Powered by Digital Intelligence – From Lead Generation To Quote & Bind – Small Business Insurance with B2Z

It’s a big task to underwrite insurance. It’s a big task to also provide quality advice on coverage. It’s an even bigger task to do both effectively, at scale while at the same time limiting yourself to just a handful of questions in order to do this.

B2Z doesn’t bother with superficial AI slogans. Yes they are digital, yes they use AI, but they use digital intelligence to cover every aspect of small business owner’s journey when it comes to risk transfer. Finding business owners, advising them on coverage, (digitally) holding them by the hand through a streamlined purchase process, while doing the heavy underwriting in the background for the right product at the right price at the right time…under little time.

Watch here:

Connect:
Stephanie Blahut (LinkedIn)
Kuldeep Malik (LinkedIn)
Yuriy K (LinkedIn)
B2Z (Homepage)

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Transcript

Nick
Hello, everyone, welcome back. This is the Coverager Podcast. My name is Nick Lamparelli. I am in Coverager headquarters podcasting headquarters in Naples, Florida. Just to make you all envious, it is officially 73 degrees here. So after this, I might go for a walk in my flip flops, so don't @ me, or you can, let's have fun with it. We're going to have a pleasant conversation today talking about business insurance, specifically Insurtechs focused on the small business customer, and which has gotten a lot of attention over the last couple years. And so there's a tremendous amount of activity, taking technology that exists and packaging it up and using it in such an effective way that we can really get small business insurance to to a high level. I have a group from company where I love the name, you can see it on their shirts, B2Z. And I'm going to get to the backstory of that because I think that's interesting, but I love the name of it just kind of rolls off the tongue B2Z, but I have Stephanie, Yuriy, and Kuldeep with me. And so welcome to all of you.

B2Z
Thank you, thank you.

Stephanie B
Thank you.

Nick
I start off all of these by allowing my panel to introduce themselves. So for the sake of the audience, why don't...I'm gonna do the Brady Bunch order. I'm gonna go beneath me right now, which is Stephanie, and then Yuriy, and then Kuldeep. Stephanie, why don't you introduce yourself? Who are you? And what do you do?

Stephanie B
Thank you. I am Stephanie Blahut. I am the CMO of B2Z insurance. And I'm not the typical CMO. My background isn't very traditional. I've spent the majority of my career in digital marketing in particular. So I like to say that I build roads into a website, and I overcome the barriers to purchasing through optimization. And that is really, I think, the most succinct way to explain what I do.

Nick
I love it. I love it. We're gonna talk more about that. That's a that's a that's a big deal.

Kuldeep
Yeah, we internally called Stephanie as Digital Market Samurai in the company,

Nick
Stephanie, those are big shoes.

You know, it's, there's not a lot you can, you can climb up beyond samurai. That's kind of like the elite...so we're gonna be expecting a lot of digital insights from here. So thank you for that intro...Yuriy.

Yuriy
My name is Yuriy K. I'm the CTO at B2Z joined early on. Just at the beginning of the pandemic, we met up with Kuldeep and started discussing this, this idea and I think it came out pretty good so far. And I come from the past in tech and spent at least a few years in Insurtech specifically, so pretty familiar with the subject and here I am creating problems solving problems. Sometimes more creative, sometimes more solved, you know, ups & downs...

Nick
hopefully netting more solved, but yeah,

Yuriy
usually usually.

Stephanie B
Yeah, that's debatable.

Nick
Okay, I and for the folks that are listening to this, I'm gonna put on my Dr. Phil hat and dig into this a little bit more. So stay tuned. Kuldeep...

Kuldeep
Thank you, Nick. Really appreciate that. Just to add on Yuriy's background, he is being very humble on the podcast today. He has worked with some of the great technology companies including uptake here in Chicago, that's considered one of the first unicorn.

I am envy from your 73 degree comment. Because we're sitting here in Chicago Nick and it's supposed to be a blizzard coming our way and it's gonna be a mess.

Nick
So that's why I moved

Kuldeep
one day, one day one day I want to be in the in the in the other side of it and being 73 degrees.

Nick
I won't I won't even show you my shorts!

Stephanie B
No Please!

Kuldeep
All right. We don't have that luxury right now. Wonderful. Thank you so much. My my background very quickly out a serial entrepreneur, 25 plus years of experience. And we do have few people that have 25 plus years experience in the industry. And we stopped counting after that, just to let you know, because we don't want to know you how old we are one way or another. But at heart technologists, and for last 10 plus years have been an entrepreneur, mostly solving an interesting problem and giving a real solution and insurance has been one of those domains. And B2Z is the second company is a bit in the insurance space. My other company before B2Z is in the commercial P&C more on data and AI on the underwriting space. And we have taken that knowledge into B2Z as well.

Nick
Okay, well, a question I think I asked, every one that comes here on the show is, why why B2Z? Why does B2Z need to exist?

Kuldeep
That's a great question.

