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[00:00:00.26] ANNOUNCER: You'll realize your dreams, but it's just going to take you some time to get there.

[00:00:04.97] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:00:06.61] 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.

[00:00:22.01] Now, here's your host, Reid Holzworth.

[00:00:28.26] REID HOLZWORTH: Welcome to the Insurance Technology Podcast. I'm your host, Reid Holzworth. In this episode, we're going to be interviewing Joe Stephenson. Joe is the Director of Digital Intelligence at INTERTEL. Now, Joe is a little bit different than other guests we've had in the past. Joe started off his career as a police officer in Maine. And hey, folks, let me tell you, I've never interviewed someone from law enforcement, but I've been interviewed many a time.

[00:00:52.65] But look, in all seriousness, we're going to get into Joe's transition from that to insurance, then we're going to get into what Joe is doing now, which is really cool. Stay tuned, a really great episode, you're going to love it.

[00:01:07.02] Joining me today is Joe Stephenson, Director of Digital Intelligence at INTERTEL. Joe, welcome. What an amazing title, I must say,.

[00:01:16.08] JOE STEPHENSON: Hey, listen. When you get to make up your own title, you're going to spend some time on it.

[00:01:20.34] [LAUGHTER]

[00:01:21.81] REID HOLZWORTH: I love it, man. I love it. So Joe, we met recently and had a really great conversation. I think that this is going to be a really good one for the listeners. We're going to dive into a lot of topics about what you do now and your history. But before we do, love to know a little bit about yourself. So Joe, tell us a little about yourself. Who was Joe growing up?

[00:01:45.20] JOE STEPHENSON: Who was Joe growing up? Well, so grew up in rural Maine. So it was one of those things where you grew up fishing, being outdoors quite a bit.

[00:01:58.79] REID HOLZWORTH: Rural Maine. What part of Maine? I feel like Maine is not that big. So is there only one rule Maine?

[00:02:04.37] JOE STEPHENSON: No, Maine's actually pretty big. So I was in Poland Spring, where the water is named from. So grew up not on the lake, but not far away, plenty of woods, not in the city. So the closest place nearby was a golf course where I eventually started working at when I was young. But you spend a lot of time just going fishing, hiking, doing those things that a kid of the '80s did, or '70s and '80s. I'm old enough to remember life before cell phones and CD players.

[00:02:38.63] [LAUGHTER]

[00:02:39.41] So it was one of those things. I went to school 12, 13 miles away in the city, which was probably only about 40,000 people at the time. School wasn't my thing. I wasn't a really good student, but I really enjoyed school. So student council. Wasn't a jock, but played tennis, manager of the hockey team, no drama, you name it. I was involved in it. It kept me busy, active. I loved it. And that was it. You'd go back to rural Maine in the afternoons, or whatever, do those things and just hung out.

[00:03:18.39] Family wasn't super rich. You don't really know that at the time.

[00:03:23.25] REID HOLZWORTH: Mm-hmm.

[00:03:24.45] JOE STEPHENSON: It's only later on that you learn what your parents struggled to get you through it to make your life better.

[00:03:31.42] REID HOLZWORTH: What was something difficult you dealt with as a child?

[00:03:34.86] JOE STEPHENSON: So I don't know that I really had any struggles, or if you had struggles, you didn't know they were struggles.

[00:03:42.67] REID HOLZWORTH: Mm-hmm.

[00:03:43.08] JOE STEPHENSON: So my parents worked hard. They both ended up working later on. They sent me to private Catholic school, which I squandered that education. I made it through, but by the skin of my teeth. I can remember my father getting laid off from a job. My mother used to talk about how we spent two or three months living off of the garden and peanut butter. I don't remember that. I still love peanut butter. So it couldn't have been too terrible or tormenting for me.

[00:04:18.29] [LAUGHTER]

[00:04:20.90] There's a lot of people that have struggled a lot more than I have in their life. I think I've had a blessed life.

[00:04:27.84] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. I met this woman not that long ago. She's actually an author. Randomly met this person, started chatting it up with her. And it was funny. She said that-- she's like, I had the best life ever, Reid, growing up. And she's like, as I've gotten older, I have I have this trauma of not having trauma.

[00:04:48.27] [LAUGHTER]

[00:04:51.15] JOE STEPHENSON: I mean, it's seriously-- I guess you don't know what you don't know. That's so true, right. So I don't know any struggles. I guess we didn't have stuff, but you didn't have it to miss it. So how would you know there was-- sure, there's other kids that had Ataris and three-wheelers.

[00:05:11.24] REID HOLZWORTH: And you didn't get the Atari.

[00:05:12.75] JOE STEPHENSON: I didn't get the Atari. I didn't get the three-wheeler.

[00:05:14.37] REID HOLZWORTH: That three-wheeler drama.

[00:05:15.12] [LAUGHTER]

[00:05:15.97] My father used to have a saying. He said, if you can see it on TV, you're not getting it for Christmas.

[00:05:21.49] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, that's awesome. I'm going to use that.

[00:05:24.18] [LAUGHTER]

[00:05:24.81] Too bad kids don't watch TV anymore.

[00:05:26.01] JOE STEPHENSON: Right. Yeah.

[00:05:26.55] [LAUGHTER]

[00:05:27.54] If you see it on TikTok, you're not getting it.

[00:05:31.59] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. So hey, when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

[00:05:37.35] JOE STEPHENSON: So from my earliest times, I think I wanted to be an actor, actor, comedian. For me, that police aspect was always in there too. So growing up, Rockford Files, Chips, Simon & Simon, those were the shows that always captivated me. I can remember my father used to watch McMillan & Wife, the PI stuff, Magnum PI, and all that. Those always resonated with me.

[00:06:06.88] So I would say that in-between there, maybe actor, police officer, mechanic, or always the things that I lean towards. And as it was, one ended up being true. I eventually became a police officer.

[00:06:23.82] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh. spoiler alert.

[00:06:25.01] JOE STEPHENSON: Spoiler alert, yeah, yeah.

[00:06:26.51] [LAUGHTER]

[00:06:27.83] I think that was probably the easier to obtain than the other two. I like playing around with cars, but I'm no mechanic. So I'm glad I didn't try to pick that profession.

[00:06:38.80] [LAUGHTER]

[00:06:40.42] REID HOLZWORTH: So what about in high school? What did you do after high school?

[00:06:44.38] JOE STEPHENSON: So after high school, you did there-- for me, I tried the college thing. It didn't stick. Didn't really have the money. I think it was $27,000 something a year at the time for college, and it just it wasn't something that I had to pay for. My parents just certainly didn't have the means to do that. So you try it.

[00:07:07.29] Never got a degree, not sure that ever-- it really hasn't held me back. I think there's plenty of people in the history of the world, and certainly, in small business history, that don't have degrees. Have gone back and taken classes where I felt that I wanted to take a constitutional law class or something along those lines, but never really finished a degree.

[00:07:29.88] Look, didn't look at the military when I got out of high school. Tried to join later on, got medically disqualified in the '90s. So I'm glad I didn't try when I was in the '80s. But one day you're just sitting there and you're going, OK, college isn't working out. I got to start thinking long term here. What am I going to do with my life? And I always wanted to be a cop. Let's go try to be a cop.

[00:07:57.21] REID HOLZWORTH: So tell us about that. Tell us about being a cop. You're the first cop that I've interviewed. I mean, I've been interviewed by lots of police officers over the years. Let's be real.

[00:08:05.21] [LAUGHTER]

[00:08:05.55] JOE STEPHENSON: But they're the ones asking the questions.

[00:08:07.41] [LAUGHTER]

[00:08:07.85] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, 100%.

[00:08:09.06] [LAUGHTER]

[00:08:10.64] JOE STEPHENSON: It was an interesting thing. It's one of those funny things where you're 19 and you're like, what am I going to do? And you're like, ah, I'm going to become a cop. Well, how do you become a cop? I don't know. I'm just going to go to the police station, knock on the door and say, hey, I want to be a cop.

[00:08:23.01] [LAUGHTER]

[00:08:24.20] And surprisingly enough, it worked. They were like, oh, come on in. At the time in--

[00:08:31.59] REID HOLZWORTH: Really, you went there and you're like, hey, I want I want to work here. What do I need to do? And they're like-- the cop at the front is like, hey, all right, I'll show you.

[00:08:38.37] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, let me get one of the detectives. And they bring you around, they showed you everything, and they're like, OK, so this is what you have to do. You got to do this. You got to do that. You got to go to this school. You got to go to the Academy eventually, and they laid it all out. You're like, OK, what's my first step? And that was it.

[00:08:53.97] And you're showing interest, you're following up with them. And then it was like, hey, we've got this part time job, dispatch, do you want to try that? Sure, if it gets me in the door, starts teaching me the network. That's where I started to realize at a young age networking was so vital. Because once you got in that door and things started opening up and you start to have opportunities, you showed your worth, then more opportunities came your way.

[00:09:21.21] I mean, it was a great experience for me there. I loved being a cop. I loved the people that I worked with. I think Maine has a different relationship with law enforcement than a lot of the rest of the country does. We're very--

[00:09:36.08] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, that's good. The people do.

[00:09:37.91] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, we're very small town. Cops are inherently rule followers. It's in their nature to be rule followers versus maybe stretching things a little bit. So back in the '90s, it was wonderful being a cop. Community policing wasn't something that was new that you had to create a whole division for. You were doing it every day. The first agency I worked for had four full time officers, including the police chief.

