Chris Cheatham, CEO of Risk Genius, was “doing insurtech” before it was cool. Coming off the biggest insurtech event of the year, here is his take on how far insurtech has come….and how far it has to go.
Get the latest on indie agents’ fight for data ownership:
Want to read instead? We’ve got you.
Syd Roe 0:00
How are you doing? I know you just came off. Gosh, like the biggest conference insurance Technology Conference of the year. And then another one yesterday, how are you feeling?
Chris Cheatham 0:10
Good. Let’s see last week when I was in Canada, and the week before that I was in Las Vegas, two very similar places. Or they’re completely different. Yeah, it took me probably a week and a half to recover from Vegas. Like I didn’t recover until Saturday of this past weekend. Yeah. And so but thankfully, Canada is very chill. So that was good. We’re in Canada, where? Yeah, I was in Toronto. So it’s really awesome. I didn’t really get to spend as much time there as I wanted to, I liked it. Like, you might as well just not even describe the city you’re at when you stay at an airport hotel, which is where I was at, for the conference. And so I saw nothing in the city. So it was very sad, but
Chris Cheatham 0:53
I love Toronto, so it looks good.
Syd Roe 0:55
Yeah, I’ve never been to Toronto before. I have been to and I’m totally blanking on the name of the city, but we went up to Whistler for most of the time we were there. And it was beautiful. Like we were there during the summer. So you know, you could use the ski lifts weren’t in full mode, but it was just gorgeous. So I love Colorado in the winter is awesome for that, like Breckenridge or in the summertime.
Chris Cheatham 1:22
Sorry, Colorado in the summer is awesome.
Syd Roe 1:25
Yeah, well, my life dream is to move to Colorado. So
Chris Cheatham 1:29
I want to live in a lake. That is my really
Syd Roe 1:31
Syd Roe 1:34
Yes, somehow I’m a Floridian stuck in Minnesota. So I feel like I’m working my way closer there. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I have to meet in the middle at some point. So
Chris Cheatham 1:46
Well, there’s Kansas like that’s where I live, and we have no mountains and some lakes. So if you ever have to compromise maybe Kansas is the place to go.
Syd Roe 1:55
I’ve never been to Wyoming the only time I’ve been to Kansas is for an insurance contract. We’re in Kansas City. So yeah, I don’t know much about it, is it gorgeous out there? Like do you live out in the country or?
Chris Cheatham 2:06
No, no, I live in a suburb called Overland Park. So it’s like 10 minutes from downtown Kansas City, or I guess 30 minutes. Everything is about 30 minutes for each other in a kind of, though, overall Kansas City metropolitan area. I wouldn’t. I mean, it’s the suburbs and the city, you know, and it’s not huge. So I like it, but it’s an acquired taste for sure.
Syd Roe 2:28
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I faced the same struggle when I travel for work. I’m basically stuck in a hotel. So if I’m there again, I’ll try and make it a point to get out of the hotel.
Syd Roe 2:43
Well, dude, I’m like, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you coming on. I know. I mean, clearly, you have an insane schedule. So thank you for carving out sometime. No Brahm, I am actually just a backstory. I’ve known about you since like, 2000 13th 2014 I want to say it was when you like to launch Rick’s risk genius. And one of my co-workers came into the office. I mean, just like manically excited, just I mean, he gets excited about insurance technology. But yeah, he’s kind of one of those weird guys but, but like, he comes in, he’s like running over to my desk. And he’s like, Dude, this guy just launched this company that allows consumers to actually understand what a policy says. And so that’s what we thought it was at the time. And then as we kind of watched it evolve. And, you know, probably got it wrong at the outset there, but I know how it’s a tool for agents and carriers to better understand policy coverages. So I guess all that said, we’re gonna get that in a sec. But I’ve known about you for a while and I feel like you’re kind of the guy that’s been doing insurtech before insurtech was cool. So for someone to come on and talk about insure tech Connect, I just couldn’t think of a better person than you. So I appreciate it.
Chris Cheatham 4:09
Let’s do it.
Syd Roe 4:10
All right. Well, tell me a little bit about you. I don’t know a lot about you, you know, just who you are, your personal life, where you came from, how you landed in the insurance industry. Was it? The family was it you just got stuck here was I mean, how did it happen? How did that story happen?
Chris Cheatham 4:28
Yeah. So I was a law student, and I needed a job and I wanted to go to work in a big city. And so my dad worked at an insurance company called Zurich. And he was kind of high up and so he helped me get a job through. At this point, I have no problem admitting through family relationships. I got my first legal job up in Washington DC at the time, it really annoyed me that I had to kind of rely on that but yeah, so ended up being a big construction claims and Insurance lawyer. Like I say, I wasn’t a big lawyer. I was doing big construction claims. I want to clarify that. So like, I ended up working on some really big cases like the Panama Canal and the Katrina, Hurricane Katrina litigation. Yeah. And just like big, massive claims where insurance companies or surety bonds are being called, and people are trying to figure out who’s responsible.
Syd Roe 5:24
Oh, my God, what were some of those phone calls? Like, was it just mass panic?
Chris Cheatham 5:31
I mean, the lawyers are never brought in when the panic is occurring, necessarily, particularly like litigation attorneys, right? Like maybe business attorneys might be. And so that really wasn’t as much of an issue. Sorry, I’m just turning my sound off for a second. So you don’t have to hear that again. But like, I was one of the first lawyers down in, down in New Orleans after the Hurricanes right, probably two or three weeks afterward, I was down walking the levees. And in hindsight, it was really stupid. I was down there walking around by myself trying to just find the places where these levees have burst. And like, there’s roving gangs and people, like literally I’d see people be like, Okay, I need to duck into this alley right now. Which makes no sense, right? But like, it was really, it was a horrible situation. But from a lawyer’s standpoint, it was really fun because what I like doing was taking big complex problems and trying to get to the bottom of them. And there was nothing bigger than that one.
Syd Roe 6:29
Yeah. So how did you go from lawyer to businessman? I mean, I can see the insurance connection there. But what were you? What was your mindset? I mean, that’s just a totally different skill set. It seems like or maybe I’m wrong, you tell me just I did moot court in college. So that’s the extent of my, my legal knowledge.
Chris Cheatham 6:51
Yeah. So kind of a couple of questions that are so How’d I get to be a businessman and I’m thinking about the Kanye lyric. I’m a businessman. So, basically out, I got tired of practicing law. And so I went to a customer of ours and a friend of mine and kind of a mentor of mine at one of the big carriers. And I said, Hey, I’d like to start writing claims for you as a consultant. And she said, Well, I don’t really need a claim to consult, we got plenty of those. What I need is a Facebook claim and lean in the cloud application to manage all these documents we get in as like, Oh, I know about that. Because I spent three years of my life reviewing documents on one of your claims. She’s like, Okay, come back to me with what you got. And so this was like 2011. And so started researching and realized nobody had organized how to build software and services to collect claim documents and an efficient way for particularly for large construction disputes. And so initially, we came out of the boxes claim kit, doing that kind of claim document management. And then we’re doing that and then the Panama Canal like I mentioned, pop big massive litigation, and we’re managing the documents related to that. the underwriter started logging into our software, one of them called me and said, Hey, I look like the software. Could we use this for policy review? And I always make the joke that I just said, Yes, what’s policy review without realizing what I was getting myself into. And as we started poking around and trying to decide if we’re going to build a product for policy review, we quickly realized that nobody really has any clue what’s in their commercial insurance policies. And so we thought as a problem we’re tackling so then we started building risk genius in 2014, launched it late 2015. And here we are.
Syd Roe 8:40
So besides the fact that people don’t know what’s in their commercial insurance policies, what other problems are you helping solve? I mean, I’m sure just the fact that now we’re digitizing insurance policies. But I did read a press release. I think it was like in July of this year that you guys were the Like policy AI of the insurance industry, which I thought was kind of cool. Yeah. Anytime you can throw AI in there, right? Oh, yeah. So give me a sense of what other problems you guys are solving. And then what risk does genius make?
Chris Cheatham 9:17
Yeah. So I always go into what the problem statement that I lead with is: you don’t know what’s in your commercial insurance policies. Now, what are the problems that that creates, right? So there’s a lot like on the very simple level, agents that don’t know what’s in their insurance policies that don’t advise our customers, brokers that don’t advise our customers. as to what’s in these policies. They can have no claims. For example, if they don’t advise the customer as to a change every year. They can if they’re not going to market and understanding other coverages that are available and switching their customers when it’s appropriate. They’re leaving themselves susceptible to other brokers going out and stealing their customers. By finding better coverage at better prices, and that’s particularly important right now in the hardening market. And then the other problem is, you know, if brokers and agents don’t stay up to date with what’s in their insurance policies, they’re going to really miss on some very big opportunities coming up in the next few years to use all this structured data that is being pulled out of these policies. So like imagine, just imagine a company that has 30,000 policies and in the past, they take all those policies and they quote, unquote, digitize them, and store them in some document management system to reuse them when you know, something pops up. But what if those policies are all digitized and all the data within them is structured? So that broker can then go into those policies at a macro level and say, Okay, what are some trends that I should understand about my policies? For example, why are 90% of our construction firms getting this particular endorsement as it for additional insurance and the other 10% or not? It is 10% No, so the thing that 90% do not know? Or are we just missing this on 10% of our policies? So going into fixing those kinds of things is very, very important.
Chris Cheatham 11:10
Does that make sense as to the kind of problem set?
Syd Roe 11:12
Chris Cheatham 11:15
The other one that I think is super fascinating, is what I call emerging risks. So I’m talking about policy checking, right. But there’s also this idea of emerging risks. And this is a little bit more applicable to the carriers. But some very interactive brokers are interested in this too, which is this idea of we can take in 1000 10,000 100,000 policies and run them against a checklist that we’ve created for a particular use case. So I’ll give you an example of silent cyber, right? silent cyber is when an insurance policy does not cover, or it does not exclude cyber events. And so as a result, a judge could read it to cover cyber events. It scares insurers like insurance companies to death and it should, because imagine you have a $2 billion portfolio, and $1 billion of that portfolio has no cyber exclusion. And then AWS goes down for three weeks. Right? You could have claims on that $1 billion because you did not exclude cyber. And so in that example, we can create a checklist to check for a cyber exclusion. But if there’s no cyber exclusion, does it have a definition of electronic data? Is that definition problematic? How is that thing covered in the insurance agreement? So we create this big checklist of all the things that need to be looked at that typically lawyers have done, have been doing. And then we run the policies against that checklist. And then we can sort out the documents between problematic and not problematic and really understand a portfolio at a deep level. So and I’m going to back up here just to clarify, so when you’re looking at emerging risks, unknown risks that a policy might not cover, you’re generating those from, not from what other what you’re finding in other policies, or maybe you are but primarily you’re generating them from What the legal field is understanding about the risk profile of certain claim situations? Or do they totally miss that? No, all of that’s right, right? Like somebody based, like, let’s use climate change, and somebody decides, okay, climate change could be a problem that could be problematic now for the insurance policies that we’ve issued in the past because we did not exclude specifically climate change. So now we need to go check and see if these certain coverages exist and where they can be really problematic for certain customers. Right. So that’s the legal side identifying that stuff. And then we build out the checklist. Those checklists are built on algorithms that we’ve already written and data that we’ve already collected, so that we can go in and find like, for example, on the cyber exclusion, we have 50 to 100 examples of cyber exclusions that we have already trained our algorithms on so that they can go find a cyber solution, any policy without any problem.
Syd Roe 13:56
Wow, that is that’s bananas and It’s crazy to me too, because I remember listening to this podcast with Seth Godin. He’s a big-time marketer, I love him. Yeah. And just a great person I love. I love his new podcast akimbo. But this was way back when he was doing, like, startups, the startup school, or something. And it was like 10 episodes on a podcast. So I was listening to that. And he was explaining how five years ago, six years ago, technology was being built just to connect to different players like that’s what the internet was for. So you look at comparative raters, etc. I’m just connecting you to you, the job is done. And then as the volume and quality of data has been able to be captured, and then technology can be, you know, used to leverage that and analyze it. We’re in this whole different business model now. Not I mean, where data is actually a resource and companies are seeing duplication of revenue sources through you’ve got a piece of technology that helps people, yes But, I mean, how else do you see the data that you’re collecting is used to help the industry? Because I’m sure there are more use cases than just, you know, hey, look, we know I mean, you guys are probably the people that know the most about Paul, US insurance policy information. So to me, there’s just like, Oh, my gosh, like a world of possibility opens up in terms of what you know, now you know how you can help the industry. Do you guys see more of that happening in the next couple of years?
Chris Cheatham 15:33
Yeah, there are a couple of ways to think about it, like the kind of macro trends that I think are gonna have a big impact on reinsurance, right. So if an insurance company really understands their portfolio, to like, hey, here are all of our cyber silent cyber exposures, we know that it’s down to the policy number, then they can get reinsurance in a completely different way than they have in the past. Because in the past, what happened? There’s maybe there’s a sampling of policies like 10 policies or 20 policies. A lot of the time there isn’t even a sampling. It’s just an actuary trying to guess. And I say that as nice as possible. And then so it’s just like a totally different ballgame. So imagine where the, so there’s that trend. I think if you look out even further, imagine what starts happening when every single clause is understood. And you start editing a clause and a policy and $1 amount starts attaching to that clause. Right? So you start excluding, yeah, you start excluding more stuff, and the pressure drops, you start covering more stuff, and the price goes up. I call it the Moneyball of insurance. Like I am still obsessed with the book Moneyball. I’m not sure anything has impacted me more, right? Because you had like, like, I love baseball. Back in the day, I played a lot and like, I didn’t realize that scouts back in the day would just show up at games and you know, they’re looking at the five Big skills, which is like I can’t even name them, but like throwing and running hitting power and fielding, I think. But a lot of times, they’re also looking at what I consider to be subjective attributes like, you know, does he have good eyes? Right? That was a thing like, does he
Syd Roe 17:16
have a mustache?
Chris Cheatham 17:17
Yeah. Does he? Yeah. Could he wear his hat properly, which honestly, I can see that factor in and a person that has kind of traditional, whereas like, you know, the Moneyball folks and Bill James was kind of the pioneer of sabermetrics? And by the way, he’s from Kansas, which is awesome. As he lives in Lawrence, Kansas works from the Boston Red Sox helped them win a World Series, the First World Series. Wow got it. And so he realized, wait a second. Let’s just look at the stats. Right. Let’s go look at minor league stats and try to find those diamonds in the rough that don’t look like I for some reason, Hulk Hogan just popped in my brain by the way. I don’t know why.
Syd Roe 17:55
roll with it. It’s, yeah,
Chris Cheatham 17:56
I mean, you know, Hulk Hogan is the perfect human specimen, right? So anyway, yeah, they started looking at stats and realized they could find players that not everyone else had passed over because of their subjective attributes. And like there’s a whole baseball team built on this now, you know, the Oakland Athletics and Billy Beane, like, yeah, that’s what they do. And they’re trying to constantly find those opportunities to go get those baseball players. So like, I can’t tell you how many times I can’t. I have no clue. But how many times has a clause been inserted by an underwriter or a broker? And the policy has never been changed as or even though there’s new coverages or new exclusions. I think that’s so fascinating. And that’s what we want to tackle. And we’re starting to really start to get there.
