Brokers & Carriers

EMC’s culture of innovation

Monday, March 25, 2024

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How EMC is embracing technology solutions

Over the last several years, EMC Insurance Companies (EMC) has undergone a digital transformation, redefining what is possible and embracing technology in order to enable a new and better way of doing business.

“It is an ongoing journey,” says Pavan Goteti, vice president of innovation and business process management at EMC. “Businesses that do not innovate are at risk of falling behind,” he says. “We are on a digital and business transformation journey to keep pace with what our agents and customers want and expect, but we are doing so in thoughtful way that allows us to continue to provide an empathetic and human approach in line with our company values and mission.”

The digital and business transformation at EMC includes optimizing processes for greater efficiency, improving access to data, and delivering better agent and customer experiences. 

According to Goteti, EMC has implemented nearly twenty new systems in the last three years, with many more planned. A few of those include:

  • Guidewire Cloud. “We are one of the earlier adopters,” says Goteti. “The platform has enabled us to provide new product features, new coverages, coverage expansions and fewer coverage sub-limits. With each renewal cycle, EMC is getting closer to providing agents with a more consistent, user-friendly experience via our agent portal,” adds Goteti.  
  • A state-of-the-art business process management platform. This is a centralized repository for enterprise business processes and workflows. This platform facilitates simple and comprehensive process modeling and analysis, enabling rapid publication and collaboration among employees. 
  • An agency distribution management platform. “To keep pace with rapid digitization, we are transitioning to cloud-based SaaS solutions,” says Goteti. “The first phase has enabled us to streamline onboarding for agencies and agents, enter new prospects, create and maintain agency demographics and support compliance management.”

Prioritizing innovation is part of the culture

Goteti says innovation is a company-wide effort at EMC. “Leaders, stakeholders, team members and insurance professionals work together to adopt new technologies and encourage a culture of innovation,” says Goteti. “When team members with different skills, diverse backgrounds and experiences come together, they generate new ideas and solve problems in creative ways.”

Here are a few of their tactics:  

  • Promote experimentation and critical thinking. Employees are provided opportunities to learn and develop skills in emerging tech. For example, according to Goteti, when ChatGPT started gaining mainstream attention in 2022, EMC provided various opportunities for team members to learn, experiment and embrace.
  • Give team members opportunities to innovate. EMC employees have ample chance to take the lead on innovation. For example, to help identify when and where severe weather will strike, team members across the company are collaborating on a proof of concept (POC) to empower claims teams with insights into upcoming storm activity and proprietary weather modeling. 
  • Encourage self-directed learning. Employees are involved in brainstorm sessions, workshops and labs. Every quarter, the innovation team has a one-month “Pop-Up Innovation Lab” that explores topics and trends that could affect EMC. “It provides a safe space to ask questions and express ideas and concerns,” says Goteti.
  • Showcase employees’ innovative work. To celebrate innovation and the employees that make it happen, EMC hosts various events throughout the year, such as demo days and product reviews. At the end of the year, they celebrate innovation with the EMC Futura Awards. 

Engaging with startups and insurtech

EMC partners with startups to bring fresh perspectives and new solutions to the insurance market. 

“We evaluate start-up opportunities that align with our strategic goals, while staying informed of industry trends for future investments,” says Goteti. 

EMC manages insurtech with intentionality, he adds. “Insurtech offers cost-efficient research and development and provides us access to top talent and thought leadership. Their role is pivotal in modernizing and enhancing our business approach in a digitally-evolving landscape.” Their partnerships include:

  • BrokerTech Ventures (BTV), the first and largest broker-led investor group and accelerator program in the world, dedicated to broker-centric innovation. 
  • Global Insurance Accelerator, which focuses on fostering growth in insurance-based startups. It provides a mentor-driven program where startups receive funding, guidance and support from industry veterans and experts. 
  • EMC also made capital investments in the insurtech ecosystem in companies such as MākuSafe®, a BTV accelerator company from 2020, and Betterview, which gives them access to their innovative solutions. 

“By virtue of these partnerships, we can keep a pulse on the evolving insurtech ecosystem. Our team members serve as mentors to the startups – offering expert guidance, valuable networking opportunities, objective insights and emotional support – crucial for navigating business challenges and fostering growth,” adds Goteti.

Ultimately, innovation and insurtech is vitally important to EMC. “We approach insurtech with intentionality,” says Goteti. “Insurtech companies are of interest to us for their ability to drive technology innovation, enabling rapid market deployment of new products and services. They offer cost-efficient R&D, help foster a culture of innovation and creative thinking, solve unique problems, provide value added services and loss control solutions to our agents and customers.” 

Harnessing innovation with AI

EMC leverages artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics to find innovative ways to streamline processes, provide exceptional customer service and enhance team member decisions with better data insights.

“AI and machine learning is not new to EMC. When generative AI came to the world scene, EMC formed a committee to embrace this capability,” says Goteti. “We are currently in the experimentation phase and the roadmap is evolving. We have a data and analytics discipline team that creates a variety of advanced analytical solutions, including business analyses, reports, visualizations, analytics consultative services and complex predictive models.”

EMC leverages AI in the following ways:

  • Smart Search, a self-service tool for service desk support.
  • Survey Guidance, a model that prioritizes accounts for loss control surveys and supports expense reduction in the overall value chain.
  • AI-powered photo analytics, integrated workflow, electronic valuations and electronic communications with repair facilities, independent appraisers and vehicle owners for expedited claims handling.

Through their commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology, while balancing the empathy and humanity required to best serve our agents and policyholders, EMC has demonstrated the transformative power of innovation in driving progress and staying ahead in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Monday, March 25, 2024