Tracy Swain, CFO, Apollo Insurance spoke to Onside Media, about how technology is fast changing the insurance industry in Canada.
You have so much diverse experience from managing lifestyle brands to insurance. Could you discuss your professional growth journey?
I am very interested at this stage of my career in bringing my large company corporate experience to a company making big strides to change the way things are done in the insurance industry to make things simpler for those purchasing policies. Today, with the greater adoption and acceptance of technology for business and household’s needs, there is no reason that things within the insurance industry should not be completely streamlined creating a frictionless customer journey for the direct to consumer transaction and the broker.
Financial experts helped brands adapt to the new normal and transform during COVID-19. Your views on this?
The planning function of Finance in particular has really had to engage in a new way to help companies navigate the pandemic. The tried and true monthly reforecast and comparison to an annual budget never seemed up to date enough for the changing assumptions that came this year. From changing consumer behavior to cost reduction strategies, M and A changes in invest and divest decisions as well as COVID program applications and office and space planning changes, there have been lots of ways that COVID has caused a revisit to the numbers originally planned and stress tested the resilience of the business across all industries and geographies.
Expectations and Outlook for the insurance industry for 2021?
At this moment, insurance is going through some growing pains as it adapts to increasing pressure from consumers to be digital-forward. Many insurance companies have been around for a long time, in some cases hundreds of years, and they haven’t really had to change all that much in that time.
Now COVID has placed pressure on this industry to meet modern consumer standards of digital fulfillment. That pressure will continue into 2021, but insurance as an industry isn’t going anywhere, the challenge will increasingly be how can businesses and individuals access insurance products in an easy, simple, and convenient way.
At the same time, it’s a massive industry. In Canada alone, it’s a $60 billion industry — in the US it’s nearly ten times bigger. And the need for insurance certainly isn’t going away.
Apollo “as an online insurance company” – How the insurance business has transformed due to technology?
In many ways the industry hasn’t changed much in the past hundred years. It takes up to six weeks to apply via paper forms, wait for a quote, pay, and have a policy issued. Strict office hours mean 24/7 purchasing is non-existent. While insurance remains a necessary service, the industry is burdened by regulation and bureaucracy, and lacks innovation.
That means there’s a big opportunity for APOLLO to create valuable efficiencies in the industry. Our approach is unique; APOLLO will partner with insurers to digitize products, then add those products to our platform, the APOLLO Exchange, for consumers to purchase in real time, from any device, 24/7.
Where does Apollo stand in terms of growth currently and any expansion plans for 2021?
In 2020, the insurance industry began to wake up to the advantages of digital innovation, and APOLLO was perfectly positioned to provide a solution for insurers, agents, and especially consumers. Look for big things coming from APOLLO in 2021.
Your personal coping mechanism during 2020? e.g. Did you take up a hobby, like learning something new? Let us know a few tips that helped you take care of your personal mental health.
I like hill walks in my neighbourhood of Kitsilano as well as hanging out with my husband and twin boys who are 6 and very active. We have been discovering lots of parks and hiking trails in the local area that we had never previously visited so it’s been great to discover new things about our local area.
For more information: https://apollocover.com/
This story edited by Yugbodh, for The Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have stories to share kindly email: – [email protected]