Hunting for Talent – Bob Kimmel, CEO, K2 Insurance
This week’s guest on The Voice of Insurance podcast is Bob Kimmel, CEO of K2 Insurance. Headquartered in the US, K2 Insurance Services, LLC was formed in 2011 by Pat Kilkenny and President & CEO, Bob Kimmel, in partnership with investment firm Endeavour Capital. Writing over a billion dollars in premium, K2’s mission is to establish a leading underwriting and distribution franchise in the program insurance market.
A veteran of the insurance industry, Bob candidly discusses with Mark Geoghegan all aspects of MGA management, K2’s focus for growth, and why he’s on the hunt for “great underwriters.” The conversation also covers algorithmic and automatic underwriting, the reliance on data and predictive analytics to assess risk, and mixing the art and science of underwriting.
Kicking off the discussion, Bob looks back at 2020 and the key focus areas for K2 Insurance, which were primarily start-ups and trying to find and work with underserved and niche areas. Moving forward, Bob discusses organic growth as part of business expansion.
In a competitive MGA landscape, Mark asks how K2 Insurance differentiates itself, Bob answers without missing a beat, “It is about expert underwriting, finding the right underwriter, so rarely do we think about a class we want to be in – the great underwriter comes to us versus introduced to us.”
Elaborating on this, Bob speaks about potential market segments K2 Insurance could participate in and how attracting great underwriters is intertwined with entering new markets; commenting on this, Bob says, “We really want them (underwriters) to do two things – do they have relationships, will the brokers support them with business, and do they know what to do with it once they get it – can they produce an underwriting result for our carrier partner, and they got some margin, and that’s really it.”
As the conversation turns to technology and aging legacy systems, Mark asks if K2 Insurance is positioning itself, like its peers, on their technology platform; Bob responds, “We have all the skills from a K2 holding group, to have all the analytics, so we’ve got data scientists, cat modellers, actuaries, IT folks, general counsel, HR, so they don’t have to worry about that, they’re good insurance people, and that’s what we want them to do and not be distracted with the business or running or owning an MGA, so part of that is systems.”
Keeping on the theme of technology, Bob discusses how technology fits in at K2 Insurance and how algorithmic underwriting complements the underwriting process, “From a technology perspective, our personal lines we’re very efficient, we hopefully don’t touch more than 5% of our policies, so business comes in, and 95% is automatically underwritten.”
An eye towards the future
Speaking about the future, Mark asks Bob about his grand plans for the business and around K2 International; Bob replies, “People say, when you are going to stop growing when you are going to stop doing this diversification, and I say when great opportunities stop presenting themselves.”
Speaking further about becoming more strategic and adding value, Bob comments, “Every MGA we’ve purchased probably has at least doubled, we’ve really added value and so for us fundamentally, if we can’t grow the business or add value, we’re not interested in it.”
We hope you enjoy the podcast.