[00:10:08.06] You knew everybody in town. You knew who the criminals were. The criminals respected you. When they caught you, they usually confessed. It was just this-- it was almost like a game to them.

[00:10:21.57] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. So it was fun, and you did your best to make sure that everybody stayed on line. It was a good career, and I had a pretty eclectic police career. So I mentioned dispatch, a little bit of corrections, got into patrol, rural patrol. So you might have-- at one time worked for a Sheriff's department. You had 14 unorganized towns. It may take you 20, 30 minutes to get from one side to the other, running lights and sirens. So it was a big territory. You end up--

[00:10:53.27] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, I'm just curious. In those rural areas-- I've always wondered this, what is the majority of the calls? Domestic dispute stuff? I would assume that's what it would be.

[00:11:01.53] JOE STEPHENSON: So yeah--

[00:11:01.92] REID HOLZWORTH: But generally.

[00:11:02.64] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, generally speaking, you got accidents, domestics.

[00:11:05.37] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah, true.

[00:11:06.26] JOE STEPHENSON: Right. And then a lot of times in the evenings, it would be burglaries because you'd have people leaving work for the day and then come back, find their house broken into. So they'd be calling in. You'd have these burglary sprees. The weekends, it was always bar fights. It's the normal stuff that happens. And then in between that, you might have some drug calls or something a little bit more exciting.

[00:11:34.91] REID HOLZWORTH: So tell us a crazy story. You got to have some crazy stories.

[00:11:41.31] JOE STEPHENSON: Well, the one that's personal to me is getting dragged down a road by a drunk driver. That was a big crazy...

[00:11:47.10] REID HOLZWORTH: Getting dragged down the road by a drunk driver.

[00:11:48.90] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah. At the time, I worked for a municipality and I was a supervisor, and we had gone to a bar fight one night and the team was inside and they're dealing with the bar fight and all. They pretty much calmed it down. And they were outside and cruisers were blocking the street. So I was out there trying to move traffic around the block cars and all, and this guy was in this older van, panel van, and I'm trying to wave him by.

[00:12:15.69] All he had to do was drive around the cruisers and gone by. I wasn't really looking for anything, and he's just sitting there and he's not moving. And I'm like, come on, let's go. And he's just trying to yell to me about something, and you could just tell this guy was hammered. So I walk up to the van and he's drunk. He's trying to tell me he's waiting for his cousin who was inside the bar to come out.

[00:12:40.44] REID HOLZWORTH: He's like, I'm not leaving until I get my cousin.

[00:12:43.89] JOE STEPHENSON: So it's one of those things where you're like, OK, put the car in park. And you can see that process in somebody's head, that fight or flight. And you can see him processing, what am I going to do? And you're like, OK, he's going to try to take off now. So it was one of those vans that had the gear column, gear shift on the column.

[00:13:04.81] So I reached in with my left hand, which was a mistake, and tried to put it into park. At the same time, it clicked to him that he was going to decide that he was going to leave. So he hit the gas before I could get it up from drive. So essentially, he starts taking off and I'm hanging off the side of the van with my-- hand grabbing that column shifter, hoping that lovely piece of cast aluminum doesn't snap in half because if it does, I'm getting run over by this van.

[00:13:37.98] REID HOLZWORTH: So you're literally holding on to the shifter as he's stepping on the gas and he's dragging you down the street.

[00:13:45.47] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, and I'm screaming at him. And there's no running boards, so you're not catching your feet. So you're trying to pick your feet up. So literally, all the weight--

[00:13:53.73] REID HOLZWORTH: Holy shit. Yeah.

[00:13:55.31] JOE STEPHENSON: You're on that column shifter. And then, of course, your under your arm is resting on the open window portion. So you're squeezing your bicep and your torso together on that trying to keep that because you know this column shifter. I've seen him break 1,000 times.

[00:14:14.64] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.

[00:14:15.24] JOE STEPHENSON: And they're not going to hold.

[00:14:16.99] REID HOLZWORTH: Just a little pin, yeah, mostly.

[00:14:18.96] JOE STEPHENSON: So luckily enough for me, it wasn't a long section before he got to an intersecting street. We were in a little downtown area. So he's got to slow down to make a turn and I'm screaming at him. It's one of those things where-- this is happening in nanoseconds, right, but it seemed like forever. And I never got that from people who were talking about how life slows down and things slow down. It slows down, for sure.

[00:14:47.93] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.

[00:14:48.56] JOE STEPHENSON: So luckily for me, the guys outside could hear me screaming, but they couldn't see me. And one of the guys, it dawned on him that I must be on this van. So as the van slowed down around the corner, he ran down the sidewalk and got to the van in time and flew open the passenger side door. And I got to tell you, that hammer was about ready to drop. And as soon as I saw that door and Adam's face come in the window, he comes in and he starts jumping on the guy and the thing tails off, and I think it ran across the sidewalk and hit a fire hydrant, or a tree, or something and stopped,

[00:15:29.69] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, no kidding.

[00:15:30.53] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah. And then, of course, at that point, there's four or five guys there and you're just like, OK, I'm done. I'm pretty well spent at this point. So I stumble off the van. Yeah, it was one of those things where get back to the station and-- I thought I was having a heart attack and ended up having the ambulance come down because all your nerves and everything get compressed under your underarm. So it shuts down your system.

[00:15:53.06] Luckily, I didn't really have any long term injuries. It's one of those things where you're hoping with every fiber of your body that this is a bad guy. You're trusting that this is just some habitual motor vehicle offender, somebody who's just violent and what have you, and you're going to be able to put him away for years. End up just being a guy in the trades who didn't usually go out. Went out one night with his cousin. Had too much to drink. Wasn't a bad guy. Didn't have a terrible driver's history.

[00:16:25.68] REID HOLZWORTH: That's wild.

[00:16:28.17] JOE STEPHENSON: He lost his license for some time. I think he did some jail time, but the prosecutor's calling me and saying, what do you want to do? You want to put them away? And I'm like, for as horrific as it was at the time, this isn't a bad guy. This isn't somebody who needs to go to jail for three or five years. This is just somebody who screwed up. And I'm sure he's taken a lot more from this whole interaction already than sending him to jail is going to do. That's not going to better him. That's not going to change this guy.

[00:16:57.69] REID HOLZWORTH: Totally. It's the opposite. It could potentially-- yeah.

[00:17:01.01] JOE STEPHENSON: And he owned up to it. There wasn't a trial. There was nothing. He got an attorney. They were just trying to negotiate to keep him out of jail.

[00:17:08.70] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[00:17:09.45] JOE STEPHENSON: And you sit there and go, he's already recognized the fact that he screwed up. What more do you really need? You don't really need to beat this guy down.

[00:17:18.98] REID HOLZWORTH: That's so crazy, though, but the guy almost killed you. You almost killed him if it wasn't for your other officer partner saving at least one person's life--

[00:17:27.80] JOE STEPHENSON: Right.

[00:17:28.23] REID HOLZWORTH: Right, in that example. That's wild, but it's just-- yeah, the after effects are like, hey, this is a normal dude who just drank too much and just did a really stupid ass thing.

[00:17:39.45] JOE STEPHENSON: And there's a lot of people that end up in jail that do those things. It's one of those things-- I think for me this was October 16, if I remember correctly, 2000, which I'm pretty sure I remember correctly.

[00:17:54.00] [LAUGHTER]

[00:17:55.15] My oldest daughter was a year old. My wife's pregnant with our second daughter, and you start to realize, OK, this may not be the profession for me. This is great. I love it, but I don't know that I want to be doing this on a day-to-day basis. And it took me probably another five, six years before I phased out. I was at the station the other day, and all the same guys are still there, been promoted up, and you're saying to yourself, that could have been me. For not certain things happening, you could have easily stayed there for 30 years.

[00:18:34.61] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally. So you didn't, though. So what happened? So you moved on. You're like, OK, that was a lot for me. This is a lot. I'm kind of-- you know, that's it. Young kids, I get it.

[00:18:45.26] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah. And I guess maybe it goes back to that question you asked about high school. I was always involved in things. And I look back now. I have career. ADD. So I am always looking for the next thing, the next challenge. When I get to a point where it becomes the same old every day, there's no new challenge, two things I think about. So one is, what's next for me? What's going to get me motivated? And two, have I brought people up under me or next to me to a point where they should be taking over for me?

[00:19:20.90] For me it's always two challenges. So now I got to get it out of the way for the next person to succeed like I have.

[00:19:27.50] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, that's awesome. That's great leadership.

[00:19:29.12] JOE STEPHENSON: I've always thought about those things. So for me, I was getting into accident reconstruction. That started in '99, 2000, and that really developed a lot of skills. I started doing a lot of working with insurance companies at the time, started my own consulting company, started doing that on the side with them. And then that led me--

[00:19:50.03] REID HOLZWORTH: Like accident reconstruction consulting, working with carriers, I assume and helping them understand what's really going on from your time in the field and then as an investigator, I assume.

[00:20:00.77] JOE STEPHENSON: Right. Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't wear cases that I would have any direct police involvement in, but--

[00:20:06.26] REID HOLZWORTH: Of course.

[00:20:06.69] JOE STEPHENSON: If there was a case in New Hampshire or Massachusetts or way up in Northern Maine, I would go up and investigate that accident for the carrier to determine who's at fault, were there any mitigating circumstances, were there issues with the vehicles, that kind of stuff. So get back to the-- it brings everything back in that you talked about before. I'm mot really a mechanic, but I could look at a suspension system. I got my inspection certificate license for the state of Maine to be an inspection mechanic.

