Skip links

An Interview With Jenn Villalobos

We caught up with Jenn Villalobos, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Prudential, to discuss digital strategies for Gen-Next Insurance companies. Here are excerpts from the interview.

We caught up with Jenn Villalobos, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Prudential, to discuss digital strategies for Gen-Next Insurance companies. Here are excerpts from the interview.

What are the key challenges that Insurance companies face when adapting to technological advancements?

Jenn: At an Insurance event held recently in Thailand, we reflected on the future of the industry.

We talked about the fact that the word ‘Omnichannel’ is utilized as a blanket, a kind of panacea to solve a lot of questions. But we find that it’s much more complex. The biggest challenge is that often people don’t understand or underestimate the value gained from customer insights that can result in better business results.

In the case of legacy companies, the transformation journey can take much longer than digital insurance companies. This is because they started as product-led industries. What does this mean? The value that they bring was based on actuarial science that delivers a product that provides value and meaning through a contract.

That world has changed.

So imagine, from building your legacy, equity and brand around understanding the value of products to shifting focus to the customer is very challenging.

For me, these are the three areas that Insurance companies need to focus on:

  1. Prioritization: Insurance companies are transforming so many pieces of their business – from backend systems to customer service and sales tools to launching new apps – in that myriad of opportunities, there are also a lot of challenges. The question they have to answer is where do they start and what do they prioritize?
  2. Capabilities:    Digital transformation is a big word but it’s all about change management.

Change management is pretty much ignited by understanding and providing people the time and opportunity to work together to drive that capability. My experience has shown me that companies working with great partners, SAS and technology providers who help them grow their capability internally have a higher rate of success compared to just building out the solution. And even though the company has the asset and the IP, they don’t have the understanding on how to make the most out of it.

3. Tactical Capacity: Developing clear steps between strategy and execution is called tactical capacity. That is – Do you understand your communication? Is everyone on the same page? When we say MVP, what is a minimal viable product?

How can Insurance leaders ensure that there is transparency and communication across the organisation is clear?

Jenn: These three steps are critical for successful communication:

  1. Burning Imperative – Goalposts change, priorities change. For a plan to be executed properly, there must be a follow through on what your burning imperative is. Nowadays, a lot of insurance companies hire talented digital people who understand the business. However, the companies forget that these people don’t need long, endless nights of planning. They just need strategic goals and norms to be able to execute.
  2. Simple Tracking – We have so many amazing tools that provide insights on how to drive value and how to drive profitability.  The problem is the fragmentation of data across different business units and that not everyone is utilizing each of these tools at their best.
  3. 3. Role Sorting – We hire for specific skills. For example: In the world of data sciences, there’s a lot of confusion between what a data analytics person does, what a data scientist who knows how to code does and what a data scientist who can actually bridge the gap between your proxy marketing data and your internal data does versus what a data operations person who has an engineering background does!

When we are hiring or sourcing or partnering with vendors and technology partners, it’s critical to understand that their skills need to be spreadable. It’s no longer about just fitting one person for one solution, but they can actually go end-to-end.

How much difference does the right digital tool make to a salesperson’s productivity?

Jenn: The plethora of processes and tools that agents, financial advisors, sellers within a bank and direct partners have to manage on a daily basis are really complex. A seller spends 60% of his/ her time just organizing, reporting, fixing and printing.  Only 40% of the time is actually spent selling. This is a really poor use of time. The right digital tool is hence super critical.”

Let me share an example. Three years ago, we moved to Thailand. My husband wanted to shift over to a Life Insurance policy in the country. During the process, what I noticed was the determination of the sellers. They own the product. They own the experience. They wanted to make it really personalized and meaningful to us. But all of that was very rushed. And when I asked the reason, her response was that she had to close this deal and write a report on it. I felt sorry for her because what she should have been focusing on was spending time with the customer, in this case, my husband. She shouldn’t be worried about having to go back to the office and about closing things. She should be able to do this on the mobile on her way home.

I do think that if the tool and the capacity is simplified, you will see a higher chance of success.

Rashmi George

RASHMI 1 1536x2048 1 e1680732059116

Rashmi George, the Content Lead at Vymo is an unapologetic cat whisperer. When she's not cuddling her furry friends, you can find her nose-deep in a fantasy or finance book, dreaming up her next travel adventure. With over a decade of experience writing for ad agencies, financial institutions, and media production companies, Rashmi knows how to craft content that captures attention and drives results.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments