Women in Insurance Leadership 2019—Geri Powell, FBAlliance
Editor’s note: Powell was nominated, selected and interviewed while at Georgia Farm Bureau; she is now CEO of FBAlliance.
Geri Powell has worn an assortment of hats over her more than 20 years in insurance. At Georgia Farm Bureau, she began in marketing and moved to commercial underwriting before stepping into roles in claims, audit and management. Eventually, she was appointed to the position of executive director of business strategy and development, a position that allowed her put her problem-solving kills to work, particularly with rapid technology advancements helping to change the way Georgia Farm Bureau conducts business.
“I love the challenge of figuring out how we will adapt and lead in the future with all of the tools we now have and in a way that doesn’t resemble what we’ve traditionally known as a business model,” she explains. “My biggest challenge so far is how we transform our business model quickly enough to keep pace with the digital disruptors without overextending ourselves and negatively impacting our bottom line, or in a way that is at all detrimental to servicing our members and preserving the agent/client relationship.”
As the executive in charge of innovation and execution, Powell kept an eye on the market for ideas, partners, systems and opportunities that could enable Georgia Farm Bureau to bring innovations to the organization, like artificial intelligence and increased automation, and for ways to increase speed to market, improve customer-centricity and customer experience. She also looks for solutions that could streamline workflows and processes that will increase efficiencies and make policyholder interactions easier and more convenient.
In 2018, Georgia Farm Bureau launched a new initiative to update aging technology that would increase speed to market for new product and services lines, enabling growth and support better reinsurer rates and improve its AM Best rating. Powell took an active role in leading the company’s major systems transition via Agile conversion of its legacy systems and homegrown applications, an effort that is consolidating 12 disparate systems into one application that handles the company’s homeowner, personal, commercial and fleet auto, farm, inland marine, commercial and umbrella lines from quote to policy issuance and including billing and claims processing. In addition, she helped devise and execute the firm’s digital/web/mobile strategy and helped create program monitoring and reporting to align business units with corporate strategy to drive positive performance and achieve corporate goals.
Powell has a forward-thinking outlook and is always on the lookout for new and innovative ideas, and she inspires this thinking across the organization. She welcomes – and values – multiple perspectives to ensure that she’s formulated a well thought out solution. “I have a personal open-door policy and I strive to entertain all ideas with equal thought and consideration,” she says. “You can’t make big decisions in a vacuum, unilaterally. I am in the business of risk management, and to do so effectively requires considering what impact my next move will have both for the short term and long term. If you consider all of the risks and consequences, often times, the right decision will rise to the top.”