Efficient and Curated Hyper-personalization in Insurance

Efficient and Curated Hyper-personalization in Insurance

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Lisa Wardlaw, North America Advisor of InsurTech Israel, joins us in this month’s InsurBreak episode and talks about being first movers in the insurance industry, incorporating emerging technologies to carrying the user experience throughout the entire insurance journey.

Listen to Lisa discuss about:


    • Recognizing patterns in insurtech, the macroeconomic purpose and seeing the entire value system
    •  Being a woman in the insurance industry: the different levels of inclusion, belonging & authenticity
    • Integrating customers into our data capabilities and journeys to create customer experience
    • The difference between over-engineered technology vs delivering a curated hyper-personalization in insurance


“ That’s a difference between almost over-engineered technology that’s still not delivering a curated customer hyper-personalized experience because it seems like it would, but it fails. Hyper personalization means that above all else, you know, thy customer, thy customer, the customer.”

If Tesla had deployed hyper personalization, they would have known that I was going to lose my mind, going to pick up a car that I had ordered 60 days before that. You get this little “Bing! Your car is ready. Bing! Check in at this location.” 

Ash: You’re tuning in to the Insure Break podcast. It’s the podcast about the latest and greatest trends in insurance. I’m your host, Ash, and I invite you to join us as we interview experts and executives in insurance covering innovative practices, technology advancements, and insight into the future of insurance. 

This podcast is sponsored by Zelros. Zelros is an AI software solution for insurance to hyper personalize the customer buying experience with insurance recommendations across all channels, boosting client acquisitions, cross-sell and up-sell. 

In this episode, we sit down with Lisa Wardlaw. You’re in for a special episode today because not only is Lisa a seasoned insurance executive, but she shares personal stories of how hyper personalization made a difference in her buying experiences. She shares how AI tools could power insurance businesses and the future of insurance as it relates to both technology and the importance of diversity of people in a company. 

We are joined today by Lisa Wardlaw, former chief digital strategy at Munich Re, former chief strategy finance officer at Farmers Insurance. She recently joined InsureTech Israel to lead expansion throughout North America, a venture capital and private equity firm focused on helping InsureTech startups at scale. We are going to talk about insurance personalization, AI, Chat GPT, and so much more. Lisa, we are so excited to have you with us today. Thank you so much for joining us. 

Lisa: I’m so excited to be here. And I’m glad you didn’t say former Chat GPT. No, I’m joking. I need to remove some of those formers from my title and just say, she used to be a really boring corporate person. No, I’m joking. 

Ash: So maybe to begin, can you give us a little bit of background into maybe how you got into insurance and then what you do now? 

Lisa: Ironically, none of us necessarily choose this industry. We say that the industry chooses us. And on one hand, you could say that’s a warm and fuzzy thing to say. But on the other hand, I think it’s real, right? Like, my kids are like, oh, my gosh, my mom does insurance. But how I got into it, so I was liberal arts educated. I was the first one in my direct family to get a college degree. And I studied economics. But my father really wanted me to do something that was like he just didn’t believe. My dad’s an engineer, runs an avionic shop, runs his own business. And because I was the oldest and his first born that graduated from college, he was like, you need a career. And so I was like, okay, I’ll go do this thing called public accounting. 

But I really, really loved what I deemed the more esoteric parts of finance and business. So financial modeling, economics… I would have gone on to get my PhD in macroeconomics, honestly. So I end up going into this thing called public accounting to kind of make my dad proud. And I literally didn’t know, I became a CFO later in life, but at that moment in time, I’m like, what’s auditing? I barely knew accounting. And so they were like, thank goodness. Back in the day, they just really wanted people who learned fast and worked hard and they were like, what are we going to do with this person that doesn’t understand manufacturing or auditing or… I did have enough accounting credits to sit for the CPA exam. So fast forward to because I had an economics background and just this love for financial modeling, it was so natural for me to do insurance, right? Because insurance at the end of the day, and we’re going to talk about the tangible part, which is customer experience, but insurance at the end of the day is basically fulfilling and taking something that’s intangible and making it tangible. 

And so I fell in love with it, first of all, because I had to, because I didn’t know what else I was going to do to pay the bill. My husband was in law school and it’s like, what are you going to do? But no, I fell in love with the bigger vision and the bigger purpose. And I’ll go one step further, which I think ties into probably what we’ll talk about. We always talk about insurance and serving a purpose to its policyholders and society and people, which is totally true. 

