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May 14, 2019

Interview: Callie Thomas, Blackboard

Head of Strategy on reimagining commercial insurance

Key Takeaway
So how do you get the talent and culture right for a insurtech? Bringing together deep insurance experience with deep technology experience, not only from the insurance field but from across other industries.

Oliver Wyman Partner Prashanth Gangu connects with Callie Thomas of Blackboard on building insurtech partnerships, talent and culture.

Blackboard is reimagining commercial insurance. As a part of AIG, Blackboard is helping the company to modernize and transform its middle market insurance business—by wiping out inefficiencies and old processes and adding the latest digital technology, data analytics and automation.

“The whole end-to-end ecosystem of insurance has an opportunity to become a lot more efficient than it is today. Partnerships are absolutely going to be a part of the fabric of how we do this,” says Callie Thomas, Head of Strategy and Experience for Blackboard. “We are putting the customer at the center of what we are doing and reimaging the process for end-to-end ecosystems—whether it’s the submission through the underwriting, finance, legal, claims, and operations.”

To help Blackboard with achieving this, AIG has enlisted the data science and technology expertise of Two Sigma Insurance Quantified. “Working with Two Sigma is a really interesting perspective,” Callie says. “They are new to insurance and we are new to technology, so together what we are doing is pushing each other in different ways to solve some of our challenges.”

Callie says that the key to preparing for the future in insurance it to build a team, technology and culture that can be nimble, change when necessary and find better ways of doing business. So how do you get the talent and culture right for a insurtech such as Blackboard?  

“Talent skills for us are table stakes,” Callie says. “At Blackboard, we are bringing together deep insurance experience with deep technology experience, and the technology experience is not only from the insurance field but from across other industries.

That’s bringing together diversity of approach, diversity of thinking, and the diversity of experience of what’s been done before in other industries and other insurance companies. We are bringing it all together, but in a way that’s very collaborative.”

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