A Brief Interview with Scott Steele, Presenter on Achieving Calm Amidst the Chaos

This is the second in a series of brief interviews with speakers, presenters, moderators or panelists at the Connected Insurance 2019 Event, which is being held November 20-21 in Chicago, IL. You can register for the event here. If you use the offer code, INSNERDS100, you will get $100 off your registration!

 What is your name and what do you do?

Scott Steele, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Church Mutual Insurance Company, Merrill, Wisconsin


What is your role at the 2019 Connected Insurance Conference?

 If you’re presenting, what can attendees expect to learn from your presentation?

Achieving calm amidst the chaos. 

While technologies, standards and user expectations evolve rapidly within a changing landscape, one thing remains constant – people. Each of us is moving toward a digital transformation at differing paces, with varying deadlines, pressures and challenges. Insurance is no different than other businesses. We, too, are being challenged to up our game from a technology perspective.

This transformation can be chaotic, often working in silo’s and focused solely on the technology solution. We tend to overlook the significant role emotions play in key stakeholder decision-making. No matter what stage we are in, we must never lose sight of the fact we are creating solutions with and for people. Join Scott as he shares his journey through the chaos of building emotional buy-in and bringing calm to the digital transformation process.


What do you see as the biggest challenges/opportunities for the Insurance Ecosystem in the next 5 years?

  1. Identifying partner opportunities that are relevant to our customers – where do they fall within the value chain – it is too easy to chase shiny objects that, in the end, have no relevance to our customers and/or business and money and time are wasted
  2. Identifying opportunities that are “innovative” to specialized niche’s, although they may already be available in other markets. Not all “new” ideas are necessarily “new”. There are technologies being used by other markets and other industries that have applications to our customers and verticals – it’s just that no one ever noticed it or did anything about it.
  3. Monetizing the opportunities – how do we invest in a way that makes everyone money – and satisfies our customers.
  4. Transforming the person-to-person distribution channel relationship to a more holistic and digital relationship. Our markets are still very people relationship oriented. It will take time to build the confidence and trust in other services and/or products when they don’t have a person sitting down with them.
  5. Identifying the right data to be collecting, analysing and modelling. There is so much data available. And some data is in our legacy systems. What data do we go back and extract? What do we forget about? What data should be collecting moving forward? Where do we get that data? A lot of questions, especially when trying to provide a business case for partnering with another technology, product or service.


What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about building an insurance career?

Understand the people – customers, prospects, coworkers, associates, stakeholders, etc. – and their motivations and needs. It’s more about making the connection and building confidence than the nuts and bolts of selling policies. Policies should be the result of our understanding.


Did you choose Insurance or fall in to it? And, why have you stayed in the ecosystem?

I fell into it. I ran my own Marketing firm for 29 years and my current employer was a client. They made it an interesting and challenging career move – well worth it.

I’ve stayed because it is great to be part of building something special. Our company was behind in so many ways and, like a waking giant, we are now aggressively looking to not only catch up but also surpass our competitors. I’m involved in initiatives that have never been done here before – it isn’t “because we always did it that way”, it is “what are we trying to achieve and how can we do it?”


Besides your own session, what are you most excited about at Connected Insurance 2019?

I’ve never attended so I am just looking forward to taking it all in and deciding the value.




About Carly Burnham

Carly Burnham began her insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. She got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how she fell in love with the industry. She saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. When Carly moved to Des Moines in 2010, she decided to commit to the industry, and she completed her CPCU in one year finishing it in 2012 and attending commencement in New Orleans. She completed her MBA at Iowa State University in 2014. During this time, she and Tony founded a Gen Y Associate Resource Group at Nationwide in Des Moines. After they had both left Nationwide, Tony recruited Carly to co-author and manage InsNerds.com. She has the difficult task of keeping his constant flow of crazy ideas focused and helping to flesh them out into useful articles. Carly enjoys sharing knowledge and ideas about the future of the industry and finds the website a good outlet for this passion. Carly is involved in the the CPCU Society Underwriting Interest Group. She also writes "Next Wave" a monthly column in the "Perspectives" section of Best's Review.

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