Arjun Ramdas: CEO, Charles Taylor InsureTech: Platforms, data collaboration and market efficiency

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A lack of standardisation and the ability to transfer data through the entirety of the insurance lifecycle remains a major challenge for the industry.

Charles Taylor InsureTech CEO Arjun Ramdas joins Matthew on Podcast 125 to discuss data collaboration between insurers, MGAs and brokers, and how Charles Taylor’s technology is supporting the Lloyd’s market.

Talking points include:

  • Moving from on-prem to SaaS tech solutions
  • The shift towards platform solutions
  • Delegated Data Manager (previously known as DA SATS)
  • Minimising paperwork through automation
  • Forging partnerships with Systems Integrators

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Platforms, data collaboration and market efficiency - Episode 125 highlights

Matthew: Arjun, you were Services Practice Leader for Microsoft Consulting before becoming CEO of Charles Taylor InsureTech last year. What was it that took you from being part of a large, well-known organisation into a technology company? 

Arjun: It was a relatively easy decision to make. Charles Taylor is a fantastic company with a huge amount of experience in the insurance space. I also worked for Cognizant before joining Microsoft, and Charles Taylor is a key client for both of them. I just fell in love with the company as we went through the recruitment process.

Matthew: For those people that don't know Charles Taylor, what is it that you're doing as a business?

Arjun: Charles Taylor provides claims services, technology tools and a whole range of technical services to clients across the global insurance value chain. We are organised as three businesses - claims services, insurance management and insurtech, and insurtech is the business that I lead. 

Charles Taylor InsureTech* is essentially a SaaS platforms and software products business. We cater to clients in the insurance space to help them digitally transform themselves using technology. 

Matthew: One of the areas where people will be familiar with Charles Taylor InsureTech is your application formerly known as DA SATS. It’s now been renamed as a Delegated Data Manager, or DDM. What does that application do? 

Arjun: Traditionally, the London market’s use of delegated data (1) has been blighted by the lack of standardisation and the ability to transfer data through the entirety of the insurance lifecycle.

What the Delegated Data Manager does is allow for standardisation and the ability for different cover holders to provide data into a centralised platform which provides a singular, unified view of their delegated business. It’s a great initiative, working across LIMOSS, the different market groups and with Lloyds of London directly to ensure market participants get the best value out of the data that is there.

Matthew: For those who aren’t familiar with LIMOSS, it’s the acronym of the London Insurance Market Operations & Strategic Sourcing. They’re the body that works with organisations like Charles Taylor to provide support for Lloyds. In terms of what's happening with DDM, is it just supporting Lloyd’s or the broader market as well?

Arjun: Our relationship with LIMOSS and Lloyd’s gets a lot of press, but we also want to ensure that London market companies can also bring their corporate market binders into the solutions. 

The great thing LIMOSS has done is to ensure that they’ve contractually negotiated for some of that pricing to be standardised. It offers a vehicle to ensure our clients get the added benefit of being able to manage their entire delegated business on a structured basis using the same platform, which hopefully allows them to gain more value for their efforts.

Matthew: Charles Taylor has clients across all parts of the network. What would characterise the different types of clients that you're working with?

Arjun: Outside of Lloyd’s we work with Fidelis, Everest, Guy Carpenter, Della, Sura, Gallagher, Willis, so a whole range of key customers across insurers, brokers, and of course the core Lloyds marketplace itself.

Around 50% of our revenue today comes from our UK-based clients. The remaining 50% comes from our global clients, the majority of which are based out of Latin America.

Matthew: There’s been a much bigger shift towards platforms being the way to market for new technology and data companies. What is the platform strategy at Charles Taylor? 

Arjun: Platforms are a key way for clients to access technology, service and hosting from one supplier, without having to manage the headaches of keeping things running. It’s a great way for them to continuously get added functionality without having to specify it from the start each time. 

Our strategy has been built around having 10 core products within Charles Taylor InsureTech. We are trying to move many of them into a SaaS model to give clients the option of not just buying the on-prem models. Clients can get the SaaS subscriptions and switch into a platform-based approach of working with us.

Matthew: Most people will be familiar with SaaS and on-prem, but just to explain, SaaS is basically where people pay by usage, presumably it's cloud-based or you can access it remotely. Whereas on-prem is the old-fashioned way, where the software has to be installed on local servers. Is it difficult to move from on-prem to having everything deployed through SaaS?

Arjun: It’s not just about lifting old technology and placing it on a cloud service. It’s about architecting it for multi-client, multi-tenancy usage. Typically, we try to ensure we can offer clients a total outcome-based contract where they don’t need to worry about the degree of usage. 