Yeah, well, it becomes the source of truth. And that’s not to say that you know, with or curvaceous of someone’s size couldn’t necessarily be you know, an impact on their game, but at least you’ll know, right? It’s not just while I personally like it so anecdotally, it must be the truth. no. We’re going to actually look at the facts and figures here. So yeah, that’s I’m incredibly impressed. And so I guess, I mean, moving into ITC, which by the way, I got to stop for a second and say, also one of the reasons I love you is because you love Kara Swisher. And like, she’s the bomb.
Chris Cheatham 19:27
Fireman, she is. or Yes,
Syd Roe 19:30
yes, yes. Goals. So anyway, I’m really jealous that you gotta see her. I know. And if you tell me you got to shake your hand or get within five feet, I’m going to be really jealous. So just don’t even tell me.
Chris Cheatham 19:44
I did not because I have a general aversion to listening to people speak and insurtech conferences. And so I had to like force myself just to go to the audience. Like that was the only thing I was saying I attended while I was there, and that’s the only thing I’ve heard and all last three years at that conference, and it’s nothing against insure tech Connect, it’s just generally I just don’t get a time I’d rather be doing meetings on the side. Yeah, but he was. So I don’t know if you heard what she did, but as the person before her was a SoftBank investor. And they stage she gets up there and she immediately starts making fun of SoftBank. It was just amazing. I’m not sure if people in the audience really like I’m sitting next to a guy that has also a fanboy of her but like, I’m not sure everyone quite understood what was going on. But
Syd Roe 20:35
yeah, and you also gotta wonder if like, Jay and caribou like planned that, you know, I mean, was it was there a sense of intention there with the strategy, I knew that
Chris Cheatham 20:45
like, honestly, like, I think those guys are great, particularly caribou. I see him at the conference and like, I got to sit with him at dinner. And like, there were some staffers the first day like, I don’t know if you heard about the line to get in on the first day, but it was I’ve never seen a Longer line and my entire life. And I’m not hyperbole. I have literally never seen any longer lines in my life. It was a three hour plus line. Yeah, people are still waiting. So we were just laughing about it, and there was like a shortcut or you could go up to the front of the line. And some people were taking advantage of that. But like he was such a good, you know, he was, you know, I was joking about it. I was like, congratulations on creating the longest line in history. So, I like those guys. I mean, that Congress is out of control at this point, like in a good way, like, I can go like, I love that conference, because I can go and have like 10 meetings, instead of having to travel the 10 different cities were very, and that’s the kind of one shift I’ve made is like, I don’t do the kind of dating app thing that they have now. I just try to do very targeted meetings, and I just get a ton out of it. And then three meals at night and I move on with my life. So
Syd Roe 21:53
yeah, Well speaking of I mean, first of all, I can’t believe people don’t just give up within three. I mean, I would probably weigh about 47 minutes and then I looked at my watch and be like, you know what? I’m good. I don’t know if I need a name badge that badly. I think I can. I can work this without it. But So comparing year one to year four
Chris Cheatham 22:17
I will be part of me like every after six months, six months after every single Intertek Connect conference, I can’t remember anything about it. Because it’s such. It’s such a blur. Yeah. So I vaguely remember like numbers, like these circle numbers from your one. And it was kind of a mess because there weren’t enough numbers and like, you’re literally spamming standing two inches away from another meeting, but it was kind of funny. But like, it’s definitely so much bigger. But what’s really cool is like, like, I see the same people and we’re at the same parties, and it’s still the same crew. So the same people are still showing up. It’s just there are a lot more people that I don’t know. That’s fine. Yeah, yeah. I thought it was pretty seamless this year though. Like, they did some, you know, things, like opened up certain windows, like there are windows looking out to a pool, for example, where you walk between the speaking area and the Starbucks, which you have to know that route to be very effective is how to get to the speaking area and how to get to Starbucks if you know that you’re gonna, have a good company,
Syd Roe 23:22
You could probably make some bank off of writing a how-to guide for insurance that connects 2020 like I think you could. I really mean, it’s the same. I don’t Yeah, they don’t change the city. I think it’s been at the same hotel so you’re it’s primetime for a great how-to guide? I?
Syd Roe 23:43
Oh, yeah. So 7000 people year for like, one to the 2000 year one. You mentioned that you’re seeing the same people. Is it? Are we seeing more different people? Or have we just seen the companies who are there, the first and second years starting to grow and bring more of their team, like what? Who am I’m just trying to figure out like, are we just being barraged by,
Chris Cheatham 24:12
you know, people coming in from other industries and saying, oh my gosh, there’s this huge opportunity I got to get in on this somehow. Or is it? Is it a more insular sort of an implosion? Right? I think it’s more new people to be honest with you, because I’ve definitely heard from some companies that kind of realized how to go and be successful at that conference. And it’s not by adding more people. It’s by being more focused on what they’re doing. So they actually kind of scaled back their teams that went not because of anything against a conference and just, hey, we don’t need 30 people here, maybe we just need 10 or 15. Yeah, we’re but so I think it is definitely a lot of people from the outside like, you know, a lot of venture capitals flowing in obviously, but I think a lot of companies are looking at how Okay, I’m successful in this other industry. How do I bring that into insurer tech? There is definitely a new world Wave insurer Tech’s coming up. Which summer is exciting?
Syd Roe 25:07
Yeah, no, no. What do you think? I mean, is there somebody that popped into your mind when you said some are exciting, or maybe a few that popped into your mind,
Chris Cheatham 25:15
There’s just one that I like. I’m kind of a pilot for this company. So it’s called purple ant, I believe. And like, yeah, like this guy that like, I don’t know, I’m not begging to put stuff in my house. And I’m definitely not big on doing stuff at my house. Like I want to outsource everything possible related to my house when possible, and so but purple and they wanted to do a, like a water leak detection system. And I was like, I’ll try it. You know, like, I’m friends with your friends. So that’s fine. And so I get this box and I remember looking at the box and be like, gosh, I can open this and it’s gonna be a whole thing and like, but then I opened up and like, there’s like I plug this into your modem. Put this device under your sink. Then put this device by our sump pump. I did that. And it all turned on and connected itself. And immediately and immediately I started getting text messages saying no to leak detected. And every once in a while, I get on this. And so like, that’s kind of cool. Like if they can figure out how to package that properly at a good cost point, and tie that to some sort of insurance policy related to that. That’s really interesting, right? It’s going to all be and how they execute going forward. But like, the software or not, the hardware worked pretty flawlessly. And so that one’s interesting. trying to think what else?
Syd Roe 26:37
It’s cool that that? I mean, what I’m picking up on is, that’s not a new idea. Yeah. But it’s a new execution of a good idea. Yep. So, how are we? How are we refining some of the things that we’ve talked about in year one, now in year four, so that they’re better for the consumer so that they’re better for the agent and so that they’re better for the carrier? Yeah, yeah. Well, okay, so I also know one of the other differences this year was that they had this agent, agent, Agent Connect. Yeah. So it was kind of the shoot-off of it wasn’t, you know, like a presentation within the main sessions, but it was kind of outside of that, as its own workshop. Yeah. Did you get to go to that? I know they didn’t allow everybody in. Yeah,
Chris Cheatham 27:28
we did, actually. So we offered them a vendor booth. So we set one of those up. And it was really fun. Actually, we just kind of hung out, and people came by and we showed them the software. There were also speaking engagements that day and a nice little lunch. So I think for agents that can be super valuable because if they get the right people in the room and they have the right people and the right software applications, which it seemed like they had many of the big players then you know, it’s a great idea. So yeah, I thought they pulled it off. There we go. his kind of logistical issues. I think everything was trying to be delivered Monday morning. So that was a little tricky because they had too much stuff coming in. But like they also didn’t start doing that cut that part of the conference until a few months before. And I thought they did reasonably well in pulling that off. So I like that. I hope they keep doing agent Connect. That was pretty good.
