Episode 47: Full Transcript

[00:00:00.51] BILL DEVINE: What we learned in that first wave of InsurTech that's so important to us is a belief that the independent agents will persist, and will be a major part of the insurance industry for as long as we can see forward.
[00:00:13.91] [MUSIC PLAYING]
[00:00:15.91] SPEAKER: This is The Insurance Technology Podcast, where we bring interesting people from across the insurance ecosystem to discuss and debate technology's impact on the industry. Join us each episode for insights and best practices from industry stewards and tomorrow's innovators. Now, here's your host, Reid Holzworth.
[00:00:36.22] REID HOLZWORTH: Welcome to the Insurance Technology Podcast. I'm your host Reid Holzworth. In this episode, I'm going to be interviewing Bill Devine from Travelers. Bill has been at Travelers for quite some time. He knows everybody in the industry. I've known Bill for quite a while. He's just an awesome individual. I recently spoke with him on stage. And it was just a fun time.
[00:00:58.08] Bill's a great dude. Stay tuned, because in this episode, we're going to really get into how Bill fell into insurance. Like everyone else, he fell into it. It's pretty awesome story. So stay tuned. It's going to be great. We're back with Bill Devine. I'm here in beautiful Hartford, Connecticut. On a beautiful, I guess it's still winter day.
[00:01:19.74] BILL DEVINE: I think it's technically the second day of spring or something?
[00:01:22.48] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, is it really?
[00:01:23.18] BILL DEVINE: Yeah, technically.
[00:01:23.73] REID HOLZWORTH: Like it is getting nicer out there.
[00:01:25.45] BILL DEVINE: There's no-- I mean, it's Hartford and there's no snow on the ground. So it's spring-ish.
[00:01:29.47] REID HOLZWORTH: I love Hartford, Connecticut. It's my favorite place in the whole wide world. You walk outside, you just breathe insurance. Just insurance everywhere. You go anywhere, get a cup of coffee. There's insurance people around all over the place. Insurance capital of the world. You know, it's funny I was talking to somebody yesterday about this.
[00:01:48.01] I don't know. I should know this. Like why Hartford, Connecticut? Do you know why? I was in a big group yesterday, and nobody really knew why at Hartford? Why there's so many insurance companies in Hartford? I don't know.
[00:01:58.66] BILL DEVINE: So I think just like any other industry, certain industries develop affinity for certain geographies. And once you get rolling, it's easy to find talent, and not to get too deep, or backing up too far. But like pre-World War II, and pre-GI Bill, and VA loans, and things like that, people didn't move.
[00:02:20.26] REID HOLZWORTH: It's true.
[00:02:20.92] BILL DEVINE: So like multiple generations-- and you can see it walking the halls at Travelers, or any of our competitors, or our friends in the insurance industry around Hartford. You've got multiple generations of people. We've got a wonderful woman in small commercial whose family is big at Liberty Mutual.
[00:02:38.92] There's tons of stuff like that. But it goes back to the fact that it's only in the last generation or two people actually moved around the country. That's how two idiots like us that are from Southern California are now having this conversation in Hartford, Connecticut
[00:02:51.61] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:02:51.91] BILL DEVINE: But right. Like people didn't move. So industries moved to where people had the talent were. So I spent a couple of years in Syracuse, New York. And Syracuse was an insurance capital at one point.
[00:03:01.23] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah. I could see that. Yeah.
[00:03:02.59] BILL DEVINE: But it's just like there's these little pockets of places where certain industries grow up and then they just, yeah. So it's carried over. But yeah, it's back from when people didn't relocate. And you just had multiple generations. And I mean, we used to have massive infrastructure here. There's a radio station WTIC here in Hartford. That Travelers owned that radio station to give weather alerts out to their employees on when there was inclement weather.
[00:03:32.83] That's how big Travelers was at one point. I mean, you think about just how insane that is. They owned a radio station. They played music and stuff, but we owned a radio station. And it still has the call letters of Travelers Insurance company-- Indemnity Company, TIC. So it's-- that's just how big of an insurance town this is, which doesn't make it any more interesting.
[00:03:53.56] It is not really-- not really big on the come visit Connecticut's Tourism Board. But I've lived here for almost 20 years now. And it's been a great place to raise a family. And if you like mountain biking, and kayaking, and cross country skiing, a little bit of downhill skiing, I mean, you can't beat--
[00:04:12.93] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, really.
[00:04:13.66] BILL DEVINE: It's beautiful. And I want to say there to stat like, and I'm probably wrong. But we have more golf courses per capita than any other state.
[00:04:22.69] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, no. Wow. I didn't know that. No kidding. That's awesome. A lot of insurance people.
[00:04:27.31] BILL DEVINE: A lot of insurance people. But yeah, just lots of green space. And I always joke that Hartford, Connecticut is like-- and you were walking around here last night, so you probably saw it. It's like if somebody took 20 square blocks of a big city like a Chicago, or New York and dropped it in the middle of nowhere.
[00:04:43.37] And when those 20 square blocks ends. It's like nothing. And you're like why is there a 20 story building here, and then a vacant lot right next to it.
[00:04:53.83] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.
[00:04:54.37] BILL DEVINE: The California guys.
[00:04:56.02] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.
[00:04:56.50] BILL DEVINE: It sprawled.
[00:04:57.04] REID HOLZWORTH: It just doesn't add. Yeah.
[00:04:58.50] BILL DEVINE: Hartford went up, it didn't go out. So it's literally so-- you could walk from one end to the other in a few minutes. In fact, if you're ever here, and I shouldn't plug the competitor. But one of my favorite poets Wallace Stevens was actually an underwriter at the Hartford. And there's actually an amazing walk that you can do from the Hartford to where he lived.
[00:05:20.53] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh wow.
[00:05:21.46] BILL DEVINE: And each of the 13 stanzas of "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" are at a stop along the walk that he did every day where he was an underwriting officer at the Hartford to his home where he wrote all of his poetry.
[00:05:34.06] REID HOLZWORTH: That is so cool.
[00:05:35.14] BILL DEVINE: So it's like there's some cool stuff like that. And you kind of go by the Mark Twain House. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House. I mean, there's history everywhere almost to our detriment sometimes. But there's history everywhere and it's cool.
[00:05:45.85] REID HOLZWORTH: Somebody was telling me yesterday that Hartford or Mark Twain moved to Hartford because he said, Hartford is where it's going on. And then somebody is telling me that Hartford, Connecticut was actually much bigger than New York City at one point. And around that same time, apparently. This is what this person saying. I can Google it and stuff or whatever.
[00:06:08.02] But yeah, and so then obviously New York took off. And here we are Hartford.
[00:06:13.19] [LAUGHTER]
[00:06:13.65] BILL DEVINE: Hartford, the home of not much of anything except insurance.
[00:06:16.83] REID HOLZWORTH: How many people are at Travelers worldwide?
[00:06:20.51] BILL DEVINE: So worldwide travelers has over 30,000 people.
[00:06:23.58] REID HOLZWORTH: 30,000. people.
[00:06:24.76] BILL DEVINE: 30,000 people.
[00:06:25.99] REID HOLZWORTH: That's so crazy.
[00:06:27.46] BILL DEVINE: It is until we sit down. I had dinner with some folks from Accenture the other day of 600,000 worldwide. Which is just unfathomable. That's the size and the reach of companies these days. But I mean, we're over 30,000 people, we're a DAO 30 company. We're a bellwether of the stock market for good and bad. And I mean, this is not where I expected to end up.
[00:06:53.81] That's just-- it's the magnitude and just sometimes just the enormity of being a part of something that's been around for so long and so big is just crazy.
[00:07:05.41] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. How long has Travelers been around?
[00:07:08.25] BILL DEVINE: So I'm going to butcher the date. But it's like 1864 or something like that. It's over 100 years. Well over 100 years.
[00:07:17.12] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome.
[00:07:17.48] BILL DEVINE: Yeah we have got the Batterson desk here where Mr. Batterson, the first CEO, hand wrote policies out and stuff like that.
[00:07:25.57] REID HOLZWORTH: So wild.
[00:07:26.41] BILL DEVINE: Yeah.
[00:07:27.39] REID HOLZWORTH: Wow.
[00:07:28.53] BILL DEVINE: I mean, we have a historian here that actually gives tours. You can go up in the tower and see the Peregrine Falcon nest. Like it's so surreal. You guys have that at IVANS right?
[00:07:39.46] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:07:41.28] [LAUGHTER]
[00:07:44.39] No, that's awesome man. It's so-- it's huge, huge footprint in the industry. I mean, Travelers is just a beast. And I've said this-- I think I said this in the last episode we did, great partner. I mean, you guys have really doubled down, triple down, quadrupled down on technology. You're doing a lot for the agents in that. And you just have a really great outlook on it as opposed to some of our other friends that don't really share the same views, which we've talked about a bunch.