[00:20:40.38] You start to understand the mechanics of all that, and then applying that knowledge to this process. And I had a lot of success with that, I will say, as a part time basis and a consultant. And then that moved into an insurance company saying, hey, we've got this vacancy in Special Investigations. With your background, we like your work. Would you like to come work with us? And you're like--

[00:21:04.65] REID HOLZWORTH: Special investigations at a carrier. That sounds pretty cool.

[00:21:08.23] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, well, it makes it even better when they say it's Monday through Friday. Here's your car. You don't have to work nights, weekends, or holidays. And we'll pay you more than what you're making now, including your overtime. So you're like, yeah, this is pretty easy sell. I'm going.

[00:21:26.73] REID HOLZWORTH: Yes, yes, I will take that.

[00:21:28.98] JOE STEPHENSON: And there's a 401K, and there's all these other-- yeah, OK, I'll take it. So yeah. And that started my career in insurance. So working workers' comp. I started working workers' comp in Maine, then moved to personal lines. So we started doing autothefts and fires and that kind of stuff. And then with my reconstruction background, they asked me to start working some of risk West pool stuff, a little bit more complicated things in Massachusetts in New York City. So I started working that stuff. And then--

[00:22:03.48] REID HOLZWORTH: What does that mean, complicated risk pool stuff? I don't understand.

[00:22:07.11] JOE STEPHENSON: So in Massachusetts, you get assessed, almost penalized if you're at an at fault accident. So somebody would run in and they would hit, let's say, one of those yellow barriers by an ATM and put a dent in the car, and then they would claim that it was a hit and run out of parking lot. Because if it's a hit and run, they don't get assessed this fine amount every year for x number of years. But if they're at fault, they do.

[00:22:37.43] So a lot of it was just looking at these low impact, what we call MIST list claims, low impact claims and determining-- it was always funny because you would get this one that was a perfectly cone shaped dent on the side of the car with yellow paint. And I'm like, I don't know a lot of canary yellow trucks out there that are going to do damage from 2 inches above the ground to 4 feet above. So pretty sure this is safe to say. It's a pole. And by the way, there's concrete dust in the gaps of the fender.

[00:23:10.34] But it was a lot of doing that kind of stuff. And then depending on the jurisdiction, you might have a law that says in one state, if the person is inebriated or intoxicated, you have limits of liability or that. So it was looking at a lot of that stuff as well. And just seeing, again, if there's comparing negligence between two drivers. Is our driver 100% at fault or are they 80%, 60%, something to negotiate the settlement on for our insured.

[00:23:40.64] So it got into that. And then the company I was working for at the time-- with most companies, you can see this over time. They grow, they shrink, they grow, they shrink. So we started losing people. They started expanding specialty line stuff. So I quickly found myself working mid-market commercial lines. So I was working at cell phone stores, and convenience stores, a lot of them out West, like Texas area, New Mexico. They had a line where they wrote film equipment, film equipment rentals in California. So we were doing a lot of that stuff.

[00:24:18.79] So it just really-- it fed into my need to always be doing something different. It was really a fun time for me because just as I started to get tired of something, something new came along.

[00:24:30.76] REID HOLZWORTH: So let's talk about everything. So cell phone stores, all this camera equipment. You're talking mid commercial. What does that mean? What were you doing? What was going on there?

[00:24:44.49] JOE STEPHENSON: So it depended on the company that was involved in the scams that were happening. So you might have--

[00:24:51.19] REID HOLZWORTH: So you're doing all fraud stuff.

[00:24:52.90] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, it's all fraud stuff, for the majority.

[00:24:55.13] REID HOLZWORTH: So it's not like, yeah, we had a fire here, whatever. You're doing special investigations fraud.

[00:25:01.32] JOE STEPHENSON: Occasionally, if you had really massive losses, like you had a shopping mall that caught on fire, then you would be involved in that, but it wouldn't be so much from a fraud aspect. It would be just helping out manage that large loss. But for the most part, I would say 90% of it was all fraud related. And then you looked at the different scams.

[00:25:22.14] So you might have convenience store scams or cell phone scams. Cell phone scams are good because you'd have alleged burglary there, and they would be claiming, I lost half a million in stock, but they wouldn't have any records to back that up. Or they would claim that they were selling-- at the time, eBay was really popular. I'm selling $250,000 worth of inventory a month on eBay. But they could never show you $250,000 of inventory that they had ever received in the life of the company.

[00:25:53.47] So they would pad these claims, legitimate claims, soft fraud thing. Legitimate claims, which they then exaggerate to make it more. And a lot of people didn't understand at the time-- you exaggerate one portion of this, you lie on your application, that negates your whole claim. You may have a legitimate loss, but now you lied to us, now we don't have to pay you anything.

[00:26:17.17] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, interesting. True. OK. So if you can prove that they lied about any of it, you don't have to pay any of it.

[00:26:26.41] STEPHENSON: Yeah. I mean, it's the theory of one part fraud, all fraud. So--

[00:26:31.05] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh,OK. Well, I didn't know that.

[00:26:32.26] JOE STEPHENSON: But--

[00:26:32.37] REID HOLZWORTH: That's interesting--

[00:26:33.14] STEPHENSON: But I will say a lot of companies don't go that way. Like, a lot of companies--

[00:26:36.34] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, they don't want to-- it's not worth the battle--

[00:26:38.26] JOE STEPHENSON: They'll pay what they owe. They just don't want to pay more than they owe because--

[00:26:42.73] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Yeah. OK.

[00:26:43.68] JOE STEPHENSON: It's that relationship that you have with your policyholders, even though they've done something bad because it gets back to that honest person who has a drink too much, right, makes a bad decision, right. All this thinking is, oh, I could really use an extra grant or an extra 1,500 pay that rent, right.

[00:27:01.03] Are you really going to try to throw somebody in jail or penalize them for that? Or are you just going to pay the legitimate claim and just kind of say don't do that again?

[00:27:10.78] REID HOLZWORTH: So what's-- so like, your drunk driver's story? What's a crazy story, man? Like, tell us something, like, that's pretty wild out there that you've dealt with in the special investigation unit.

[00:27:20.77] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, I got to tell you. I got a lot more stories from the insurance side than I ever did from the police side. Some I've been directly involved in, some I haven't. I worked cases in Mississippi, Louisiana that involved a particular homegrown organized crime ring.

[00:27:39.56] They would repeat-- they'd have a vehicle, a truck hauling a trailer with a classic car or a couple of motorcycles in there, and it would get run off the road by a phantom car. Everything would catch on fire and burn. The problem is that they would reuse the same truck bin.

[00:27:58.79] They'd haul these things out, dump them into the side of the road. You'd start catching a lie. I had this snap on scanner that was inside the truck, or the trailer, or the garage fire except they'd give you the same invoice for the same scanner every time.

[00:28:16.07] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, wow.

[00:28:17.00] JOE STEPHENSON: And then they would employ different people. So like, we had one where they claimed that lightning struck a metal building and blew it up, and the building itself was intact. It was blown out from the sides, but all the cars inside were totally demolished, and when I went to do the inspection--

[00:28:35.01] For a car to run and park inside a building, it needs to have an engine, wheels, and a transmission and when that's lacking in the salvage burn that nobody has touched yet, and it doesn't have an engine or transmission or tires and there's no remnants of the steel belts around the tires, you kind of know that it was already salvaged vehicle that was sitting in there.

[00:28:52.83] But these things were brand new, fully restored, worth $500,000 or what have you. But--

[00:29:00.15] REID HOLZWORTH: But that's just crazy. Like-- but like, OK. Like, can you like-- but in that case, you're like, are you kidding me right now? This thing has no motor in. Motor's not going to burn up and fly out into heaven and go away, like, you know, like--

[00:29:13.35] JOE STEPHENSON: It's kind of that law of averages. They did it one, two, three, four times. It never got caught. And then they would do it--

[00:29:21.03] REID HOLZWORTH: Jesus--

[00:29:21.26] JOE STEPHENSON: --they would do it with by carrier, they would do it with another carrier, they would do it with another carrier, and when I finally got into this and started realizing and putting all the parties together and who the common denominators were, you had bank employees. You had politicians involved in this. You had business owners--

[00:29:38.89] REID HOLZWORTH: Holy shit.

[00:29:39.15] JOE STEPHENSON: You had business owners employing their staff to get policies and do these things. They were repeating-- the one that I love the most was in that particular fire loss, there was supposed to be a restored '68 black Camaro SS, RS/SS. Beautiful car.

[00:29:59.05] It was the only photo they had submitted during the policy period for this one car. So the scam was I'm going to get a policy of this one car, and then as soon as you approve it, I'm going to add four more or five more cars on, but I'm not going to give you anything on those cars other than a VIN.

[00:30:17.44] And you're going to ask me for photos, titles on. But before I get to providing that to you, I'm going to have this big loss, right? So you end up on your side, don't have anything on these other cars. You don't have photographs. You don't have anything to go by, which is great way to just take salvage cars, burn them up, and claim that they were brand new, right. You're not going to know the difference.

[00:30:38.22] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep.

[00:30:39.18] JOE STEPHENSON: So they provided this one photograph of this Camaro, and I got friends-- you know, you make friends with attorneys that are going to assist you. And this one attorney that I had working this case for a while, he happened to be on that side of Mississippi for like an arson conference, he was speaking at.

