Electronic Chat with Michael DeGusta, CEO, ClarionDoor
Staff Writer | August 03, 2020
Michael DeGusta is CEO of ClarionDoor, a cloud digital distribution platform for insurance. A successful entrepreneur and consistent innovator in the insurance software industry, Michael co-founded web-based policy administration pioneer Steel Card (sold to Insurity in 2006). In 1999, Michael co-founded and was Chief Technology Officer of eCoverage, a SoftBank/RRE/E*TRADE-funded startup that was the nation’s first online auto insurance carrier. A Stanford alumnus, Michael began his career as web production lead at Apple from 1996 to 1998.
You started your career at Apple in the late 1990s. What led you to the insurance industry?
After my time at Apple, I co-founded and was CTO of eCoverage, the first true online insurer, backed by E-Trade, E-Loan, and SoftBank among others. Initially, we thought we’d just “web-enable” an existing insurance software package, but looking at the archaic offerings on the market, it was clear that wasn’t possible. So, we built everything from the ground up, and it turned out to be a far more interesting and challenging project than what most of web programming was about in those days: content sites and shopping sites. While eCoverage was a victim of the dot com bust, it was clear there was an immense need for and massive opportunity to provide great technology to this industry that technologists generally overlooked.
Part of your company’s focus is on managing general agencies (MGAs). What’s the importance of the role MGAs play in insurance, and how do your products help them deliver their services?
Recent trends in insurance distribution find many insurers expanding partner channels as a means of growth, if not straight-up survival. Managing general agents (MGAs) have emerged as a major part of that model by offering traditional insurers and other capital sources the ability to rapidly and expertly find markets for new products.
MGAs confront some highly technical challenges. They often handle complex, niche programs that many systems can’t handle without extensive, expensive customization. And, MGAs frequently have to rekey into, or integrate with, multiple carrier systems in order to determine appetite and pricing for a single risk.
ClarionDoor MGA Hub (CD MGA Hub) is a flexible platform that enables MGAs to automate the quoting of traditionally hard to automate programs, as well as do sophisticated exposure monitoring and aggregate tracking for contract compliance. CD MGA Hub simplifies and streamlines the entire quoting process, providing MGAs an instant market appetite just based on class code and without having to enter any submission data. It was important to me that we create a solution which enables MGAs to enter quotes once and get real-time indications from all of their carrier partners.
From your perspective, what is the biggest impact insurtech has had on traditional insurance?
Insurtechs are challenging the way traditional insurers think about and approach insurance as a whole, from product design to data utilization to customer engagement.
One area in particular focus is the insurance quoting process. We have already lived through the time-to-quote battles, epitomized by GEICO’s 15 minutes or less and Esurance’s 7 minutes or less campaigns. And now, insurtechs are taking things to a whole new level, leveraging technology and third-party data sources to minimize consumer inputs and fill in the gaps. Branch Insurance is a perfect example. Branch has created an experience where consumers get a full, bindable auto and homeowners’ quote in seconds just by entering their name and address.
How has the pandemic changed the insurance and insurtech markets, and how do you see it evolving through the end of this year?
From a coverage perspective, it seems certain we will see more pandemic-related options coming to the commercial lines market, though the inherent super-catastrophe nature of a pandemic will present some complicated challenges from a pricing and limits perspective.
On the personal lines side, while some companies gave a one-off rebate due to reduced driving, if usage-based insurance was more widely in place, insurers would have had a more automated and precise way to handle the situation.
Finally, I think the pandemic has demonstrated to everyone in the industry that “going digital” really is possible and fine. We’re now entering the 4th decade of discussing “digital transformation” and it is finally time for the industry to stop talking about it and take real action to address their technology deficiencies.
Technologies being used throughout the value chain are being tested and evaluated for their future preparedness. Can it be managed 100 percent remotely? Can it be accessed anywhere people happen to be stuck? These questions, combined with all our personal experiences during this time, really demonstrate that it’s time to get everything to true cloud-based solutions, like ClarionDoor. Anything less is a business risk.
What tech tools are on the horizon that you predict will play a pivotal role in insurance in the future?
This question gets asked quite a bit, and right or wrong, the answer is very often artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. I think it’s great that the industry is talking about these technologies, but the reality for most insurers today is that robotic process automation (RPA) is what is having a real impact, while other technologies, like blockchain, are still largely in the speculative stage.
We think the companies that are going to succeed aren’t the ones that adopt specific technology X or new dataset Y. The winners are going to be those who realize that technology is constantly evolving and that systems need to be selected and designed to maximize flexibility and minimize time to market for all the myriad of changes that are coming in the years ahead.
On the AI front, there are already dozens of new AI-driven data fields insurers could be using. But, if each one is a year-long process to evaluate, adopt, and integrate into your platforms, you’re going to lose. Instead you need a flexible, schema-less platform that allows you to test and learn.