[00:08:12.79] But you guys are really embracing it, enabling it, and pushing it out for the better of the industry, which is awesome. And you sit in a unique position. You're at Travelers. And so you see a lot. You see a lot of technology companies on the agency side as well as the carrier side. And like you said, [INAUDIBLE] Accenture, and some of these others.
[00:08:35.50] BILL DEVINE: And you guys keep buying up the ones that we like best. So we'll--
[00:08:37.65] [LAUGHTER]
[00:08:38.08] REID HOLZWORTH: Keep them coming. They're working out well.
[00:08:40.54] BILL DEVINE: Good job, Taylor.
[00:08:41.32] REID HOLZWORTH: All right.
[00:08:42.28] [LAUGHTER]
[00:08:44.53] Yeah, I know. It's good. It's interesting. Though I'd love to hear your views on it because I've been off on this tangent lately. It's like I'm not seeing a lot of new innovative things that are out there. There's stuff. But it feels like a lot of the innovation-- and I don't want to say it is drying up per-se. But maybe it's just that there was just too much noise before, right?
[00:09:14.15] BILL DEVINE: Yeah. And I soapbox on this every once in a while. And I'm stealing from [? Bill ?] [? Perrone, ?] who I think does a great job on all of this too, and is a great friend. But we're really at the cusp of the third wave of InsurTech. So the first wave of InsurTech was crazy. These were all the people that were coming in to beat us.
[00:09:34.48] REID HOLZWORTH: Right, totally.
[00:09:35.44] BILL DEVINE: And to be fair your, pre-IVANS life was a little bit of that first Gen InsurTech. You came in to beat the establishment.
[00:09:42.16] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, 100%.
[00:09:44.56] BILL DEVINE: Like everything was about looking across and saying, insurance people are dumb. And I don't necessarily disagree. That we have opportunity. But it was that insurance people are dumb. And we non-insurance people, or light insurance people are going to jump in and show them how much better we can do this. And it was a disrupt model. It was a very Silicon Valley ideology of-- it was the Uber-Lyft come in and break the model, because we're not going to care about what came first.
[00:10:16.86] REID HOLZWORTH: Right. Right.
[00:10:17.86] BILL DEVINE: And most every company from that first generation has since gone away.
[00:10:23.38] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, in some shape or form.
[00:10:25.42] BILL DEVINE: And if they exist. There was a massive pivot likely. And they've moved either to-- they're either now owned by the insurance industry-- someone in the insurance industry. And the best case, it's people like yourself, honestly, Reid, that have come in and now taken big roles in transforming the actual industry as opposed to just trying to disrupt it and break it, which I love-- I love that story, bored people that have just moved on to another industry.
[00:10:49.09] REID HOLZWORTH: It's very true.
[00:10:50.47] BILL DEVINE: And that's really so much of what it is. And part of that in that first generation my belief is our margins are so lousy relative to other industries. There's just not a lot of money to be made in insurance at the transaction level. At the aggregate, don't get me wrong. Dow 30 company, there is a feeling. But at the individual transaction level, if you're going to start-- it is not where I would place my bet to be a carrier if I had capital by moving into that side.
[00:11:22.15] And even on the distribution side, there's a lot of just inertia on the distribution transformation side. I think so many people talked about digital distribution, online. But we've seen that pretty much plateau. So that doesn't mean it's not going to move again.
[00:11:40.60] REID HOLZWORTH: Right. Totally.
[00:11:41.26] BILL DEVINE: But the independent agent has actually-- they actually are thriving and have grown now post this first big wave of disruption where companies were coming in from all over the place, and we're like, oh, we're going to kill these agents because they don't know what they're doing. And it's like, well, it turns out there was something there. And that magic is-- and to me that's the important part and conflating the two topics.
[00:12:04.48] But our belief in that-- what we learned in that first wave of InsurTech that's so important to us is a belief that the independent agents will persist, and will be a major part of the insurance industry for as long as we can see forward.
[00:12:21.54] REID HOLZWORTH: Every one of them, all those insured techs of that first wave you're talking about. I think every one of them. And I'm probably wrong. People listening are like, no, I do-- whatever. I get it. But generally speaking, most of them had to pivot especially to leverage the IAs for distribution.
[00:12:38.29] BILL DEVINE: Exactly.
[00:12:39.22] REID HOLZWORTH: You know?
[00:12:39.81] BILL DEVINE: Oh, totally.
[00:12:40.42] REID HOLZWORTH: And so they're all, like, no, we're going to do it. And they spend millions-- I mean, probably billions collectively.
[00:12:44.70] BILL DEVINE: Or they're owned by some global broker,
[00:12:47.69] or--
[00:12:48.34] REID HOLZWORTH: Exactly.
[00:12:49.21] BILL DEVINE: They've either folded in or they have gone away. It's one or the other. They either became part of the industry or they went away. I mean, like you said, somebody listening to this is going to say, no, we're still out here. But then-- so that's phase one of InsurTech. We're at the tail end in my belief of the second phase.
[00:13:11.05] And that was people who came in and were actually part of the industry, and saw opportunity. And so you were like at the tail end of one and a founder of that second wave.
[00:13:20.86] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, fair enough.
[00:13:21.49] BILL DEVINE: People that were part of the industry that are like, hey, there's a problem, and I can build something fit for purpose that can solve that problem.
[00:13:30.49] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep. Yep.
[00:13:31.57] BILL DEVINE: And our buddies [? Mike, ?] and [? Alan, ?] and [? Kodiak ?] are a perfect example of that. But there are so many of these guys in the second generation. They grew up through insurance. They took the best of Silicon Valley, and this disruptive mindset. But instead of trying to break the industry, they looked at the industry and said where are we broken and try to fix something. And I fricking love that.
[00:13:52.18] And Applied IVANS, you guys sucked up a lot of these companies because you could look across and see, like, oh. This is fixing this problem. Love that. Let's plug that in. And this is fixing this other problem. Great, let's plug that in. And these are companies that complemented the existing ecosystem as opposed to trying to say, well let's just burn it all down and build a brand new ecosystem.
[00:14:13.56] REID HOLZWORTH: Absolutely.
[00:14:14.47] BILL DEVINE: And I love those. And so I would say TechCanary was probably at the cutting edge of that second wave of InsurTech. The third wave of InsurTech hasn't happened yet. And that's where my hypothesis-- and again, stealing from [? Bill ?] [? Perrone-- ?] but my hypothesis is, so much investment has gone in on the InsurTech side to distribution capabilities. Which at the end of the day is a small part of the overall premium.
[00:14:44.32] And there hasn't been nearly enough innovation and technology investment on the claims side, on the actual underwriting side. And these pieces that now you have to be an industry insider. You have to learn the industry, and see the tech, and understand it to be able to do. So somebody like yourself could be in the industry and build something as amazing as TechCanary without having to have grown up in the industry.
[00:15:09.90] REID HOLZWORTH: It's very true. Yeah.
[00:15:11.56] BILL DEVINE: Because you found a significant set of problems, and said I'm going to solve those. That next set is now you're getting into like complex multivariate rating, and fraud detection, and things that are going to require data sets from the industry, or industry aggregation, to actually start to bring these next level of innovations.
[00:15:31.69] And I'm excited, and actually something you said when we were at the Big I conference on the main stage is I think it ties into that. Because I think you guys see where this is going to. Is things like, our QIs policy admins, claim systems. The ability to interconnect all of that and start to bring-- being able to connect and applied IVANS, Guidewire and start to see a full ecosystem.
[00:15:56.62] REID HOLZWORTH: The whole stack.
[00:15:57.40] BILL DEVINE: That to me is--
[00:15:58.72] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally connected.
[00:15:59.44] BILL DEVINE: And the players that are going to-- the next set of innovation in InsurTech, I think are going to be players that come in that help accelerate those types of activities connectivity's.
[00:16:08.35] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. And for the audience what we were talking about on stage at the Big I InsurTech Summit in Savannah was I believe that in the not so distant future there's going to be a merge of an agency management system vendor and a policy administration system. But a real one a. Big one. Not like they're going to go pick up-- like Duck Creek is going to go pick up a small AMS. The bigs are going to come together in that. And when you start to think about those--
[00:16:38.02] BILL DEVINE: We have to use generic names because you and I both are insider enough on to many of these--
[00:16:42.34] REID HOLZWORTH: I know. It's actually-- yeah, I know.
[00:16:44.77] BILL DEVINE: There's some SEC problems and were right on the line of it, sure.
[00:16:50.20] REID HOLZWORTH: But yeah. But if you think about all of that interconnectedness, and what you can do in streamlining the overall flow, I mean, that's massive. And then all the products and things that can be built around that. The ecosystem that can be built around that.
[00:17:02.41] BILL DEVINE: And that's-- and the reason I think that's so important is if we look to other industries, and the buzzwords, and the concepts that come out of other industries. That concept of platforms is huge everywhere. So much of the technology companies out there pivoted from innovation to are you a platform company. And I really think that there is aspects of that would fit nicely into our industry, and will be a big piece of this. And that kind of end to end platform piece.
