“When we think about consumer products and insurance, like personal auto and home — things that you and I have to buy on our own or talk to an agent about — a lot of technology has been used,” Sangal said during a break at the recent Insuretech Connect 2022 conference. in Las Vegas. “When you make a similar comparison to small businesses or the insurance they need to see, small business owners haven’t made much progress.”

AmTrust is one of the nation’s largest underwriters of workers’ compensation insurance, and Sangal, who has been on the job for about a year, is responsible for improving and growing the insurer’s digital channels.

“My responsibility at AmTrust is to support all the tools and digital capabilities that are required of us in the marketplace to enable our agents and brokers to transact extremely effectively with small commercial policies,” Sangal said.

His long-term goal, he said, is to help AmTrust become the number one small business carrier in the United States.

Progress so far

Before Sangal’s arrival, AmTrust had made great digital strides. The insurer began ramping up its API capabilities about three years ago, and now has more than 40 integrations in the marketplace, Sangal said.

“We are the market leader when it comes to physical workflow support [products and services] our brokers and agents,” he said.

In the coming months, Sangal will work to develop digital distribution in the embedded insurance space and will also seek more strategic partnerships through traditional agents and brokers, insurtechs and other startups looking to disrupt the digital distribution space. He also said that the issue of partnership is on the agenda.

In addition, Sangal is looking to add additional product lines for the digital channel, starting with cyber coverage available through an API connection.

“We have developed a cyber product offering that is very attractive to small business customers,” Sangal said, adding that more digital products are expected over the next six to 12 months.

The goal, he added, will be to keep up with the unique opportunities and demands in the digital space.

“The most important thing we have to keep up with is that no digital partnership is generic. Each of them is unique,” explained Sangal.

A necessary thing

Sangal isn’t a technologist per se, but he said the digital revolution has given him a compelling reason to focus on digital tools.

“I’m not a technologist by trade,” Sangal said. “I’m more of a product and an underwriter [executive] who understands the digital technologies in the technology space … and the tools that need to be built.”

Technology is a crucial thing for insurance these days, he noted.

“Technology is extremely necessary, especially when you start thinking about the small business segment of the market,” Sangal said. “What happens to a small business is what it is.” [marketed] usually low, average insurance policies.’

Sangal said his goal is to eliminate as many of the “priceless transactions” that agents have to go through to get an underwriting decision from a carrier for small business and other customers. He wants the process to become “fully automated” with fewer keystrokes.

“The more we can do that, it’s going to help our agents and brokers grow their agencies because it frees them up to really do that consultant role,” he said.

More please

The technology offers enormous potential and the ability to improve both work and life, Sangal said, noting that it has already demonstrated “real value” in terms of realized potential. Still, the insurance industry doesn’t use it nearly enough, he said.

“Depending on the process, the use of technology can be anywhere from 10% to 20% and up to 80% to 90% of what we want to achieve across the board,” Sangal said.

He acknowledged that some in the industry may be hesitant to fully automate.

“People like to think they’re adding value to the process, which may not always be true,” he said. “Like technology and digital [products and services] become more fertile, people overcome this obstacle.’

Sangal agreed that it’s important for operators looking to go digital to network with startups at events like CMT.

“Technology is really driving change in many ways of doing business,” he said. “Any and all carriers that produce insurance products should attend conferences like this … to keep them informed of where the market is going and what they will need to develop to stay relevant.”

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