Around The States In 30+ Days – A Journey of Learning: Part 2

Nikki Dugan

If you tuned in last month, I was knee-deep in conference land, where I had hopped from Tampa to Denver and then headed to Nashville. What awaited in Music City wasn’t necessarily an industry conference; instead, it was Sapiens Executive Council, where we hosted an intimate gathering of our C-Suite executives, from various organizations in the P&C, Life Insurance, and Reinsurance sectors.

This was my first opportunity to not only meet, but also network with our customers from Shelter Mutual and AIG and better understand the continued benefits they’ve achieved with either full core suite solutions, digital insurance platforms, or accelerated underwriting solutions. I also got to hear about some of the new challenges they are facing with the seismic shifts in customer expectations and experience. In turn, it was also our opportunity to provide succinct informative and navigational sessions on cloud-native platforms, design thinking, and the great talent reshuffle, as well as share successful digital transformation recipes. Because all the sessions were rated so HIGHLY, as a bonus, I wanted to share some of the “designs” that were captured and sketched out during our event.

When your biggest complaint of the event you planned is, “I wish it was longer,” you don’t mind that you’re still traveling and headed to the IASA conference with not 1 but 3 speaking sessions. Given the fact that I am passionate volunteer, and like sharing my knowledge almost as much as I love learning (those who know me personally, know I am total WORDNERD), I was appreciative of the opportunities IASA provides, especially to insurance solution providers. I also know that they share my belief that it’s up to us ‘industry veterans’ to continue to help mentor, educate and share insights with those newer to the industry. IASA provides such a solid educational platform, whether you are a new underwriter, actuary, accountant, or even Insurtech technology vendor.

My first session was one that I am very passionate about: branding. As someone who has already directly managed 2 complete brand revisions for insurance technology providers, my proven skill in this area is sometimes unknown and therefore underutilized. Another facet of my background that pairs well with my brand design knowledge & capabilities is my well-honed people-centric approach, from my experience in Human Resources. I believe the marriage of marketing and HR enables me to view tenets of brand through both an internal and external lens, and oftentimes that beneficial nuance is lost in redesigns. In this new age where customers are more than kings, brand relevance is incredibly important for carriers, so managing and maintaining a positive brand has become a new a crucial challenge across the insurance market. During this first session, I introduced the value of employee “brand-bassadors” and how to engage with insurers and help them better understand that:

  • In this current era of on-demand, information isn’t just on your website, its echoed in your interactions, from your agents, users, and the experiences provided to your customers.
  • While most of us understand that insurance is more than just a one-time transaction (especially on the life side) it can also be an emotional investment, which can be enhanced and supported with positive brand management.
  • A strong reputation is both an input and an output of brand investment.

The next 2 sessions were both well attended and incredibly informative. Designed as a panel with myself and two other Women in Leadership members, the purpose was to provide P&C and Life insurers insights into DEI&B in the insurance space, by sharing relevant insights, information and experiences from the carrier, provider and consumer side. When provided with current data on the state of women in insurance, our panelists provided keen acumen into how their organizations are elevating employee and customer experience, updating policies, and their transforming workplace and digital workforce.  A few of key takeaways from both dynamic and engaging sessions that can benefit both insurers and solution providers:

  • The state of the workforce is forever changed and like core technology, must continue to iterate in order to better serve the needs of people.
  • According to a Deloitte Women @ Work 2022: A Global Outlook, burnout and limited advancement opportunities are driving women away from their employers.
  • For much of the insurance workforce, the transition to digital and new ways of working during the pandemic solidified the importance of flexibility, agile technology, and newer workplace values, such as diversity and inclusion and corporate social governance/environmental consciousness. These areas will continue to grow and influence modern workplaces, attracting new talent pools and professionals.
  • Wellbeing and professional development are being leveraged with renewed interest in order to support retention, growth and employee engagement. More companies are recognizing that their talent pipelines can be maintained within, so pay parity has also become an escalated endeavor in the effort to enable retention.

Next month, I promise to cover more on the details of my presentations, for those who missed them, but it was certainly reassuring to get all the positive feedback from so many carriers and insurance peers. And for those who did tune in, I am sincerely grateful for your support and LinkedIn messages.

As I head home from the most recent Insurance Innovators conference, to decompress and of course type all this, I am reminded of how much I missed in person events, collecting insights, networking and sharing experiences, almost as much as I enjoy the clacking of keys, as the thoughts, memories, and lessons spill onto a white screen. All of these facets continue to fuel my passion, just as our technology continually evolves to fuel this new customer-driven dimension we’re all part of. And if you’re not sharing your experiences, hopefully you are delivering them.

  • digitalization
  • life and annuities
  • property and casualty
Nikki Dugan

Nikki Dugan Nikki has had many monikers over the tenure of her career: Marketing Maven, Dedicated Brand-bassador, Catalyst for Culture and Champion for Change. She considers herself an eclectic mix of all; part Insurtech aficionado, part creative mind, part strategist, and part dreamer. When not focused on the latest challenges and technology solutions, she spends her time in her NJ home, experimenting in the kitchen and doting on her granddaughter.