[00:17:35.88] REID HOLZWORTH: What are your thoughts on some of these companies that are out there now that are trying to stitch this together? And we can name names. And there's different flavors of it. there's like an uncork, right. Or there's like even like an insurance gig. These types of things where they're trying to stitch it together. Unqork, different than insurance gig in ways. But they are kind of trying to solve the same problem right.
[00:18:01.05] And to this point on the whole platform, and where that really goes? I mean, are these kind of-- I don't want to call them point solutions I don't even know what you'd call it.
[00:18:11.28] BILL DEVINE: Yeah, it's almost like-- are we mandating our way to creating a platform.
[00:18:15.51] REID HOLZWORTH: Right.
[00:18:17.92] BILL DEVINE: I want to be careful because I'm super impressed with some of the names that you throw up.
[00:18:22.47] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah 100%.
[00:18:23.13] BILL DEVINE: And the idea of these low-code, no code platforms are going to be a critical piece of what we're talking about. I don't think, though, that-- it's not big enough yet at least to actually do more than just help us to better triage some of the mess we have. You can build the really nice front end that floats above the mess, and with great orchestration.
[00:18:46.08] You can at least make it to a user, feel like the mess we've got under the water was that the duck paddling--
[00:18:52.50] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, exactly.
[00:18:53.50] BILL DEVINE: It's that whole idea of we can look smooth and elegant above the waterline with some of these solutions you're talking about.
[00:18:58.65] REID HOLZWORTH: Very true.
[00:18:59.16] BILL DEVINE: And have an absolute disaster under the waterline. And I think that's the first step towards what we're talking about. But I think it's going to take a lot more than that. And it's going to take-- my boss uses the term cleaning up the wires in the closet. Right. And we bought this weird house in Fountain Valley when I first got married. And I'm pretty sure the guy had some kind of drug problem that we bought the house from. It might have been a bit of a tweaker.
[00:19:22.14] And so we had over 36 phone lines that were running through the house. And so I literally-- I had this closet that you opened up and it was nothing but wire. And so when he uses this analogy of needing to clean up the wires in the closet. It's like this idea of we just kept adding, and adding, and adding, and we don't take out. We don't clean up we don't streamline and simplify. That's got to happen. But I think in the interim, companies like what you mentioned are helping make it less bad.
[00:19:48.54] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, I know. Absolutely. And I'll say about Unqork a lot of people are using it for a lot of things. And no code, low code stuff is interesting. And if you talk to those guys they will tell you that you can build a full on policy administration system on their solution. And they're not wrong. They're not wrong. I don't know if the industry is ready for that.
[00:20:08.50] And it's funny, I spent a lot, a lot of pause time with the Salesforce guys and velocity, and all of that, and--
[00:20:19.62] BILL DEVINE: We were in some of those same meetings.
[00:20:21.42] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. I know. And I just-- I don't know. I don't know if the industry is going to shift like that any time soon, especially with all of the dollars, and the time that everybody's put into doing air quotes, digital transformation, and doing all of that. Are they going to rip and replace Guidewire, Duck Creek, so on, and so on, and so on, and so on.
[00:20:47.36] BILL DEVINE: Well from the vantage point of having done it multiple times in my career, it's expensive. But worse than expensive, it's risky. It's crazy risky.
[00:20:58.40] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, true.
[00:20:59.70] BILL DEVINE: I mean, do you ever want to read a horror story, go and look at some of the accounts of large, large carriers, and the write downs they've had over the years in replacing policy admin systems.
[00:21:10.23] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, it's--
[00:21:10.77] BILL DEVINE: Billions and billions, and billions of dollars of waste across the industry. And I'm not pointing fingers at anyone. We all have messed up at one point or another. And like the CRM stuff pre where Salesforce is today was the story of the '80s and '90s, and all the disastrous CRM implementations. Policy admin was right up there. There just isn't as many insurance companies. Billions lost.
[00:21:33.57] REID HOLZWORTH: It's crazy to like-- I mean, I've talked to countless people in the industry. And it's like-- I'm like, over beers. How much does that cost to do this thing they're working on? Hundreds of millions of dollars.
[00:21:46.07] BILL DEVINE: Oh, yeah.
[00:21:46.89] REID HOLZWORTH: Hundreds of millions of dollars. Like writing the check to one of the said companies, hundreds of millions of dollars. But then like you said you don't think about all the opportunity cost. Everything that happens with the organization, the change management, all of that. I mean, it's ludicrous. And who wants to do it.
[00:22:04.35] BILL DEVINE: And the other reason-- and some of my friends will cringe hearing me say this, but I've said it to their face is that, part of the challenge is the consultancies.
[00:22:13.20] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Oh, yeah.
[00:22:14.25] BILL DEVINE: I mean, I love all my friends at Accenture, Deloitte, all these--
[00:22:18.36] REID HOLZWORTH: People are cringing right now.
[00:22:19.56] BILL DEVINE: I mean they're amazing folks. But there is a place where some of these trends get driven from the people who profit from the needing to follow those trends. And you can look back with a historic lens. And I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular. But you look back with a historic lens, and there was a race of everybody was rebuilding their policy admin and going to proprietary. Then it was everybody needs to move to one of the vendors that you talked about. Now it's the-- everybody needs to move to cloud.
[00:22:52.41] And the reality is there is truth to every one of those. And those were the right decisions at the time. I think they may become more prevalent and we may feel more pressure to do some of those things because there are a core-- there's a Greek chorus surrounding us telling us that that's the thing we need to do to be successful.
[00:23:11.31] REID HOLZWORTH: It's a machine man. And hey, guys. I hate to break it to all of you. They are there to book and bill hours. That's what they do. But to be fair, they're not wrong.
[00:23:21.60] BILL DEVINE: No.
[00:23:22.06] REID HOLZWORTH: Not wrong.
[00:23:22.71] BILL DEVINE: Nothing they're selling is wrong.
[00:23:23.67] REID HOLZWORTH: But it is a machine. It is absolutely 100% machine.
[00:23:25.95] BILL DEVINE: The urgency to buy might be a little higher than-- but the coach counseling, the truth are telling are the truth. The urgency may not quite be there. Trying to explain to people that I don't think we've ever sold an extra policy because the policy admin. Yeah. Right. Like we didn't make one extra dollar premium.
[00:23:45.12] Policy admin is something you do-- it's like policy admin, billing, all these systems. You change those because you have to, not because you want to.
[00:23:52.62] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Yeah. So thinking through it, thinking out loud. As companies like Travelers and many others have done these big lifting shifts, and they've done the heavy lifting, and are on these policy administration systems, maybe there is a good run way for all of these companies that are sitting on top and not necessarily cleaning the wires in the closet. But they're doing a really great job enabling it.
[00:24:21.21] I mean, I know, and I'll give a shout out to Unqork. I know a carrier that didn't have an API. And they leveraged Unqork to basically build and do all of that. And it's great. And they did it super fast. Within weeks as opposed to years and going through all of this shit. They just plugged it in, bang, bang, boom, it is done. And then they're using it literally every single day.
[00:24:44.93] BILL DEVINE: And there's a number of technologies like that can do similar things. And I totally agree with you, Reid. I think it's changing how we think about some of this stuff. And what's exciting about it, and the API piece of it, I think is what's most exciting about it, is the move away from full stack solutions. And being able to incorporate more fit for purpose solutions, and microservices, and all that kind of cool stuff. I mean, that's something we've been talking about for over a decade now. But it's becoming more and more prevalent. And I think that's what's allowing more of innovation.
[00:25:20.99] And when I talk about that third wave of InsurTech, that's what's going to allow them to get into the ecosystem. And then the more we can clean up that ecosystem. And there's some cool stuff going on. I mean, and I can only talk about the stuff I've seen. But I was out in Dublin a few months back at Guidewire's Development Center, and some of the stuff they're talking about with the venting frameworks, and things like that, it's super cool.
[00:25:46.97] These are those moves towards what you can see-- you can see on the horizon already. And like I feel like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth. Like you don't need to move to Guidewire. And you don't need to go to cloud. But hey, if you do, they have this really cool venting framework that's going to allow you to do stuff that you haven't even imagined.
[00:26:01.23] [LAUGHTER]
[00:26:02.23] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, it's funny. I mean, I'm seeing it. I think I said to some of the other day, I feel like we're at a tipping point within this industry. Where everybody's been wrenching on this stuff for many years. And now they've done a lot of this wrenching over many, many years. They've done the transformation this, that, and the other. Now, they're actually able to execute on a lot of this stuff.
[00:26:25.04] And I'll speak for like applied. Like apply has gone through this whole digital transformation, and rebuilding all the back end doing all this stuff. And now we're starting to see it. We're seeing the fruits of that labor. But for a few years it's like everybody's like, oh, it's closed, and you guys suck and it's like, we know. Like, we're working on it. Like, I get it. Got it. But it takes time.
