Ron Arnold

Ron Arnold

Founder of 11eight

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Who are you and what do you do?

After nearly 25 years in Insurance Exec roles, I recently started 11eight. 11eight is a specialist consultancy service with deep commercial and practical experience in Strategy, Innovation & Insurance.

I like to think of myself a bit of maverick – bringing a different perspective on what’s important and how to go after it! I am particularly passionate about helping corporates to get better at innovation and harness the dynamism, capabilities and risk appetite of early stage businesses.

1. What was the journey that brought you to your current role?

I have been privileged to have worked with some great organisations (IAG, AAMI, Productivity Commission, Queensland Treasury), have shared Exec responsibility for great market leading Brands (NRMA, AAMI, JCI, SGIO, SGIC, & Skilled Drivers) and worked with great people.

My Exec roles have spanned multi-billion dollar operational P&Ls, through to specialist roles from Marketing, Strategy, Digital, Corporate Affairs, IT, Legal through to Risk and Compliance, and HR.

Along the way I have been involved on multiple Boards (eg IAG Life, Stone & Chalk, GIVIT, Pocketbook), held senior roles in the State and Federal Governments and been involved in some start-ups (Stationary Supermarket, Fully Stoked, perfectpets.com.au) After my ten plus years in Govt, and nearly 25 years in insurance, I decided in late 2019, it was time to move onto my next chapter. That’s when 11eight was started.

2. How do you get things done?

Work with people smarter than me and good at all the stuff I am no good at!

After that… be clear and disciplined about what you are trying to do and apply overwhelming force!

3. Who are your role models and why?

Wow. Hard to answer, I have worked so many great people and they have all helped me enormously. I would hate to pick one. While they were all different, they all gave me space and the confidence to have a go. And they all encouraged me to back my judgement and instincts!

4. What’s the one secret about your field or industry you wish everyone knew?

Insurers need to think more like retailers selling a service to consumers, not technicians underwriting and pricing risks!

5. What are your predictions for the industry for the next few years?

My focus is very much on the 4-10 year horizon, where you need to be looking to see the real disruptive threats and opportunities. Here are some “predictions”, in no particular order:

Affordability and Accessibility Concerns Wont Go Away
Growing issues, that will invite ongoing Government attention, particularly as insurers get ‘smarter and smarter’ with their pricing/underwriting.

Data as a Disruptive Catalyst
New and emerging sources of data will provide insights well beyond those currently held by insurers. Those insurers that have laid the foundations for access and use of real time, contextual data from multiple first and third party sources will be well positioned.

The Customer Data Right is Unstoppable
Despite their protestations, insurers will be required to provide portability of the data they hold about customers.

Advanced Analytics and AI Risky
Both will grow in importance but insurers will need to pay attention to ethical considerations and avoid non-transparent and “black-box” solutions.

Competitive Advantage is Eroding
Early-stage businesses, leveraging data and technology, will create superior propositions that unpack the insurance value chain. Burdened by legacy systems and thinking, traditional players will struggle to respond.

Risk and Compliance Overkill
The aftermath of the Royal Commission, and several well publicised legal cases in financial services, have seen massive investment in Risk and Compliance efforts. Poorly executed, this will stymy innovation and play into the hands of Challengers and early-stage businesses.

Distribution will Become a Battleground
Competition from non-traditional sources will emerge. They will have good “customer reach”, and will leverage data and digital interfaces to streamline and simplify the insurance process – making it much easier than it is today.

Competitive Advantage Through Early-Stage Businesses
Traditional players cannot match the agility, dynamism and risk appetite of early-stage businesses. Those businesses that successfully work with early-stage businesses and harness their capabilities will be better positioned than those that try to do all innovation in-house!

Follow Ron on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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