"Our utilization of video conferencing has really allowed us to expand our international relationships," says Tyler Schapiro, independent agent. "While we do travel quite a bit to see clients, these type of relationships would be difficult to maintain without this type of technology."
Fourth Insurance Office, Inc.
Palm Beach, FL
Recently binged TV show: Ozark
In your earbuds: Business Wars podcast
Most used app: Strava
I had an untraditional path into insurance. My background is in finance and accounting. I’m a CPA and a CFA Charterholder. I started my career as a risk management consultant with Deloitte LLP in New York City where I primarily worked with private equity and venture capital fund clients. Following Deloitte, I worked in investment banking with BNP Paribas where I focused on structuring asset-backed debt securities.
While banking initially seems quite different from insurance, the essence of that job was thinking about risk and identifying the natural holder of that risk. At Fourth Insurance, we take a very similar approach to how we think about placing a unique insurance risk. In my current role, I primarily advise financial institutions, investors, and Boards on risk management and insurance matters.
One challenge is the current rate environment following such a prolonged soft market. We have really seen a shift in this market, particularly financial lines. Rates are rising and, for some industries, quite dramatically. Capacity has also been constrained. We expect this trend to continue.
The current health crisis and resulting economic slowdown has created an unprecedented and challenging environment for many industries, so rising cost of insurance is going to be one of many challenges companies will be managing.
A lot of carriers are making meaningful accommodations. Whether it’s in extensions or cancellations suspensions, it’s the role of agents and brokers to communicate what type of accommodations are available.
I think there’s some risk, whether it be financial or reputational, relating to the treatment of virus-related business interruption coverage. While there certainly is some misunderstanding regarding policy language and the events necessary to trigger such coverage, it appears that it’s going to be the focus for many plaintiff attorneys who are bringing suits against carriers.
You read about how the insurance industry is being upended by tech-enabled, data-driven underwriting and artificial intelligence, which is going to optimize all insurance placements. You’ve got all the tech buzzwords. That innovation is taking place, but it’s primarily impacting personal lines and health insurance at this stage and we’re slowly pushing into the smaller commercial business.
For our business, it’s more about how communication technology is impacting our relationship with our clients. With the prevalence of video conferencing in today’s environment, I expect more insureds to not just work with a local generalist agency or broker but to seek out brokers who specialize in their business.
Our utilization of video conferencing has really allowed us to expand our international relationships. We have a growing segment of our business emanating from Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and while we do travel quite a bit to see clients, these type of relationships would be difficult to maintain without this type of technology.
Will Jones is IA managing editor.
This interview is the fourth in a series that profiles 10 millennials in the independent insurance industry, based on Independent Agent magazine’s July cover story.