The insurance industry has reached the point where many executives are also technologists, even if their titles have a different identity. In part, what drives this is that many disciplines are working together to achieve further technological progress.
Kathryn Janofsky (pictured), head of underwriting for Beazley Digital, says the trend has opened up huge possibilities.
“The most positive part for me is that I would love to bring in people from different backgrounds and different ways of working to do what we’re committed to,” Janofsky said. We’re seeing a bigger pace than we’ve seen before, so we’re seeing some evidence that this is working.”
Beazley Digital is a relatively small division of the Beazley Group, with approximately 90 employees in a division established in January 2022 as part of the technology/innovation reorganization process. It combines underwriting, claims, technology and operations professionals into a single multifunctional group. The company describes Beazley Digital as a “next-generation digital placement experience” for its global brokers looking to place and manage small to medium risks in a more personal, accessible and faster way than usual.
In contrast, Beazley Group employs approximately 1,700 people, with professional insurance businesses in Europe, Asia and the United States. It also manages Six Lloyd’s associations.
However, Beazley Digital’s operations still have a major impact across the company, as technological and process successes are followed and are likely to be absorbed into The Beazley Group’s larger operations over time, Janofsky said.
“We’re operating as a startup inside the larger Beazley, so we have some freedom to experiment with vendors and try new technologies as well as shape our technology development path,” she explains. “We also serve as the center of excellence for the rest of Beazley in terms of API technology, and we will share what we build with the broader team.”
According to Janofsky, Beazley Digital was born as a remarkable development of investments in digital trading across its various business divisions.
“We recognize that in order to drive greater efficiency, scale and profitability, we need to put those assets together and invest in them properly instead of in the more distinct way we’ve invested in them,” Janofsky said. “We have made the decision to bring all the units currently trading on a digital platform or portfolio [we believe] will support digitalization well and we have moved all that business together” starting January 1, 2022.
Janofsky reported to Ian Fantozzi, CEO of Beazley Digital, and James Wright as head of the unit’s technology division. Janofsky, a veteran in the commercial insurance industry with over 20 years of experience underwriting casualties and expertise, oversees the global underwriting strategy and leads teams in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. She is also leading Beazley Digital through a multifunctional team strategy, which shares technology between teams.
In contrast, the rest of Beazley has separate divisions, each headed by a underwriting group, with technology and operations outside those units within the Beazley Group.
Janofsky has daily meetings with the head of technology, head of operations, CEO and business director of Beazley Digital to talk about the challenges facing the department and make quick decisions to pivot as needed.
“While we are investing in our technology system, we want to make sure that we are advertising ourselves to our trading partners, so we have organized the rest of the department around our trading channels… [including] a U.S., U.K. brokerage platform and the rest —the world’s brokerage platform and global API working market centers,” Janofsky said.
There will also be email and voice elements in those systems, because the company recognizes that both “will continue to be a big part of how we deal with our brokerage partners as the technology landscape evolves,” she added.
A necessary technologist.
Janofsky says that her work with Beazley Digital requires her to familiarize herself with the company’s digital investments, such as API work and data contracts that the company is negotiating around product APIs and global submissions. She is also aware of the providers the company is using to build its technology platform (including some insurers) as well as beazley Digital companies that are considering future partnerships. In addition, Janofsky monitors the analysis/data efforts at the company.
As head of underwriting, Janofsky said today it’s important to use technology as part of the job. Part of that reason, she said, is because Beazley Digital does business in the small and medium-sized enterprise space and has to control costs around the location. However, more broadly is the need to use multiple technologies to compete in today’s market. That means being a technologist is no longer just for top tech executives.
“The change is both the acceleration of digital adoption in the market and then the changes that the pandemic brings to the electronic location,” Janofsky said. Everyone is looking to minimize costs due to rising costs, people are investing in more and more technologies and we have to meet their needs where they want to trade.”
With technology being a key part of Janofsky’s work, she’s working closely with Wright as they shape the focus and technology direction of Beazley Digital.
“One of the things we realized very early in our conversations was that underwriters and technologists don’t speak the same language, and if we want to succeed in this, we’ll also have to find a common language,” he said. “Janofsky said.” We’ve been building that and we’re building that.”