Electronic Chat -- Jason Liu
Bill Sinn | November 15, 2018
Jason Liu is the new CEO of Zywave, a privately held software company headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. Founded in 1995 as a regional brokerage firm, Zywave has transformed itself into a leading provider of software-as-a service (SaaS) products for insurance brokers and financial planners. Its software suite is designed to help independent brokers safeguard their current book of business, win new accounts and attract top talent. This growing company has annual revenue of $100M and services over 5,500 customers. With new leadership, greater R&D investment, and a focus on an open platform approach, Jason Liu is building Zywave to be a better partner in the agent/broker community.
What were your reasons for taking charge at Zywave?
From a professional perspective, I am intrigued by the dynamic of massive disruption in the insurance tech space, and all the opportunities it creates. Producers and carriers are charged with growing revenue while engaging with an increasingly tech savvy buyer. Zywave is poised to guide the industry with that transformation. On a personal note, Zywave has a fantastic company culture, with a team of 400+ dedicated and driven employees. We are based here in Milwaukee, creating a real connection for me as I’m originally from the Midwest.
What is your vision for the company today? Where would you like the company to be in 3-5 years?
For the past 6 months I have been meeting with customers and listening deeply to truly understand their needs. Our vision for today and the next 5 years is crafted based on this feedback. We strive to provide positive impact by innovating solutions with two primary focuses in mind. First, to educate on the business value of a strong front office solution, which dramatically improves seller and producer performance. An impactful sales and client delivery engine adds value to business and creates true customer loyalty. Secondly, we advocate for open architecture of all insurance tech solutions, consolidating a typically fragmented tech stack in order to increase business efficiency. We are, as we speak, investing and building our product portfolio according to this vision.
What are the keys to the growth of Zywave in the insurance industry?
We have a strength in the benefits practice, and will look to grow organically within that space. We will then accelerate acquisition efforts to round out our portfolio for the P&C and commercial markets. Key to growth is innovating smart technology, then offering the market’s most robust front office technology suite. Everything we develop or acquire will be focused on increasing business efficiency and supporting customer growth.
Another critical key to growth is maintaining our exceptional customer support and educational offerings, great company culture and dedicated team of professionals.
You’ve had several acquisitions over the last few years. How have they helped your company?
Acquisitions are absolutely a significant part of our growth plans; we expect to make multiple acquisitions every year driving about half our company growth.
Within the past three years we have acquired Intygral, HR360 and most recent Code SixFour. Acquisitions are always based on what we are hearing in the market, and what we hear from our customers regarding their requirements.
Solutions we bring into the Zywave family expand our portfolio and enhance our human capital. Most recently with the Code SixFour acquisition we added the ability to integrate to other platforms (Microsoft Dynmaics, Salesforce and more), in line with our open platform strategy. We also welcomed Eric Rentch who will lead our Product Management team. His knowledge and ability to drive innovation is a huge asset to us.
Your profile mentions that you have been a bit “adventurous” over the years (running with the bulls, African safaris, etc.) What have you learned from those experiences? And how have they helped you with leading companies like Zywave?
I do enjoy trying new things and being challenged in adventurous situations. My wife and I ran with the bulls in Pamplona which was fantastic. We planned quite a bit prior to the trip -- not only reading books but reviewing the layout of the area the day before. Because we planned so heavily, we were able to run with the bulls and make it into the stadium at the end, which was the best part of the experience. If we wouldn’t have planned, we might have been injured, or not been able to finish. I apply those theories to business as well, planning ahead and then adapting along the way in order to achieve a great outcome.
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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
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ITA LIVE 2019 will present real-life examples of true startup technologies that are helping insurers gain real advantage -- and a competitive edge -- in the marketplace. We’ll highlight the more successful InsurTech partnerships, while offering case studies that demonstrate exciting innovation and cutting-edge techniques impacting all aspects of the insurance ecosystem.
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