[00:30:59.82] And he had a break, and he's like, I'm just going to run over and try to do an interview with so-and-so and see what they have to say. And he shows up, guy's there. The other guy who had told me two days earlier that he didn't know this guy is working for this guy at this shop. Another guy that we know who's involved in this team and has had these other alleged frauds is there visiting.

[00:31:23.56] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, geez.

[00:31:24.50] JOE STEPHENSON: --the attorney is like putting all the pieces together, so he goes to leave, and he's like, oh, I just need to take a quick photograph, right, so I can document the date-time on my camera when I was here, because I just don't have time to take notes. I got to get back to this conference.

[00:31:38.18] So he takes a photograph outside the windshield of his car, and he leaves. He's not thinking anything about it. So we start chatting and everything else, and all of a sudden I'm getting a call at like 7:00 at night, and he's all giddy. And I'm like, what's going on? And he's like, it didn't dawn on me.

[00:31:55.25] He sends me the photograph and there in the foreground of the photograph he took was this '68 Camaro. The one that was allegedly burnt out and all. It was identical, and they had a very custom paint job, so you knew it was-- he goes, it didn't dawn on me that was the same car, but here it is.

[00:32:12.18] He's got a photograph of it existing right then and there, that date and time, two or three weeks after this alleged loss. The fun part with criminals is they're not very bright, you know, so you get to--

[00:32:27.81] REID HOLZWORTH: Right? Like, dumb ass. Like, why would you even have that there?

[00:32:31.89] JOE STEPHENSON: Right.

[00:32:32.03] REID HOLZWORTH: Like, seriously. Like, you know. I guess they were just ramping up to do another one to get away with.

[00:32:37.25] JOE STEPHENSON: And that's the thing. If nothing's happening to us. And this group is-- I think at the time, I had-- I want to say they were somewhere around 60 million, I think, that they had taken over the previous decade--

[00:32:53.10] REID HOLZWORTH: $60 million this group has taken?

[00:32:56.54] JOE STEPHENSON: Pretty much from every carrier out there from large self-insured businesses. They were doing everything from autos to properties, property fires, water mitigation, remediation claims, water leaks in houses, you know, you name it. They had the scams going, and they were very successful.

[00:33:19.41] I mean, this was their business. They had legitimate businesses on the side, but I think those were just there to probably launder the money that they were making through some other means, but insurance fraud was absolutely funding them.

[00:33:32.35] REID HOLZWORTH: That's wild.

[00:33:33.59] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah.

[00:33:33.83] REID HOLZWORTH: That's a lot of money.

[00:33:35.30] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah.

[00:33:35.41] REID HOLZWORTH: So what happened? These guys go to prison or what? Like, what happened?

[00:33:38.24] JOE STEPHENSON: They're still operating.

[00:33:39.60] REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS]

[00:33:41.32] JOE STEPHENSON: I have-- I flew down one day and met with the US Attorney's Office down there. I presented them, I don't know, a few thousand pages of documents, broke everything down, had link analysis, charts showing who the players were, the claims involved, the money.

[00:33:57.74] We had pictures of the car that was supposedly the one that was involved in this. We had all this documentation. We had some public officials that were involved in this that were signing off on inspections and causes of loss and--

[00:34:12.83] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, wow.

[00:34:13.37] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, they signed a postal inspector who I know worked for a couple of years, and then I think that person got reassigned and then, you know, this happened. This US attorney leaves and gets promoted. This one comes in. There's a political shift, and yeah, just goes away.

[00:34:30.05] Not sexy enough to prosecute so what we're left with is a lot of companies still try to deal with this group who's continuing to be active, because they know they're going to get paid.

[00:34:41.25] REID HOLZWORTH: But could-- so could people-- I mean, obviously, I get it. So it sounds like a lot of people's pockets are being padded. There's a lot there-- I mean, $16 million is a lot of coin, you know, so people are getting paid around this in order for these guys to continue to operate and do this. But it sounds like they're still operating today. But could they go to prison? Like, could you--

[00:35:00.23] JOE STEPHENSON: Sure.

[00:35:00.41] REID HOLZWORTH: --prosecute--

[00:35:00.97] JOE STEPHENSON: If you could get somebody to prosecute them, but, you know-- so on the federal level, it tends to be if it's not sexy enough, if it's not high enough dollar value, if it's not easy enough sometimes. And I don't want to paint that blanketly across, because I know a lot of federal prosecutors and federal officers who do really good work and work really hard, and they put together some really convoluted high end schemes.

[00:35:25.49] But if you're competing with somebody who's done a cyber theft, cyber ransom on a Fortune 500 company, or you've got somebody running a Ponzi scheme over here, do you really care about somebody who's done a bunch of auto theft scams, right? You're not worried about that.

[00:35:44.47] REID HOLZWORTH: It's wild.

[00:35:44.97] JOE STEPHENSON: So who's the victim in that place? Well, it's going to be me as a consumer for my insurance company whose premiums go up.

[00:35:51.38] REID HOLZWORTH: 100%. 100% we're the victims of it. Yes.

[00:35:55.01] JOE STEPHENSON: But in their mind, yeah, but you're not affecting the 100,000 people in this Ponzi scheme. Those are real victims. You're an ancillary victim, right? You're going to have to pay a little bit more in your premium, but you're not a real victim.

[00:36:08.02] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, you're just affecting the profits of the insurance companies. It's like, but ultimately, that affects us as consumers, and how much-- how expensive our insurance is.

[00:36:16.70] JOE STEPHENSON: Right.

[00:36:16.96] REID HOLZWORTH: Right?

[00:36:17.60] JOE STEPHENSON: And that's-- I mean, the figure now is $308 billion annually in insurance fraud in the US.

[00:36:24.77] REID HOLZWORTH: $308 billion in fraud--

[00:36:28.34] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, you got about--

[00:36:29.09] REID HOLZWORTH: --in the US?

[00:36:29.54] JOE STEPHENSON: You got about 100,000--

[00:36:30.26] REID HOLZWORTH: 308 billion? That's crazy, man. Holy shit.

[00:36:33.65] JOE STEPHENSON: Every single year.

[00:36:34.67] REID HOLZWORTH: Woo! I didn't know any of that.

[00:36:37.18] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, 1.5% of our GDP.

[00:36:40.54] REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS] And that's not-- that's not important enough, right?

[00:36:44.79] JOE STEPHENSON: It's not important enough. It's--

[00:36:46.23] REID HOLZWORTH: But that's not-- hold on. That's not to say that some of it isn't prosecuted to be fair, right? But like, the vast majority is not, I would assume.

[00:36:53.55] JOE STEPHENSON: That's correct.

[00:36:54.03] REID HOLZWORTH: Based on what I'm--

[00:36:54.60] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, you have to go individually. Now I've worked with a prosecutor in Suffolk County New York who-- we took this former doctor/lawyer and got a conviction out of him for putting his car-- driving his car purposely into a canal for the third time.

[00:37:15.92] REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS]

[00:37:17.01] JOE STEPHENSON: $100,000 car. And we had great video of that from a restaurant that they concocted that. And again, they're not always thinking. People don't think about what's out there, right. But-- so there are prosecutors out there that are willing to do the work and put this stuff in, but again, what we ran into a lot of time is like--

[00:37:40.93] I'll keep using Maine because it's rural. I go to a police officer who's got-- he's got a string of burglaries he's trying to investigate. He's got domestics. He's overworked with reports, right, and then you're coming to him saying I have this insurance fraud, and he doesn't know what that is.

[00:37:58.51] Nobody's ever exposed him to it. He hasn't gone to school for it. He doesn't understand it, right. Doesn't know-- I mean, before I got into this, I'd never read a policy in my life. I had an auto insurance policy for 20 years, and I'd never read through that thing. I didn't know what was in there other than it's supposed to be when I get in an accident, they're going to pay me back for my car, right.

[00:38:20.69] So you have to do a lot of education a lot of times get to the point where, I think, some of these things [AUDIO OUT] be prosecuted. And then just hoping that you get somebody who will latch on to that and say, yeah, I'm willing to take the time to do it. So I mean, it's definitely gotten better over the years.

[00:38:36.92] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[00:38:37.66] JOE STEPHENSON: You know, but unfortunately, you have these things where even if they are convicted, a lot of times, they don't go to jail, right. So what's the-- why stop?

[00:38:49.26] REID HOLZWORTH: You know, this is crazy, though. I mean, when I'm thinking about this, I think about the people that are listening to this and whatnot. This is like-- the carriers would want justice around some of this. I mean, in the big stuff and whatever, and like you said, some of it, they don't want to fight the fight because it's not worth it.

[00:39:04.60] Oh, they're doing something wrong. It's like that's all this litigious stuff and spending all this money, these attorneys, and it's not-- I get all of that. But generally speaking, I mean, $300 billion? Like, I would assume that as an industry, I don't know, folks, let's invest 1% of that, right, in like a tiger team that goes around and takes down criminals that are literally organized crime around insurance fraud, because it affects all of our premiums, personally as well as our customers premiums. Like, that's a lot of dollars in fraud.

[00:39:38.19] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, and you do have regulations in place for that. So you got states like New Jersey and New York, California that tell insurers they have to have special investigations units or somebody overseeing it, or you have to have dedicated people for that.

[00:39:52.76] But it's not-- that's great. I find this fraud, but then I have nobody to pass it on to--

[00:39:58.00] REID HOLZWORTH: --special investor. You're a special investigation group, like, that's what you do, but then you have all these other people that are getting paid and don't-- it's not worth my time, because I got this big case that's going to put me in the newspapers, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, stuff--

[00:40:10.61] JOE STEPHENSON: Or you get like California where you get the Department of Insurance that will take on a lot of these cases, but there again, it's California. How many referrals do they get every day and how many investigators do they have to go out and try to finish the investigation for themselves, right?

[00:40:27.66] I find it by a preponderance of the evidence, right. It's more likely than not that it happened. We've got enough to deny the claim or whatever. But now they've got to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. I've got to prove 51%. They've got to prove 98%. They've got to go out and do their own interviews and do all this other stuff, right. So there's a lot more involved to that, and then they have to make a business decision too. So it becomes difficult. Excuse me.

[00:40:51.57] REID HOLZWORTH: So hate to put you on the spot, but what would you do to fix it? Like, do you have any thoughts there? Like, how could you fix that?

[00:40:58.57] JOE STEPHENSON: It's not an easy fix. I mean, I think if it was an easy fix, we would have fixed it already, right.

[00:41:05.30] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.

[00:41:06.90] JOE STEPHENSON: I think--

[00:41:07.32] REID HOLZWORTH: It's a lot of--

[00:41:08.13] JOE STEPHENSON: --it's-- I look at it now as we're in such an industrial revolution, per se, with data and AI, and those things, you know.

[00:41:19.13] REID HOLZWORTH: Fair enough. Yep.

[00:41:20.41] JOE STEPHENSON: We have the ability to start utilizing that technology just like they utilize it against us to help us. So there's a lot of things that you can do on the front end of processes that no one ever sees that can really help shut things down. Now the problem being is that the best business decision to make?

[00:41:40.71] And I'll give you a for instance. I can put a script in your online form and as you go to this online form to fill out for your policy, it's going to start telling me what device you're using to fill it out. Are you on a mobile device? Are you on a laptop? Which mobile device? Is it an Apple? Is it Samsung? What model number is it?

[00:41:59.58] It can give me the ID number. It can tell me which carrier, if you're on a mobile device, that you're using from, what your time zone is, what your IP address is and where that is, right. So I can look at those things. So if you're filling out this form and saying that you live in Saint Louis, and yet you're using a carrier that's predominantly from Canada, let's say Bell or Rogers, right, well, why are you filling out an online form using a cell phone that's Bell/Rogers?

[00:42:28.12] Now I look at your IP address and your IP address is coming back from, let's say, Spain or somewhere. Are you using a VPN? Which you might be, right. But these things don't make sense right now. So instead of fast tracking this policy and issuing a policy based upon the information available how about we just throw up a red flag, right?

[00:42:49.57] We say, somebody's got to make a call on this one. Somebody needs to verify these facts before we start moving on. It's that type of technology and this is a very simplified version but this already exists. Then you could tie on-- there's-- the finance industry has been great in cataloging and identifying especially mobile phones that are associated to frauds on their side, which--

[00:43:13.98] REID HOLZWORTH: Like, flagging. I'm like, hey, we know this phone is done shady stuff in the past--

[00:43:18.17] JOE STEPHENSON: Correct. So--

[00:43:19.54] REID HOLZWORTH: That's interesting.

[00:43:20.08] JOE STEPHENSON: --you have companies that-- you have databases they've built that you can then add in and ping. So now when that device gets on that form, you can automatically ping it and if it comes up as previously or suspected of being involved in scams, you just shut that policy down.

[00:43:33.61] You have to call a customer service representative, right? And then you get them--

[00:43:37.45] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, it doesn't have to be nasty or anything. It's like, oh, you, have to call customer service in order to get this done, basically. Yeah, it's right.

[00:43:44.32] JOE STEPHENSON: So, I mean, I think that's where technology is coming. There's a lot of technology. There's a company out there-- I'm not going to name names, but there's a company out there that developed some technology for vetting, essentially, insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[00:44:01.87] We need these people to do translation services to work with us, but we need a fast way to determine whether or not they pose a threat. And they came up with this system. It's not voice analysis. I don't know the proprietary aspects of it, but essentially, it allows you to have a conversation like we're having and tell you whether or not the questions they're answering are deceitful or not.

[00:44:24.67] And you can now employ that into a conversation that you're having when you're taking an FNOL, first notice of loss, right, and you're asking questions and if they keep getting like a green light or a thumbs up or whatever, OK, this seems to be a legitimate claim.

[00:44:38.83] But if you start seeing red or stops, then this is something where, OK, let's slow the process down a little. You could really speed up fast tracking good claims and slowing down questionable claims.

[00:44:50.06] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.

[00:44:51.45] JOE STEPHENSON: So there's all this technology. There's another firm out there that can intercept attachments that are being sent by email to claims representatives, hold those attachments out and within milliseconds, tell you whether or not they've been altered or forged or how many versions of that exists. So--

[00:45:08.91] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[00:45:09.11] JOE STEPHENSON: You're sending an invoice to your carrier, and you've changed the invoice amount or the date on the invoice and before the adjuster even gets that email to look at that attachment, there's already another email coming in or a flag in their system saying this appears to be an altered invoice.

[00:45:26.77] And here's the original document. Here's what's been altered on it. These technologies, they cost money to implement, right.

[00:45:37.06] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.

[00:45:38.28] JOE STEPHENSON: So--

[00:45:38.83] REID HOLZWORTH: But hey, I'll just say like, sounds like a really good business if there's $300 billion out there where this is happening, and you can get on the front end of it. So what you're saying is, is like how you stop it, less about the back end. That's really complex.

[00:45:53.80] But we can do some things, leveraging technology on the front end to kind of get in front of it, and go, whoa, whoa, whoa, this seems suspicious, and maybe not write the business in the first place. Because going back to your example that the dude's burning down the stuff with all the classic cars and whatnot, they're just running into another broker, and going, hey, man, I'd love to get this policy. Can you help me out?

[00:46:13.70] And the broker is like, yeah, I'm so excited. I get this new great customer. Oh, and they got this cherry '68 Camaro. That's awesome. And they write policy and whatnot, and they're on to the next thing. But really as they're inputting that information on the carrier site or whatever it may be, there could be some things that flag it out there in the universe and being like, hey, you know, this VIN on this Camaro has been salvaged 18 times kind of stuff--

[00:46:37.72] JOE STEPHENSON: Or that's not a VIN for a '66 mustang, right?

[00:46:41.28] REID HOLZWORTH: Right. Totally. Yeah.

[00:46:43.09] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah. So-- and for me-- it's about the fraud for me, but it's also about the business, right. So if I'm a carrier, and I can implement these things where I make the underwriting process faster for good clients, and I can process claims faster for good clients, I'm going to retain that client.

[00:47:03.76] I may go up a little bit in rates, but they're not going to shop around, because they love my service, right. It's about the customer service aspect. On the fraud side, we just want to make it more difficult for the bad guys, right.

[00:47:17.65] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[00:47:18.01] JOE STEPHENSON: But by employing this technology, you can make it great for everyone across the board. So I try to look at what technology is coming that we can put in place that's really going to benefit the company as a whole, but again, it gets back to how much are you going to invest? What are you going to invest in?

[00:47:34.75] Those are just a few examples of thousands of different programs that you could start implementing as a carrier.

[00:47:43.06] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[00:47:43.17] JOE STEPHENSON: So which ones do you use? And which ones give you the best ORI-- Roi? Which ones are the best for customer service?

[00:47:50.74] REID HOLZWORTH: So Joe, what do you do now as chief digital-- what was it? Digital officer? I forget--

[00:47:57.38] JOE STEPHENSON: Digital intelligence. Yeah. Director of digital intelligence.

[00:47:59.75] REID HOLZWORTH: The director of digital intelligence. There it is. Sorry.

[00:48:02.69] JOE STEPHENSON: So--

[00:48:03.41] REID HOLZWORTH: What does that-- what does that mean? What is your J-O-B?

[00:48:05.78] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, so over the years, even in police work, it was understanding, I'm in rural Maine. How do I access technical papers on the breaking force of a telephone pole, right? I don't have the manual. I don't have a book. I don't have $100 to go and buy a textbook on it and then wait three weeks for it.

[00:48:24.56] I just had this accident yesterday. I got to get this report done. So I started learning how I could access this stuff using Google. And then well, what other information is out there and of course, I came in at the age of when I got to see the birth of all this, right, you know, social media and all that.

[00:48:41.34] So I just started spending more and more time understanding online data. So now my job is how do we call that data to allow carriers and law firms to use that to help them negotiate or stop fraud? How to access social media. What social media is best to access once I find it?

[00:49:06.18] REID HOLZWORTH: So OK. Give an example of that. I think-- I know what you're going to go with this, but like give an example, social media as an example. Using--

[00:49:11.34] JOE STEPHENSON: OK.

[00:49:11.64] REID HOLZWORTH: So I have a claim, come in--

[00:49:13.23] JOE STEPHENSON: I have a claim that comes-- let's say it's suspicious, right. Let's say that I'm thinking this item wasn't stolen, or they never own the item, or they got hurt and it wasn't associated to this, or they're legitimately hurt, but I think they're malingering, right.

[00:49:28.23] So we'll go out and find your social media. Now we'll find information on your email accounts. We'll find programs that you're attached to, blogs that you've been on. We'll find your Facebook account and look at your photographs. Do you have a TikTok? Do your kids have a TikTok? Do I see you in the background?

