Electronic Chat with Russ Bostick
Laura Mazzuca Toops | November 11, 2019
Russ Bostick is Managing Partner at MVP Advisory Group, established in 2013 to provide consulting and advisory services specifically for the insurance industry to accelerate the development and implementation of business transformation initiatives. Russ is responsible for recruiting, onboarding, and alliances at MVP. He specializes in delivering solution sets for C-Suite Advisory, Operations and IT Transformation for the Life, Annuity and Supplemental Health insurance industry and the third-party administrators that serve those segments.
How did you become involved with MVP?
Donn Vucovich and I co-founded MVP in 2013. We were officers at CNA Insurance in the ‘90s when it was a full multi-line carrier. Donn leads our P&C consulting segment and I lead the Life practice. Our deep individual experience in each line of insurance allows us to address the full range of client issues and opportunities.
What are the most significant changes you’ve seen in the insurance industry since you began your career?
When I started my career, carriers did it all – from the cafeteria worker to the exclusive agent – all of the staff were employees, or nearly so. Today, you can construct an insurance ecosystem any number of ways. This has encouraged both innovation and efficiency.
Where do you see the relationship between traditional insurers and insurtech start-ups headed in the next few years?
They are in different businesses. Traditional insurers are in the risk management business. Among other things, insurtech start-ups provide them with new and innovative ways to sell policies, underwrite risks, access markets, and manage claims. More importantly, most Insurtechs are populated by entrepreneurs from outside the industry. As a result, they are providing traditional insurers with living laboratories for the trial of new approaches to acquire and manage risks.
What technology trend are you most excited about as it relates to the insurance industry?
We have barely scratched the surface of what will be possible in 20 years using data analytics and machine learning. If I were just starting my career today, I would push my way into that party. They say that football is a game of inches. Well, insurance is a game of managing thin margins. In both games, the leader who thinks analytically and strategically comes out on top. What better way to do that than through analytics and machine learning?
What unique challenges does the life insurance industry face as it relates to insurtech?
The life insurance market doesn’t have as many moments of truth or customer decision points as the property/casualty industry. Consequently, it takes longer to prove or disprove the merits of a new idea. And the ultimate market isn’t as big. Real innovation takes longer to catch on in life insurance.
What words of wisdom would you share with a life insurance industry newcomer?
Besides “data” instead of “plastics”? I would say take some time to really understand why the industry actually works well, given the constraints of regulation and the slow emergence of profits or losses. After that, figure out how to address the opportunities that technology innovation makes available. Most of all, keep in mind that the life insurance industry only exists because it serves real, enduring needs – the protection of families and institutions from the effects of unexpected losses and the preservation of capital for future generations.
What are your interests and passions outside of work?
I love the outdoors and I’m a student of history. Put me in a tent or my travel trailer with a good set of books and I’m living the dream.
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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.
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