The Future of Insurance Podcast – Ramón Lopez

VP, Claims Operations, USAA

Season 2, Episode 24, April 12, 2022

Guest Bio

Ramón Lopez has the honor and privilege to lead a team of 4,700 claims professionals looking to provide best in class service for the military community. In his role, he and the team are focusing on making insurance simple, easy and more importantly relevant to the USAA membership. This can better be defined as humanizing and scaling our own digital capabilities, modernizing our technology, personalizing interactions and ultimately delivering the world’s best insurance claims experience through service and accuracy. Ramón has over 18 years of insurance industry experience that spans across property and auto insurance and is a graduate of Texas State University. He recently graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) completing his Executive MBA. Ramón also represents USAA on the board of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Ramón is passionate about building diverse teams and sees this as the most significant competitive advantage in the innovation ecosystem.

Highlights from the Show

  • Ramón has been in Claims at USAA for 18 years, joining right out of college, starting as an adjuster
  • One of Ramón’s roles was to setup and lead the Claims Innovation team, which I featured in the first Future of Insurance book
  • USAA built a number of tools for customers with the military member in mind, given that they could be anywhere in the world with questionable connectivity
  • When the pandemic hit, that helped their ability to respond to customer needs in a new environment with much higher customer expectations
    • That wasn’t just because of what they built, but rather because they had a plan and a strategy in addressing situations like this
  • Because USAA members often engage with them in other ways, like banking, that means they’re more likely to have their app on their phone, which is helpful at deploying digital solutions for insurance and for Claims in particular
  • As the bar rose for customer expectations, they realized they had to reimagine the process and experience against these new standards rather than what would have sufficed a few years ago, and that could lead to totally new experiences and solutions
  • USAA partnered with State Farm on a blockchain solution in subrogation, which lead to lots of learnings
    • How do you write the right type of contract with another insurance carrier that will ultimately be better for the whole industry?
    • If you’re building technology at two carriers, how do you align how the tech groups at each so they can be on pace with delivery with each other given the different approaches and pace at each company?
    • How do you bring the entire industry along? Everyone’s cost of admission to new technology is different given where everyone is starting from, so how you get companies to prioritize and engage can be hard. If you want everyone to join up, you need to find a way to build it so everyone can benefit from without massive cost.
  • At USAA, Claims is a strategic part of the P&C business, so they move together in lock step; this has allowed them to deliver major technology projects and transformations faster than if Claims was fighting for priority, support or attention
  • For Ramón, how you innovate and change really depends on where you are in your innovation journey
    • If you’re early on, you have a broad and big innovation strategy as you’re in an expansion moment where there’s a lot you can do
    • As you get further in, the realm of possibilities contracts to being clearer and more defined, so you can contract to focus in more

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