Stephanie B
I'd like to piggyback off of something that Kuldeep just said, insurance should be a solution. It shouldn't be a headache. It shouldn't be something that people you know, when they go to buy it, the first thing they think is, I have to go buy insurance, how awful...it's painful. And it shouldn't be that way insurance should really be a solution. So getting into why is B2Z different? I think it's because, well, mainly because we view it that way we view insurance as a solution. And you know, the difference in us going to market is that we're not just going to market with a product, we're going to market with a service. And that service is really designed around bringing a better experience to the not only the purchasing, but the use of that insurance. And, and eliminating pain points along the way. Whether it's you know, in the buying phase, while you're quoting or eliminating the the pain points you have in understanding your coverage, eliminating the pain points around filing a claim. And that's where I think B2Z really differentiates itself is that we will constantly be learning and constantly be improving that process. So it's not just B2Z as a product B2Z as a service and a solution.

Nick
Kuldeep...

Kuldeep
wonderful. Yeah, let me say how the, I haven't been in insurance. For the longest time at heart, I am a technologist. So I have a unique vantage point where I have known enough insurance for last six years, but at the same time, I have a point where I can be objective about. And if you look, we could look at the taxi industry, you name an industry, it has been using technology and automation to give a great a better customer experience. In insurance, I think sometimes it's even hard to figure out who's your customer, like many, many of the insurance provider at times, don't know, is the end consumer that bought the protection? Or is the agent or the broker, who's the customer. And the B2Z, we're trying to bring back the focus on the customer. And I get I get this asked by many times by the industry experts, right? Who will say so who you are, you're a broker, you're an MGA, you're a full stack, you know, all this all the jargons that go out there, and I tell them, we are small business, customer advocate, that's who we are at first. Whether you serve them as a broker/MGA, those are all, you know, sort of technical details we can talk about, but the are their advocates. And this whole thing started where, being a founder of three companies, I've gone to get the protection for those businesses myself and it's experience which is that at time is not optimal. Just and I'm being nice there.

Stephanie B
He's being very nice on that.

Kuldeep
It's crap a times and that has been sort of a sore point for last seven, eight years that I've been dealing on the entrepreneurship. The previous company, their company name is DataCubes This one is I started so I could always use that name. I think

Nick
most of our audience would be familiar with Data Cubes.

Kuldeep
Yeah. So we look at this problem saying, could we use technology, data and intelligence? And we did. And we created a solution for commercial P&C underwriting. And so that is not ACORD form losses, do all those things that you need to do before you can give somebody a quote after three or four weeks. I think that work for midsize businesses and large but when it comes to the small businesses is still not enough optimal experience at all. And that's what really drove the sort of genesis of B2Z. The name itself talks about we want to create something Amazon light experience. And I don't know. I'm sure folks are know that Amazon is A to Z. So if B2Z is nothing but A to Z for business insurance, that's how I like to say that. I think that's the essence. That's the core of B2Z.

Nick
That's a that's a great response. And I, I wanna, and maybe Yuriy this might be sort of teed up for you here. I think of technology, right? In terms of for insurance, because I think most folks would agree insurance isn't the prototypical product, right? It's not something people want to buy. Right? So there's, so the as the stuff that Stephanie, you were talking about, there's that massive problem with that, probably for 100 years, we're used to, UGH...I don't want to have to buy it right. And so I think there have been people have been hammering home for years, like we've got to make it easier for people to buy, I view technology as either simplifying the simplicity, for people to find you and to buy from you. And then kind of coordinating that with the an underwriting framework where the technology where it's technology driven, there's some sort of, you know, accuracy in underwriting gives you some sort of advantage. But that's not necessarily it doesn't necessarily have to be the case. But just, that's where I see technology kind of leaking in. And so far, the majority of that has been done piecemeal, right. It's either been usually one or the other. And I think the majority has been on the front end, trying to make the application in the sales process easier. But then the back end is still very ugly sausage that's being made. Can you talk a little bit about your technological advantage? How are you your technological philosophy when it comes to B2Z? How are you viewing the value that you can bring with the technology throughout throughout those two pieces, the underwriting, but also marketing, sales and distribution?

Yuriy
So I really like how you frame the question. So one of the starting points was that we we know that there is very little technology built with online focus first, you know, it was kind of the industry is backing into it right now. So as you said, front end might look pretty, but the back end, systems are all spread out. Kuldeep won't let me lie, I think we spent probably 20/30/40 hours of meetings with variety of partners and ended up not using any of the software, we decided to bite the bullet and write certain pieces that are critical. But we wanted them to work in a certain way. And we realized anything with a it's it's a legacy system in the making, even if it looks nice, right now, within months or years, it will it will tie our hands and we are going to be you know, dragged down by that. Technology is supposed to to enable people it's supposed to solve problems. So what problems are we solving people need to know what they need? So I came to insurance with absolutely zero knowledge about it a few years ago. And if you ask me, like if I started a small business, what do I need to buy? I wouldn't be able to answer I would have to I would have to spend time, research. You know, read, probably call some agent, get advice, and then wait for weeks for quotes. I want to be able through technology to give all of this to the customer they should be able to come in they should be able to say who they are what they do, we should be able to give them everything they need. Ask them the smallest amount of questions possible, do the underwriting with precision only possible by fully automated underwriting system, which probably called the we'll talk about more later in terms of how that is beneficial to us as a company. We need to help guide those those users, people outside of insurance don't know the jargon. They don't know the terminology. They don't understand what any of this means. And quite frankly, we're just focusing on customer everything to support them, guide them through the journey, explain what they need, explain what is covered, we spent tremendous amount of time even designing small things that kind of assist the user here and there, you know, a little pop ups that say, yes, this is what it actually is. And no, I guess I guess I guess it's my answer.