[00:49:49.35] So your kids-- you don't have a TikTok because you're 43, but your kids have a TikTok, right.

[00:49:55.95] REID HOLZWORTH: True. How do you know? How do my age?

[00:49:57.99] [LAUGHTER]

[00:50:00.17] JOE STEPHENSON: Not saying I did a background on you, Reid, but you know, hey, listen, it goes both ways. But your kids have a TikTok, and they're doing the new dance TikTok trend, and they suck you into doing that with them on TikTok, right. And they post it up on their TikTok.

[00:50:16.44] So now here you are saying, I'm permanently impaired. I can barely get out of bed, and I've got you on your kids TikTok dancing, right. It kind of throws questions into the legitimacy of your claim at this point, right. Not saying that you don't have back pain and that you aren't hurt but maybe it's not as bad as you're alleging it to be, because you're looking for a bigger payout. So we can use that.

[00:50:41.43] And then video is becoming a really big thing now. We've got that shift from people actually posting and regurgitating things as we call it diarrhea with the fingers, right. I got to type out everything that I hear and see and think and feel. We're going to video. So how does-- how do we start dealing with that?

[00:51:01.87] How does an investigator or a claims adjuster find somebody's TikTok? They want to be an influencer. They got 600 minutes of TikTok videos out there. They can't--

[00:51:11.73] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally. Like, how do you comb through all of that? Where's like the good-- where's the meat in all of that? Yeah, it's a lot of work.

[00:51:16.90] JOE STEPHENSON: So that's where new technologies come through, new programs, especially AI where I can run all those videos through a program. It will tag them all. So it will say, this video is x number of minutes long. There's four people in it. Here's thumbnail photographs of each of these people.

[00:51:35.67] There's a vehicle in it. There's medical equipment in the background at frame such and such. They're outdoors. We see dancing. We see ATVs. We see the desert, right. It tags all these things, gives you a transcript of the audio, right, that you can then do keyword searches in the audio. Did they say ambulance or accidents?

[00:51:55.89] So now what happens is you go from having to watch-- find the TikTok and then watch 600 minutes of it to, I can create a summary on those 600 minutes. I can tell you there's four videos out of this that might have pictures of that piece of jewelry, or that car, or there's a reference to an ambulance, or a hospital, or a doctor.

[00:52:15.57] Or there's other people here that we may match to a facial recognition library or something like that, especially if you're working a ring, right. Well, why does this person who say they don't know that person? Like, I could have used that a few years ago. You say you don't know him, but then I go through and call all your photographs and download those from Facebook, and you're in nine of those photographs on that person's Facebook page, right. For somebody you don't know, you're in it a lot.

[00:52:42.27] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:52:43.67] JOE STEPHENSON: You know, so--

[00:52:44.79] REID HOLZWORTH: Wow.

[00:52:45.00] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, and it's looking at what we can do. And as social media changes, Facebook puts a lock on this, or they stop letting you do that. OK. Is Twitter the most popular social media platform anymore? Not really. You've got to go to TikTok.

[00:53:03.35] REID HOLZWORTH: Right.

[00:53:03.55] JOE STEPHENSON: But is TikTok popular with 50-year-olds? No, you've got to go back to Facebook, right. So you have to understand the demographics. You have to understand our immigrant population, where are they coming from and what social media are they using.

[00:53:18.66] REID HOLZWORTH: True. Fair enough. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:53:20.82] JOE STEPHENSON: So if you're Chinese, you're probably on Weibo. First-- new immigrants or first generation immigrants, you may be on Weibo or WeChat or something else. You might be using Douban or Douban which is the TikTok variation, but the Chinese variation. So I might have to hit that website.

[00:53:38.01] If you're from India, you might be on the Moj app, which is TikTok-ish. If you're Eastern European, Russian you might be on VK which is like Russian Facebook.

[00:53:51.61] REID HOLZWORTH: I've never heard of any of these.

[00:53:53.83] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah. So you have to kind of-- you really have to stay up on top of this stuff and know where your best ROI is going to be when you look at the person, right. Somebody who's 15, 16, 17, I'm not going to find them on Facebook, right. I might find references to them, but I'm not going to find them on Facebook. They're going to be on Instagram.

[00:54:13.24] So I got to go hit up Instagram. I got to go hit up Snapchat and try to find them. Yeah, so that's my day to day is overseeing, trying to learn all this stuff--

[00:54:23.53] REID HOLZWORTH: Wow.

[00:54:24.39] JOE STEPHENSON: --working with my team to find the best way to find it, and then store it, archive it, and then leverage it for our clients. And that's just-- that's just the social media piece, then we have medical canvassing. We got medical records retrieval. We're always--

[00:54:39.67] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.

[00:54:40.21] JOE STEPHENSON: And we're implementing new AI tools there to summarize medical records to make it faster for our clients so they're not spending days, weeks trying to get through 3,000 medical records. They get these summaries that tell them essentially what the breakdown of the medical records are.

[00:54:56.68] Anything to speed up the process, right, is going to always be beneficial as long as it's accurate.

[00:55:02.28] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. I mean, like, as an officer, you had a-- probably a tape deck in the cruisers compared to where we are now with technology. You've been all the way through it. Like, I bet like-- and I can tell you're really passionate about this stuff. You're really into it.

[00:55:19.14] I bet your head just spins with the tools that are available now to be able to go out and get this stuff. I mean, that's cool, man. Super cool.

[00:55:26.67] JOE STEPHENSON: So I do a lot of teaching and my thing used to be spend Sunday surfing, right. Grab an hour or two, and then just surf the web, do stuff, watch TikTok, watch YouTube videos, right. Punch in a keyword, something that interests you and see what's out there.

[00:55:45.09] YouTube has been just a great educational aspect if you can get through the lies that are perpetrated on there, right.

[00:55:54.45] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[00:55:55.17] JOE STEPHENSON: But yeah. Listen, I was addicted to TikTok. Like, it was two hours before I went to bed every night. I finally had to turn it off. But every day it's something new. Like, yesterday, it was-- oh my god. Like, there's 100 different programs out there that will transcribe videos now, right, that will-- they'll take--

[00:56:17.47] If I'm trying to do a presentation and develop a new presentation for a class, I can just write out my thoughts or use ChatGPT to write me out an outline, take that outline put it into this one. They'll generate slides for me for a presentation, and then I can take that, merge it, take the slides, take the outline, create a script on another AI tool and then throw those into a fourth one that will take and build me a 20 minute video that I can then put on YouTube, right. How crazy is that? So--

[00:56:49.05] REID HOLZWORTH: Right?

[00:56:49.65] JOE STEPHENSON: Something that would have taken me a week and a half, two weeks to do, 60 hours, I can do in an hour and 10 minutes.

[00:56:58.31] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome. Yeah.

[00:57:00.30] JOE STEPHENSON: So it's just-- it's amazing, but it is head spinning. For sure. And I think sometimes it's, I'm in this every day, and then I'll go back and I'll talk to somebody in a carrier who's still doing stuff that I did 10 years ago, and I'm like, why aren't you using this? And it's they don't know. They didn't know it existed.

[00:57:17.47] Just like I didn't know it existed till I watched TikTok. But they don't have time for TikTok, right. They're still working 90 hour weeks, getting paid for 40, so--

[00:57:28.35] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. Wow. It's-- I mean, that-- all of that is just so fascinating to me. I had no idea it was that big, and I just keep coming back to, as an entrepreneur, like thinking about the opportunity to disrupt that space in helping carriers, brokers, whatnot on the front end with all this technology that's available to us today and that's what you're doing. It's awesome.

[00:57:52.58] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah.

[00:57:52.75] REID HOLZWORTH: Really cool.

[00:57:53.57] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, and, you know, there's a lot of smarter, more energetic people out there than I am. I'm amazed at how people develop some of these tools right, and how they're thinking to develop these tools. Like--

[00:58:13.16] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep.

[00:58:13.85] JOE STEPHENSON: And you know what you know best, right. So you develop tools about what you know. But then I'm always in awe of this 22-year-old who just decides one day, hey, I think I can do this. They have no experience in it. There's no-- nobody telling them.

[00:58:29.63] They haven't spent years trying to cultivate an expertise in it. They're just like, hey, I wonder if you can do this, and they do it. And then they go, wow, I wonder how I can apply it to something in real life. And then you end up going, yeah, you can, and you can apply it across multiple industries, like this is an amazing tool.

[00:58:48.17] Like, I can't believe that you came up with this on a whim. There's a lot of-- I always tell people, I learn more in a month or two months or three months from people half my age that I can teach myself in 5 or 10 years. I work with a lot of young staff, and they have taught me so much.

[00:59:08.63] Don't-- don't think because you have a title or you have some position that you know everything, because you don't.

[00:59:16.22] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, totally.

[00:59:17.21] JOE STEPHENSON: You need to be looking at these people who have an expertise and stuff. There's staff that work for me that before I even think about these things, they're coming to me. When Threads first came out, I had one of my staff members-- like, I hadn't even had time to really get into that platform.

[00:59:33.95] And they're emailing me, telling me how I can access it on the web versus the mobile app and how I can access find a profile on there, and this-- and what this does and everything else. And I'm like, this is phenomenal, right. Like, you just saved me a whole day of searching and trying to plug this together.