The good news is we are not the first ones to do it. We have partnerships with Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud so we can offer clients the choice they need. 

Matthew: When people build technology, they often overlook the fact that moving to a cloud-based hosted platform, or SaaS, involves multiple users using the same technology at the same time. Multi-tenancy is critical to ensuring that when people come in, they see their version or instance of the application. 

Arjun: Absolutely. It's a great way for different clients to get the combined functionality, but also to ensure that their data and their users are kept secure.

Matthew: You’ve also launched an application called Authority Hub. What can you tell us about that? 

Arjun: It's a brand-new platform which went live with our first pilot client in January. It’s focused on ensuring that clients can manage their delegated authority within their own business.  

Delegated limits for claims or underwriting on an automated basis can be connected up to a client’s systems to reduce their risk exposure. It minimises any manual paperwork that is needed, which prevents hundreds of Excel files or Word documents floating around, which is what still happens today.

Matthew: Is it a policy administration system or does it go beyond that? 

Arjun: It’s meant to integrate into the policy admin system. The main objective is to ensure that authority limits, whether for claims or underwriting, are managed. People can delegate their authorities to other team members within their hierarchy and manage the total exposure so no one's writing more business or approving more claims. The application doesn't process underwriting or claims on its own.

This is a brand-new product, built from the ground up on Azure and available as a subscription.

Matthew: You’ve got one client signed up, but there must have been a high level of interest from existing or potential clients for Charles Taylor to invest in the product? 

Arjun: We’ve seen a huge demand for this. From speaking with clients, this is a challenge they’re faced with, especially on the basis of a higher amount of regulatory scrutiny. Having this done properly is one of the key objectives for any Chief Risk Officer (CRO). Our early indications on the campaigns we've been running have been very positive.

Matthew: Claims is also a big area of focus for Charles Taylor. What are you doing to help people with the claims handling process?

Arjun: We already have a product called Trax that is being used by more than 20 clients, including Fidelis who we signed off earlier this year. It's a SaaS platform that allows claims handlers to manage the entire process and it writes back into Lloyd’s systems automatically.

We process around £6bn worth of claims annually through Trax, and we are investing in a lot of technologies to ensure claims can be done better, faster, cheaper and more efficiently without any fraud.

Matthew: Charles Taylor was acquired by a private equity firm a couple of years ago. What does that mean in terms of looking at future investments and other people to partner with?

Arjun: We're extremely happy to have LMP as our private equity investor. It means we can be aggressive in our expansion and five acquisitions have been completed since I joined the company. 

Charles Taylor InsureTech has also taken 100% ownership of the Tide platform (now known as Delegated Data Manager), which underpins our solution for Lloyd’s. We've also closed another transaction to take a partial stake in another company. We’re able to move at speed because of the amount of financial support, acquisition analysis and other support the private equity teams are bringing us.

Matthew: What sort of organisations would you be looking to partner with? 

Arjun: One of the key changes in our insurtech strategy going forward will be reducing the hands-on implementation work that we're doing and focusing more on our SaaS products. We want to work more collaboratively with Systems Integrators (SIs) and partners out there, so our clients get the best of our IP without our implementation capacity being a bottleneck.

From an insurtech perspective, our relationship with over 130 clients gives us a great space to provide technology in a much more unified and secure way to customers. We're keen to partner with startups and IP vendors to ensure that we can put together a higher and more pronounced value to our customers. 

Part of the work we're doing this year is launching a new solution called our CTI Ecosystem. That will allow the wider insurtech space to plug into our existing solutions and reach a much wider customer base.

Matthew: What's the best way for people to talk to find out about that? 

Arjun: At the moment they can reach out to me. I'm setting up a brand-new partner team to ensure we've got somebody leading that whole partner motion for us. I would expect that person would set up the organisation with partner managers and so forth to ensure we have the right connections. 

For the moment, people can reach out through or any of their contacts within Charles Taylor.

InsTech London learnings

*Note that Charles Taylor InsureTech contains an “e” whereas “insurtech” is now generally spelt without the extra e.

1. Delegated data

Delegated data is what is received from the companies, usually the MGA or managing general agents, also known as cover holders, that are underwriting risks using capital from insurance companies. Those insurance companies have delegated the underwriting to the MGA. The MGA needs to send the data back to share what they've written. That's the delegated data Arjun and Matthew are talking about. 

Unfortunately, it tends to come in all sorts different formats, frequently only once a month. Until Charles Taylor’s application, Delegated Data Manager was introduced a few years ago, every insurer had to sort out the formatting of the data themselves.