Syd Roe 28:20
Yeah. Well, I like the idea of having something for agents, right. I mean, insurer Tech Connect. I’ve been there. Actually, this was the only year I didn’t go which was kind of a bummer because like I said, Kara Swisher was there. She was like, come on, man. I almost bought a ticket and flew out just for her presentation. But yeah. So I’ve been there before though. And it’s overwhelming. I mean, the amount of people you have to be so, and this is why I didn’t go this year. I switched roles and I’m working with a new company and we just didn’t have a plan of attack for it. And to drop you know, five, six grand on tickets, planes, hotels, Food is just like, you’ve got to know why you’re going and you know, so I think for agents, this gives them a little bit more footing to stand on. What I am curious about is how they’re going to because it seemed backward, right? It seemed like insurer tech Connect came along and was really focused on okay, how can we help carriers right and not say that that tech the technology there didn’t help agents but let’s be honest, carriers have the money so if we’re going to start innovation, you know, an insurer tech company and innovate the insurance industry and we need funding carriers are probably the bet you know, a good first bet. So, you know, come along a couple of years here, and agents are starting to take notice of it and Okay, I know a couple is going and they’re seeing things. We also have some companies popping up that are more agent-focused. So now we’re going to create this sort of carve out this niche for agents. So I’m interested to see whether they really focus in on that and start to push, you know, marketing and more. I don’t know, help towards that.
Chris Cheatham 30:15
Or whether it just becomes this sort of, well, we didn’t know what to do with a couple of agents and couple companies that, you know, helped agents innovate. And I don’t know, do you have any thoughts on that? Or, I mean, I would be stunned if they didn’t keep doing it, because I think it was very successful and, frankly, you know, full capacity. So what do you see that there’s a man so why not keep doing that? Yeah. Either. You reminded me also of this thing that I saw when it was launched right around ITC. There’s a broker accelerator in Des Moines. That’s starting up. I don’t know if you saw that. But it’s like, I don’t know seven or eight broker brokerages and they’re going to have companies as part of an accelerator. So it’s a technology specifically for brokers. I thought that was really, really interesting because everything is carrier focused, particularly around accelerators. And so to do that, and like, I think the plan that they have is to rotate the companies through the different brokerages, which can be extremely powerful because then you kind of get perspective and figure out how your software if it’s each of those agencies or brokerages, and then you can really benefit so I like that idea a lot and talked about kind of insurtech new things. That one seems like a pretty interesting idea to me.
Syd Roe 31:29
Yeah, I do. I mean, I like the idea that it’s an accelerator instead of just a conference, you know, here come to get together let’s talk about we’re gonna let you know help you meet connect you with some companies that are doing something cool. Like there seems to be a little bit more meat on the bones to it, which is actually I don’t know that I’ve heard of a broker accelerator before. That’s, yep. Now that I’m thinking about it. Also, look into that. I appreciate that dude. So last question here and I’m going to steal the Kara Swisher line. I know, well, while I’m changing it, I’m roughing it. But when I saw Rob Galbreath, the man on the street videos that he did, there were like three of them. And each one was about 30 minutes. And it was essentially him narrating his day, but pulling people aside and having them give a little pitch on what they’re doing, which was great, because it gave you a sense of, I mean, he’s literally just walking through this hotel, so you can just tell how massive it is. And you know, kind of flipping the camera around every once in a while. It was just, it was cool to be able to almost be there. But then also have that ability to hear what some of these companies are to see people you’d seen before. So here’s the thing, though, I got done with this hour and a half of video man on the street. And I was completely overwhelmed. And I mean, you talk about the three-hour line, you know, 7000 people I guess I have this fear that we have a lot of new people coming into the insurance space, I’m a little biased because I’m coming. I’m going from the inside out, not the outside in here. So you have to forgive my bias. But I just had this fear that people are coming in, don’t truly understand like the root problems, they just see this wave of, of new, exciting technology popping up. And they’re imagining these, you know, or creating 7000 different solutions all built-in isolation. Yep. So as a carrier, and even as an agent, right? It’s like, I don’t even know where to start. I don’t even know where to begin. And I’m sure that on the other side of that there’s frustration like, Well, you know, how do I fit into this whole thing and where do I go, which is kind of like, what’s your problem, bro? But I just wonder how that’s going to impact the industry. I wonder how it’s going to impact EITC as it’s moving forward like it has. It hasn’t climaxed at this point, and it’s kind of going to come back down? Is it gonna? You know, I don’t know, like, what are you? Have you? Have you had any thoughts on that? And just kind of where it’s going?
