Digital transformation has influenced and transformed a majority of businesses across numerous industries. It’s never been a question of if, only when—and while many leaders understood making the shift to digital sooner rather than later was essential, no one anticipated the recent rapid acceleration. That, and the fact that consumers are demanding quicker transactions and simplification are social trends are shaking up traditional business patterns in the insurance industry.
Today, millions of families in the U.S. do not have the life and health insurance coverage they need. The Swiss Re Group—one of the world’s leading reinsurers—recognized the need for a global risk tech company to address the insurance protection gap in the U.S. iptiQ was established in the U.S. market in 2016 to advance the digitalization of insurance solutions and make the buying process easier for everyone.
iptiQ is a division of Swiss Re that provides a cutting-edge B2B2C digital insurance platform, world-class underwriting platform, and high-value life and health insurance products. iptiQ’s digital platform helps carriers and distribution partners accelerate access to new customers and products.
IptiQ creates simple products that focus on easy consumer journeys and a streamlined buying process. The company offers customized life and health insurance and utilizes a platform for property and casualty (P&C) solutions to provide holistic protection for individuals and families. Its insurance carriers offer a portfolio of life and health insurance products—including term life, whole life, final expense life, accidental death, critical illness, and Medicare Supplement health insurance.
The company is committed to helping more people secure the protection they need by digitizing the process and enabling robust integrations for its partners (insurers, insurance distribution partners, consumer brands, etc.) so they can seamlessly plug in their systems or external sources. “The platform can host multiple insurance lines, giving our partners and consumers the ultimate flexibility to choose what products they want to buy and how they want to buy them,” states Phil Walker (CEO of iptiQ Americas).
Phil has been an integral part of iptiQ Americas’ growth over the years. He has over 25 years of experience transforming financial services businesses, including 12 years in the life and health insurance industry as a primary carrier and as a consultant to carriers and investors in the insurance industry. His prior experiences include building and running online marketing and operations units and global supply chain management.
A veteran in the industry, Phil is also a frequent guest lecturer in entrepreneurship (specifically operating models and profit optimization) at the University of Virginia and Hampden-Sydney College. As the CEO of iptiQ Americas, Phil is responsible for the development of new business, marketing life and health products to individual consumers through distribution relationships.
Robust leadership is paramount to a company’s success today. Phil mentions that the role of a leader is complicated in today’s world. He believes that instead of directing, leaders should inspire, coach, and support a larger team to achieve things that are not possible by pulling together. He adds that a leader’s job is to help the team see and align to that vision.
Alongside leadership, several other factors have attributed to the success of iptiQ. It has benefitted from a supportive parent company, clear objectives, and more than a little luck. “Best of all, we have tremendous partnerships–companies and friends that we support and who support us. These relationships are essential to success,” adds Phil.
iptiQ’s dynamic team has also been instrumental in the growth of the company. According to Phil, the most rewarding part of his journey is seeing his team’s passion to make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Like several companies, iptiQ has great technology and ample capital, however, it also has the drive to make a difference—which sets it apart from the rest. “With such a great team, we can move mountains. I wish I had known at the beginning how much bolder we could have been–fortunately, there is always tomorrow,” quotes Phil.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of businesses around the world in many ways. Nearly every industry has experienced the impacts of the pandemic, and the insurance industry is no exception. Heeding the pandemic, consumer behaviors have changed significantly. Digitization was a priority for the industry even before the pandemic, but it was slow and was not consumer-led. The crisis has driven the accelerated digitization in the insurance industry.
As a result, carriers and distributors are under pressure to modernize through digitization as consumers seek a more efficient way to buy. Presently, mid-market consumers are demanding accelerated life products and avoiding fluid-based underwriting. “The industry leapt forward 10 years, and it’s clear that sales and service must be seamlessly digital and responsive to consumers’ omnichannel buying preferences,” mentions Phil.
Through its innovative and flexible front-end platform, iptiQ has simplified the customer journey in several markets and is ready to meet new customers’ needs to support sales across all channels. With a shorter product development life cycle, iptiQ can quickly add new products across its broad network of distribution partners.
Organizations are thinking more progressively in the light of the rapid acceleration towards digital transformation. Presently, consumers are looking for health product choices that exceed the vertical integration limits of any single insurer. Phil envisions that the habits that are formed now will continue and permanently shape what consumers value, and how and where they shop. Catering to this need, iptiQ is connecting data, devices, and people to enhance existing customer value chains.
As a digital B2B2C platform, iptiQ sees the picture a bit differently. Alongside a streamlined and omnichannel application process, the company also has gained some valuable experiences with meaningful new business volumes written globally. With a business model based on strong partnerships to provide digital insurance solutions via insurance carriers, retail brands, and other distributors, iptiQ aims to make insurance products more accessible and affordable for people globally.
iptiQ is championing change in the life and health insurance sector. Progressing forward, it is building a more empowered future for policyholders and their families. The company is innovating and leveraging data, analytics, and technology to meet customers’ expectations in an increasingly digital world.
Phil mentions that the company’s focus on customer-centricity will play a vital role in how it operates, with customers remaining at the core of its actions, developments, and decision-making. By accelerating the process of identifying the customer needs, iptiQ is revolutionizing the life insurance industry. The company is expanding its portfolio to diversify and meet the needs of policyholders as a true one-stop-shop.
Phil believes that he would be immensely gratified if the culture built by iptiQ—the agile, empowering, collaborative, disciplined, and joyful way that it works—could spread across the industry. “I don’t want to sugarcoat it. We work hard, very hard to build a new reality. But we also dance, sing, eat, joke, and challenge one another, every day,” asserts Phil.
He adds that the same group of people is as disciplined a set of insurance leaders as he has ever worked with. Appreciating the people around him, Phil concludes, “It is an amazing alchemy. Imagine what would have happened if the whole industry had such great people.”
As a successful leader, Phil believes taking risks is paramount for budding entrepreneurs. He advises those who are aspiring to start their own business by quoting,
“If you want your business to thrive you need to take some risks. Without taking a risk, you will never know how great your company, product, or service could be.”
“Risk-taking leads to innovation. It’s what pushes industries forward, instead of simply doing what’s always been done. And, you’ll always learn from it–even when you fail.”
“If you are going to take risks, there is no better way than to take risks with great people.”