From December through February, the average low temperature in Des Moines, Iowa, hovers in the teens. Those of us who often land at the airport after midnight will tell you that single digits are closer to the norm.
So while I appreciate the digital conveniences available on a daily basis, the ability to start my car with my phone stands out as one of my favorite innovations of the past 20 years.
Call me pampered, but when you walk through the freezing cold to your freezing car, it’s no fun hearing the seats crack when you settle behind the steering wheel. Stepping into a warm car has become an essential part of my travel routine.
In this case, tech-based innovation provides me with a small comfort, but innovation isn’t just about technology. For those of us in financial services, it can be achieved through improved product design, identifying ways to better serve customers, and providing a better overall experience by using modern techniques.
Over the past few years, Transamerica has made a significant investment in finding innovative approaches or relationships that will help us be more effective and efficient serving our customers and distribution partners.
Our venture capital fund, Transamerica Ventures, allows us to identify up-and-coming companies we believe can have impact on our investment, insurance, and retirement business. They might not be directly related to products, but they provide us with more efficient ways to better serve our customers.
Unqork is one example. Founded by a former insurance executive, Unqork works with financial services and insurance companies to help speed up the application process. When someone fills out a life insurance application, Unqork digitizes the document for faster processing and allows the insurance company to make sure everything’s in good order. It also captures customer data, leaving painstaking manual entry in the past.
That’s a scaled-down description that doesn’t do Unqork justice, but it gives you a general idea of its services.
Fostering innovation internally
Last spring, we also created a Data & Innovation group designed to help Transamerica become an insight-driven-organization. David Hopewell, our Chief Data & Innovation Officer, oversees the group, which includes more than 400 employees spread across six teams.
Our industry historically has been stuck in the mud regarding new ways of doing business, and David has always been willing to break that mold and think differently. I call him “The Percolator” because if you give him a problem, you can see it percolating in his head, and he usually offers a pretty good solution. He’s applying that skill in his new role.
“We look for signals in our data to better understand our customers’ world and develop solutions to meet their needs,” David said. “We will soon take a giant leap with underwriting based on ‘fast data,’ leading to decisions in hours rather than weeks.”
David also stresses the importance of looking beyond what we must do to focus what we can do. It’s called the art of the possible, and it might be something as straightforward as ensuring customers, insurance agents, and financial professionals have a positive experience when they interact with Transamerica.
“Keep an eye out, and you will see innovation in more places in 2019,” David said. “We’re exploring new ways to connect people to our solutions and to help our advisors, agents, and retirement plan sponsors build strong, profitable relationships with customers and plan participants.”
Because the last thing we want to do is leave anyone out in the cold.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as, medical, insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.
Transamerica is not affiliated with Unqork.