What I think a lot of people forget, and you can kind of see this with some of the SVB declines and all the things that we’re going through right now. There is not a high performing nation that does not have financial services backing it. The world needs financial services more than just consumers need to buy this. But because what do we do with the collection of these things called premiums? We buy most of the world’s treasury bills, bonds. We’re conservative investors, so we end up backing the pillars of  gross domestic product and economic value. 

So Ash, long answer to your question, but it drew me in because of the macroeconomic purpose of it, which happened to tie into my background. And then, yeah, I’ve just gotten to spend a lot of years learning and playing  different roles at different organizations, kind of seeing the entire value stream. 

Ash: So Lisa, tell us about what you’re doing now in terms of InsurTech Israel?

Lisa:  I spent so much of my early years, I’m just like in the prime, right? So most people, when they have their midlife crisis, they decide to, I don’t know, go buy a fancy car or go take some amazing trip or, I don’t know,  go parachuting… what do I do? I’m like, oh, I’m going to quit my corporate career, literally. I remember this distinctly. It was like Memorial Day weekend, right? Two years ago, I’m like, I’m quitting my corporate career as a CFO, and one of my friends was like, yeah. Everyone else was like, what? And I definitely think people were like, are you sure you don’t need mental help right now? I’m like, no, I’m waking up on it was not Memorial Day, on Tuesday, and I resigned with no plan Ash, at all. And I’m like, I’m going to go into Insertech. Why not? What better cure for a midlife crisis than to go from 25 years in corporate insurance and PwC and you know the Ivy Leagues of Ivy Leagues and say,  go, like, kick it over in the Insurer tech world? So I did that for 18 months intentionally. I didn’t pick InsurTechs that I had any corporate depth or experience in. So I picked at the time, like, geospatial, because I’m like, I want to go do something totally different than what I’ve done before. And that then led me to start seeing, talk about recognizing patterns. So I’m going to get to InsureTech Israel. I started noticing these patterns. And so whether I was in the company or whether or not I was trying to partner, because we have to partner a lot in the InsureTech world and space, I started seeing these patterns with, first of all, revenue and ARR and plateaus and carrier meetings and proof of concept, like the treadmill of proof of concepts. And how do you get off that treadmill? And so I started talking to a lot of founders. It was just very natural for me. I was like, oh, well, do you see this pattern? And what you see is the same thing I see. I just saw this 20 times over. And then I would say, but you know, the carriers are kind of thinking about it like this. And so I just naturally and very organically,  I guess I started inserting myself into these conversations, and I’m a natural problem solver. I should have admitted that I like to solve problems. And so I ended up, as the story goes, and I don’t know if Kobe will remember this, so we can tag Kobe and see if he remembers that. But he and I, oddly enough, we met in Insurtech Insights panel. We were on a panel together, and we were competing about the trends. And the joke is, I beat him. He’s like, I didn’t even know I was playing. He’s very Israeli and competitive like that. So we’ve known each other for a while, and then we’re at this InsureTech Connect event at a dinner at an MGV dinner in Vegas, and Sabine Vanderlin, who’s one of my closest friends in InsureTech, she and I are there, and Kobe comes up to us, and Kobe’s like, hey, you know that you’re in the US. And I’ve got this Insurtech delegation coming to the US, you think you’d want to come? And I don’t know, I’m just like, sure, I’ll come. Why not? What that turned into is me helping him and I did the InsureTech USA roadshow. They usually come once a year. And I met the team. They did a five day roadshow. It’s incredibly intense. They went to Des Moines, then New York, then Hartford, then Stanford. Or I think it was Stanford, then Hartford, then Boston. And I missed Des Moines and Boston because I had to fly to Berlin, but ended up hanging out with them. And again, I started answering questions and just started asking, how do you do this? That then turned into Kobe and I identifying a need. Which is, so, first of all, I like to say that the birthplace of innovation is predominantly in Israel or somehow adjacent to Israel. There’s so much tech, and the incubation there is just amazing. But I like to say that in the US, we know how to commercialize it. It was very natural for Kobe and I to see a need. And he’s an astute business person, as am I. So we saw a need, and we’re like, hey, we can create an extension of what they’re already doing in Israel, which is really incubation, acceleration, investment, and strategy. And they do delegations, of course. We can then extend that to say, if you want to grow, scale, launch, expand, or even if you’ve plateaued and you want to go to that next level, we can help you with that. And so that’s what I’m doing now at InsureTech Israel. 

