Dogan, as Head of Programs Business, what is it that you love about programs?
“Niche products! That’s what I love about program business. People in insurance have predominantly focused on products, but programs, what they do is they focus on the industry or business segment. And by focusing on one single niche and building products around it they have the right amount of product expertise, whether that’s liability, property and so on for that industry. I love that industry first approach.”
What value do you see programs delivering for clients?
“Programs have the ability to package products into one focus. It could be restaurants, retail, dry cleaners, the segments are almost endless. I think we need to have more segments and industry driven products, instead of insurance defined products.
As a business owner I wouldn’t want to worry about each individual insurance product, trying to understand each and every detail, etc. They need to worry about protecting their business and it’s much easier to consider a package than to worry about each individual piece. Programs provide that package and deliver a more familiar buying experience for the end customer, the insured, because they speak the same industry language.”
How has your experience as a co-founder of multiple technology startups improved your ability to be a leader in programs?
“It has allowed me to work with our partners to identify inefficiencies and bridge the communication with technology vendors that can help. I’ll usually dive into the operations with a partner and think about where we can drive efficiencies. I’ll put my startup hat on and help identify a game plan.
I can then take that plan to technology vendors and come up with a complete approach for implementing improvements to the program, which might increase operational efficiencies and in many cases improve the underwriting capabilities and therefore help get better underwriting results. This way if I’m helping them drive at efficiency gains and underwriting results, which is a true partnership. We both win financially because they’re saving money, we’re both growing the business and the customer wins because they have a much better experience.”
Are insurance companies and program administrators embracing new technologies?
“A lot of people are scared to try new things because they invested in legacy technology that’s 10+ years-old and they’re stuck with it. Because I can speak the language of a technology company, I can help people see the opportunity, not this black box. Sometimes they see it right away and sometimes there’s extreme resistance. But it’s normal, change is not easy…
The reality is that there are programs that need to take a strong look at themselves. If you’re running a great underwriting team, but not asking yourself what technology is out there to help me improve my business operations, my underwriting capabilities, my analysis or you’re not leveraging data enough, or at all, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable.
People talk about insurance companies and say ‘it’s hard to turn the boat’ because we are too big to be agile. But it’s not a boat, it’s an oil rig. It takes days to get that 20,000-ton beast moving from where it’s been.
That’s where MGAs can bring a ton of value. They can take on the risk and experiment in a way that doesn’t require large insurance companies to change their internal structure.”
What’s the hottest growth opportunity in the program space?
“When I get this question, I immediately think of technology-driven insurance MGAs, digital MGAs, because they’re coming at the problem with a strong background in tech. It’s easier to help them walk through the insurance requirements and know we have a winning approach because the technology is solid. Of course the perfect combination for success is where the tech driven talent meets our invaluable insurance professionals with years of experience that can shape the right products; and create something far better for the end customers.
We can help them navigate the paperwork, the risk capital and the other operational steps.
I also see a future where technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) can reinforce underwriting by pulling in massive amounts of data and calculating a score that allows underwriters to make smarter decisions, much faster.”