Electronic Chat with Rock Schindler
Laura Mazzuca Toops | November 04, 2019
Rock Schindler, Founder and CEO of SD Refinery, launched the company in 2018 in response to the insurance industry’s need for AI technology that could provide unstructured “sentence data” to improve underwriting and claim performance. SD Refinery’s proprietary sentence data processing technology has been specifically designed, developed, and refined since 2006. It leverages data science methodology with narrow AI core capabilities that include the ability to extract written data, analyze sentences word by word, transact by applying key data points, and load the data into a data warehouse or analytic dashboard. SD Refinery has been selected by Global Insurance Accelerators (GIA) as a cohort to showcase innovative products
How long have you been involved in the insurance industry?
I started as an auditor at Peat Marwick Mitchell in 1986 and jumped into the auditing of insurance companies right away – so, more than 30 years.
Please provide a little background on your career and how you apply your past experience to your current position.
As someone with experience across several broad areas including finance, claims, underwriting, compliance, regulatory, and reinsurance brokering, I’ve noted a gap in the ability of managers and executives to rapidly access the granular information they need to optimize their business decisions. This need has been the motivating factor behind building our core technology with the purpose of dramatically improving operational outcomes in underwriting, risk management and claims.
Where do you see insurtech headed in the next few years?
Insurtech is going to improve informed decision-making and efficiency for offensive-minded individuals and companies seeking to optimize operational activities. In my opinion, many individuals and companies have needed to “play” more responsively or defensively because they didn’t have access to the actionable information they needed to be more informed and consequently, more proactive. As validation successes and healthy ROIs continue to emerge, there will be an increasing amount of time and resources invested in insurtech.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges in launching and growing technology companies today?
In my opinion, these challenges can be categorized in two major areas;
- Funding the company while forecasting and generating a predictable revenue stream will always be the primary challenge. Careful selection of the right clients you will serve as valued partners is the key to future success. New companies need to balance raising capital while organically growing the business with clients who see long term value in your technology.
- Technology companies are extremely focused on the task at hand and may be mired in the technology itself. As such, it is imperative to put concentrated thought into how to most clearly and succinctly differentiate yourself as a function of the value you can uniquely provide to avoid becoming lost in the sea of sameness. Articulate the outcome that you deliver better than anyone else and do so without deviating unnecessarily into how you accomplish that objective. When done well, there will be plenty of time to dig in to the details of “how” after you deliver the “wow.”
Please tell us a little about SD Refinery and how you came to be involved with the company.
I started SD Refinery in 2018 following leadership positions in several prior start-ups. We set out to develop core AI technology to dramatically improve underwriting and claim performance in the risk and insurance industry.
Operational executives have forever complained about their lack of access to data, especially unstructured or “sentence data” -- hence the SD in our name. Our flagship technology, “SENTENCE AI,” cleans, tags, and extracts sentence data across every sentence within a population to answer critical operational questions quickly and efficiently. While no longer settling for a review of small sample of a data set, executives using SENTENCE AI have unprecedented and rapid access to the mission-critical information inherent within their sentence data.
Please briefly describe sentence data processing and why it’s important to the insurance industry.
The insurance industry has a treasure trove of sentence data that has previously been relatively inaccessible and buried within or across multiple systems. The conventional process is inherently flawed because it is incomplete, involving only a review of a small portion of the data universe and because every person reading and reviewing the sample data interprets, perceives, and retains information differently.
Our technology reads and interprets sentences across the entire population of data to provide granular information about what did, did not, or may happen in a manner that provides structured data the entire company can use to facilitate rapid and informed decision-making.
Risk is nebulous and ever-changing. Being able to continuously and directly access rich data dramatically improves the speed and efficiency with which we can identify issues and opportunities and solve problems.
SD Refinery uses AI technology to help operational executives make better decisions faster. How do you determine what decisions the technology makes versus decisions a user makes?
We work with each client to determine the level to which decisions are made by the technology rather than people. Based on our client’s needs, we can deliver information in a dashboard, in a file for data warehousing, or data lake storage, and in learning data sets for machine learning processing.
In any case, we have incorporated a 100% transparency into our processing and the key decision-making algorithms we co-create with our clients, who remain the content experts. We’ve coined the term “operational middleware” because our technology resides between the data locked in files and records and our clients’ access to data results.
What insurtech trend are you especially passionate about?
