Leaving on a Jet Plane

The only thing that could make your first work trip with your CEO any more nerve-racking, is when she has to back out a week before, and leaves you to mingle with strangers in a city you don’t know.

At the Global Insurance Accelerator in Des Moines, Iowa last week, I listened to a wonderful open forum talk from Jason Gross of EMC, Josh Bjorkman of Markel, and Tim Darnall of Mutual of Omaha, about the best practices when earning and executing a pilot with insurance carriers, a vital part of getting an insurtech startup up and running. They emphasized knowing your specific value proposition, and being able to articulate that benefit you provide succinctly. Josh put it eloquently, “Explain it so there are no follow up questions the next day about your offering…” Let there only be questions about how and when you will implement with them.

Getting to this level of concise detail can take some doing, especially as the products small companies produce become more complex. This makes it necessary to focus on a few elements to craft your pitch. From Jason Gross, first, define the purpose for your solution, second, articulate what you are doing today and not what you could do down the road, you need to have your solution ready, and lastly, agree on what are you looking to get out of pilot.  These three pieces allow you to establish what you offer, why you offer it, and what you want to do with it next.

Tim Darnall expressed the importance of understanding the position the carriers may be in if your business were to go away in the future.  This is not something startup founders are in the mindset of thinking about, but its something they need to know carriers are thinking about: the longevity of you.

The “broad details” that put together a successful pitch already exist, pulling them together in a way that effectively explains a complex process quickly, and conveys value, is the secret to being able to put yourself in front of many different people and see where your ideas will take off.

Thank you to the Global Insurance Accelerator for being a fantastic place to dip my feet in the water.

Des Moines does not have big city problems such as rush hour – yet – and is a hub for the good-intended and well-meaning insurance community to come together and cultivate the relationships that make this industry so great. These are the people that give insurance a heart, ensuring that the purpose of our craft is not lost, providing for those that have placed their trust in others.

First job out of college, first work conference, this was a first opportunity to put on a good face for my new-found home. Most millennials (yes, technically I am a millennial, although we dislike labels) would not be stoked by the idea of going to a strange town and being ‘on’ all the time, it can be nerve-racking without an Instagram filter, we could just do this over text, or we could snapchat each other our pitch decks and DM our proposal terms.

But this community takes away the stigma of networking, of putting yourself out there, and establishes a community. It cultivates a network of people that are passionate about creating and innovating, and are caring enough to welcome those who are new to the landscape, and show them the way. I can now continue my journey in the insurance realm confident knowing that the people I am surrounded by are the people I can rely on to help me through.

  • Spencer Loessberg is a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, and is no longer out of his depth in his new position at Fenris Digital, where he looks to grow himself, and the company he is in.
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