RPA, on the other hand, is really all about automating old systems that lack modern APIs. So, you should be asking, “How do we never have to deal with this again?” The answer lies in making sure that your new systems are 100 percent API-first and always. And that doesn’t mean just transactional APIs, but every admin screen, every configuration option, and every part of the release and promotion process. Platforms like ours (ClarionDoor) work that way, and it means you can automate all sorts of product change and potential innovation going forward.
What are your plans for ClarionDoor over the next few years?
ClarionDoor has always been a groundbreaking insurance technology company. We introduced a cloud-native, API-first, rating engine at a time when most insurers still insisted solutions should be “on premise.” And, to this day, we continue to lead the industry with our proven technology. We’ve recently added highly-sophisticated, real-time exposure monitoring and aggregate tracking that’s only possible with the power of the cloud. We will continue to invest in making our omni-channel, digital distribution platform incredibly flexible, deeply intelligent, hyper-efficient, always API-first, and truly real-time.
Other companies are just trying to build newer versions of the same old, failed approaches to insurance platforms. We’re trying to fundamentally change the way insurance companies think about their technology.
- Your Insurtech Investment: Making the Most of the Software You Already Have
- Electronic Chat with Sanjeev Kumar Chaudhry, Founder and CEO, Gigaforce
- Electronic Chat with Sylvester Mathis, Chief Insurance Officer, Insurity
- Inside the ITA: Meet the Board
- Digital Drip: New Lease on Life
- Transformation Corner: Core System Transformation
- Big Fix: Closing the Data Divide
- Tech, Processes, and a Plan
- Core Systems: Out with the Old?
- 5 Things to Consider When Modernizing a Surety System
- Four Benefits of Integrating Mobile Crash Detection and Accident Management
- Everybody Loves Gelato
- Electronic Chat with Jennifer Smith, VP of L&A Product Strategy, Sapiens North America
- Now Accepting Nominations for "Pick of the Litter" Issue
- “New Normal” Requires an Insurance Analytics Evolution
- Accuracy: Are Data Providers Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes?
- Agents Send More Business to Insurers with Better Tech, Celent Finds
- Electronic Chat with B2Z Insurance
- Still Standing, Still Learning, and Still at Home
- ITA Pro Magazine, May/June 2021
- Electronic Chat with Chris Ewing, Founder and CEO, One Inc
- Electronic Chat with Sharmila Ray, Head of Carrier Strategy, Solutions and Go-To-Market, Vertafore
- Electronic Chat with Alex Devoto, Founder, LVLFi
- Prince Charles, Lloyd's Launch Sustainability Insurance Task Force
- UFCIC Becomes First U.S. Insurer to Accept Cryptocurrency for Premium Payments
- Electronic Chat with Ty Harris, Co-Founder, Openly Insurance
- The Insurance Industry’s Reliance on Friction: A Good Strategy?
- Loss Control, Premium Audit Systems Critical to Customer Experience, Celent Finds
- What's AI-Right and AI-Wrong?
- The Drive for Digital
- Electronic Chat with Candice Smith, Founder and CEO, Caregiven
- Electronic Chat with Nestor Hugo Solari, Founder/CEO, Sigo
- The Giant Hole in Actuarial Models
- Electronic Chat with Trent Cooksley, COO and Co-Founder, Cowbell Cyber
- The ITA Pro March/April 2021 issue is here!
- Purchasing and Innovation: Friends or Enemies?
- COVID Drives More Reliance on Risk Management Systems, New Study Finds
- Electronic Chat with Robert Clark, CEO, Cloverleaf Analytics
- Solving Customer Communications Challenges with Hybrid Mail
- Six Trends Shaping Digital Insurance Tech Strategies in 2021
- Billing a Key Component of Customer Service, Celent Finds
- Why Data Science Fails
- Electronic Chat with Andrew Jernigan, CEO, and Allen Koski, President and Chief Innovation Officer, Insured Nomads
- Electronic Chat with Allison Martin, CEO and Founder, UDoTest
- Are Carriers Ready for the Coming Crash?
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Moore, Director for North American Sales Engineering and Solutions, Trifacta
- Next Insurance Partners with Amazon Business Prime to Provide Small Businesses with Affordable Digital Insurance Options
- An AI Walks Into an Electronics Store...
- InsurTech NY Announces Global Early-Stage Competition Winners
- World’s Worst County/Western Insurtech Song
- Electronic Chat with Anne-Laure Klein, COO, Akur8
- COVID-19 One Year Later: The Digital Transformation of Insurance
- Electronic Chat with Michael Kassing, CEO/CVO, insured.io
- BrokerTech Ventures Announces 2021 Cohort Class for Accelerator
- An Entirely Preventable Disaster
- Flipping the Fraud Triangle
- The January/February ITA Pro Magazine is here!
- Credit Risk, ESG, Cybersecurity Top Risk Concerns for Financial Institutions, Deloitte Finds
- Electronic Chat with Ellen Moser, Senior Client Executive, Origami Risk LLC
- The Answer to “So What?”
- Leaders Rise from a Year Like No Other!
- Electronic Chat with Jonathan Roomer, Co-Founder, YuLife
- Getting Creative to Hit COVID Curveballs Out of the Park
- Electronic Chat with Eugenio Gonzalez, Plug and Play
- New Report Projects Global Insurtech to Grow by $21 Billion During 2020-2024
- The 2020 Virtual Event Wasteland
- Insurtechs, Investors Optimistic About Post-COVID Future, New DIA/McKinsey Study Finds
- Finding Grandmas
- No Code / Low Code: The New “Shortest Route” In Insurance Delivery
- Are You Addicted to Copy-and-Paste?
- Electronic Chat with Nino Tarantino, CEO- Americas, Insurance and Mobility Solutions (IMS)
- Driving Life Insurance:Tech Alone Won’t Solve Business Problems
- Electronic Chat with Robin Roberson, Managing Director, North America, Claim Central Consolidated
- How Do You Make It Happen?
- Electronic Chat with Jason Liu, CEO, Zywave
- New Partnership Models Take Program Business to the Next Level
- New Study Finds Less than Half of Consumers Trust Insurers to Respond to Their Needs
- Electronic Chat with Andrew Mauritzen, CFO and Head of Insurance Industry, Exactuals
- You Want Us To Do WHAT For Free?
- Electronic Chat with Evgeny Aleksandrov, Co-founder and CEO, Pilotbird
- Electronic Chat with Chris Cheatham, CEO, RiskGenius
- New MIT Sloan Study Finds Few Companies Gain Big Benefits from AI
- The September/October ITA Pro magazine is here!
- “Being Right” is Just the Start of the Battle
- Electronic Chat with Amit Ranjan, Executive VP and CAO, Xceedance
- Planning for Your Business and Tech Future: Strategies, Plans and Budgets for Rapid Transformation
- Electronic Chat with Jimmy Padia, Founder and CEO, Floatbot
- Gelato with Dots and Sprinkles
- COVID-19 and the Insurtech “Junk Drawer”
- Even “Change” is Different Now. Your Strategic Planning Needs to Be Too.
- The Road Ahead for P&C Insurers: How to Understand Customers Better and Navigate the Post-COVID Insurance Market
- Electronic Chat with Jake Tamarkin, Co-founder and CEO, Everyday Life
- Strategic Planning in the “New Normal” Digital Era of Insurance – Your Next Move
- Insurer Tech Investment Priorities See Major Shift in a Post-COVID World
- Plug and Play Selects 25 Insurtech Startups for Winter Batches
- Digital Transformation – A Top Strategic Priority and New Reality
- Four Steps to Successful Migration of Insurance CCM Applications
- COVID-19 Accelerates Insurance Digitalization to Meet Customer Demand: World InsurTech Report 2020
- Electronic Chat with Greg Williams, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Acrisure
- Electronic Chat with Matt Perlman, Partner, IA Capital Group
- Insurer Digitalization: Are you a Competitor or a Laggard?
- Leaders are Leading and Creating the Future of Insurance Distribution
- 3 Things You Need to Know About No-Code
- Electronic Chat with Adam Kiefer, CEO, Talage
- Underwriting in 3D: Using Data to Adapt and Improve Life Insurance Sales
- Getting Past the "Gelato Syndrome"
- Insurers Know CX/UX is Important, but Don't Agree on Execution, Study Finds
- Electronic Chat with Steve Lekas, Branch Insurance
- How AI Can Attract Millennial Talent to the Insurance Industry
- Preventing Data Breaches
- A New Boom for Life Insurance: Shifting Away from the 250-Year-Old Policy Transaction
- Electronic Chat with Ty Harris, Founder and CEO, Openly
- A Digital Wildfire Creates a Burning Platform for Digital Insurance Business Transformation
- Digitalization, COVID-19 Spurring More IT Investment in Cybersecurity
- Electronic Chat with Michael DeGusta, CEO, ClarionDoor
- U.S. Consumers Significantly Underestimate Flood Risk, New Survey Finds
- The Future of Insurance: Opportunities in Ecosystems
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum, CEO, Input 1
- Majesco to be Acquired by Thoma Bravo
- The Evolving Role of Managing General Agencies
- Electronic Chat with Char Hu
- Electronic Chat with Allan L. Egbert, Jr.
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Tramontano and Zbigniew Gawienczuk
- Data Science is Gelato
- Insurance Innovation: Alive and Kicking
- Independent Agents Divided on Digital Experience, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Michael Jones
- Electronic Chat with Paul VanderMarck
- As Auto Insurance Premiums Shrink, Insurers Need Mobility Ecosystem, New Study Finds
- Property & Casualty Insurers Raise Digital Games as COVID-19 Elevates Customer Expectations, J.D. Power Finds
- Electronic Chat with Bobbie Shrivastav
- Meet the Board: Marissa Buckley
- Big Data and Insurtech: A Carrier Perspective
- Traditional Insurers Need Open Ecosystems, Partnerships to Remain Competitive, CapGemini Report Finds
- Electronic Chat with John C. Siegman
- 4 Ways AI is Empowering Insurers During COVID-19
- 6 Big Changes to Insurance from the COVID-19 Crisis
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Ewing
- Independent Agency Staff Morale High During COVID-19, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Brad Epker
- Tapping AI to Improve Policyholder Experience
- Electronic Chat with Manisha Bhargava
- ITA Pro Magazine, March/April 2020
- COVID-19 a Game Changer for Workers’ Comp
- Electronic Chat with Steve Comer
- COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Cancellation of ITA LIVE 2020
- Leveraging Digital Resources in the Time of COVID-19
- Electronic Chat with Robert Hartwig on COVID-19 and Insurance
- Celent Study: Most Small Businesses Still Unclear on Importance of Cyber Insurance
- The January/February 2020 ITA Pro is here!
- Deloitte: New C-Suite Roles Mean More Opportunities for Women
- Electronic Chat with Pankaj Parashar
- Electronic Chat with Tara Kelly
- Electronic Chat with Chuck Wilson
- ITA, InsNerds Collaborate to Enhance ITA LIVE 2020 Content and Coverage
- How SMBs Can Compete in Digital Ecosystems in the 2020s
- 4 Ways Insurance Can Prepare for New Data Privacy Laws
- Brewer Lane Ventures Launches and Hires Insurtech Vet Martha Notaras as Managing Partner
- 2020 GIA Cohort Launches on January 14
- The November/December 2019 ITA Pro is here!
- Electronic Chat with Joshua Snead
- Electronic Chat with Wendy Aarons-Corman
- Simplifying the Move to a Third-party Print Provider
- Take a Business-Driven Approach to Continuous Improvement for Core Systems and Processes
- Electronic Chat with Ron Glozman
- Guidewire’s Data Guru Mike Byam on How Insurers are Using Internal and Third-Party Data
- Electronic Chat with Russ Bostick
- Electronic Chat with Rock Schindler
- Electronic Chat with John Siegman
- Electronic Chat with Martin Burlingame
- Insurtech Landscape 2019: Top 5 Takeaways
- Grinnell Mutual Tackles Massive Transformation -- in Stride
- A Candid Conversation with Paul Mang
- SageSure Insurance Managers Improved Competitiveness by Consolidating Payments to a Single Digital Platform
- Digital Does Matter in Insurance-- And Insurers are Missing the Mark
- The 22nd-Century Insurer: Taking a Cloud-First IT Approach
- The September/October 2019 issue of ITA PRO magazine is now available in digital format here:
- ITA Pro Magazine May/June 2019
- Spotlight on the 2019 IASA Conference
- ValueMomentum Selects Erie as Site of Regional Development Center
- Capgemini and Majesco Become Alliance Partners
- Electronic Chat with Dr. Dan Shoham
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum
- Martha Notaras: The “Outsider” with an Amazing Inside View
- Electronic Chat with Larissa Tosch
- Martha Notaras Will Join ITA LIVE 2019 as a Keynote Speaker
- Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Risk
- ITA Pro Magazine, January/February 2019
- Synergy Between Insurers' IT and Analytics Teams Key to Operationalizing Insights, Says Novarica
- Major Ransomware Attack Could Hit U.S. with $89B In Economic Damages
- ITA Announces 1st of Three Keynote Speakers at ITA LIVE 2019
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Arturo Hires New General Counsel
- Zurich NA Adds Chisel AI for Underwriting
- Insurity Acquires AuSuM Systems
- Method Insurance to Streamline Underwriting with Origami Risk
- BrokerTech Ventures Launches BTV LATAM Partnership, Adds UNICO Group as Broker Partner
- Roost Rolls Out White-Label Home Security Solution
- Norway’s Gjensidige Pensjonsforsikring Selects Sapiens Digital Solution
- Insurium Names Insurtech Veteran Jeremy Williams CEO
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.
ITA LIVE 2020
ITA LIVE 2020 –SAVE THE DATE!
April 5th – 7th, 2020
The Diplomat Resort
Become a member today to receive updates – www.itapro.org/MR
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE
Successful implementation requires balancing operational and emotional issues... READ MORE
- Vendor Views