Unequivocally, it is artificial intelligence and allowing companies like SD Refinery to target a specific area that solves a large problem. In the case of SD Refinery, we’re passionate about using our technology to dramatically improve the core operations of underwriting, risk management, and claims by overcoming the industry’s fundamental problem of not being able to read enough information. This dramatically decreases the time and expense needed to identify and fix problems and capitalize on opportunities.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work – hobbies, family, personal interests?
I love my wife and children, family, worship, physical workouts, gardening, hiking, music, and learning.
- New Partnership Models Take Program Business to the Next Level
- New Study Finds Less than Half of Consumers Trust Insurers to Respond to Their Needs
- Electronic Chat with Andrew Mauritzen, CFO and Head of Insurance Industry, Exactuals
- You Want Us To Do WHAT For Free?
- Electronic Chat with Evgeny Aleksandrov, Co-founder and CEO, Pilotbird
- Electronic Chat with Chris Cheatham, CEO, RiskGenius
- New MIT Sloan Study Finds Few Companies Gain Big Benefits from AI
- The September/October ITA Pro magazine is here!
- “Being Right” is Just the Start of the Battle
- Electronic Chat with Amit Ranjan, Executive VP and CAO, Xceedance
- Planning for Your Business and Tech Future: Strategies, Plans and Budgets for Rapid Transformation
- Electronic Chat with Jimmy Padia, Founder and CEO, Floatbot
- Gelato with Dots and Sprinkles
- COVID-19 and the Insurtech “Junk Drawer”
- Even “Change” is Different Now. Your Strategic Planning Needs to Be Too.
- The Road Ahead for P&C Insurers: How to Understand Customers Better and Navigate the Post-COVID Insurance Market
- Electronic Chat with Jake Tamarkin, Co-founder and CEO, Everyday Life
- Strategic Planning in the “New Normal” Digital Era of Insurance – Your Next Move
- Insurer Tech Investment Priorities See Major Shift in a Post-COVID World
- Plug and Play Selects 25 Insurtech Startups for Winter Batches
- Digital Transformation – A Top Strategic Priority and New Reality
- Four Steps to Successful Migration of Insurance CCM Applications
- COVID-19 Accelerates Insurance Digitalization to Meet Customer Demand: World InsurTech Report 2020
- Electronic Chat with Greg Williams, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Acrisure
- Electronic Chat with Matt Perlman, Partner, IA Capital Group
- Insurer Digitalization: Are you a Competitor or a Laggard?
- Leaders are Leading and Creating the Future of Insurance Distribution
- 3 Things You Need to Know About No-Code
- Electronic Chat with Adam Kiefer, CEO, Talage
- Underwriting in 3D: Using Data to Adapt and Improve Life Insurance Sales
- Getting Past the "Gelato Syndrome"
- Insurers Know CX/UX is Important, but Don't Agree on Execution, Study Finds
- Electronic Chat with Steve Lekas, Branch Insurance
- How AI Can Attract Millennial Talent to the Insurance Industry
- Preventing Data Breaches
- A New Boom for Life Insurance: Shifting Away from the 250-Year-Old Policy Transaction
- Electronic Chat with Ty Harris, Founder and CEO, Openly
- A Digital Wildfire Creates a Burning Platform for Digital Insurance Business Transformation
- Digitalization, COVID-19 Spurring More IT Investment in Cybersecurity
- Electronic Chat with Michael DeGusta, CEO, ClarionDoor
- U.S. Consumers Significantly Underestimate Flood Risk, New Survey Finds
- The Future of Insurance: Opportunities in Ecosystems
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum, CEO, Input 1
- Majesco to be Acquired by Thoma Bravo
- The Evolving Role of Managing General Agencies
- Electronic Chat with Char Hu
- Electronic Chat with Allan L. Egbert, Jr.
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Tramontano and Zbigniew Gawienczuk
- Data Science is Gelato
- Insurance Innovation: Alive and Kicking
- Independent Agents Divided on Digital Experience, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Michael Jones
- Electronic Chat with Paul VanderMarck
- As Auto Insurance Premiums Shrink, Insurers Need Mobility Ecosystem, New Study Finds
- Property & Casualty Insurers Raise Digital Games as COVID-19 Elevates Customer Expectations, J.D. Power Finds
- Electronic Chat with Bobbie Shrivastav
- Meet the Board: Marissa Buckley
- Big Data and Insurtech: A Carrier Perspective
- Traditional Insurers Need Open Ecosystems, Partnerships to Remain Competitive, CapGemini Report Finds
- Electronic Chat with John C. Siegman
- 4 Ways AI is Empowering Insurers During COVID-19
- 6 Big Changes to Insurance from the COVID-19 Crisis
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Ewing
- Independent Agency Staff Morale High During COVID-19, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Brad Epker
- Tapping AI to Improve Policyholder Experience
- Electronic Chat with Manisha Bhargava
- ITA Pro Magazine, March/April 2020
- COVID-19 a Game Changer for Workers’ Comp
- Electronic Chat with Steve Comer
- COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Cancellation of ITA LIVE 2020
- Leveraging Digital Resources in the Time of COVID-19
- Electronic Chat with Robert Hartwig on COVID-19 and Insurance
- Celent Study: Most Small Businesses Still Unclear on Importance of Cyber Insurance
- The January/February 2020 ITA Pro is here!
- Deloitte: New C-Suite Roles Mean More Opportunities for Women
- Electronic Chat with Pankaj Parashar
- Electronic Chat with Tara Kelly
- Electronic Chat with Chuck Wilson
- ITA, InsNerds Collaborate to Enhance ITA LIVE 2020 Content and Coverage
- How SMBs Can Compete in Digital Ecosystems in the 2020s
- 4 Ways Insurance Can Prepare for New Data Privacy Laws
- Brewer Lane Ventures Launches and Hires Insurtech Vet Martha Notaras as Managing Partner
- 2020 GIA Cohort Launches on January 14
- The November/December 2019 ITA Pro is here!
- Electronic Chat with Joshua Snead
- Electronic Chat with Wendy Aarons-Corman
- Simplifying the Move to a Third-party Print Provider
- Take a Business-Driven Approach to Continuous Improvement for Core Systems and Processes
- Electronic Chat with Ron Glozman
- Guidewire’s Data Guru Mike Byam on How Insurers are Using Internal and Third-Party Data
- Electronic Chat with Russ Bostick
- Electronic Chat with Rock Schindler
- Electronic Chat with John Siegman
- Electronic Chat with Martin Burlingame
- Insurtech Landscape 2019: Top 5 Takeaways
- Grinnell Mutual Tackles Massive Transformation -- in Stride
- A Candid Conversation with Paul Mang
- SageSure Insurance Managers Improved Competitiveness by Consolidating Payments to a Single Digital Platform
- Digital Does Matter in Insurance-- And Insurers are Missing the Mark
- The 22nd-Century Insurer: Taking a Cloud-First IT Approach
- The September/October 2019 issue of ITA PRO magazine is now available in digital format here:
- ITA Pro Magazine May/June 2019
- Spotlight on the 2019 IASA Conference
- ValueMomentum Selects Erie as Site of Regional Development Center
- Capgemini and Majesco Become Alliance Partners
- Electronic Chat with Dr. Dan Shoham
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum
- Martha Notaras: The “Outsider” with an Amazing Inside View
- Electronic Chat with Larissa Tosch
- Martha Notaras Will Join ITA LIVE 2019 as a Keynote Speaker
- Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Risk
- ITA Pro Magazine, January/February 2019
- Synergy Between Insurers' IT and Analytics Teams Key to Operationalizing Insights, Says Novarica
- Major Ransomware Attack Could Hit U.S. with $89B In Economic Damages
- ITA Announces 1st of Three Keynote Speakers at ITA LIVE 2019
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Zywave Acquires Insurtech Frontrunner ITC
- New IMS Engagement Toolset Helps Insurers Improve ROI on UBI
- Bluefire Insurance Successfully Implements insured.io for Customer Engagement
- eMaxx Names Amy Lussier as Chief Financial Officer
- ML/AI Socialeads Raises $1.7 Mil in New Funding
- Guidewire Integration with Betterview Provides Insurers with Access to Superior Property Data and Visual Analytics
- Flyreel Announces $10 Million Series A Financing
- Startup Branch Insurance & Cambridge Mobile Telematics Team Up to Launch Community Drive
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA LIVE 2020
ITA LIVE 2020 –SAVE THE DATE!
April 5th – 7th, 2020
The Diplomat Resort
Become a member today to receive updates – www.itapro.org/MR
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
The insurance industry in general -- and the program and affinity business, in particular -- has much to gain from ecosystems and partnerships... READ MORE
HazardHub CEO Bob Frady revisits the truism that there is no free lunch -- even in insurtechland... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE