Sandi Hubert is the Chief Operating Officer for RGAX, RGA’s Global Accelerator and Ventures & Partnerships. Responsible for driving innovation, differentiation, and growth for RGA, her team partners with organizations that have deep expertise, capabilities, and scale, and share our commitment to making financial protection accessible to all. In this Inside RGA Q&A, Sandi discusses the importance of innovation, what the team is currently working on, and more.
We know it’s been said that innovation is imperative in the insurance and reinsurance industries. Why is that?
Innovation is a powerful tool for staying relevant and ahead of the competition in an ever-evolving consumer market. Consumer behaviors and expectations have changed over the years, especially in the digital era. Insurers’ systems are full stack and dated, which makes it challenging and expensive to try new things. At the same time, technology-based startups are entering the industry at a rapid pace and pose a real threat to industry giants.
While innovation alone will not guarantee the sustainability of insurers, it is an imperative in order to remain competitive and provide protection offerings that are relevant to the next generation of consumers. Technology has unearthed opportunities that are not only exciting to consumers but also convenient in terms of adoption and service. Insurers and the industry need to take advantage of the technology to meet the consumers where they are, which is in a digital world.
How does RGA’s Global Accelerator, RGAX, help drive this innovation?
RGA’s Global Accelerator focuses on the future of insurance and the industry. By keeping one step ahead of emerging trends and what they mean for insurance, we can explore new distribution and partnering avenues. This, in turn, can unlock markets and can help make financial protection accessible for more individuals.
Our team gets excited when we can tackle real industry problems – with global growth potential for RGA – through innovation, experimentation, and co-creation. We bring to the market the best, most promising ideas with the strongest impact and scale, especially to the uninsured and underinsured. As Chief Operating Officer, I provide oversight for our partner engagements and innovation pipeline, as well as ensure we are executing to our strengths by leveraging our unique innovation process methodology.
How is RGA’s Global Accelerator positioned to make an impact? What are some things you can share about what the team is working on?
RGA’s Global Accelerator is always looking around the corner at what we call “Horizon 2” and “Horizon 3” opportunities. These are innovative ideas and concepts that will impact the industry in three to five years, or more, into the future. This means bringing new protection propositions forward that are meaningful to life insurance consumers in ways that they can afford and still financially protect themselves and their families.
We focus on three primary areas:
- Embedded product offerings and exploring ways to provide them to consumers through unique digital methods with assistance from partners and brands.
- Wellbeing and healthy aging to help individuals live healthier lives.
- Environmental, social, and governance (ESG); but I would argue that all our innovation initiatives are ESG-centric with societal implications at the forefront of our efforts.
By the very nature of our purpose – to make financial protection accessible to all – we innovate to develop offerings and distribution methods to reach consumers who typically may not be included or fall out of the underwriting process due to health concerns. Our focus on wellbeing and creating engagement solutions is purposeful and helps individuals live healthier lives.
You have a personal story that has helped shape the Global Accelerator’s eldercare and caregiver initiatives. Can you share that story?
I have firsthand experience being an informal caregiver to my parents. My father contracted COVID-19 in 2021 and became very ill. At the time, he was the primary caregiver for my mother who does not get around well and has her own health challenges. This was a very stressful time for me and my family. Because we soon became responsible for helping our parents, my brother and I began looking for caregiver options. We were interested in options that would help them live healthier and longer in their own home, as well as options to hire the help and assistance they needed.
The Global Accelerator is actively exploring novel solutions to provide informal caregivers and seniors easy access to options that exist today and new options specific to long-term care and financially preparing for it. I know, from my own experience, how impactful and important this type of a solution might be for caregivers everywhere – as well as for the industry.
What do you see as the biggest challenge ahead as RGA continues to bring innovation into the marketplace?
The biggest challenge I see in the industry is complex. We need to ensure relevant financial protection through wellbeing and offerings for the next generation consumers. However, those consumers are omnipresent and everything is available to them digitally. Consumers are looking for more personalized offerings, and convenience as they journey through life’s moments. We are tasked with creating unique solutions that support our carrier clients in strengthening their engagement and “stickiness” with customers. And these solutions require unique distribution pathways that can reach new customers and help them and their families to be prepared for times of need. I’m motivated by these challenges and am confident that RGA and RGAX are well positioned to be that innovative, creative partner of choice today and in the future.