Ash: Okay, so I guess maybe a little bit more broadly, what does personalization mean to you? And then maybe if you can give us an example of that, that would be great?

Lisa: So this is one of my hot buttons, which is why I love talking to you all about this, because, you know!

Ash: We know all your hot buttons. 

Lisa: I mean, one of my many hot buttons. This is definitely up, really high. I think that most people entered personalization in this non-personalized way. So what it was is, Data Science used to have a dotted line to me in one of my former, former roles. And so I would always ask the Data Science team, is anybody doing something that’s not a regression analysis? Like, meaning reverting to the mean? And they would all look at me, and I’m like, $100 Starbucks card right now. If you can give me anything you’re working on that’s not reversion to the mean, they would just all stare at me. Needless to say, I didn’t have to make any of my promises for the $100 very often. So what I mean by that is we’ve entered a world where we have so much data and so much data capabilities, and we’ve applied that data to basically, like, an 80-20 rule. So if we revert to the mean, how do we then put people into these journeys? Which is why even things like user journeys and customer experience, things I’m like, I start to have a little bit of a panic attack because when does this… By the way, I have so much fun with all my friends that do this stuff for a living, and I’m not the one that does this. I just get to challenge it. 

Personalization to me, to answer your specific question, means I am not part of any reversion to the mean. I, as Lisa, do not fit. You can’t bucket me as saying, like, post midlife crisis female, blah, blah, blah, blah, and put me on a user journey that, you know, like everyone else my age, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, location, geography, whatever would fall into. Because personalization to me means you literally know so much about me that you A, know things that I don’t even know about myself, per se, that are more buried in my. And then you’re teasing that out to support me, right? Because I may live in the same area as some of my friends or whatever, but I have very different personalization things. So the best experience that I can probably give if I really had to think about two experiences that just really rate high. The first one was when I bought a really expensive German car brand. And I went in and the guy’s talking to me on the phone and I’m like, dude, seriously, I don’t do demos. I don’t do any Insurtech demos. I don’t demo tech. I look under the hood. I’m an architecture person. I’m like, you want me to buy it? No demo. And so here I am, and I’ll just say I work for a German company, so we were supposed to have a German car. And so I went to buy my first Mercedes, which was truly out of my, I’m a Honda Accord girl. So I go into this world, I’m like, what? I’ve only had a Honda, like, my whole life, right? So I go to Mercedes and they want me to test drive it, and they’re going to bring me whatever, the best coffee and all the stuff. I don’t do this. So I laughed, and I called the guy and I’m like, there’s a couple of things you need to know about me. I don’t test drive. I’m not going to fall in love with it until I see it. The way I buy, my dad raised me buying cars, too. Maybe I should admit that, very engineering. I want to know how it all works. I want to know the price point. I want to know this. I want to know that. I want to know that you can get the color and get the special orders of leather, all the things. And then when it shows up on the lot, I’ll go sit in it, and if I don’t like it, you put it back on the lot and if I like it, I’ll drive away with it. And you have to be able to do all that in under five minutes, no more than five minutes, because I’m also impatient. And he’s like, okay, game on. And I’m like, cool. I like you already. So, needless to say, I bought my car from him. But the experience in the store was amazing, right? Because there’s all these people doing all the things I told him I wouldn’t do. And I like, kind of like the VIP line. He just takes me back there. I sit at this desk. He’s like, you need to sign the contract. And I’m expecting paper, right? He’s like, no, it was embedded in the desk. It was like a screen in the desk. And he signs it, and then he flips it over, and then I sign it, and I’m like, what is this world now? You have to remember, this was like 2016 ish. And then, of course, I saw a timer on my phone. Less than five minutes, I had possession of my car. So then the funny story is, I go get my car, and I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t seen it. I hadn’t driven it. I mean, I just picked it all out. Then the woman, the customer success woman, she’s like, so, do you want to know how to drive it? And I’m like, wait, you mean I now need to learn how to drive this? She’s like, well, you know. You’ve got to remember, this is 2016. It’s got this self parking thing, and it’s got all these things. And I’m like, oh, I don’t know if I’m willing to push that button. And she’s like, well, you probably need to learn how. So the joke is, my husband’s like, if she doesn’t come out in five minutes, that means that we got to go pick mom up because she’s not going to buy the car. So I ended up in there 35 minutes because I spent 30 minutes learning how to drive the car. And I should mention that I clearly got rid of that car. I’m a Tesla person now. We’ll talk about all that later. But my experience with buying the Tesla was horrible. Like, so horrible. I’m like, I’m going to tweet Elon Musk now. This place is horrible. You can put rockets on the moon, but I can’t get my car. Like, what? But driving a Tesla is seriously phenomenal. But I had to sit in my car and watch YouTube in the Tesla to figure out how to drive it off the lot. So I’ll give you a comparison of that. That’s not really what you asked me, Ash. But hyper-personalization means had Tesla deployed hyper personalization so we’ll take it out of insurance for just a minute. We can kick it back to insurance later. If Tesla had deployed hyper personalization,  they would have known that I was going to lose my mind, going to pick up a car that I had ordered 60 days before that you get this little “Bing, your car is ready! Bing! Check in at this time. Bing! Show up.” And they would have known that I had probably previously been a Mercedes, like, whatever, customer. And then I go there and they’re like, who are you? What car are you picking up? Are you sure you got a text to come in today? Then they give me the car and it’s not even my car. And I’m like, no hyper-personalization. Which was almost more insulting to me because by now I bought that car a year ago. And I’m not here to criticize cars. Like, we could talk about insurance. My expectations have totally transformed by now, right? Because now it’s 2022. Everything’s digital. We’ve just come out of COVID where everything was like, to your trunk, to your door, no touch, in, out. Thank you, no thank you. Now we’ve entered a world where you don’t even expect to talk to a person. And then I just really thought, because the car drives like a rocket, I really thought it would be so much better. So I’ll leave you with that. That’s a difference between almost over engineered technology that’s still not delivering a curated customer hyper personalized experience because it seems like it would, but it fails. Versus, oddly enough, the Mercedes experience was a person saying, oh, if I’m going to get this customer, I got to find a way to make all this work. And so I think that that’s an interesting lesson to keep in mind. Hyper personalization means that above all else, you know, thy customer,  thy customer, the customer. They know Ash. They know Lisa. 