[00:26:45.60] But now like we're turning out products and innovation very quickly. And I think it's the same for the industry. And even Guidewire, and Guidewire is doing that. We're doing a lot with our partnership with Guidewire right now. They're actually doing a lot more where a couple of years ago they were like, yeah, whatever dude. We don't really-- we're not really looking at that. But that's because their technology has advanced.
[00:27:15.07] BILL DEVINE: Absolutely.
[00:27:16.64] REID HOLZWORTH: And now they're getting demands from all their carrier customers on, hey, now that we have this, and it's done. We're ready for the next wave, I guess.
[00:27:26.39] BILL DEVINE: Yeah. I think that. And the other one that I think just can't be downplayed, and I know you guys have just done a ton of that at IVANS. We've done a lot at Travelers, definitely Guidewire, and their go to market path. I mean, if you start to look at how we've matured our SDLC, our software development. How we do the work has changed.
[00:27:51.74] And how we think about breaking things into smaller components, delivering iteratively. Like everybody says agile. And we just don't have a better name for it. But like that mentality and that mindset shift, I think is the other big unlock here that has allowed us to get to this. Because so much of the work that we do with you guys, for example.
[00:28:10.61] Like if we weren't both on those similar agile cycles.
[00:28:13.51] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally.
[00:28:14.24] BILL DEVINE: And just I can-- every two weeks I can send you something new. You send something back to me in two weeks. And that type of pacing, that would have been unheard of 3, 5 years ago.
[00:28:24.65] REID HOLZWORTH: Exactly.
[00:28:25.28] BILL DEVINE: I would have gone away for six months, and then I would have given you a set of specs. And then you would have gone away for six months, and come back, and a year later we'd be able to connect one agent for one product that they didn't even want to sell. Now, we're spinning this stuff fast. We're getting agent feedback. All of these pieces are starting to come together.
[00:28:42.72] And I think the mentality, and the mindset shift as much as the technology shift is enabling that. And that's-- I'm very excited, and I'm very passionate about that too.
[00:28:51.23] REID HOLZWORTH: I think it goes back to your point, just thinking through that. On the wave one stuff. On wave one, that wasn't even possible. So even talking about that.
[00:29:01.16] BILL DEVINE: Right.
[00:29:01.40] REID HOLZWORTH: And there was a lot of people that came from outside the industry that said like you said, you guys are stupid. You don't know shit. And this is how it should be. And blah, blah, blah. And it was too soon.
[00:29:12.50] BILL DEVINE: Right.
[00:29:13.16] REID HOLZWORTH: Right? A lot of it. And a lot of that stuff fizzled out. And there was a lot of shiny object stuff within there too not solving real problems. But now that like you said, I could see it. Now that we're here, we're here now. Now you have these industry people that are deep in the weeds on this. Now really, like you said, the mindset has changed. And they're adopting a technology within their organizations, and they see it across the whole organization how important technology is. They're really, really embracing it. And they're saying, hey, what can we do next, and what can we do now?
[00:29:46.97] BILL DEVINE: Yeah. And I give a ton of credit. And that's part of how where I learned a lot of that. We did a lot of work with Pivotal Labs 6, 7 years ago, and learned a lot about these different development methodologies. How to work and things like that. And I just feel like we've all adopted a lot of this, and brought it forward.
[00:30:03.69] So whether it's working in cloud, new deployment methodologies. Just even how we organize our teams, and being cross-functional. Being design focused, customer-centric. All of that stuff. Like that's been a revolution?
[00:30:16.82] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.
[00:30:19.09] BILL DEVINE: We used to have one or two design people across the company. Now, it's like every cluster of teams has their own lead designer. And we may have junior designers under that person. Like design thinking and things like that. And building software that's fit for purpose, and that high user acceptance rates. And just even the analytics that we have to put to it so that we can understand adoption, utilization. And that's not just with customers or with agents. We use that on our employees too.
[00:30:50.48] REID HOLZWORTH: Right. Totally.
[00:30:51.09] BILL DEVINE: It's like, hey, that's a great software we think we designed, but you know no underwriters are actually using it. So something is wrong. But those mentalities and methodologies, I think, are powering. And I love working with you guys that way. Like that's been just such a change from back when I was in my PI days working with-- the personalized days working with you guys. Like it was, yeah, we would huge spec sheets and stuff like that.
[00:31:14.27] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah. Totally.
[00:31:15.33] BILL DEVINE: Now it's like it's a conference call.
[00:31:17.01] REID HOLZWORTH: It's conference call [INAUDIBLE] conversation.
[00:31:18.60] BILL DEVINE: You hear the clicking on both sides of the call, because we're literally coding it up right there and launching it. We go. And that's where when you talk about how Travelers wants to be different in this space, it's exactly that. It's being able to partner with folks like yourself, and say, hey, if you have customer demand, if the agents are on your platform want to engage with us that way, we're going to figure that out.
[00:31:41.19] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally. Right.
[00:31:42.12] BILL DEVINE: Like whatever it is. You bring me enough critical mass of agents, we will be there with you guys. And we've made that commitment across the industry and it's pretty exciting. What we realized is trying to change how agents work is not the path towards finding efficiency. The path to finding efficiency is making sure that we're tied in tightly with the tools, the agents have picked. And that has been a huge unlock for us.
[00:32:10.56] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, that's so true. As opposed to making them do something that they don't want to do.
[00:32:15.06] BILL DEVINE: Yeah, you don't--
[00:32:17.01] REID HOLZWORTH: There are some other-- I'm just going to say. Some of your competitors--
[00:32:19.98] BILL DEVINE: You know what agents--
[00:32:20.82] REID HOLZWORTH: --feel that way.
[00:32:21.36] BILL DEVINE: You know what agents don't want to do? They don't want to go to travelers.com necessarily.
[00:32:24.24] REID HOLZWORTH: Right. No. Yeah.
[00:32:26.04] BILL DEVINE: Right?
[00:32:26.40] REID HOLZWORTH: Not unless they have to.
[00:32:27.27] BILL DEVINE: Not unless they have to. But if there's an applied IVANS solution that 6, 8, 10 carriers can all produce the same answer that they need--
[00:32:35.31] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. They're going to use that solution.
[00:32:37.00] BILL DEVINE: So we need to be there.
[00:32:38.31] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. So true.
[00:32:39.27] BILL DEVINE: We need to be there because [? Ark, ?] again, design thinking, building for the customers. Our customers are demanding it, so we need to do it. And also honestly, it's more fun showing up to agent events and things like that, when we're actually doing what they asked as opposed to being the one saying no, no, no. Come to travelers.com.
[00:32:56.62] [LAUGHTER]
[00:32:58.70] It makes my job so much easier.
[00:33:00.26] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, and we talked-- we were talking about this before this podcast. But like I said, but hey, don't hate to player, hate the game.
[00:33:07.47] BILL DEVINE: Oh, yeah.
[00:33:07.77] REID HOLZWORTH: You know what I mean? In their eyes it makes sense, and it is. It's short term thinking. It is working for now in their defense.
[00:33:16.82] BILL DEVINE: But it's that idea of when you're looking at your corporate strategy, and I'm very fortunate to get to wear a strategy hat as well as some of the other stuff we've talked about. That when you look at your corporate strategy, you've got to say what do you want to win based on. And if the way that you're going to win is that you've built a walled garden. Like unless you're Apple, that's probably not a great strategy.
[00:33:40.60] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally. Right?
[00:33:41.74] BILL DEVINE: Right. Like there's no carrier that has more than 5%, 6%, 7% market share in commercial lines. So if we all built our own walled gardens, think about how many different places an agent needs to go.
[00:33:56.05] REID HOLZWORTH: That's a good step. Yeah, you're right.
[00:33:58.20] BILL DEVINE: I mean, don't get me wrong. If I had 30% market share, we could have a totally different conversation. And our relationship with IVANS and Applied would feel very different. But I mean we're 1, 2, or 3 in most of the markets that we compete in.
[00:34:11.86] REID HOLZWORTH: Yes. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:34:13.30] BILL DEVINE: At 5%, 6% market share.
[00:34:15.26] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. That's wild.
[00:34:16.27] BILL DEVINE: So like I need to-- I need to work the way my customers, my agents want to work--
[00:34:21.76] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:34:22.12] BILL DEVINE: --and not try to dictate to them how they work with us.
[00:34:25.27] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:34:26.44] BILL DEVINE: No, I mean, that's a mindset shift that takes tons of investment and time, and the proof is always in the result over time. We're hoping that we're closing some of that gap and we're making up a difference. It's been the philosophy for years for us now. But you're rebuilding decades of technology culture, motor memory, mental models all that. Like--
[00:34:48.76] [LAUGHTER]
[00:34:49.24] But what's great has been partners like IVANS that are right there in the foxhole with us--
[00:34:56.20] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:34:56.50] BILL DEVINE: --right. And like fighting that same fight. And having great partners and having others that are thinking the same way and getting that like-minded thinking. That's why the Big I conference was so much fun, right.
