The Future of Insurance Podcast – Brent Hammer

Enterprise Innovation Officer, Grange Insurance

Season 2, Episode 11, January 11, 2022

Guest Bio

As Enterprise Innovation Officer, Brent Hammer drives innovation efforts forward in support of the Grange enterprise strategy and guides decisions around innovative solutions to boldly position Grange for the future.  He has 15 years of P&C industry leadership experience. Brent has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ohio University, MBA from the University of Dayton, and is a licensed CPA and Property & Casualty Insurance Agent in the state of Ohio.  He has also earned several insurance designations, including Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and Associate in Reinsurance (ARe).

Highlights from the Show

  • Brent started his career as an accounting, and joined the Finance team at Grange insurance
  • In the 2010s as the Insurtech scene was starting, Brent became very interested in it, and in the late-2010s, Grange decided to put together a concerted effort to invest in and focus on it, with Brent leading the charge
  • Grange is a company punching above its weight in terms of the attention it gets from Insurtechs, well beyond its geographic footprint or what its size might suggest – all of the Insurtechs out there seem to have Grange on their radar, and are interested in working with them
  • This started from Grange launching G-Force Innovations to get uncomfortable and work on new things and in different ways
  • They recognized the need to have multiple touch points in multiple areas to learn as much as they could, for example working with different VC firms
  • They also focused on real problems rather than just going after interesting tech in search of an application
  • This helped them get the trust and support of the business units who recognized that the innovation function was bringing them real, valuable ideas, allowing the innovation team to be both a partner to the business and an aid on the path of disrupting how they’ve always worked – Brent used the term Trusted Disruptor
  • Grange also gets recognized because they’re in a Goldilocks position – they’re small enough to be able to navigate, but big enough to do meaningful things
  • Neither the culture nor the size is enough, but the combination of the two has been critical
  • Before they jumped into innovation, they made a very concerted effort to move the culture to be ready for it and warm the business to do this kind of work with startups
  • Grange has also had continuity of leadership for the past few years, and of its strategy and direction, which has allowed them to make more concerted, consistent efforts to change rather than being whipped around as ideas change rapidly and markedly
  • Given that Grange has a lot of new ideas coming to it, Brent shared some observations
  • In terms of solutions Brent sees coming are
  • Brent sees this as an exciting time and the inflection point where the winners and losers will separate from the pack over the next 2-3 years, and those with the insider knowledge of how the industry works and what the real problems are will be best positioned here

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