BILL JEWETT, CEO, OBSIDIAN INSURANCE HOLDINGS – GOOD SHEPHERDS OF REINSURANCE CAPITAL
This week´s guest on The Voice of Insurance is Bill Jewett, CEO, Obsidian Insurance Holdings. In this episode, host Mark Geoghegan and Bill chat about the idea behind the company´s creation, what differentiates Obsidian from its competitors, and in today´s digital economy, is Obsidian technology focused. The discussion primarily focuses on the major changes underway in how many MGAs will source their capital in the future.
Kicking off the discussion, Mark asks what propelled Bill to establish Obsidian; Bill replies, “I came up with the idea what I term at the time, next-generation fronting carrier, which we based on an underwriting foundation, searching for business, writing business that we thought was profitable and sustainable and really designed as a purpose programme carrier with full underwriting actuarial service capabilities.” Expanding on this question, Bill discusses creating a business that could analyse and develop a line of sight on the profitability that would be more sustainable if, indeed, it was profitable. Also, Bill mentions that they believed the company would resonate well with the reinsurance community.
Mark asks what was it about that moment around five or six years ago that proved ideal for establishing Obsidian. Was it demand? Bill responds, “It was really driven by the trends that I saw in the programme space, in the MGA space.” Bill talks about doing things more effectively while providing full-service capabilities in a very efficient way to MGAs.
When asked how Obsidian differentiates itself from competitors, Bill answers, “We feel very good as far as our foundational kind of capabilities and differentiators still apply as far as our underwriting capabilities and as importantly our operational capabilities, blocking and tackling and our ability to get things done in a timely, efficient and effective manner as well as the same time leveraging in a positive way our relationships in the marketplace.” Talking further about this, Bill acknowledges that the marketplace is dynamic and competitive, with daily changes, new entrants, and consolidation.
As the insurance market increasingly relies on technology, underwriting workbenches, Artificial Intelligence, and analytics-driven insights, Mark asks Bill if Obsidian is a technology-focused business. Replying to this, Bill says, “A key to success for all insurance companies, and you can go broader than insurance companies, is going to be the efficient and effective application of technology, so in some ways, we are all technology companies and using it effectively and efficiently again without having concerns of legacy systems, legacy technology, in some ways is a gaining point to success in the long term.” Being technology-enabled, technology-driven and technology progressive, is key to the business and has enabled the company “to block and tackle” and make decisions in a more effective way.
Further along in the podcast, Bill speaks about his vision for the future, what type of entrepreneur he is, and why he is building something that has value and is sustainable, “My goal is to build a great company in this space. In a very robust market, differentiate ourselves and compete to be the best.”
Enjoy the podcast.