WIL NEXT 2020: Ann Shepard, AP Intego

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Ann Shepard is head of product and customer experience for digital broker AP Intego. She is responsible for delivering the company's products through the partnerships it makes with companies like Intuit and Square. Before AP Intego, she worked for AgencyPort and AAA of Washington State. She was nominated by Eric Harnden, Managing Director.

What the nominator said
Eric Harnden, Managing Director
"Ann has already arrived at our version of a C-Suite and she has earned every bit of it. It would be difficult to find a digital initiative at AP Intego in which Ann has not played an instrumental role in terms of strategy, execution, or both... Ann’s product stewardship of our in-house quoter tech affectionately known as 'SmartAgent') coupled with her keen instincts for customer experience, and her uncommon talent for partner-wrangling, made her the undeniable MVP of this digital initiative."
Digital Insurance: To what behavior, personality trait or practice do you assign the most credit for your success in your career so far?
Unyielding optimism and positivity, because they give me the confidence of knowing that solutions will be found, problems will be surmounted, and the sun will always rise again, no matter what. I find these thoughts extremely motivating, and they keep me going whenever I encounter a challenge in a project or initiative I’m working on.
Digital Insurance: Is there an area of insurance you see as needing improvement from a digital perspective?
How much room there is to improve the customer experience of digital insurance is both my most favorite and least favorite aspect of working in insurance. On the one hand, it is exciting to see how much potential there is to make the insurance experience better and easier for customers, and that is extremely motivating. On the other hand, it can be frustrating to run up against seemingly intractable roadblocks, usually stemming from outdated systems, entrenched legacy mindsets, and industry-level inertia.

From my perspective, the biggest opportunity in digital insurance is in bridging the gap between the traditional industry modus operandi and how a customer experiences the purchase and management of their insurance. Our industry is perceived as inaccessible and complicated. While personal lines insurance has made great strides in making insurance more comprehensible, accessible, and user-friendly to their end customers, small commercial lines providers have lagged behind in this area.

While there are so many angles from which one could tackle this fundamental disconnect between a complicated product and a time- and energy-strapped small business customer, the greatest promise lies in harnessing the power of technology to demystify and uncomplicate business insurance. It starts at the highest levels with carriers using more sophisticated algorithmic risk models, informed by increasingly available massive data sets and machine learning, to fine-tune their assessment and classifications, crafting policies more customized to each customer’s needs. And then it comes down to brokers and agents finding better ways to communicate with end users at every touchpoint — everything from more informative and educational marketing, to the de-jargoning of in-product microcopy.