Ash: Now, can we talk a little bit about tech? So, like Generative AI and chat GPT,  how is that the technology impacting the personalization experience? 

Lisa: Before we even go into Generative AI with Chat GPT, which of course we’ll get to in a minute. But the first thing is if the AI is not hyper-personalized, which I will, like $100 Starbucks card if you can show me AI that is actually not reverting to a means. So one of the problems, the foundational problem with it we have with a tech to begin with is that we’ve applied it to more an industrial, common denominator parameter as opposed to hyper personalized. 

So the first thing that we have to do in the tech Ash, is there’s a lot of techniques coming out with personalized federated learning, leaving the data where it is, doing behavioral and federated learning models without lifting and ETL’ing all the data. So that’s like one huge tech aspect, which is how do we de This is why we’ve been generically. It’s not like we’ve been cheating the system. But again, remember AI came into being when we were just going to the cloud and we’re dealing with all these cloud computes it’s a teeter totter. We’re always balancing the business cost and load against what we’re trying to achieve. So regression to the mean was an outcome. Right? I’ve got a lot of people that run quant computing that are my friends too. Okay, so now if we move over to Generative AI, which you can almost see the same pattern emerging, so I just say be careful of the patterns that we put ourselves on. We’ve got Generative AI coming out and we’ve got a combination of we need to deploy it, we’re afraid to deploy it, but we need to get out there. And I call it like the first mover conundrum that insurers are not really good at. And I’d love to hear your and Linh’s thoughts on that too, but at the same time, we need to really think through how we’re going to deploy it in a way. And my favorite word Ash is to avoid being insultingly intelligent, meaning as a consumer, I can play with Chat GPT on my phone. Like my 13 year old asked it to write a paper in the car yesterday and I’m like what did you just do? So we are not stupid as consumers and tech has been so democratized that we have access to it meaning, we can understand the experiences we should be receiving from the products and services we buy. 