[00:59:50.24] And when did they do it? After hours. After they got done their workday, because they wanted to play around and because it interests them too. So--

[00:59:59.26] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, let's-- that is-- I mean, that's true leadership, though, like, right there. That is the team being super engaged in what you're doing and that comes from you like motivating them to do this. Fair enough?

[01:00:15.56] JOE STEPHENSON: You--

[01:00:16.40] REID HOLZWORTH: You got to take some credit--

[01:00:17.55] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, you know--

[01:00:18.11] REID HOLZWORTH: A little bit.

[01:00:18.68] JOE STEPHENSON: Listen, I will tell you. I was-- I was a micromanager at one point. I think one of the biggest problems with any, I don't care, public, private institution, there are very few that make managers, and then train them how to be managers, right. We give you a manager title, or a director's title, or executive title, VP, whatever and then never teach you how to do this process, right.

[01:00:45.53] It's more than just having some break chart or a dischart telling you about your personalities. If the person doesn't know how to communicate, right--

[01:00:56.96] REID HOLZWORTH: That's so true.

[01:00:57.99] JOE STEPHENSON: --doesn't understand the process. Like, for me, I need to understand what my employees are doing, and I shouldn't say employees, my coworkers are doing, right.

[01:01:06.87] REID HOLZWORTH: Mm-hmm.

[01:01:07.05] JOE STEPHENSON: Because I can't make their lives better. I can't reduce these touch points that they're having. I can't get rid of their aggravations if I don't know what they do every day, right. So if I don't engage them on a weekly basis, say, what are your problems?

[01:01:23.28] What are you running into? How can I be helpful, right? What can I do for you should be the easiest statement to come out of anybody in a manager's position. What can I do for you today? Right. Tell me what I can do to make-- because if you're open to that, right, if you're listening to your employees, you're going to make yourself profitable.

[01:01:42.38] You're going to make yourself-- you just have the best team available. You're--

[01:01:48.54] REID HOLZWORTH: Well, you're empowering them is how I would take that. Seriously.

[01:01:52.59] JOE STEPHENSON: You are, but it doesn't always work with everybody, right.

[01:01:57.73] REID HOLZWORTH: That's true. Not everybody is a leader in that way or a manager of people in that way too.

[01:02:03.26] JOE STEPHENSON: And not--

[01:02:03.38] REID HOLZWORTH: Not everybody is like that.

[01:02:05.15] JOE STEPHENSON: And not all your people are receptive to that too, right. And you have to understand those personalities too. Some people just want some direction and be left alone, and they'll be fine, and you have to understand that. And again, I think that goes back to not really teaching you how to manage people. You're managing a system.

[01:02:24.29] My thing is that 70/30 rule is imperative to understand. And we use it in hiring where I'm going to hire you because your knowledge-- you have 70% of the knowledge for this position. You'll learn the other 30%. I look at it differently. I'm hiring you, because I want you to--

[01:02:41.82] You have the capability of doing 70% of what I want you to do just like me, and I don't care about the other 30%, because I'm never going to find somebody that's going to do 100% the way I do it, the way I want it to be done, the way I expect it to be done because if I have that expectation, I become a micromanager.

[01:03:00.21] I want you to do it just like me 100% of the time, you're never going to reach it. So I'm always going to have my thumb on you. You're going to hate me for it, right. But if I can find one person to do 70% of that, I've won. And it makes their life easier. And then I will give them the tools to learn that other 30% or at least get close to it.

[01:03:20.59] But most of the time, I find that they do it better than me, so--

[01:03:26.21] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. So hey, I want to go back to one thing. What advice-- I mean, you've worked with a lot of young people. You've worked with a lot of people, generally, and it seems like you've led a lot of people. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs, startups, people kind of starting out in the game, if you will?

[01:03:45.86] JOE STEPHENSON: So I think one of the biggest things that I would say is don't get discouraged, right, especially if you're in the insurance industry. If you're trying to sell something to the insurance industry, you're going to have-- if it's good product, you're going to have this great embracing of the product, but don't set your expectations where you're going to sign a contract in a week or two.

[01:04:10.60] It may take you a year or two. There are several layers to get through, right. There's a buy/sell cycle. Don't get discouraged because it's going to take you two years to land a client or do something else because that's just not possible in that typical environment. You'll realize your dreams, but it's just going to take you some time to get there.

[01:04:34.48] And on the reverse of that, you may have the best product in the world, it could be the coolest technology but if it doesn't solve somebody's immediate problems, if it doesn't play well with their systems that they've already spent millions of dollars interacting with, you're never going to sell it.

[01:04:51.05] So think about the client from the perspective of what have they previously invested in for technologies. How does my tech or my product play into that? And how does it solve a fire that they're trying to put out today or in the very near future? Because if it solves a problem that they haven't experienced yet or haven't realized yet, it's not going to be on the forefront. They're not going to care about that. So--

[01:05:16.73] REID HOLZWORTH: That's-- that's good advice, man. I agree with you 100%. So you're so good about just breaking stuff down so simply and it's so real, it's so true. Seriously. I'm not kissing your ass. Like, that was-- it's good. Really, really good. And I totally agree. That's awesome.

[01:05:33.89] All right. A few more questions, then we're going to wrap it up. Well, one question I forgot to ask early on. You said you like cars. I know you're into cars. What's your-- what's been your favorite car? Do you have a car that got away from you? Maybe you still have one or maybe like--

[01:05:49.90] What's been like maybe the car in high school? Like, what's been a vehicle, I'll just say? Could be a motorcycle too where it's-- you're like, man, I let that one go, or I wish I would have had that, or my dad sold it, or whatever.

[01:06:05.83] JOE STEPHENSON: So there are two. You're going to laugh at me on the second one. The very first car I bought when I think I was 14, 15 was a barn find. I paid $100 bucks for it. It was a 1964.5 Mustang. So the very first half year of production, they called them 65s but it was 64.5.

[01:06:28.20] REID HOLZWORTH: Yep. Yep.

[01:06:29.74] JOE STEPHENSON: Hauled it home. Put it on blocks. Goes back to me not being a mechanic, right, and no YouTube at the time, right. So it sat there under a tarp that eventually ended up just fading away--

[01:06:43.01] REID HOLZWORTH: Disintegrating. Yeah.

[01:06:44.45] JOE STEPHENSON: --for two years until my father called a wrecker, and had it, you know, towed away. I--

[01:06:49.09] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, no.

[01:06:50.36] JOE STEPHENSON: This thing had everything. It had the seats. It was not in bad condition. I look-- I think about it a lot now going, I could have-- had YouTube been around, I could have restored this, right, or at least got it running. The second one is the first car that I ever had was an '82 Plymouth Champ.

[01:07:11.09] Two door, stripped down, four on the floor. The--

[01:07:15.13] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.

[01:07:15.60] JOE STEPHENSON: The Dodge Omni. The cheaper version of the Dodge Omni Ford Escort, right. Like, this thing goes back to my parents not having a lot of money. We bought cars that were completely stripped down. They didn't even have radios, so-- but that was my first car, and I have a lot of-- I had a lot of fun with that thing.

[01:07:35.60] It was one of those cars, front wheel drive but if you put it in reverse, you could still drift with it, do donuts.

[01:07:42.52] REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS]

[01:07:44.19] JOE STEPHENSON: I raced a lot of Dodge armies Omni's. A buddy of mine had a Dodge Omni, and I can remember racing across town about 80 miles an hour After, school one day on side streets and everything else. Luckily, never got caught. Didn't go to jail. Could have had my police career after that, but I would love to have that car back. Absolutely love to have that car back.

[01:08:03.32] I don't even think there is one existing anymore anywhere.

[01:08:07.24] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, all the cash for clunkers stuff, dude, a lot of that stuff's gone, gone.

[01:08:11.78] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah.

[01:08:11.92] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah.

[01:08:12.35] JOE STEPHENSON: So--

[01:08:12.91] REID HOLZWORTH: Especially that era.

[01:08:13.94] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, I think the closest you could get now is probably an early '90s Dodge Colt was the eventual of that one, but that '82 Plymouth Champ, boy, if I could have that thing back, that would be-- I'd put it in a glass box on a turntable, you know.

[01:08:32.18] REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS] Now I'm laughing at you.

[01:08:35.03] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, I know you are. Everybody else is like Porsche 911, right, you know. I want a Ferrari F40, you know. No, I want an '82 Plymouth Champ.

[01:08:45.63] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. That's awesome. So Joe, what do you do for fun these days? Outside of the kids and all that and maybe grandkids at this point, what do you do for fun, man?

[01:08:54.98] JOE STEPHENSON: So I was lucky enough to acquire some family land up in Canada. So I've got some acreage up in Canada. It's off grid and that's my--

[01:09:05.99] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, nice.

[01:09:06.23] JOE STEPHENSON: That's my fun time now. So I've got a tractor up there and a storage container and an RV and, you know--

[01:09:12.38] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, yeah.

[01:09:12.68] JOE STEPHENSON: I spend most of my time this time of year thinking about what I'm going to build up there, a pole barn or what fields I'm going to clear and then in the summertime, I get up there as much as I can so I can do that. So that's my fun. It's funny how it changes when you're in your 50s, getting closer to retirement.

[01:09:32.29] REID HOLZWORTH: It's-- I will say that's probably one of my actual real favorite things to do. Like, I have some property here at my house, and I love just getting up early on a Saturday morning, smoking cigars and coffee and just roaming around the property and thinking about the stuff that I want to do in the future, you know.

