Conversations with the Most Interesting Man in Insurance, Part 1: Adapting During COVID-19

In December of 2020, Jordan Schaenzle (our Chicago Managing Partner) had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Rob Galbraith, the Most Interesting Man in Insurance. Rob is the author of the insurance industry bestseller “The End Of Insurance As We Know It” and has worked in the insurance space for over twenty years.

Over the next few weeks, we will share some of his insights, which we hope can help other insurance firms adapt to this changing landscape.

The first question Rob and Jordan discussed was “How are you seeing the pandemic affecting the insurance industry?” Below is a full summary of Rob’s advice.

COVID-19 and the Insurance Industry

When COVID-19 came to the United States in early 2020, no one knew what impact it would have on the US insurance industry. Reflecting almost a year later, the hit to the industry was palpable. With a potential worldwide recession, a distributed workforce, and an increase in claims, the industry is ripe for change.

Two things stand out as tactics every firm should consider in 2021: connect more with the insured, and use technology to stand out from the competition.

1. Connection Is Key

In the past, travel was a major point of connection for carriers, underwriters, visiting agents, and producers for things like loss control and claim investigations. When COVID-19 hit, that in-person connection was lost. An upfront benefit of that reduced travel time was that it gave back insurers valuable hours and increased productivity internally. But the shift to remote meetings takes thought, and doing sales via phone call or Zoom can be challenging.

Here are some important questions you can ask yourself and your team before meeting with an insured remotely:

  • What is the message we need to deliver?
  • What is the purpose of this conversation?
  • What do we want to accomplish?

During a remote meeting, there are a few questions you can ask the insured to build trust.

  • What are some concerns you have about your insurance?
  • What is most important to you with your policy? Examples could include: saving money or not having to worry about coverage.

This focus on human connection and trust-building during a period of stark isolation is important when thinking about keeping your insurance firm strong during the pandemic. Intentional connection extends to every part of a user’s interaction with your company.

“The ability to do business digitally can remove friction from your work,” Galbraith says. “But ironically, when you introduce friction into the process, it makes you rethink and reflect on how you’re doing things.”

So how can you add some helpful friction into your process? Rethink all of your user touchpoints. Does that PDF add value to the customer? Could that email be a more meaningful phone call? What questions could you be asking during a sales call?

Take a look at your process and try to see where you can automate it to open up space for important human interaction.

2. Industry Disruption: Pay-As-You-Go Insurance

One subset of the insurance industry that is getting a lot of attention is insurtech firms that offer pay-as-you-go insurance (such as UK-based firm, By Miles).

Companies like this have a unique value to offer their customers during the pandemic: if you’re not driving, why pay a flat rate for car insurance? Instead, By Miles allows their customers to pay for insurance by each mile driven, without having to talk to an insurance agent.

While companies with similar offerings have previously struggled to gain traction, the pandemic has made their proposition much more attractive. Before the pandemic, there was a niche set of Americans who were interested in a pay-as-you-go service: Urban millennials. These folks either don’t own a car or do not drive often, so these models were attractive to them.

With COVID-19, many Americans found themselves stuck at home with nowhere to drive and no extra money lying around. So the marketplace for pay-as-you-go services expanded.

These insurtech firms also offer more than data-driven discounts, with a host of value-added services on their mobile apps. For example, when someone gets into a car accident, their built-in IoT device can connect them to a representative that can ask if they were in a crash or if they need a tow truck.

This is where human connection and modern technology meet. American consumers want to spend their money with a company they can trust and to have a modern, easy-to-navigate experience.

What does this mean for your company?

As we head into 2021, it’s important to take time to think about what your firm can offer your customers. Does your process make sense? Are you using technology the right way? Who can help you get where you want to be?


Check out more from our interview with Rob Galbraith in the coming weeks to learn more about the future of the insurance industry and get hands-on tips for your firm.

If you’d like to learn more about how Atomic can help you reach your goals, chat with one of our managing partners.