Chicago, October 4, 2021 – Tokio Marine Highland is featured in the October issue of FinTech Magazine, a “digital community” for the financial technology industry. In this exclusive interview, CEO Patrick Blandford discussed the company’s rebrand, digital transformation, and cultural alignment. The following is an excerpt of the feature. View the full article by visiting the FinTech Magazine website.
A mainstay in U.S.-based property and casualty underwriting (P&C), Tokio Marine Highland has nurtured a storied industry reputation based on the breadth and quality of its specialty risk management solutions, such as private flood, construction and lender-placed products.
Originally founded as WNC Insurance Services in 1962, Tokio Marine Highland recently opted to rebrand in order to capitalize on the brand prestige of its parent company Tokio Marine Kiln (itself part of Tokio Marine Holdings), which completed its acquisition of WNC in 2018. “It’s really enhancing the reputation that we’ve already built as WNC,” explains Joshua Clifton, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “We see this as a great opportunity to enter new markets, attract talent, and seek new acquisitions and capacity partners.”
At the helm guiding the company through this exciting time is Patrick Blandford, CEO, who originally joined in 2004 as a board member and took on the CEO role in 2018. Characterizing his role as assembling the best team possible and overseeing Tokio Marine Highland’s overall performance, Blandford emphasizes that achieving the dual objectives of digital transformation and “to be a good company” (the official Tokio Marine philosophy) remain his top priorities. “I saw [at Tokio Marine Highland] the opportunity to preserve a very strong entrepreneurial culture, but one that is backed by the strength and resources not only of Tokio Marine Kiln but also the broader Tokio Marine Group. This has been the most rewarding challenge of my career so far,” he says.
In this new market, “the experience” of a company has become a strong metric for quality and competitive differentiation. Kiran Achen, CIO, believes that driving Tokio Marine Highland’s wholesale digital transformation will be crucial for pursuing this new focus; advantages gained elsewhere will be fleeting. “For me, the insurance industry is the last frontier that hasn’t yet been disrupted. There is now an opportunity for carriers like us to partner with insurtechs, hire the right talent, and actually disrupt the industry from within.”
Tokio Marine Highland’s digital transformation journey began in earnest in early 2018. The first step, according to Blandford, was shaping the leadership team and assembling resources in order to create a foundation of expertise and technical infrastructure. Unlikely assistance came in the form of COVID-19, which, despite its obvious negative impact, actually helped concentrate the company’s efforts. “I think of 2020 as the year that we turned the corner,” he states. “The unfortunate environment enabled us to spend less time-fighting fires and more time bringing our larger team into the transformation efforts.” Centering the change around robust data-driven insights, exceptional client interfaces and automated operations, Chief Analytics Officer Nirav Shah and Achen state that a special emphasis was placed on the cloud, low-code/no-code platforms, open-source, smart systems, AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning).
“We’ve rolled out a new digital platform housing our difference in conditions (DIC) product,” says Tim Reilly, Senior Director of Digital Distribution. “Essentially, this platform enables straight-through processing for earthquake and landslide coverage. We’re also in the middle of a soft launch for our new flood product, which will be housed on the same platform.”
About Tokio Marine Highland
Tokio Marine Highland is a leading property and casualty underwriting agency that offers distinct specialty risk management solutions, including private flood, construction, fine art, specialty property, real estate investment and lender-placed insurance. Tokio Marine Highland also includes Precise Adjustments, a wholly owned subsidiary that provides industry-leading claims capabilities.
Founded in 1962, Tokio Marine Highland Insurance Services, Inc. (formerly WNC Insurance Services, Inc.) is a wholly owned company of Tokio Marine Kiln, one of the largest carriers in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, rated A+ by Standard & Poor’s for financial strength, and a member of the Tokio Marine Group. Tokio Marine Highland’s home office is located in Chicago, IL, with operating centers in Dallas, TX, Irvine, CA, Miami, FL, Naperville, IL, and South Pasadena, CA.
For more information, visit our website at www.tokiomarinehighland.com.
About FinTech Magazine
FinTech Magazine is the “digital community” for the financial technology industry. FinTech Magazine covers banks, challenger banks, payment solutions, technology platforms, digital currencies and financial services – connecting the world’s largest community of banking and fintech executives. FinTech Magazine is published by BizClik Media Group, a U.K.-based media company with a global portfolio of leading industry, business and lifestyle digital communities. BizClik’s portfolio includes Technology & AI, Finance & Insurance, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Energy & Mining, Construction, Healthcare, Wireless Communications & Data Centers. For more information, please BizClik’s website.
Vice President, Marketing and Communications