers often have specific processes, workflows, business rules and systems in place, and may hesitate to disrupt their existing operations.

Offer flexible solutions that can integrate seamlessly with their current infrastructure, and provide options for that configurable need they have or want inside their organizations. Compliance is a big one for our industry, so address data security and compliance concerns upfront. Talk about AI and what that could do for our industry. There are big concerns around compliance. Hit that head on; focus on those solutions and some of the compliance areas of concern. Do your research and bring that to the forefront of these conversations. Insurance is a highly regulated industry, and carriers are cautious about their data and security concerns. Ensure that your solution adheres to industry standards and regulations, and be transparent about your commitments and safeguarding sensitive information. Another one is to prove your solution out through a Return on Investment (ROI) and value proposition, such as a sandbox, giving them hands-on capabilities to get in and play around with those types of solutions.

But, seeing is believing in our industry. Carriers want a clear investment in their ROI. Be prepared to demonstrate how your technology will improve their operations, enhance customer experience or increase profitability. There's a lot of talk around lowering loss costs combined ratio, but yet, carriers are still looking for that ROI to be proactive in showing, demonstrating and bringing in customers that have already reached those benefits to demonstrate those capabilities and ensure that your solution will be able to provide those ROIs. Provide a case study or pilot program to showcase that value of your solution in real world scenarios. I've said this before, and I'm going to say it again, build trust. There are so many vendors in our industry who are so excited to get into these verticals that they don't provide that trust and transparency upfront. Trust is paramount to these relationships. Establish a reputation for reliable transparency and accountability, consistently delivering upon your promise to the marketplace and communicate openly with a positive response to their needs.

Another area that’s important is education and collaboration. Educate carriers about the benefits of your insurtech solution and how they drive innovation. At the same time, collaborate closely with incumbents and the industry to provide a smooth integration process and ongoing support. A lot of this industry, some of the technology providers, have been around for years. Insurtechs have to demonstrate how they can run parallel to those investments. Demonstrate your commitment to the long-term partnership and your solution. A market area: carriers and MGAs often seek partners who are investing in their success for the long haul. Share your vision for the future, and your solution will continue to evolve and meet their challenging needs.

The key to success is to closely align our solution with their objectives, address their concerns proactively and build transparency. Doing so can create a mutually beneficial relationship that continues to drive innovation and growth in the insurance industry.”

How do you build partnerships across insurtech startups? What role do you see for carriers in creating partnership opportunities between startups?

“There's a big focus around the ecosystem and building those partnerships, especially in insurtech, so building partnerships across the insurtech-startup landscape is a dynamic process. It involves proactive outreach, collaboration and a shared vision for innovation. It's an exciting journey and several key strategies should be considered in this.

One is active networking; actively participate in industry events, conferences and networking. These gatherings are an excellent place to connect with fellow insurtechs, potential partners and industry experts, building a solid network and opening doors to collaborate with industry associations. Joining an industry association in insurtech communities can be instrumental. These organizations often facilitate introductions, provide valuable resources and offer platforms for startups to showcase their solutions. Recently, we joined Target Markets, a large association in this industry that brings together multiple parties to build those types of partnerships.

The third is collaborative initiatives like the regional InsurTech Ohio organization. Seek out collaborative initiatives, accelerators and incumbents specific to insurtech sectors. These programs unite startups and foster relationships by providing mentorships and access to carrier networks. The regional insurtech organizations help foster education and awareness, which is big in this industry, especially for insurtechs because we're educating the industry on how we can do things differently and want to support driving transformation. Education for carriers is about the benefits of the insurtech solution and how they enhance their competitiveness awareness, building a spark of interest and leading to partnership discussions.”

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