Issues & Answers Special Advertising Section
September 2019

Issues & Answers: Strategic Partnerships

John Lopes, Senior Vice President, Product/Program Expansion, E&S/Specialty at Nationwide, said technology is changing the E&S business dramatically. “We are deploying technology that strategically enhances our partnerships by providing transactional speed, ease and efficiency, while also using data and predictive modeling to improve underwriting, pricing, risk analysis and claims. We believe this is the winning formula for our business,” he said. The following are excerpts from a recent interview.

John Lopes

John Lopes
Senior Vice President, Product/Program Expansion
E&S/Specialty at Nationwide

“Technology isn’t just about speed to market—the more profound benefit is data.”

At a Glance

  • Fortune 100 Company
  • AM Best rated A+ (Superior), FSC XV.
  • 3rd Largest Domestic Specialty (Excess and Surplus) Commercial lines insurer

How are you using artificial intelligence and machine learning in E&S?

We are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to speed up our ability to apply back-end claims learnings into underwriting, risk analysis and pricing. This continuous loop of information and learning is a key function. We are also incorporating third-party data to create product pricing stability. Ultimately, the predictive modeling these elements help generate will lead to stronger results all around.
Another avenue we’re taking is approaching insurtechs as enablers instead of disruptors. We’ve met with several great firms and unique, savvy people who are harnessing data to do remarkable things. We’d like to learn from these firms in any way we can.

What changes have you seen since the beginning of this year?

It’s been a productive year. In January, we announced the acquisition of E-Risk, one of our largest program managers. E-Risk has grown profitably and significantly with us over the past 10 years. It exemplifies the type of business that will continue to experience significant growth and expansion. And we intend to expand E-Risk’s technology platform to sell even more Nationwide products.
In May, we announced the joint funding of a reinsurance company in Bermuda with one of our largest trading partners. This partner has 23 programs and wanted to share in the risk. It’s a venture that is considered unique in the marketplace. And since the announcement, many of our trading partners have reached out to discuss other unique opportunities. It’s an exciting time.

Tell us about your new product expansion position.

My role is to build strategic partnerships, look for acquisitions that make sense, develop new products and explore new growth initiatives. To support this, we’ve put together a product development team that is keenly focused on new ideas and opportunities. Innovation will be key to making this happen and we’ve made clear that it is everyone’s responsibility at Nationwide. Together our aim is to grow profitably, find new ways to connect with our trading partners, and expand business opportunities and products for our members and customers.

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