[01:09:48.44] And like, you know, maybe it'll never happen, but I just love like envisioning like what do we want to do here and there and with everything. It's so cool, man. That's awesome. And it sounds like you're going back to your childhood roots of playing in the streams, and the woods and fishing and hunting and all that fun--

[01:10:03.17] JOE STEPHENSON: Oh, for sure. And get out there, and you're off grid, right, so you're collecting rainwater. I do have my Starlink so I can connect to the internet and still watch my TikTok, but you know, it's like, OK, I'm going to attack this field this year, and I'm going to clean up all these rock walls.

[01:10:17.52] And then you start thinking about, you got three, four, five generations of ancestors that were on this land before you who cleared this, right, who made these rock walls. And you find an old wagon wheel rim or something else. You find the old blacksmith location that was there.

[01:10:36.72] And you get some old square headed nails and that kind of stuff and yeah, it's just--

[01:10:41.58] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome.

[01:10:42.63] JOE STEPHENSON: I think as you get older, you think-- you start to reminisce a little bit more, and romanticize the past. It would have been a really hard life for me to live without technology back then but, you know.

[01:10:56.24] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. All right. Last question. What's your favorite drink, Joe? What do you like to drink?

[01:11:01.89] JOE STEPHENSON: Tequila.

[01:11:02.25] REID HOLZWORTH: And it doesn't have to be alcohol. Maybe you don't drink alcohol.

[01:11:04.71] JOE STEPHENSON: --no, no.

[01:11:05.04] REID HOLZWORTH: More and more, I'm getting away from alcohol myself, and especially listening to this kind of stuff, man. You probably had a weird relationship with alcohol being a police officer--

[01:11:12.48] JOE STEPHENSON: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Beer has always been my choice. I like IPAs but as I get older, they're not compatible with me anymore. But I like tequila. So a Paloma. I'll go for a Paloma or a tequila mule.

[01:11:30.31] REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, nice.

[01:11:31.62] JOE STEPHENSON: But the difference is I like one, maybe two--

[01:11:34.88] REID HOLZWORTH: OK.

[01:11:35.46] JOE STEPHENSON: --but--

[01:11:35.70] REID HOLZWORTH: All right--

[01:11:36.21] JOE STEPHENSON: --that's where you call a limit, right. And it's-- and it's-- maybe on the weekend, maybe one evening, but it doesn't have to be every day.

[01:11:43.62] REID HOLZWORTH: That's great, man. That's awesome. That's awesome. All right. Well, next time I see you, we'll have a Paloma--

[01:11:49.56] JOE STEPHENSON: Perfect.

[01:11:49.76] REID HOLZWORTH: --together.

[01:11:49.95] JOE STEPHENSON: Sounds good.

[01:11:50.92] REID HOLZWORTH: Maybe we'll do a couple of shots too. We'll see. See if I can convince you.

[01:11:53.85] JOE STEPHENSON: Get a little patron silver. Yeah.

[01:11:55.89] REID HOLZWORTH: There you go.

[01:11:56.64] JOE STEPHENSON: For sure.

[01:11:57.57] REID HOLZWORTH: Hey, Joe, this was awesome, man. Man, just fascinating stuff, and thank you for joining the show. It's really cool. Listeners are really going to enjoy it. It was a lot, a lot of good context, and you lived a great life and are doing some really cool things in our industry, so thanks for coming on, man. Really appreciate it.

[01:12:13.65] JOE STEPHENSON: Thanks, Reid, for having me. And I really appreciate those words. Yeah. It's been a good life. I got no complaints.

[01:12:20.63] REID HOLZWORTH: That's awesome, man. All right. Well, thanks again. All right. We're back. Joe Stephenson. What'd you think, Christen?

[01:12:28.83] CHRISTEN KELLEY: From the time that the request came in, I knew this was one that was going to be interesting and different than our typical ones. I don't know. I always love listening to people that have stories from being in law enforcement and then having it transition into something that's connected to our day to day of insurance. I don't know. It was good. It was entertaining.

[01:12:55.60] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, I'm just going to say like, you know this, like, I loved this dude. It was so fun like getting to know him. Such a good dude. Like, I know I say that about everybody. I get it. But no, he just is. He really is. And I just really like, one, I just really love the dude's energy and just how he is like as a leader. I mean, all of it.

[01:13:13.69] But like, I loved hearing all the stories, not even necessarily from the law enforcement stuff. Like, that stuff was really interesting, but all of the fraud stories, and there was, by the way folks, there was a bunch that he didn't put on the air there that he shared with me.

[01:13:33.28] Crazy stuff like people videoing with stolen camera equipment for treason purposes. Like, wild, wild stories. But I'll say like for me, the thing that was most fascinating about this whole thing was the $308 billion--

[01:13:58.95] CHRISTEN KELLEY: With a B.

[01:14:00.40] REID HOLZWORTH: With the B. And so like, I'll say that again, $308 billion in fraud in this country. Think about that. For all you startups that are listening, right, people that are looking for ideas and things, you start to talk about-- like, think about what Joe was talking about and how they're using modern tools and technology to go through and just go all deep into the web and find out all this information.

[01:14:29.12] If you can impact that market a tiny bit, it's huge, huge, huge money and everybody's happy. And the thing that like-- and I really didn't know a lot about this prior to getting in this-- into this with Joe. But knowing now that like, in-- hey, maybe somebody will get mad about this. Good. Go do something about it.

[01:14:51.65] That nobody gets prosecuted around this stuff--

[01:14:54.68] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah.

[01:14:54.92] REID HOLZWORTH: It's like nobody really cares. And then so then how do you impact it? You impact it through technology. You impact it through-- like some of the stuff that he's talking about, like--

[01:15:05.39] CHRISTEN KELLEY: It's simple technology too, though, some of the things that he was talking about. So if they're not going to be prosecuted after they do it, so how do we prevent it from happening? And things-- like simple things that carriers and agents could do.

[01:15:18.74] And I think one of the things he talked about was if someone's filling out a form for personal lines on your website, check where the IP is coming from and if it's outside of a state or health, it's outside the country that you're looking to write business, then it should red flag that you're not going to even give them the information.

[01:15:43.32] Just small little things that people could be thinking about to prevent it knowing that the ability for it to be prosecuted on the other end is very small.

[01:15:51.81] REID HOLZWORTH: It's crazy too, because if you think about it through the agent's lens, it's like, oh, I just got this great prospect that owns all these convenience stores. It's awesome. You feeling me? Like, I'm writing this deal. And it's like gnarly, you know. I mean-- and then they would say, like, oh, as a field underwriter, as the agent, then like, you should kind of like, blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

[01:16:16.29] Like, these guys are pros, literally, and they're doing it over and over and over and over again. And it's like what kind of tools and things-- I mean, that's a really simple one you just mentioned, Christen. But what kinds of tools and things can we build as an industry to prevent this?

[01:16:31.94] People are screaming about how expensive insurance is, right?

[01:16:38.06] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah.

[01:16:38.77] REID HOLZWORTH: How to impact the fraud. What does that do for everyone? It's massive, massive. But it was just-- it was just really, really fascinating one for me. Really cool. And I just-- I just-- again, I just love talking to Joe. He's just-- a he's a good dude, you know. I'd love to have a beer with that guy. Not doubt.

[01:16:56.47] CHRISTEN KELLEY: One of the things that I thought was interesting about what he's doing now when he talked about social media, we always hear about the bad of social media, and he said the further you go, the weirder and more interesting things. But the things that he is being able to learn by going on to these social media sites and to help with insurance fraud was interesting. So I guess it's one valuable thing that social media is doing.

[01:17:21.60] REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, true, true, true. People are going to get smart, though, smarter and smarter and smarter. But I love what he said about like the TikTok stuff. It's such a good example. It's like so totally makes sense. Like, whatever it was, their brothers, sisters, cousins friend is doing a TikTok, and they're in the background like doing-- doing it. Like, it's pretty cool, you know.

[01:17:43.30] But yeah, no, look, I really enjoyed it, and yeah, I'd love to have Joe back at some point, kind of give us some more stories and things and ideas on how to really truly impact this across the industry in the future. And hey, we should start prosecuting people, but apparently, everybody's on the take and nobody really cares because hey, they're going after the big giant cyber stuff and container ships full of kilos of cocaine, I guess.

[01:18:13.12] That's not that interesting. Although everybody in this country is paying more in insurance, right. Carriers aren't making as much. The commissions are going down. It's not good for anyone. No one. It's good for the guys that are doing the fraud, I guess.

[01:18:29.10] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah, it's just that, that number is crazy to me. But I love it. This one, it's a new topic, right. We haven't really taken on fraud and probably for that reason that it has-- it's still something that needs to be-- have a light shined on it because it is a big problem.

[01:18:48.43] REID HOLZWORTH: Uh-huh.

[01:18:49.15] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Bigger than many of the topics that we've taken on about like better distribution and things like that so--

[01:18:57.20] REID HOLZWORTH: Absolutely. Absolutely. Impact that at a carrier.

[01:19:01.80] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah.

[01:19:02.50] REID HOLZWORTH: Gee. In a material way. That is real bottom line. Yeah, that's just fascinating. It's like a whole new kind of world for me with that. So it was great. I had a lot of fun with this one. It was good.

[01:19:18.03] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Same here.

[01:19:19.42] REID HOLZWORTH: All right. Well, more to come, much more to come. All right. Stay tuned, everyone.