Steve DeCarlo’s Data Anomaly
Steve DeCarlo built AmWINS into the largest wholesaler in the industry. He is an industry leader in data analytics, having started years before any of his competitors. Steve retired in May and sat down with founding editor Rick Pullen to talk about his career. This is an excerpt on his views on data. —Editor
We said, “You’ve got to throw away your legacy system.”
Today, if you sell an account in Seattle, it dings in my office [in Charlotte], and people are amazed at that. But if you walk into a 7-Eleven and you buy a bag of potato chips, it tells somebody that you bought that bag of potato chips. And guess what? That night they’re going to deliver another bag of potato chips to that store. It’s called a cash register, and it’s not that big of a deal. But in insurance, the reaction is, “Oh my God, you can see what you are binding?” People think it’s a wow, and it’s not a wow.
Lots. But the industry continues to have a lot of legacy systems. I’m now trying to figure out how we’re going to use Microsoft’s Cortana audible digital assistance. This is the way we’re going to work. We’re not going to type on a computer, anymore. Right now, I ask questions. “How much is this?” “How much is that?” “Where do I get this?” And our data team gets me what I want. In the future, I’ll ask for information using these new technologies, and our databases should be able to provide it to me verbally.
I built a “valet” phone app because when our brokers go to lunch with a client and they hand the keys to the valet, they say, “I wish I knew how much volume I did with this client.” That’s the only time they thinks about it—instead of running a report, like we used to.
Now, it’s on their phone. They type the client’s name in and up comes their file. They doesn’t have to run a report. In the future, brokers are going to say to their phone, “I’m having lunch with Joe Smith. Give me Joe Smith’s financial biography.” It’s all going to come out of databases. Nobody is going to print off a report anymore.
Exactly. Just asking it questions. Just like you ask it what the weather is. “Give me AIG’s premium.” That kind of thing.
The thing about data is that it’s just data. I’m a little frustrated that I won’t see that come to fruition as part of my career, but the young people are working on that. AmWINS’ biggest advantage now is the amount of effort we’ve already put into this easy stuff, which leads to the next level of implementation.
Well, I try not to know what the other competitors are doing, because I have enough to worry about on my own.
But you still hear. C’mon, you’re out there. You know, a lot of them still use packages, and packages are limited by when the guy can get to it. A lot of them don’t see value in data.