Nick
That's fine.

Kuldeep
Yeah, let me let me ask something

Nick
you guys want you guys want to arm wrestle?

Kuldeep
Stephanie is always a winner.

Stephanie B
I'm, so I just wanted to follow up briefly, to what Yuriy said. So when I entered the pet insurance space, about five years ago, it was very similar to what we see in small business commercial, and it was very paper driven, legacy. And the technology really wasn't there. Even the, you know, the digital marketing piece, you know, there are very few players, even taking advantage of, you know, the digital marketing needs to reach customers, the sites were very difficult to understand, you know, the coverage piece. And, but overall, the customer experience was, you know, the bar was pretty low. And during the pet space, and in bringing this idea of, you know, how can we create a solution that isn't just, you know, tech for the sake of having technology, but rather, how do we actually solve customer pain points through the use of technology, and have it evolved over time, and, you know, has been pretty revolutionary in the pet insurance space. Now, moving over to commercial small business, you know, it's very similar in that the customer buying trends tend to mimic personal lines. And so, you know, as a small business owner, you don't have a procurement team doing due diligence on the right insurance product, product to, to go with and to govern that account. So you're doing that wearing many hats? And why should that be painful for you, you know, to do something that's so fundamental to cover and, you know, ensure your business. And so here we are,

Nick
Kuldeep...

Kuldeep
Yeah. And I think that's a great point. So, just to add that, in talking about technology, right. In within our own platform, we are going that this high level principles that most of the time, we are not going to ask more than seven questions from our customers, right. And given where the industry has been, and still is today, that a monumental challenge from a technology perspective, and I think, and, and beauty and team solving that flawlessly. So I said he's being humbled today on the podcast. So I was right about that part. But keeping that as in a sense, and that goes back to what Stephanie said before, that we are not trying to sell as a bulky insurance product. Okay, that's the key difference. We are trying to give our customers his solution that they're looking for. So if a small business owner, if I need to run payroll, I can go online and get three or four payroll provider that will help me set up everything very quickly. Why I have to call agents and learn legal jargon before I can get a $500,000 policy to maybe insure my coffee shop so that I can sign a lease and start it. And that's the challenge it's being under sort of mine by the legacy insurance because for them is the premium. The product, right. The service component, I think was more on the claim side as opposed to how you engage with a customer and how you give that has been outsourced through brokers and whether brokers have done a good or bad job on that. I'm sure we can debate that for, for hours and hours. And I'm not going to go into that. But that's what we are taking controller, we are taking control of serving our customer ourselves and create an end to end experience. And that starts from reaching out to our customers on the channel, on their convenience, whether it's online, if the midnight when they have time, they don't have to call us in the during the day when their business is ready, or is also backed by humans where they can talk to somebody. But on the on the, on our website, we have created something what we call a risk advisor, or a customer advocate named Dia, which is a patented technology that's helping customers not just a chatting thing, but based on our back end digital intelligence, really helping them hey, do you really need this coverage? Right? And do you need, let's say, if you are a sort of wine and liquor shop, right small, do you need sign coverage, which is kind of very cumbersome example. But these are the things that typically have been with a broker, right or their agent, they are bringing that into the digital world. Now. I want to say one more thing there, Nick, about this, though, and this, this has been sort of my point, people think that putting things online is digital. And I fundamentally disagree with that point. Because you could take the the cumbersome paper process and put online, it's not digital, and many of I think aggregators have done that. And I call that lipstick on a pig. I just couldn't find a better word for that. Because what they're doing is okay, I'm, I was asking 30 to 45 questions about your business on the paper. Now, I'm going to ask the same 30 to 45. Question online, you still have no idea what the question mean, when you're getting the, the protection for your business. Because protection really means appropriate rate plus appropriate coverage, those are the two things intermingle together. And that's what you need to give to your customers. So we came up with this.

Our customer advocate Dia, which is intelligent enough to figure out based on what we know about that customer, what kind of coverage that customers needs to buy, and, and give that in a non insurance jargon way to help them understand what they need.

Nick
So, so that leads me to a couple of different questions. So first, that means that B2Z is powered by AI. Correct?

Stephanie B
I would say by business intelligence...it's more encompassing

Nick
Because you might be able to, I might be able to get some economic currency, if you say powered by AI, you know, investors just like, you know, fall over themselves, oh, my god AI. But, you know, there's an intelligent aspect to it. So that gets to the big debate, right, that occurs, which is, you know, agent or not agent and the challenges there. So, with no agents B2Z has a, you know, you have a tremendous, you have that high hurdle that you do not have to go over because for Stephanie's point, not only does she have to now go out and and find that business and generate leads and have them come in, but you need to be able to hold them by the hand and walk them through this maze of insurance to what do I need? And, and I can tell you even as an insurance expert, you know, Avi and I have laughed about this on some of ours. Like, I've been stumped. On some insurance applications. I've been stumped on some quotes, like I don't know the difference between these two. And I'm supposed to be an insurance expert. And so that's a that's a big challenge, not going the agency route. Right. So can you talk a little bit about those two things. Can you talk about the challenge of finding enough leads? Is that generally what you know, agents are there are the professional sales distribution for a lot of insurance companies. So now that's on your shoulders, but then also the complexity like or do you expect to have a suite of offering multiple bop or Workers Comp quotation systems. How are you going to think through their potential objections of like, okay, you did a good job of walking me through. But is this the right quote for me?

Stephanie B
Looking for customers through digital marketing offers us a lot of advantages. One, it's pretty low cost to, you know, go to market using digital channels. And you can start to optimize almost immediately with the information that you gather from the different ad platforms organically, through behaviors, you know, that you you watch on the website. So there's all kinds of intelligence, you know, that's coming in from Digital behaviors that we can then leverage to, you know, continue to evolve our product, right from the get go. And that helps us become more and more intelligent about finding our customers as well. So, you know, talking about leads and gathering leads from a digital marketing perspective, that is, you know, sort of the the Battle of looking top of funnel, working the channel's top of funnel just to get out, you know, brand awareness, and even industry awareness. If we take a step back, we know, you know, from our audience research that 70% of all small business owners are under insured and 40% aren't insured at all. So there's a fair amount of industry awareness that has to happen as well, in conjunction with brand awareness, and then to continue to educate folks through that funnel, until they finally you know, are ready to make their decision, we can do that through content, we can do that through dia, once they're on the site, we can help educate them, through dia. And that's why you know, I stay away from calling it just an AI chatbot, it's really the sum of all digital intelligence, going into an experience, rather than we just have this chat bot, and it will help you figure things out. And so, you know, from a digital perspective, going to market with digital is really a no brainer for us. Because it just increases the value of our digital intelligence, and allows us to evolve the back end just as much as we evolved the front end. So now I will.

Kuldeep
So let's, let's think back to what I said before, Nick, about who is your customer, right? So um, anyone before going there? I know the last eight or nine months, we're not taking public transport. But before that, when you were traveling, do when you landed at the airport, did you? Like went outside and say, Hey, let me hear the taxi, I need a taxi. Or did you take out your app and said, okay, Lyft, or Uber? Depends on the city and depends on the state. Absolutely agree. But in most cases, your preference would have been, hey, if I can get Lyft or Uber, I go get that because the convenience and other things that you are getting it that it's I think the same way, if you look at our customer segment that we are going after, on the small business owner, or 60% of those small business owners are Gen X plus millennial. And if you look, their buying habits, it looks how they interact in generally life, not just insurance. They're pretty business savvy, they want to have things in a digital fashion, they want to have this in their convenience. They want to have it at their own terms. Price is not such a big deal for them. As long as you are not outrageously expensive. You are competitive. The convenience and getting things at their terms is an absolutely value to them. And that's the segment that we are serving that does. That is a very key point. Yes.

Stephanie B
Just going a little further with that because it called the visit. Absolutely right. They also see the value in exchanging some of that data for the convenience. So they're they're willing to give up some of that data so that they can find products that are more convenient and on their terms.

Kuldeep
Yep. Yeah, yes. And to be honest, this is done worse. These agents. That part I think there's a lot of debate about that. Right. I think what they are again, trying to do is trying to fit sort of that Sort of square peg in a round hole kind of deal, they're compete, they're thinking the those two things are competing, they're not there. If you are, if you can enable your customer to get what they want to get digitally, they will go for digitally, I can almost put two cents I have in my pocket on that approach. Now the question is, if I have to answer 60 questions, and then I have to show multiple codes, and let that coffee shop owner decide whether the terrorism coverage is important or not, if it's a disservice to that customer, because if you understand that customer value, which we do, through our digital intelligence, these show them just one coat that we believe that the best protection for that customer. And that's how we solve that problem. Now, having said that, in adding a human in the process, when needed by the customer, is absolutely the support that no doubt about it,

Yuriy
I'd like to add to this is that we can see all of this coming up right now and how we have folks who prefer convenience, but think about five or 10 years from now, when the when the 15 year olds are going to start their first small businesses, they're practically glued to their iPhone at this point, if it's not available as an app or a website, it's not the thing that exists. If you cannot text them, they don't exist, they're not going to be waiting for close for for two weeks, and filling out the ACORD 125 forms. I can I can bet another two. Okay.

Nick
And and, you know, I, I don't think there would be too many people that would disagree with that. Here's a, here's a question for you though. There are other young entrepreneurs that have also looked at this small business market and the size of it and how it does behave just like in a way, like personal lines and how decisions get made and all of that. So one, one problem of being digital is that that can be copied. Others can do digital too. And we've seen that now there are other just this year have launched that are going to be these digital attempts to sort of service those particular markets. So I'm in a digital environment, it's hard to have that relationship. Right? Like it's so how do you differentiate yourself? To be able to not only provide the solution, but to Stephanie's point? How do you give them that experience that's different than the other digital experiences that these other companies are saying, you know, hey, come to us we can we can sell you insurance, too. So how do you how do you differentiate and position, how you're going about it versus how they're going about it?

Yuriy
I don't speak, I can speak a little bit to the technology of it and the copying aspect. If we went the route that cold, you've described and just took the, again, our favorite ACORD 125 form, for general application for business insurance and copy that as a form, anyone can come and copy this. That's, that's for sure. We kept it simple on the front end, and very, very complicated on the back end. And we've been built feedback loops into our system to know which data sources we should trust which data sources we should trust less, which fields on those data sources we should, we should promote higher. So we're constantly learning and the more business we do, the better we're going to actually become at at doing this accurately. And our experience will only improve. So I'm not very concerned about the copying aspect. Because anyone anybody can, I mean, again, going all the way back insurances, just answering whatever, 40/50 questions, it's not hard on the surface. But you know, the ultimate goal, you know, that nobody might ever reach. But the ultimate goal would be to shrink it all the way down to you know, a single search field. Like one famous search site has right? There is a whole industry built behind it. So this one little search field. It looks simple. Anybody can make a search field, but can can anybody build. So? So yeah, it's constant continuous improvement that needs to happen on the back end constant thinking about this customer's experience, understanding where do they fall off, why they fall off, what what doesn't work, what they don't understand, about personal touches and relationships. We need to be there all the way. Everything's happens in the system has a little notification that comes to your phone or it will come to your email, you know what's going on, you know, your documents are ready, you know where you need to call, if you have a question, you can chat with us. If you call the phone number, Kuldeep will probably pick up and start answering questions.

Nick
Well, that would be interesting,

Stephanie B
very personalized.

Nick
you get the CEO answering your call, like yeah, you should buy sign insurance.

Yuriy
I'm not I'm not joking, he is a member of a support group. So he gets notifications when customers are requesting support. So occasionally, somebody will run into Kuldeep. But I actually hope that this is going to last for years, because then he can come back and give me trouble for whatever customers like or didn't understand. And I will be motivated to come up with better solutions to those problems.

Kuldeep
Let me Yeah, I appreciate that. I think that's very important part of it. Let me just address the copying part. And I will let Stephanie talk a little bit more on the, on the digital and marketing side. So in Chicago, there is a company that sort of think of themselves as a pioneer in the small business insurance. And I'm not going to name the name. And this is three or four years ago of data cubes. I was first reading their CEO to be a little bit more modern. And they have digital they have online. So I went through their process and printed out how many questions they asked. It was 26 pages, I printed those and took to the CEO, this is what do you call yourself? That's the fundamental problem. Because it's like the same thing saying AI versus digital intelligence, right? Everybody can say, Hey, I am AI based and investors will come in and jump on it. And at times have not investors, not even the founder even know what the AI could be very general term, right? It depends how you really apply it. And people take advantage of the shiny thing, Okay, I'm gonna just say, I'm doing AI, then I can solve the world problem. It's not the case. So if you do it properly, to figure out what the customers really need, and do it at scale, it's a hard problem. I'm just going to be very open about that. Now, let me give one example of that. Let's say I'm offering insurance to a contractor. And you figure out that whether that contractor works on the roof or not, is important aspect of it could change the whole risk. That's bringing to it. Now, to do that, from a digital perspective. I need to go all the 1000s of counties get the data for each and every permit, for that has been filed there. Right? Then I take that information with all the commercial buildings out there. Then I take millions of contractors out there and collate that information, you find that needle, that Joe the contractor, is this contractor working above, on the roof. That is what is digital Intelligence Scale. And copy that is not easy. It's a monumental challenge people. people ignore that saying, Well, I can just collect data, I can get data from this source and that source, you can get data. But that data is not optimized for your underwriting and perspective. And that's where the that's where the gap is. This is where people just don't understand digital. This is why the name can be dizzy because Amazon gives you real digital, that means it takes the information synthesize, it gives you better customer experience. Yeah, that's what you're trying to bring to the small commercial space. You know, what's,

Nick
what's interesting about what you've done is that you just started a few months ago, right?

Stephanie B
Your launch was mid November.

Nick
But but the company started just a few months ago.

Kuldeep
Yes. Okay. After COVID knocked out Yes.

Nick
Which is amazing, right? Because having gone through and having seen several companies gone through it usually takes years to go through that. Now. You have to walk a tightrope when doing something like that and I'm curious as to what you think helped you in getting up to speed because you're offering BOP coverage through Crum and Forster and Workers Comp through Employers, those are not little insurance companies. Those are big stakeholders who probably have significant vetting processes, as well. Talk about how were you able to get up to speed and go live so quickly?

Kuldeep
Well, there are a couple of things I would say. One is thanks to Yuriy and his family for overnight time that he works 28 hours out of 24. So let's do that. Let's talk about the just the process working with insurance companies. Right. And it could, for many, what I've learned in my life is it takes six months to one year before things can get started. Here we are definitely our appointment processes. And this is where we have rejected more insurance than we have accepted to work with because we have very high standard in terms of what digitally those insurers can do. Right? Because, again, for us is the customer experience. And if that doesn't fit back in the customer experience, we are not going to build the sauces in the backend to give a better experience in the front end, we want to make sure our partners are as digital savvy as we are. Our appointments typically are few weeks to be honest. And that really comes from the the team's depth experience in insurance. So just within this team, that in B2Z, we have like 125 plus years of insurance experience, and that we are not touting Stephanie, myself and Yuriy, I'm talking about our actuaries are CFOs, our insurance product guys. Like some of the some of these appointment that we're talking about, our team knows their CEOs about. So if you're not going to do, okay, we have this view, smart entrepreneur out of the garage kind of deal. He understand the technology well, but at the same time, we understand the challenge of insurance really well. And what I have seen in last six years in the inshore tech space, especially Either you are a smart technology guy, or you are very experienced on the insurance side. And in the first case, once you are sort of witnessed with the all the reality of insurance, you don't talk about technology anymore. And the other side, it takes a while again to pick up that technology into the existing insurance space. And that's where things like, you know, what we have done is take insurance, and really simplify it so that it can be delivered delivered digitally. And that's why we select very few partners to work with. And we integrate deep with those partners. I will bet that answer the question. Of course.

Nick
Yeah. Stephanie, Yuri, you want to add to that? Well,

Yuriy
I think Kuldeep have summarized it. Well, appointments were very easy, because, you know, Joe knew Bob and they used to sit and you know, in the cubicle next to each other a decade ago or two or three. And

Nick
well that helps, right?

Yuriy
It definitely helps.

It's a it's a bureaucracy.

Nick
It's a disadvantage, right for a lot of Insurtech, who are pure technology players who potentially see this opportunity, but they don't have any insurance contacts. So that first meeting is cold. And that insurance professional who they're looking to get capacity from, you know, has to do their vetting process. And if you have relationships in the industry, those that first meeting's, not cold, get those a little easier.

Yuriy
We work together for decades, you know,

Nick
pretty easy...you know,

Stephanie B
to highlight a good point, though, that Kuldeep has made a few times when he talks about the team he put together, it was very intentional to bring folks together who had deep tech or or even Insurtech knowledge, digital marketing and pairing that with deep insurance knowledge so that we weren't either to Insurtech or to insurance, but really the best of

Nick
you know, and I've had conversations with other InsurTech's about this that you know, have been fairly successful. I'd like to get your feedback on that. As well, what what is the culture like? And, you know, to me what I've, what I have seen is that you kind of need both sides to push on one another. You know, I've seen a lot of technologists who have come in, and they're just like, oh, we're just gonna start breaking everything. And the insurance people pull their hair out, it's just like, you can't do that it's against the law, like, you just you can't do it, they're not gonna sue you, they're gonna lock the door and arrest you like, it's that bad. But how do you know, there's got there's insurance professionals who, you know, will say, Oh, you really can't do that. But they don't have a rationale for it. And then, when the Insurtech, torched, they realized No, the regulator's will let you do that. You just have to ask for it. And so what's that, what is the comfort zone between the yin and the yang, between the insurance side and the technology side,

Yuriy
I think it's extreme amount of collaboration, really, the team is very open to work together, we came up with this very complicated rocket science type of classification system to future proof ourselves, and eventually build it into into this, you know, a system to be able to predict what class class you are likely to be. Because this is one of the biggest pain points for the customer. Yeah, we we have to spend probably 10s of hours in conversations meetings, building out the system, building out the management front end for it, and, and putting all the pieces together for it to make sense, because it's quite important to properly classify the customer and then transform that into the data that our partners want to actually see. So I really, from the from the tech team, I can say we know we can always rely on our insurance folks to to tell us what we can do. And if we reach a dead end in in something we usually bring called deep and he is the best at pushing the boundaries a little bit and trying to find if there are ways to do you know, convince regulators to do something new.

Kuldeep
I'm pretty easy. If you buy me beer, you get the decision you want.

Stephanie B
It's always good to keep in mind, there's no growth in the comfort zone. Right. So. Okay, push and pull each other.

Nick
Okay, so my, my final two questions are about the comfort zone. Yeah. So, topic. So you just went live. Okay. Congratulations, because that that is having done it a couple of times. Now, I know how difficult it is to go from zero to go live, then you start at zero again. So it's kind of painful to watch the clock tick. Yeah. But now you've got this balancing act. So it to me it's, you know, economies of scale. And insurance are really when you hit that threshold, where the law of large numbers start taking over where every new piece of business only marginally adds to the risk, but you get all of the premium. And that's where like you start hitting the sweet spot. And it's when you start getting some significant compounding effects. So as a start up, having gone through this, I've been on that tightrope, kind of trying to balance growth versus losses and trying to balance those because if you get too many losses to start, your capacity May May dwindle away. But if you don't get the growth, you can lose the confidence of them. And so you're you're trying to go about balancing that. So can you talk about that, because my experience watching the Insurtech field is that they have been willing to sacrifice losses in order to get market share and some growth. But I feel like the tides turning some trinoma I'd like to get your feedback on how you're, you know, what, how long is your stick on your tightrope?

Kuldeep
Okay, so let me let me address one point about the comfort zone and the culture that we talked about. Our insurance folks within the team called Yuriy magician. And what that mean is, I tell him my problem, and he does the magic and it happens automatically. So that's the kind of collaboration that we're having within the team. But having said that, absolutely. There are differing opinion. And that's the whole point of it, because I think even the insurance folks that we have in the team, very excited. I mean, they if you talk to our actuary, he will say, at times I miss him that I've been I've spent 25 years in this industry and not dumb enough to improve how how this product and the solution is your deliver. Yeah, right. And this is true in many sense. And I have a tremendous amount of respect of those folks. Because insurance is not that where you can figure out here's the widget you take it is a crystal ball that you have to figure it out properly. Well, I think you can do it profitably.

Nick
Absolutely, I would, I would tell you that. My view is that I think the digitization of insurance has been very disettleing to a lot of folks, but those are not dumb people. They're actually very, very smart people who have been operating a machine that's been rusty, and they've been, you know, putting oil here and there and duct tape and kind of keeping that thing moving. But they're, that makes them very smart. It's just this digitization thing is requiring them to pick up the train and move it on a different set of tracks. That's like, that's not gonna work.

Kuldeep
Yep. And I think you you absolutely put the nail on the head of that problem. So let's talk about growth versus sort of profitably doing things. And in sort of hindsight, everything is 2020. Right? In five years, perhaps I would have a much better answer for you than I have today. But if you look at a couple of things to think about that, and then we'll talk about how we compare with other inshore tech. So the the background of the team is we have experienced people who are insurance or from the data, digital intelligence, marketing, technology, I have been doing data and intelligence for P&C underwriting as part of data queues for almost four plus years, part of it and I've seen sort of every variation, you can think of where you and a company that delivering food was underwritten as a mail delivery carrier, okay, now and was done by a big big insurance company that's in Chicagoland, billion dollar company. And for a food delivery company that just went IPO. So now you can imagine how how this could go wrong that time. But coming back to B2Z, what we are looking at, we are looking at small business insurance, right? And that's our focus, that's what we do nothing else. If you look at that, there is a limited price discretion. Okay. It cannot be that a coffee shop guy. One is one insurance company is giving them $10,000 policy, and another one is doing 500 is just not the case, the variation is not there. And the competition is nice is mostly based on what kind of customer experience you're giving, and what is your process efficiency. And when you talk about the process of efficiency and the customer experience, that's where some of more established players in this space, their processes have been designed. Typically, and I'm not saying this is true for everybody, but typically, there it was for intermediated market, maybe medium or large sized customer. And that has been retrofitted for the Small Business Insurance. And then we're seeing that. Yeah. Again and again. Now, when you take some of the other insure tech companies, they have come on it, it totally different and saying, Okay, I'm gonna serve a maybe $200 policy or $500. policy, I want to do it digitally. I don't want to touch it kind of deal. The challenge is that is that the the expense you are incurring you do that become out of control. So on $100 million premium, our target is of expense 30 to 35%. Some of those companies are running 135. There's a reason for that, because they are investing heavily on the growth not looking in terms of Okay, how do I control my expenses? A couple of ways we are addressing that problem. One is our typical customer is two times higher in terms of the policy than some of the other Insurtech that we talking about. We are using data intelligence. We are using efficiency. We are using tech to make sure to control that expense. I mean, to be honest, it's not a rocket scientist just expense plus losses. That's what it is insurance. Yeah. So as you can control those two things.

Nick
Yeah. What is the tip customer? who do you? Who would you? Who are you aggressively going after?

Kuldeep
That's a great question. And I believe Stephanie can really answer that much better than I could.

Stephanie B
So I will preface this by saying our chief actuarial officer likes to refer to the personas as not going after a class code. But after a business after a certain type of owner of the business, and he's spot on, it's obviously we have our generational targets, right, called the pins talked about Gen X and millennials and their propensity towards tech adoption, you know, that value exchange that they make between privacy and an ease of use? Yeah, and so that's certainly a part of it. But it's also a very owner involved small business. You know, that if we're going to talk specifics employees, less than 25 employees does under 6 million in sales in less than three locations. I mean, that's sort of our sweet spot. It's not too small, it's not too big. It's sort of just right like that, but it

Nick
could it could be pizza places, contractors, you know, laundromats

Stephanie B
Yes, it's a variety of businesses, it's not sort of limited to, we're only going after, say, contractors, or we're only going after startups, you know, it's pretty all encompassing, yeah, um, but there is a, you know, there's sort of that sweet spot for us. And those are the people we want to connect with, and,

Nick
and you're using data and technology to like, so that's like just the first filter, and then you're filtering down even more to sort of segment out the specific segment within those groups that you think especially Can, can make make use of make use of your product and solution, right.

Stephanie B
And if if we take this, you know, even into sort of the digital marketing ability to understand audiences, and then create, look alike audiences and go after those folks who sort of mirror your, your current customer base, and you look for different, you know, interests and behaviors, and certain, you know, profile specifics, you can create an audience of folks that you go after with messaging that looks like that. Yeah. So you can get, you can really refine how you, you target individuals to bring them the right product.

Kuldeep
So let me just give one example, how our digital intelligence, sort of driving it right, and that more on the loss ratio right now. So expense we talked about, on the last races? So let's say you're offering to what? Wine and liquor shops, right, the production be No, exactly. Based on the zip code, you know, what are those sort of chances of tat are sort of vandalism in that place? Right, we know that a certain annual revenue that's coming from liquor is a sweet spot of XYZ coverage, right? It's not that we are going to give the same coverage, whether you're sending 400,000, or whether you're sending 5 million of those things, we also know is is the owner still involved in that business, because that's an important aspect for us, and D&O, all those things upfront, we are not asking them about those things. So we know our customers already, who we want to reach out to. And we also know what those customers want. Because one of the thing will be that in just like for delivery like doordash and and Uber and others, there is a is higher, now pattern where the liquor also being delivered, but that could be a different risk altogether. So we understand all those details to go after those customers. We are not going after those customers in vacuum. And that's the key part of it. To understand that customer upfront, to give them the production that they need and the experience they need. So if I were to summarize, B2Z is a team of experts from insurance marketing technology is data intelligence that's done at scale. It's understanding of the customer and delivering that as a solution. I think that's how we are looking to win this market. And we are out there to get the book. That's why we are here and be busy. We are fired up.

Nick
Well then tell them tell us let's let's peek around the corner. 2021 years Currently in three states offering Workers Comp and a BOP product, what's in store for 2021?

Kuldeep
A couple of things, right. So, what I like to say, instead of just offering the product, I like to say, it is my customer and what I need to offer my customers. So, some of the things that we have looked at talking about, okay, fiber is one of the things that is becoming more prominent as we are getting more and more in the in the online thing, so that and some of the business owner don't even consider know about it. And so we are looking at that, to do it in such a way that it's a similar experience. And you don't have to give like the security audit of 300 pages that you don't know what your firewall looks like, kind of deal. So that's, that's in the horizon. expansion in many different states. Is is on Horizon. expansion of the team is in horizon, what we also looking as well, and from a base solution, do a small business owner, combine all those things together as one, and really compete on that particular one? To be anybody else. So it's like, okay, you are, I don't know, accountant. You know, your accountant. And we know exactly what you need. It's customized to you, you go get it, you don't have to worry about it at all, at all. So that's, these are. So there's a product enhancement. There's certainly team enhancement, there's a rollout that in, in process, and we believe by early 2022, will be not at stake. But again, it's the customer experience is the is the forefront of it. That has been talked between heated debate between the jury and I have times where like, no need to ask this question from the customer. Though the there's a there's a certain aspect of it. That is from regulation perspective. And my thing is, let's shut down the shop, if you have to ask a question. We are not asking those questions. Let's figure out from our data and from our technology, how we can really answer that question without asking from the customer. Because customer might not even know the answer. Yeah. So there's just for reference purposes, you're saying, okay, I asked the customer. So if the losses come, then I can point out and deny the losses? Because customer answers is because customer might not know it. So that's how we are fundamentally different in the marketplace. On the service and the customer experience than anybody else out there.

Stephanie B
Yeah. So I I think we have a we have this challenge of of standing out in the sea of sameness, right? I wish every every product or service really faces that same challenge. But especially online, because it's very crowded online. And we're up against companies that have, you know, a longer history, much bigger budgets. So standing out as a late entrant in the space is definitely a challenge. But we have this this opportunity before us to meet people where they're at in their buyer journey. And for some that may be even before they know they need insurance. So if you think about the way content is positioned, tips for starting your crafting business, one of those tips may be that you need to buy insurance. So it's before you even realize that you are going down this route that you're going to need to think about insurance. So you know, and with the growing number of entrepreneurs that are coming out of this pandemic, where people are realizing that they'd rather not stay in the corporate world, but rather go out and be their own boss, and create that, that product or service they've always wanted to create. And, you know, we have we there's a bit of a bubble there, right. So we have this unique opportunity to get in front of folks. And that comes back to what you've said, which is the guiding light for us is the customer experience, and that our decisions at every step have to take a look at is this going to enhance the customer experience, or is this something we want to make, you know, internally, would that make our lives easier? It doesn't make their lives easier? Yeah. That is I think the the arbiter question, right.

Nick
So I got one final question. What's the for Kuldeep and Stephanie, what's the average number of hours Yuriy will work per day? 24? 20?

Stephanie B
Actually, I'm starting to think that Yuri may actually be the personification of Dia I don't think he ever sleeps.

Nick
He's, he's he's got a bed like that. I think his chair folds back into a bed. Yuriy, we're joking. Thank you to the B2Z team Kuldeep, Yuriy, Stephanie. It was a pleasure discussing this particular aspect. I always feel like I learned something new. And congratulations on getting up and getting started so quickly and going live. You know, we're coming into a new year. And I really, I do with this business is uncertain, but I do appreciate someone who's so focused on like, what you said, Stephanie, does this benefit us or this benefit the customer and having that focus on that? It's about the customer. You know, you just don't see that a lot in insurance. So I very much appreciate that. So thank you to all three of you for coming on. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, so for and for everyone that's listening. Please subscribe, if you haven't done so already. And the transcription in the links to B2Z in all three of my guests will be on the show notes. And we're still in pandemic time. So wash your hands, wear your mask, be good to one another. And for everyone when you're seeing this have a great Happy new year Happy. Let's get 2021 let's kind of reverse what happened in 2024. My name is Nick for Kuldeep. Yuri and Stephanie. Thank you all. Appreciate it.

Kuldeep
Thank you. Take care.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai