Technology and togetherness
How we’re shaping the future of insurance remotely
In just one year of working with Digital Partners™, Tobias Schuler, Director of Data, has experienced exciting technologies, visionary leadership, industry-changing partnerships, and career-defining growth—also, a global pandemic. Topics Online spoke with Tobias about how Digital Partners is shaping the future of insurance remotely.
What has been the key for Digital Partners’ business continuity during the global COVID-19 crisis?
Tobias Schuler: Even for a remote-ready team like ours, the current events are trying. Fortunately, we have been able to keep our business and others running by sticking together and serving a genuine purpose. I attribute our continuity during this difficult time to our culture.
Why have the culture and mission been so important during this time?
Tobias Schuler: Digital Partners provides insurtechs and digital distributors with a comprehensive, go-to-market partnership, built on the financial strength and expertise of Munich Re. We work with startups and mature enterprises alike to innovate and digitize insurance along the entire value chain, effectively delivering a better experience for policyholders.
Some might say COVID-19 will shape the future of insurance; I say we are continuing to do so ourselves, simply in response to the crisis at hand rather than on our heels. I feel proud to be part of a mission-driven organization leveraging technology for the greater good.
What is the competitive advantage you and the Digital Partners team bring to the innovation process?
Tobias Schuler: Specifically, within my team, we are leveraging our partnerships, technology, and data to create process efficiencies that allow us to innovate with a competitive advantage. While our partners are focused on the customer-facing side, we’re bringing that same sense of urgency and passion to the back end of insurance operations with better access to data, faster delivery cycles, and successful cross-functional teaming.
Our team operates with the energy and openness of a startup, but with the stability of a global, time-tested company in Munich Re. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m able to explore new tools and present them for companywide consideration, knowing the leadership team will be receptive and supportive. The same goes for my colleagues; we’re all bringing new ideas to the table, daily. This is critical for us to analyze, curate, and share data that quantifies the impact of decisions and market trends.
The freedom to innovate internally also drives our performance in partnering with innovative companies externally. We’re able to speak the same language, use similar tools, share code, exchange insights, and tackle problems from different perspectives in a constructive way across various functions.
How has working exclusively remote changed the way that the Digital Partners team collaborates?
For many of our team members, working remotely isn’t new, but it has always been supplemented by office meetups, quarterly meetings, and team outings. Like every other company, those in-person interactions have been taken away from us over the past few months and perhaps will be for several more.
Anyone working behind a screen without face-to-face interaction will eventually feel isolated; videoconferencing fills the void and allows teams to bond remotely through virtual happy hours and team-building activities. Working 100% remotely before the pandemic, I didn’t realize how significant it was that I instantly recognized and picked up conversations with colleagues in the office, having never met them in person prior. I was truly getting to know people through the course of the workday just by using video chat.
I share this in hopes of providing a pick-me-up for anyone who might be struggling with the work-from-home blues. You can still feel that same connection to your coworkers; it just requires a concerted effort and use of readily available technology.
How is Digital Partners accelerating improvement within the insurance industry?
It’s empowering to be able to shape my future, manage my life, and make a positive impact—all from my own home office and in collaboration with some of the best minds in business. The insurance industry has traditionally been sluggish to adopt new technology, but Digital Partners is helping changing that, and fast.
We are all living in a world of uncertainty; let’s view it instead as a window of opportunity. The time is now to develop new-age insurance models that support people, businesses, and communities.