So we have to be careful that when we apply it, it’s not insultingly intelligent, meaning we’re throwing a nice little buzz at the front of the process, but we haven’t really thought through, like, we should be doing better than I can do in my car on an open source app right? I’ll balance that by saying, please, insurance industry, be first movers. Let’s be first movers. Like, yes, we need to be within regulation and we need to be bridled and we need to do all the things, but we don’t need to be talking about how we implemented Chat GPT like five or ten years from now. I think what I’m hearing people talk about is they’re going to start using it in self service. 

So I’ve been doing cognitive AI for a while, Ash. I started looking at cognitive AI I guess back in 2015-2016, which for insurance would have been cutting edge. I understand that it’s been under development for like 20 years, but deploying it, like applying it in operations, that would have been pretty cutting edge. But when we start to look at these things, we always just stop at the user experience at the front end. Let me say it differently. The point of sale, what I would say we need to be intentional about is, if we have that experience at the point of sale, how do we extend that experience throughout the entire behavioral change? So think of something like servicing your policy. Like, I need to change my address. I’ll give you a great example. I’ll use a non insurance example. I just converted to Google Fiber and I can’t deactivate my WiFi because there’s like, literally not a button that says deactivate my WiFi. And I’m like talking to the chat, where’s the Chat GPT there, right? So what I’m saying is, when we do servicing, and I think intentionally, sometimes we hide deactivation from people. I won’t go there. But we need to also be putting chat GPT in servicing, in claims handling, in things that enable me to be more productive and efficient using my services that I’m purchasing. 

And I think that a lot of times we get almost maybe peer pressured into, like, well, we got to use it in the front end, and then it’s like, we go to a different level. We went from a rocket ship to a horse and carriage by the time we got back to filing a claim. I’ll give you another great example. I won’t name names, but not only did my car get ram rotted, my insurance company did a horrible job of having a claim set up process. I picked, like, the preferred shop. No chat GPT involved, Ash. There should be Chat GPT involved because here’s why. I have a Suburban, it’s pretty big. And I picked a body shop that came up as an applicable body shop, right? I waited six weeks for an appointment to take it into the body shop because of all the supply chain things. So it’s been sitting in my garage, damaged for six weeks, unable. I can’t use it. Finally, this week, yesterday at my appointment,  I’m going to get my Uber and get my ride home from dropping it off at the body shop. I’m so excited. I’m like, finally. So I call them randomly just to make sure. I’m like, I want to make sure I can drop this off. And they’re like, yeah, no, you can’t bring your car here. Why can’t I bring my car there? By the way, you all would understand that I’m not with any non big name insurance company, right? I only have air quote, the best. Why can’t I bring my car here? Well, because we don’t work on cars that big. Then why would it ever, ever recommend it to me as a body shop? Why did you accept my car? Oh, my gosh. Why did you book an appointment and make me wait eight weeks to bring it here? And of course, the poor person on the phone is like, I don’t know. That’s a really great thing where I could see Generative AI coming in and compounding all those scenarios and really helping with not only what’s out there generically, but then connecting to routing and handling and doing a much more I’ll call it elevated and elegant experience.

Ash: So, I mean, what I’m hearing is it seems like, okay, regression to the mean is not personalized enough, right? So it needs to be more hyper personalized. But then also, if you get too hyper personalized, maybe it’s creepy. And now it’s regulatory issues and it seems like it’s hard to find kind of like a sweet spot, if there’s a way for you to kind of explain like a good spot where it’s like there is personalization but it’s not to the point where it’s creepy. 

I think the other day I was talking to somebody about going to Vegas or something and then an Instagram ad popped up like things to do in Vegas. I was like, whoa, that’s kind of creepy in terms of how do you, and then if it’s not regression to the mean, what methods are there? Quantitatively? 

Lisa: I would advocate that most of us, if it’s bettering ourselves and our lives and it’s making something efficient and curated, to quote Marie Kondo, “if it’s sparking joy”, I don’t think I’m ever going to think it’s creepy, ever. I don’t know. But if I’m running late and all of a sudden I have to jump over and pick up my kids, DoorDash knows I usually order Tacos at 07:00 P.M. on a Tuesday night because Taco Tuesday and it is like, hey, you haven’t done this yet, you want me to go ahead and place that order? I’m going to be like, that’s really cool. That just made my life more convenient. Now we could maybe say that I don’t want it to know that and you could select privacy options out of that. But as someone trying to balance 5000 things, I’m going to probably lean into that. As long as it’s battering myself, as long as it’s offering an experience of sparking joy, I’m not going to think it’s creepy. When I think it’s creepy is when it’s what I call dumb, insultingly, intelligent, up-sell, cross-sell. 

