Why I joined Coalition

by Shawn Ram.

It may feel like an oxymoron, but innovation in insurance is possible. I’ve built my career on this belief as the leader of the Technology Practices at Aon and Crystal & Company. However, with few exceptions, “innovation” and “insurance” are rarely found in the same sentence. In an industry characterized by conservatism, discipline, and a natural aversion to risk, this belief has helped me to push the boundaries of what our industry is capable of. It has pushed me to ask, “how can we do this better?” Coalition is an answer to this question, and it is why I’ve joined the company.

The past

Over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to ask hundreds of business leaders what risks are most critical to them, and how I could help them achieve meaningful insurance coverage that doesn’t exist today. Invariably, their answers reflected a growing dependence on information technology driven by an ongoing industrial paradigm shift. For example, the general counsel of a large ecommerce company told me that an 8-12 hour business interruption time retention was an eternity for them. They were far more worried about an event of shorter duration. Even 2-4 hours of interruption posed a significant risk to their business.

Unfortunately, the insurance industry has not kept pace in the absence of data and technical acumen to understand these new exposures. The result is inadequate policy language, insurance capacity, and (especially) risk management expertise. As an insurance broker, this reality made it difficult to advise clients on how best to assess, quantify, mitigate, and even transfer these emerging risks. As our collective dependence on technology grows, it is clear that the antiquated practices of our industry must change. What we’ve taken to calling “cyber risk” is the most pervasive risk of our generation.

What’s next

The mission of Coalition is at the same time simple, yet monumental: solve cyber risk. I joined Coalition because I believe in this mission, and because I wanted to help build a new cyber insurance solution for brokers and their clients—a solution that did not exist when I was a broker. Coalition is already altering the industry’s understanding of cyber risk, as well as how brokers and clients interact with insurance. Since joining, I’ve already witnessed the realization of many aspects of Coalition’s vision:

  • Brokers are generating quotes, binding coverage, and even receiving issued policies in under 4 minutes. Meanwhile, the policies are tailored automatically to the company and their risk exposure.

  • We've offered business interruption time retentions of 1 hour. Not only is the coverage more comprehensive than existing policies, it’s entirely adaptable.

  • We’ve helped multiple customers remediate issues that were being actively exploited.

  • We’ve built a team of expert claims advocacy and support staff that proactively help our clients, even before a claim.

Each of these elements is inventive in its own right, but collectively Coalition is the most innovative, compelling insurance offering for technology-based risks that I’ve ever seen.

In addition to the product, I joined Coalition because of the people. It isn’t in many insurance companies that you can run policy language past a former employee of the National Security Agency, ask a former engineer from Google how we collected so much data on a company, or work with passionate and successful, yet humble, entrepreneurs like Joshua and John. Every day I come to work I learn something, am challenged, and feel like a part of something larger than myself. I am proud to play a part in our mission to solve cyber risk.

If you believe you can help us make a difference, let us know. We’re hiring.