Chris Cheatham 34:16
Yeah, I mean, there’s always a hype cycle. Right. And I don’t think we can call the peak yet. But I think we might be getting close. Because, you know, I look at one of the leading indicators is kind of venture capital flowing in and it’s still what it was. Now, one of the data points I heard recently is that a lot of the venture capital and insurtech is no longer going into new ideas. It’s flowing into the ideas that have taken hold. And so that makes sense to me, because kind of this wave, I would argue started in around 2015, maybe 2016 2017, that kind of time period. And so you have that first three to five years of companies trying to sort it out and figure it out. So most of them didn’t survive, some did the ones that survived, that’s where the investment dollars are going to go because that’s what seemed traction. And so I think you’re going to start to so I wouldn’t be too fearful, you know, the bad ideas weed themselves out the not fully baked solutions are figured out very quickly. Another thing that gives me pause and always makes me nervous is that you know, if somebody’s going out and making promises of what their software is going to do, and then it just doesn’t deliver, that can burn people so that they just don’t want to do any new software at all. Right? And so I’m curious to see how that plays out. I’m worried that you know, brokers are gonna test stuff and not like it or carriers are gonna test stuff and not like it. And then the other thing I would say is like, I feel like people are getting better about figuring out the problems they want to solve, instead of looking for a problem to solve with a solution that they like, So there’s a big difference between saying, okay, I’ve talked to operations, I’ve talked to users, we know this problem exists. Now let’s go find a solution for it. Versus Okay, your solution does x. Great. Let’s test it out and make sure it works. Okay, great. It works. Now let’s go find someone to use it. That ladder scenario doesn’t work very well. And there was a lot of that early on, I feel like, and so I always and I kind of started this way, and in many ways, like I always lead with the problem, what’s the problem you’re trying to solve? And if you don’t know that, if you don’t have clarity around that, like, there’s a problem, like I have certain accounts I’m thinking about in my head right now that just don’t know what problem they want to solve yet. And so they’re not ready for it yet. Yeah. So I think that’s important. And I would say that the startups it’s very important to pick your problem and stick to that because if you try to solve every problem in insurance, oh my gosh, you’re in trouble.
Chris Cheatham 26:59
There’s too much
Syd Roe 37:01
Yeah, I guess the way I think about it is we have to be problem drunk not solution drunk and I feel like right now we’re solution drunk it’s all about hey I do this really cool thing not I understand what you’re struggling with and let’s figure out you know how we can help in that area. So I love that you lead with the problem
Chris Cheatham 37:24
that Kara Swisher was talking about some companies that are drunk.
Chris Cheatham 37:28
Yes, wrong and innovative or something like that. I can’t remember the exact words you use. But Dude,
Syd Roe 37:34
you’re really making me doubt your Kara Swisher love right now?
Chris Cheatham 37:37
Syd Roe 37:38
Silicon Valley is drunk and disruptive. Right? Yeah, yeah. So I did steal her line a little bit there, but I rift