So in your case it’s creepy. You were talking about Vegas, it did nothing for you other than like, hey, here’s a Vegas ad. It didn’t solve a problem for you. It listened in on you and then gave you an ad. That’s what I call old school. That is not hyper personalized. Absolutely not. Hyper personalization would be understanding how you like to travel, when you like to travel, and then offering you solutions that are making your life more efficient. And I’ll say to you, I like things that make my life more efficient. You may be somebody that likes to do research. So hyper personalization delineates between our behavioral tendencies as well as the fact pattern. So that’s one really big delineation between like regression analysis and quantitative analysis. That’s why I hang out with a lot of people that do quantum, because what you get, because actually they’re kind of cool to hang out with. You wouldn’t think that, but they’re really cool to hang out with. Like one of my friends is a VC guy and he’s running this quantum company in Poland now. He’s just so cool. And the thing that he and I often talk about is scenarios. And the problem with achieving hyper personalization is that the scenario based compute power would be quite large. Right? Because if you think about it, if you don’t regress to a mean, there’s not infinite but there’s lots of scenarios and there’s so many logistically involved it gets well beyond a decision tree, I guess is what I’m trying to say. Like inarticulately. And when you get well beyond that  it’s like you have to apply a way to learn from that. So you’re now combining behavioral, contextual, logistics scenarios. That to me is solvable, by the way. But we haven’t been thinking of the patterns and the problems because we’ve just been, which is the point about Generative AI. Something new comes out and we do it and we try to get what’s new out implemented. But we haven’t really thought through how does this connect to all the other things that I have going on. Which by the way, have matured a lot. So if you think of the first laughable example, getting to the cloud, it’s like take everything to the cloud, take it now, take it yesterday, get to the cloud. 

And then we’re like, oh my gosh, that’s expensive. Yeah. And the CIOs are over there going old on prem had a value. It was never an either or. It was that we weren’t bifurcating the problem along the way. And so I see a lot of the same Ash with the tech. And the thing about the tech is it grows and develops in morphs like even this personally federated learning. The accuracy of that has just been developed by, I happen to know the co-founders that developed this technology that’s just in the last, I’ll call it like six to twelve months. Because personalized federated learning three years ago was just not very accurate. So I think part of the problem here is we have iterations that are going on and as enterprises as good as we think we are about being dynamic and iterative and agile and scrum and all the things, we pretty much are still on this pre digital tech wavelength of every three to five years we do something big. And so as we’re doing these things we’re not expecting to come back and revisit them as iteratively as they need to be revisited. So maybe that’s the bigger point here is when you’re doing anything Generative AI, the tech, et cetera, you need to build it in an elastic way that’s never once and done, because there’s always going to be layers of this that compound and enable you to do it slightly better, slightly more efficacy. Apply more efficacy to it than even six months ago. And I just don’t think our technology programs and consumer customer release schedules, yeah, they weren’t really designed that way. Even though we kind of have adopted this agile strategy. 

Ash: We always ask each speaker about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. What are your thoughts on DEIB in the insurance space? And do you have a personal story to share?

Lisa: Of course, being a woman in insurance, and I might add, not being an actuary, right? So there’s different levels of inclusion and belonging. First of all, making sure people feel that they belong, even if they don’t come from an insurance background, is super important to me. And that can be race, religion, gender, upbringing, nationality, all the things. That is very important. I think in addition to that,  even before we get into the specificities of being a female in this industry, I have spent my life as being the only non-actuary senior executive in the boardroom. So as to that, the fact that I was a woman, the only other women were usually the head of HR or you had to be an actuary. And so I was definitely one of the ones I could count them on my hand. One of the only women who were like, one level there’s Board of Management, one level down, and what they call the next level down. So a direct report to someone who reported to the Board of Management, and to have that role as a female and a non actuary, I took on two levels. First of all, clearly I was very proud. Secondly, I was, like, dismayed. Where are all the other people like me? And I didn’t mean like me, like, look like me. I mean like me. Where’s the diversity here? And then the third thing is, I took it as a personal mission. I have to make sure people understand that they can get here, too. Right? One of my colleagues used to run this company in Canada called Move the Dial. Her name is Jody Kovac. Her brother actually is the CEO of WealthSimple in Toronto. Michael Katzen and Jody ran an amazing organization, and they had a saying that has always stuck with me. “You cannot be what you cannot see”. And so I think it’s important for people to see the diversity, the belonging, the different backgrounds, the different perspectives, because clearly we’re not going to solve all the things we spent this podcast talking about if we don’t bring in different perspectives. 

And for me, the biggest risk our industry faces, I mean, okay, getting people to want to come to it to begin with, it’s not the sexiest industry, but as we all talked about, it draws you in. And I think the biggest risk, I’ll say outsiders feel, is that you can be an outsider for many different reasons, is that you feel like you don’t belong. You feel like it’s a world in which you’re not welcome, a world in which you may not be appreciated, and that can be for so many different reasons. And why stay in an industry where you don’t feel welcome or a sense of belonging? Nobody wants to do that, right? 

We all want to feel that we belong. And not only that we belong, that we have the ability to carve our initials on that bedrock that we’re trying to jackhammer through. So I think that that’s super important. I also think that as an industry, we have very historically been not only we a stodgy industry, but we have the type of numbers of male dominated, white male dominated suits and ties. I’ll extend all the stereotypes, right? Like, all the board, you know, and no disrespect to my Lloyd’s colleague, but the Lloyds of London sitting at I mean, even that entire process just offends me. When I go to Lloyd, it’s like it literally offends me. Like, the women’s restrooms are only on certain levels because women weren’t allowed at Lloyds. I’m like, I can’t believe I’m in here and there’s not women’s restrooms on every floor. The Lloyd’s Lab doesn’t have a female restroom on that floor. And I’m like, what is this? I know Linh’s going? I was so like, Linh, you can imagine my face when I had to walk to another floor. I almost had to get a hall pass to go to the bathroom, and I’m like, Is it really 2023? No. So we have a long way to go in our industry, but I say that and then I step back and I say, but I can count 40 women and 40 people from different socioeconomic ethnicity backgrounds, all different things. And there’s not people that I just don’t get so much energy and love that are just leading this industry forward. So I do think that we do a great job there. And I guess maybe the last thing I’d like to say about that, because it’s Women’s Month and lots of people talk about how we can amplify. You all did an article that I was very graciously honored to be part of. I think a lot of times we focus on, we look like this, and we need to look like that. What I focus on is every single one of us needs to come as our authentic selves. And not only will we look different outwardly, our gender, our skin tone, our hair, we will look different in our energy levels and the way we communicate, and we will also look different in the way that things are important to us, the way that we represent things that are important to us. And I think if we can usher that in, we will then truly have a diverse workforce. So those are the things that I think we need to focus on. And I guess I bundle all that into enabling people to be their authentic selves. I guess Ash, would be my way that I wrap all that together.

Ash: I like that. Okay, well, the final question is, if you could go back 20 years in time and give yourself one sentence of advice, what would you tell your younger self? And by the way, you can’t say that you don’t buy a Tesla or something. We already heard that story. 

Lisa: I wouldn’t say that, I like my Tesla. I would probably tell myself to not be so conditioned to connecting my identity to a job or a title, to make, oddly enough, my family proud. Being the first person to graduate, I would probably tell myself to lean into those subtle white patterns that I felt and I didn’t lean into because I was just trying to make sure that I climbed the ladder, but make sure that I did my family proud. And there were a lot of times in my life where if I would have listened to it 20 years ago, I probably would have evolved into who I am. Oddly enough, you’re always who you are, but who I am now, a long time ago. So I would have avoided that midlife crisis Ash.

Ash: You would have avoided going and spending money on a Tesla?

Lisa: Nah. 

This podcast is sponsored by Zelros. Zelros is an AI software solution for insurance to hyper personalize the customer buying experience with insurance recommendations across all channels, boosting client acquisitions, cross-sell and up-sell. Thank you for tuning in to the Insurebreak podcast. Join us next month as we interview another insurance executive to gain Ins site on innovative practices, technology advancements and what the future of the industry looks like. See you next month.