[00:35:07.57] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:35:07.78] BILL DEVINE: Hanging out with Chip and those guys.
[00:35:08.94] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:35:09.19] BILL DEVINE: Like it was fun because it was like a group of us that are like-minded--
[00:35:12.55] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:35:13.08] BILL DEVINE: --and thinking about how do-- if this industry gets better, we'll all get better.
[00:35:17.41] REID HOLZWORTH: Yes. Yes.
[00:35:18.04] BILL DEVINE: And that my-- the way I compete in the marketplace is Travelers has the best underwriters in the industry.
[00:35:25.99] REID HOLZWORTH: Right.
[00:35:26.26] BILL DEVINE: So, my strength is my underwriting. My ability to select and price risk.
[00:35:31.42] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:35:32.05] BILL DEVINE: Why, then, do I need to compete with an Applied or an IVANS to tell an agent how to interact with me?
[00:35:39.37] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. All right.
[00:35:39.80] BILL DEVINE: I want to get as much in the top of the funnel as I can--
[00:35:42.75] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:35:43.24] BILL DEVINE: --to let my world-class underwriters beat everybody else in picking the best risk--
[00:35:47.95] REID HOLZWORTH: Absolutely.
[00:35:48.34] BILL DEVINE: --and pricing them the best way.
[00:35:50.05] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:35:50.41] BILL DEVINE: That's how we win.
[00:35:51.40] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:35:51.64] BILL DEVINE: And once everybody around here got their head around that, it was like this epiphany moment of, like, wow we can win by going on our strength and not trying to build these artificial barriers to competition. But say this is how we win. Like--
[00:36:07.19] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:36:08.00] BILL DEVINE: So, that's my stump speech.
[00:36:09.67] [LAUGHTER]
[00:36:11.55] REID HOLZWORTH: No, it's awesome. And it's-- so tell me-- there was a press release that went out a while back that about you and Google--
[00:36:21.90] BILL DEVINE: Yeah.
[00:36:22.24] REID HOLZWORTH: --right. And some of the stuff you guys were doing together. So talk about that a little bit.
[00:36:28.64] BILL DEVINE: Yeah, you know, I'd love to talk about it in the abstract more than the specific. We did a press release, and [? Hannah ?] [? Carna ?] is an amazing individual. You've worked with her, too.
[00:36:37.45] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh yeah. yeah.
[00:36:39.07] BILL DEVINE: The concept of what we are looking for is exactly what I was just talking about, right. And it actually ties into the ecosystem and platform play. Is that whether it's a Google, or an Amazon, or a Microsoft, we view these hyper accelerator companies as our opportunity to accelerate the insurance industry as a whole through the next digital phase, the next change.
[00:37:05.96] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:37:06.20] BILL DEVINE: And there's a reason that IVANS was one of our-- and you were one of my first calls when we were pulling all this together.
[00:37:12.11] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Oh, yeah. 100%. [INAUDIBLE].
[00:37:13.19] BILL DEVINE: Like, Reid, we're not doing this to beat you, we're doing this because we want you to come with us.
[00:37:18.02] REID HOLZWORTH: Exactly.
[00:37:18.50] BILL DEVINE: And whatever solution we go down, whoever we partner with, that's going to be part of the conversation of we want to help make the industry better, not go and invent the next IVANS.
[00:37:29.81] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:37:30.17] BILL DEVINE: But like you and I were talking about before we started the pod-- it is the time. It's the moment for the next IVANS. And the next IVANS should very well be the current IVANS, just the next generation of it.
[00:37:38.67] REID HOLZWORTH: Next gen, yeah.
[00:37:38.81] BILL DEVINE: But we are at we are at a critical tipping point for this industry around data, data transmission, data transformation.
[00:37:47.09] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:37:47.60] BILL DEVINE: And working with some of the biggest data companies in the world make sense if they can provide for us things that are going to help make the industry better.
[00:37:57.20] REID HOLZWORTH: Mhm. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:37:58.25] BILL DEVINE: I'm not looking for my-- I'm not looking for an unfair advantage. I'm looking to press my unfair advantage by streamlining everything else. And so this is where the more we can get through the funnel, the more we can partner with our agents to get the risks through faster.
[00:38:14.42] It takes six to eight weeks to quote a middle market policy. That's insane.
[00:38:18.02] REID HOLZWORTH: That is insane.
[00:38:19.04] BILL DEVINE: Oh, yeah, the.
[00:38:19.37] REID HOLZWORTH: It's insane.
[00:38:19.70] BILL DEVINE: Like I can show you examples of the ping-ponging back and forth for chasing data and how annoying and obnoxious it is to the customer and things like that.
[00:38:28.52] REID HOLZWORTH: The whole process is painful--
[00:38:29.93] BILL DEVINE: The whole process, it's--
[00:38:30.80] REID HOLZWORTH: --for everybody.
[00:38:31.31] BILL DEVINE: It's not a good process.
[00:38:32.29] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Right.
[00:38:33.05] BILL DEVINE: And this is back to the-- it's the time for the next IVANS. It's the time for the next ACORD. It's the time for the next ISO.
[00:38:38.95] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:38:39.23] BILL DEVINE: As an industry, and I say this all the time, but as an industry, we used to come together to solve industry problems.
[00:38:45.89] REID HOLZWORTH: That's-- yes, it is true. Keep going. [INAUDIBLE].
[00:38:48.68] BILL DEVINE: At some point, collaboration was replaced with competition.
[00:38:55.29] REID HOLZWORTH: Fair enough, yeah.
[00:38:56.07] BILL DEVINE: And now, as an industry-- and I'm not saying this just as part of Travelers this is Bill's opinion, right.
[00:39:02.10] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:39:02.52] BILL DEVINE: As an industry, we compete on everything. For this industry to be successful going forward, my personal belief is we've got to find the places where there is not value created, where we are creating artificial hurdles that make things bad for the customer and make things bad for the agent, and make things bad for our front line underwriters.
[00:39:25.31] REID HOLZWORTH: So true.
[00:39:25.81] BILL DEVINE: And how do we streamline, simplify, and take the goo out of that mess? That's why-- take ACORD. I sat on the ACORD board, right. Take a ACORD. That's a perfect example of where we all had proprietary applications. If somebody wanted to apply for insurance, they might have to fill out a dozen different applications so that each carrier could have their own special application. And the industry came together, funded a body and said, you know what, let's build an industry application that we can all agree to.
[00:39:53.43] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep.
[00:39:53.73] BILL DEVINE: That seems so fundamentally simple--
[00:39:56.48] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:39:57.48] BILL DEVINE: --but today, getting the industry together to do that same thing, I don't know if you could do it.
[00:40:02.55] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, I'll just say-- I mean, you brought it up. I'll just say when it comes to ACORD, though, I mean they went-- they took a they took a different path, let's just say, right. And I think-- it's funny because I was involved in a group that a lot of people don't know about that kind of just dismantled over time. But they invited me to come into this group.
[00:40:27.30] And this group was built literally to display support. Because there was a bunch of people that were upset about ACORD and they went for profit, and they did all of this. And it was kind of a joke. Like the group was-- it was frankly-- it was a waste of time because they were not going to ever execute on it. They just wanted to sit there and just bitch about it but not make any moves to actually solve the problem.
[00:40:52.34] You're 100% correct. We, as an industry, have to come together, get past all that bullshit, the past the past and let's solve some of these problems.
[00:41:02.27] BILL DEVINE: Well, and just be comfortable that we are still going to compete every day.
[00:41:05.72] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, 100%.
[00:41:06.77] BILL DEVINE: But there are places that we can collaborate and cooperate that will make it better for the industry that don't violate SEC rules or things like that, but that-- and I joined the ACORD board-- when they'll ask me I joined it because of the same mentality of the people that got in the shadowy room that you were in to try to replace it.
[00:41:24.92] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, exactly.
[00:41:25.83] BILL DEVINE: And my belief is that some of the institutions that make up our industry have so much value to them. What we've got to do is help steer them better and not just replace them. There are people in shadowy rooms right now talking about replacing ISO--
[00:41:43.87] REID HOLZWORTH: 100%.
[00:41:44.39] BILL DEVINE: --replacing IVANS.
[00:41:46.08] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Oh, yeah, totally. 100%.
[00:41:47.92] BILL DEVINE: But the reality is that there is so much-- there's so much work that's already been done by these industry bodies that we should probably first look to see if can we fix them, can we help them get better?
