Jeremy Johnson, CEO, joined Protective Insurance in May 2019 following several years in executive positions at some of the world’s most prestigious insurance organizations, including Marsh, AIG and Lexington.
Regarding Protective Insurance, Johnson says, “Because it’s a smaller company (approximately 500 employees), it’s a much more intimate environment and it feels like one person can really make a difference,” Johnson explains. “It's a pretty revered brand and, because of our client-centric, relationship-oriented approach, Protective Insurance is very well respected both by our customers and by trucking fleets.” Despite starting with the company only last year, Johnson says that his first exposure to truck insurance actually occurred earlier in his career. Recognizing that it was an intricate, data-rich opportunity, he gained a particular fascination with the sector which continues to this day. “There's just so much data that, with the right attitude, you can really envisage a different approach, one that can really make the roads safer. We've got a lot more work to do in order to seize that massive data opportunity, but we have a great foundation, momentum and a vision.”
For Johnson, this interest in the possibilities of data analysis goes back to one of his former bosses at AIG, who instilled in him a passion for ‘the art of the possible’ - a spirit of inquisitiveness and innovation that isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo or explore new directions. “Unless you're prepared to ask really intriguing questions, the data just exists in a vacuum,” he states.
Facilitating this approach meant a new, tech-driven transformation of Protective Insurance was necessary as, like many companies with decades of experience in the market, the business was rife with non-integrated legacy systems. “The linchpins were moving to the cloud using Microsoft Azure to build a ‘data lake’ and embracing an analytics-first commercial auto underwriting platform built for us by TSIQ. We have a partnership with a company called Roots Automation, who’ve provided us with self-learning digital bots, and we have a great partner in Majesco whose approach to microservices, “plug and play” style system modules really aligns with our technology vision.” In addition, Johnson explains that there will be numerous, more mundane but no less crucial changes happening behind the scenes that will affect the company’s ability to scale as well as ingest, harmonize and analyze data.
Increased technological sophistication, in addition to engaging with ‘possibility thinking’ and adopting an ‘always moving forwards’ mentality, will, in Johnson’s view, maintain Protective Insurance’s competitive edge, which has already seen it triumph over other, less-imaginative companies in the space. Finally, he concludes with a declaration of pride for his employees’ hard work and engagement with the corporate mission: “Our existing customers value us and many more want to work with us. We couldn't have got into this position without 500 committed, experienced and able employees. I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved.”
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The fundamental question is always how much control am I willing to lose versus how much risk I want to reduce when moving to the cloud, and then making a choice based on the business value