[00:41:59.99] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:42:00.26] BILL DEVINE: Can we improve them? Because I do believe that is possible. And it's about redefining mandates and redefining remits and really just going after the next generation of prizes and bringing the new technology in. And in defense of ACORD. And not that-- we won't turn this into an ACORD debate. But in defense of ACORD, some of the things that they change the people didn't like have actually enabled them to modernize the company--
[00:42:22.84] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.
[00:42:23.24] BILL DEVINE: --in some ways that, had they not, we would be having a different conversation about the failings of ACORD
[00:42:28.79] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, fair enough.
[00:42:29.70] BILL DEVINE: So I--
[00:42:30.65] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. No, totally.
[00:42:31.13] BILL DEVINE: Like there's a two sides to the story. And that's the only piece of like-- and the same with-- I mean IVANS was sold ISO was sold.
[00:42:38.27] REID HOLZWORTH: Yap.
[00:42:38.70] BILL DEVINE: Like-- and part of that was because I don't think the industry wanted to continue to fund into some of these bodies the amount that was going to need to be funded--
[00:42:46.49] REID HOLZWORTH: True.
[00:42:47.27] BILL DEVINE: --in order--
[00:42:47.54] REID HOLZWORTH: Fair enough.
[00:42:47.72] BILL DEVINE: --to modernize and get them to where they needed to go.
[00:42:50.09] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:42:50.48] BILL DEVINE: We're at another inflection point where either we've got to come together to figure out how to fund it, or the funding is going to come from somewhere else.
[00:42:58.31] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. No, it's true. It's--
[00:42:59.74] [LAUGHTER]
[00:43:00.00] The thing-- to your point, the reason why that group drove me fricking batty was nobody wanted to talk about fixing the problem or said problem let's just say. It was all about replacing it.
[00:43:16.73] BILL DEVINE: Yep.
[00:43:17.15] REID HOLZWORTH: But they weren't taking steps to do that either. But it was just like, OK, so what is-- what are we doing here, guys?
[00:43:23.42] BILL DEVINE: You're going to replicate the problems that already exist.
[00:43:25.52] REID HOLZWORTH: Exactly. Like, what?
[00:43:26.27] BILL DEVINE: You're going to spend a whole bunch of money, and you're just changing who owns it.
[00:43:28.97] REID HOLZWORTH: Right. Exactly. It's stupid. And it's-- yeah.
[00:43:31.67] BILL DEVINE: And honestly, if I went down my diary with you and talked about who were the outside folks that I meet with the most, it is you guys at IVANS, it's ACORD, and it's Verisk ISO.
[00:43:44.21] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:43:44.54] BILL DEVINE: Those are three groups that I spend a tremendous amount of time with because I believe in the insurance industry. And I believe that we need to give back to the insurance industry to keep making it successful for the next generation that's coming behind us.
[00:43:56.90] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Fair enough.
[00:43:57.87] BILL DEVINE: And I know that sounds cheesy--
[00:43:58.82] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:43:59.08] BILL DEVINE: --but it's-- I just believe I've made a very good living, I've had a very good life because of this industry, and I feel an obligation to make sure that the group that I hand it down to doesn't get this pillaged hollow shell of a company and an industry.
[00:44:17.75] REID HOLZWORTH: So, let's talk about the Golden record.
[00:44:19.54] BILL DEVINE: Yeah.
[00:44:20.69] REID HOLZWORTH: Love this conversation. Explain to the-- what is the Golden record? How would you explain that to the audience?
[00:44:25.85] BILL DEVINE: So the cleanest, clearest analogy that I can make is something that comes up every few years in DC in the health care industry, right. And it's this idea of the portable health record. And the idea that there is nothing dumber than the fact that when you start with a new doctor, the first thing you're handed is a clipboard with a mimeographed form that's got crooked lines and everything where you're supposed to write out your entire medical history and your family's medical history.
[00:44:55.81] [LAUGHTER]
[00:44:57.26] Like that, somehow, on the spot in this waiting room in the five minutes, before I see the doctor, I'm going to have perfect recall of every medical thing that's ever happened to me or a member of my immediate family. So it's-- one, that's bad for health care. Because that means you're meeting with doctors that don't have the right history. And the other is it's stupid. It's really dumb.
[00:45:18.47] And so there's been a number of pushes. And I'd say some large hospital groups have actually made pretty good progress if you Google it around this idea of a portable health record. Which is you fill out the forms once, and they follow you wherever you go.
[00:45:33.83] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:45:34.04] BILL DEVINE: We've talked about it. There are concepts of like blockchain or distributed record kind of to it where it's like--
[00:45:41.02] REID HOLZWORTH: I believe, by the way-- for the record, I believe this is actually the only place where blockchain could actually impact your industry.
[00:45:47.68] BILL DEVINE: And honestly--
[00:45:48.73] REID HOLZWORTH: It is another place, but this real.
[00:45:49.78] BILL DEVINE: It isn't even real blockchain.
[00:45:51.31] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:45:51.58] BILL DEVINE: It's distributed ledger.
[00:45:52.84] REID HOLZWORTH: Distributed ledger.
[00:45:53.11] BILL DEVINE: Because you don't need all of the production-- you don't need all that weird blockchain stuff on top of it, you just need this concept of-- and it's really the infrastructure of you have an owner, you have a custodian, and you have people who are exposed to different parts of that record.
[00:46:06.70] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:46:07.09] BILL DEVINE: So the idea is for insurance and particularly commercial lines. I think there's a place for it in personal lines, but I actually don't think the risks are nearly as complex. But when you get--
[00:46:16.08] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, the personal lines-- if it be fair, the personal lines is an issue because of the PII stuff. It's really complex.
[00:46:22.16] BILL DEVINE: It's way more challenging--
[00:46:23.10] REID HOLZWORTH: It is.
[00:46:23.35] BILL DEVINE: --and there just aren't as many risks.
[00:46:24.97] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:46:25.54] BILL DEVINE: Right, so--
[00:46:26.11] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Fair enough.
[00:46:26.35] BILL DEVINE: --most people are going to have-- unlike yourself, most people will have two cars and a house, and that's it.
[00:46:30.88] REID HOLZWORTH: That's it. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
[00:46:31.90] BILL DEVINE: Right, you, for your personal stuff, may need this golden record to keep track of everything, but that's a whole that's a whole podcast in and of itself. But the idea is on the commercial line side, where we may routinely get 100-vehicle fleets.
[00:46:46.63] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.
[00:46:47.32] BILL DEVINE: We may get multi-100 physical locations where we may get thousands of employees. Like all of this information. And where we have professionals in some of these companies that are risk managers.
[00:47:00.28] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, it is.
[00:47:00.55] BILL DEVINE: And their job is to know this stuff.
[00:47:03.34] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep.
[00:47:03.70] BILL DEVINE: The idea that even in an industry that complex and not sophisticated, we're still doing, basically, paper applications--
[00:47:09.88] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
[00:47:11.44] BILL DEVINE: --it feels very outdated.
[00:47:13.18] REID HOLZWORTH: It is.
[00:47:14.31] BILL DEVINE: So the concept that we've been talking about this since I've met you is this. The idea is, as an industry, the ability to come together and create these near-perfect records that are managed and curated by the customer. One thing that this will settle is the age-old debate of who owns the data.
[00:47:32.38] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:47:32.71] BILL DEVINE: Which the chip and the Big I guys are on the same page as me. I think there's only one real answer. The customer owns the data.
[00:47:40.69] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:47:40.90] BILL DEVINE: We are all privileged to get to see their data. But the idea is that we have to get to these self manage, near-perfect record sets.
[00:47:49.75] REID HOLZWORTH: But that's-- but that-- I'll just say, that's a problem in and of itself. Technically speaking, does that's a huge mountain to climb. Because pulling-- that means pulling that data out of all of your systems if they want if they ask well.
[00:48:03.17] BILL DEVINE: And part of the reason that we started down this path is because of things happening in the EU and in California. I mean, one of the-- you didn't like this idea when we first talked about it until I started talking about the California Privacy laws. And I watched the light bulb come on behind your eyes of like, oh, yeah. Because in California, if you want your records struck, companies have to do that.
[00:48:24.85] REID HOLZWORTH: No, they do.
[00:48:25.42] BILL DEVINE: You know what's really hard for us? Figuring out how many times we've replicated your data inside our systems. And it's just as hard for agents. And the reality is we're not there yet, but someday, this is a class action gold mine.
[00:48:38.29] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:48:38.68] BILL DEVINE: And luckily, I still have my California bar card, so--
[00:48:40.81] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, you do. OK.
[00:48:41.74] BILL DEVINE: So if you ever want to like--
[00:48:42.94] REID HOLZWORTH: That's good to know, [? brother rates. ?]
[00:48:43.63] BILL DEVINE: Yeah. A whole other plan.
[00:48:44.74] [LAUGHTER]
[00:48:45.16] But the idea of this risk that hangs over the industry, and honestly is something that gets talked about regularly in legislatures in every state, in Washington DC, and around the world of data privacy, data protection--
[00:48:59.56] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:48:59.83] BILL DEVINE: --the best thing we can do-- my belief the best thing we can do as an industry is to try to get ahead of it and start to at least aspire to this idea of a golden record.
[00:49:10.12] REID HOLZWORTH: I think it's-- look, it's good conversation.
[00:49:11.90] [LAUGHTER]
[00:49:14.00] It is a monster. And I've talked to-- I've literally talked to groups about this.
[00:49:20.32] BILL DEVINE: Yeah.
[00:49:20.59] REID HOLZWORTH: Like standing up in front of groups of agents, carriers, technologists in the industry. And it's interesting. Everybody likes the idea of it, but there's a lot of pushback.
[00:49:34.81] BILL DEVINE: Oh, yeah.
[00:49:35.74] REID HOLZWORTH: I mean, forget about all the techno-- the technical challenges and what that means in our systems and whatnot. And in it building it and accepting it and doing all that because that there's a lift there. It's a monster. But it's-- do I, as an agency, am I OK with my customer having all of their data to be able to give that pick it up and give it to somebody else, right.
[00:50:02.17] BILL DEVINE: But there's--
[00:50:02.47] REID HOLZWORTH: And they don't like that. The broker-- they really push back.
[00:50:04.87] BILL DEVINE: Oh, I-- believe me.
[00:50:06.40] REID HOLZWORTH: I talked to a bunch of them, and it depends-- it's funny. When you first bring it up, like that sounds amazing because if there was this golden record, well, that means that when I get somebody, I can quote it. There's a lot of benefit. But when I think about, well, wait, if they're already my customer-- hold on. I don't know how I feel about it.
[00:50:26.77] BILL DEVINE: But this goes back to we were talking about carriers in the same way of like, if I'm building these walled gardens to keep my business, do I deserve to be in business? Like there is a certain point where you've got to start to question. Travelers was, if not the first carriers, one of the first carriers to adopt giving loss runs electronically.
[00:50:44.43] REID HOLZWORTH: Right.
[00:50:45.06] BILL DEVINE: Carriers to-- potentially. I'm not saying that this is factual, but my hypothesis is that carriers only gave loss runs in PDFs to slow it because the only time you ever call to ask for a loss run is when you're going to shop that business.
[00:50:59.61] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Right.
[00:51:00.66] BILL DEVINE: So carriers only produce PDFs of loss runs. They would not give agents electronic files.
[00:51:06.57] REID HOLZWORTH: Exactly. Yeah. Right. Why would they need them otherwise?
[00:51:09.57] BILL DEVINE: But it's a you've created a tremendous amount of downstream work on a number of parties in order to try to keep 1%, 5%, 10% of your business because they're just going to look at it and ask of work.
[00:51:22.75] REID HOLZWORTH: I mean, to your earlier point, you're talking about 5, 6, 7%, maybe across this industry, a market share.
[00:51:31.20] BILL DEVINE: Can you have a sustainable successful industry that is premised on the fact that people don't move their business because it's hard work?
[00:51:40.68] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.
[00:51:41.07] BILL DEVINE: Not because it doesn't make sense to them. Not because it's not a financial advantage to their protection advantage. But just because, man, dealing with insurance is a pain.
[00:51:49.26] REID HOLZWORTH: But it's funny. Having these conversations with these brokers, and they're pushing back on what I said, and I want to just say to them like, but wait a second here. Aren't you all about the relationship? And you'll sit there and fricking talk my ears off about how you have the best relationships, and you have the best this, that, and the other and that's why your customers love you. What about all that?
[00:52:11.40] BILL DEVINE: Oh, totally. When we talk about it, the focus tends to be on submission, new business. But remember, one of the most time consuming parts of our industry in the commercial line space is the renewal process.
[00:52:27.39] Our internal joke is we re frisk the customer on renewal because the risk can change so much with the schedule changes and all of that. We basically make them fill out an application, a new business application, the equivalent of a new business application at every renewal. Like how does that make sense? How is that in anyone's best interest?
[00:52:48.90] And again, so one tenant of my argument here is the regulations, and this the data protection and data privacy because I actually do believe in that personally. The second one is around expense. And we are an expensive industry. And if we don't start finding smart places to take expense out, some competitors are going to come in and show us how to get that expense out.
[00:53:11.79] So whether it's money coming in and buying up carriers and ripping out expense, or it's new entrants figuring it out, like we are way too expensive as an industry. Having one of the better expense ratios, I can say that. But we are too expensive as an industry. And if we don't figure it out, somebody is going to figure it out for us.
[00:53:32.19] And I don't think any of us want to be part of an industry that is being solved by outsiders that is tearing expense out and taking out things that actually provide value to us or the customer.
[00:53:45.69] So figuring out things like this, like eliminating renewal expense or substantially eliminating renewal expense, would be huge.
[00:53:53.26] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah. I mean, the golden record, it's huge. Just even on the underwriting side. And there's so much you can solve with it. You know what? It's funny because I spent a lot of time talking to Dr. Hannah Cornell about this. And I said to her, I mean, I'm real about all this shit. I said, Hannah-- because she was just on me that, hey, IVANS should do this. IVANS should solve this for the industry.
[00:54:23.98] We're Switzerland. We already have the carriers. We already have the connectivity to the agents. Just on the other totally makes sense. But what I said to her is like, how do we make money, Hannah? I'm like, how do we make money? And sorry folks, but we are a for profit business. We run a business to make money. It is what it is.
[00:54:43.41] All of your business is that are listening right now, unless you work for a nonprofit, you do the same. But like it's a huge mountain to climb. Very expensive, and very, very long tail, right? How do we make money? And I haven't figured that out. If there is a way for us to make money on this, OK. We can make investment, but that's so hard.
[00:55:07.74] BILL DEVINE: And that's why looking at hyper accelerators as part of the solution, who actually make money on the storage and the compute costs around data, potentially, could be part of that solution. I'm not saying I have it all figured out.
[00:55:22.35] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, fair enough.
[00:55:23.22] BILL DEVINE: But you got to look at how different entities get compensated. How they view making money.
[00:55:27.78] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, right.
[00:55:29.10] BILL DEVINE: And if your business model is I sell storage of data and compute against that data, I can't figure out how to solve the puzzle without that being one of the puzzle pieces.
[00:55:40.17] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. No, you're right.
[00:55:41.58] BILL DEVINE: And then you go to people who transmit data, like in IVANS, and you say, well, you have some subscription. There is a remuneration. You can't build the whole thing. But you have to be part of this because you own the pipes, and you get to charge the fee for using the pipes. So there is an incentive in there for you.
[00:56:02.94] REID HOLZWORTH: There has to be a toll for this toll road. I'm sorry. It does.
[00:56:05.52] BILL DEVINE: There has to be.
[00:56:05.94] REID HOLZWORTH: It doesn't have to be massive or whatever. There has to be a toll for the toll road, and that's what I've struggled with is, who's going to pay for that?
[00:56:14.94] BILL DEVINE: The idea is that the entirety of the cost of the industry would come down.
[00:56:20.02] REID HOLZWORTH: 100% if you made it.
[00:56:21.24] BILL DEVINE: And then it needs to move to where-- not dollar for dollar, but some percentage of that would flow back to the people providing the solution. And the other is the people who provide third party data, right? Like who validates and augments data.
[00:56:36.57] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally.
[00:56:36.96] BILL DEVINE: That would be part of the solution. Those folks would need to be part of this because they would have a key part in this. So it's this idea of how do you, without violating like competitive practices and things like that, start to build a coalition of the willing of people who have skin in the game on this already?
[00:56:55.92] Or that by doing this and partnering in it have a potential to get unfair advantage around those that don't participate. And I haven't figured it out. I haven't solved for it. I'm still going to have my stump speech about it. I'm still going to corner you every time I see you. But there is something that before I leave this industry, I would love to figure out how to get this going even on a micro loan.
[00:57:19.71] REID HOLZWORTH: I'll tell you what we're doing at IVANS. We're actually having an executive meeting later here at Travelers. By the way, we have a bunch of people here, whatever. And we're going to get into this. But where this starts, I think, and where we're actually starting with this at IVANS is we want to solve the first problem in this industry, which is identity. So we are actively building that and building identity in that.
[00:57:45.81] BILL DEVINE: That's a critical prerequisite to all of this.
[00:57:47.85] REID HOLZWORTH: All of it. Right.
[00:57:48.66] BILL DEVINE: If I can't master the data, the rest of it is irrelevant.
[00:57:51.99] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. And that is a pain for us. We are building it because it's a pain for us internally. Like it's just too painful. It's just a mess. And so we want to solve that first. Solve that, then I think we can go there.
[00:58:06.12] BILL DEVINE: And that's the momentum you start to build, right? Because if you solve that, then you start to say, well, is there some minor enrichments that we can do that-- that everybody needs? Like [? NIX. ?]
[00:58:17.04] REID HOLZWORTH: Exactly.
[00:58:18.03] BILL DEVINE: Right? Like it's just like, OK, so if I've identified all the entities in the world, can I at least put the classifications that go with that entity onto the record? And that's how we think we get there. I don't think it's--
[00:58:30.45] REID HOLZWORTH: That's a whole other-- that's even a podcast in and of itself-- [INAUDIBLE] and the classification stuff. It's a mess, man. It's a mess.
[00:58:35.67] BILL DEVINE: But my vision on this isn't a Big Bang, right?
[00:58:39.00] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally. It can't be.
[00:58:39.93] BILL DEVINE: It's a series of improvements towards a better. And then we pick off something like loss histories or something like that. And say, is there some way to do loss histories and partner with somebody who collects loss histories and make that available in a way that attaches to the unique identifier that you guys are creating that attaches to a classification that we've built? We've got a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and all the pieces are black. But I do think that if we, as an industry, lean into it that we can solve the problem.
[00:59:11.26] REID HOLZWORTH: I think it's just that. It's going back to your point.
[00:59:13.35] BILL DEVINE: We have totally lost everyone, and there's no one still listening to this podcast, by the way.
[00:59:17.54] REID HOLZWORTH: No. You'd be surprised. People love this stuff, and it's good. I mean, it's deep stuff, and it's real problems that exist within our industry. People that truly religiously listen to this podcast are people like you and I that are just deep in the weeds within this, and they get it.
[00:59:38.52] But like going back to your point about the collaboration with the industry? I think we need to bring back to collaboration.
[00:59:45.72] BILL DEVINE: Totally.
[00:59:46.38] REID HOLZWORTH: I think you're right. And we've lost that. We've lost that in the last five years. It's not like we lost it 10, 20 years ago. It's fairly recent. And I think we need to come back together as an industry and start solving these problems together once again.
[01:00:04.28] BILL DEVINE: And I use the term competition all the time. We've got to figure out where we can collaborate. It's safe. It makes sense. We all benefit. And we need to stick to our guns that there are certain lines we will not cross because that is where we compete. We have got to be ruthless when we compete, and we have got to be open minded and really buy in when we collaborate.
[01:00:26.66] And I think that's OK. And I think human beings are able to have this kind of dynamic in a number of places in their life. So it's not unique. I can have a great friend that I go and have beers with, and then want to kick his butt on the golf course.
[01:00:42.44] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally.
[01:00:42.92] BILL DEVINE: Like this is not-- this isn't an impossible mindset shift, but I do think that it's something we've got to figure out. And I don't know who's going to lead it. I don't know who's going to drive it. But all I'm saying is I'm on the bus with whoever starts drive it. Because it's I'm in.
[01:00:58.49] REID HOLZWORTH: An interesting thought. I mean, I think we need it as an industry for these types of things. Just like identity. We all came together. But to be fair, people have tried to come together in the past and fix some of these things. But going back to the conversation, however long ago it was in this podcast, about the different waves, I think it was just too early.
[01:01:22.61] BILL DEVINE: Yeah. The tech wasn't ready.
[01:01:23.69] REID HOLZWORTH: Tech wasn't ready.
[01:01:25.43] BILL DEVINE: There were some big drift. And I would argue that the golden record technology isn't ready either. That doesn't mean that we couldn't start, but there are pieces that don't exist yet that we'll need before we get to the end. That is that will happen. But yeah, there were other post IVANS attempts to come together on some of this stuff that did not go well.
[01:01:46.70] Some of that is the motivation of individuals that are participating or leading. Like you have to really figure out how to get past some of that. And I don't know what that is. And some of it is that people like getting in rooms and talking.
[01:01:59.84] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. It's funny. Yesterday-- two days ago. It doesn't matter. I had a call with somebody from the media, I'm not going to name who or what, and they're looking at, as part of their publication, doing something specifically on InsurTech all the time.
[01:02:18.21] And so they reached out to me among others. They might reach out to you. And they're like, so what do you think we should talk about and blah, blah. Screw the conversation. But the question that was interesting was who's the audience for you that's going to read this and be interested?
[01:02:38.61] And this is my answer. I'd love to hear your opinion on this. My answer was everybody. Because technology now has become so important across the industry, not at the distribution, like everybody. This is what we do. So insurance technology for the insurance industry, InsurTech, everybody's interested in this, right? Am I wrong in saying that?
[01:03:05.85] BILL DEVINE: We've hit a point. I mean, so a couple of just support. I 1,000% agree. Insurance was an early adopter of technology, right? I'll try to see if we can swing by and see the giant records. Like the giant disks like the 30 foot wide.
[01:03:22.86] REID HOLZWORTH: I haven't got into this. Sort of the Insurance history Hartford tour.
[01:03:27.36] BILL DEVINE: Insurance companies were some of the earliest adopters of technology.
[01:03:32.01] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.
[01:03:33.12] BILL DEVINE: That also means we have some of the longest legacy technology of any industry as well. But the idea is that insurance was a very early adopter of technology, and so that is a critical component of all of that. But that means is that insurance business and insurance technology are in-- that you can't unwind those. The business needs technology and obviously, technology needs the business.
[01:04:02.18] But in my team and what I get to do at Travelers, and I always joke I have the coolest job in the world, is I get to straddle that line between both and get to work on the business side but focus almost exclusively on how technology and things outside are changing our business. And that's really exciting.
[01:04:23.98] And again, only a company that has 30,000 people gets to create a job like mine. But it's this idea of I'm not a technology person. I'm actually a business person And the idea, though, is that we have got to figure out how to use technology as a tool to accelerate our business. And that is not unique to insurance, but it is something to your point that everyone in insurance cares about technology.
[01:04:48.18] I mean, good grief, the amount of Chat-GPT conversations that I have in the halls. I think everybody wants to talk Chat and wants to understand how is this going to change risk selection, risk profiles. All of that kind of stuff. Like it is, and as underwriters. Like we have to understand technology to be able to write the businesses that make up the economy who are being challenged and changing from technology. It's manufacturing shifts.
[01:05:15.24] One of the biggest industries we write is manufacturing. Think about how much technology is changing that or what's the future with autonomous vehicles or things like that. There's so many. But yeah. We all have to care about technology.
[01:05:29.01] And the thing that will kind of close that thought with is one of the realizations that the Travelers kind of had over the last few years and really over the last decade is the pace of change in our business has continued to accelerate, but not nearly as much as the pace of change in technology is accelerating.
[01:05:48.00] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, fair.
[01:05:48.81] BILL DEVINE: And companies that keep a wall up between business and technology find that those two groups are drifting farther and farther apart. Because it is harder than ever to understand the complexity in the insurance industry. When you start talking about the modeling and some of the data science stuff going on, and then when you start talking about all the cool stuff going on in the tech side and the advancements.
[01:06:12.42] If you don't make a concerted effort to keep those two groups together, intertwined, working closely, they just diverge. Because there's just so much on the business side that you could go do and never think about tech and vice versa. So Travelers, in particular, has done a lot around whether it's technology education for business people, business education, for technology people, you've got to keep challenging that. And it's I completely agree with your thought of like anyone in insurance should care about insurance tech.
[01:06:44.52] REID HOLZWORTH: All right. Bill Devine, folks. What an awesome individual. It's really interesting stuff. I love the story about how we fell into insurance. I love everybody's story on that, but it just kind of funny. Free parking gets you into insurance, right? It's funny stuff.
[01:06:59.46] But Bill is just so connected in the industry. He knows so much. Knows so many people, and is also interesting for me his Southern California roots and us going to some of the same surf spots and whatnot. It's pretty cool. Bill's a cool guy from going to creative writing to wanting to write screenplays to becoming an attorney, and then to falling into an insurance, right? And he's done a lot within our industry.
[01:07:26.97] And I love Bill's confidence in where they stand in the industry and how they really embrace technology at Travelers. Now I'm going to say this. Travelers is one of our top customers, not just financially, but they're one of our top customers because they really act as a partner.
[01:07:46.44] Like their team, I mean, guys like Tim Lewis, Sean Ramalho, Bob Jenkins, Bill Devine, all these guys, they're open arms. And say, hey guys, show us what you got. Show us what you're thinking about. What are you doing here? It's really true. The stuff he's talking about is very, very true.
[01:08:05.49] And Bill is just very knowledgeable, and he's a fun guy. I spoke on stage at the InsurTech event in Savannah with him. We just had a great time. It was fun stuff. But look, Bill Devine, awesome. Thank you for coming on the show. I think we're going to try to go a level deeper with Bill. We're going to set up another call. We're going to do another episode because there's a lot more there with Bill.
[01:08:30.78] And by the way, I've got 11 puppies here in my house. If you hear this crazy background noise, that's what's going on. They're all fighting over a big ball right now. So, sorry about that. But, yeah, stay tuned. It's going to be awesome.