A daring man might say, “what is life without a little bit of a risk?” A cautious man would call the attitude foolhardy and tempting fate. Neither of them would be right. The truth is that risks are always present in whatever you do and whichever venture you choose. Life is never without risk; you can only reduce it or mitigate it. The best way to do that would be to get a better understanding of the problem and the risks involved.
A big proponent of this methodology – of understanding in depth to reduce or mitigate risk – is Andrew Zarkowsky. A two-decade veteran of the insurance industry, Andrew is the Technology Industry Practice Lead at The Hartford.
He is an expert in what it takes to underwrite technology companies and possesses vast know-how of the role insurance plays in helping technology companies grow. His focus is on underwriting execution inclusive of growth, profit, and product innovation for the technology industry.
The Hartford is a more than two-century-old insurance organization that is widely recognized for its customer service excellence, sustainability practices, trust, and integrity. Andrew shares the strategies to mitigate risks so customers of The Hartford can achieve more.
From Underwriter to Leader
Andrew was a business and finance major at Boston University. Upon graduation, he went to work in property and casualty insurance. He worked as an underwriter within the technology industry for three years at a different company before moving to The Hartford.
Andrew’s journey at The Hartford began as a property casualty underwriter in the technology practice. It’s evolved to his current role where he’s managing the entire technology industry practice for the company.
His career journey with The Hartford has taken him from Boston to Chicago and from underwriter to industry leader. During this time, Andrew also completed his MBA degree at DePaul University.
Andrew’s role is to stay ahead of the technology industry, which is a challenge because it’s a dynamic industry that changes quickly.
“I try to ensure that what we have is a deep understanding of what is a very broad industry that is converging with a lot of other industries,” says Andrew. “As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve also had to grow my strategic horizon, making sure that I’m staying ahead of what’s coming in the future.”
Unlocking Growth with In-depth Knowledge
Compared to the constantly evolving technology industry, the insurance industry can be viewed as steadier and not prone to experiencing much change.
As a result, the intermingling of contrasting industries has pressed the insurance industry to keep up. “Our focus is to keep our knowledge and expertise up to date and even ahead of the technology industry,” says Andrew. “We make sure that we have the appropriate coverages that our clients are going to need and anticipate what their needs are going to be over the next three to five years.”
To that end, the company spends a lot of time understanding the needs of the industry. What is the need today, and what will be the need down the line in the future? “That’s the real crux to the whole goal,” adds Andrew. They study the industry and the economy overall, which is why The Hartford focuses on industry specialization. While Andrew leads the technology industry practice, the company also specializes in life sciences, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and a host of other industry verticals.
This methodology allows the insurance organization to identify new growth opportunities in the market. “Once you understand the industry and you understand the need and the problem, then you can start lining up the risks,” explains Andrew. “We can then figure out ways to work closely with our trading partners, brokers, and agents so we can help mitigate, eliminate or transfer those risks.”
Using AI to Reduce Loss
The objective is always to understand and predict loss, but while knowing a loss is coming is great, how do you prevent it, or how do you mitigate it when it does happen?
The change Andrew would like to see in the industry would be a pivot towards risk mitigation or risk elimination. He wants to help clients understand risk so they can mitigate it themselves.
While insurance companies would always be present for the risk transfer, Andrew thinks that with advancements in technology and data, it’s possible to help clients reduce and mitigate risk. Ultimately, he’d hope for that to lead to less loss in the overall economy.
“We want to see a world where there are fewer losses and fewer injuries,” says Andrew. “We’re trying to get to a point where we’re able to help mitigate and eliminate the risk that’s going to lead to fewer losses and greater achievement because that’s what ultimately is going to help our economy and the world overall.”
The Spectrum of a Risky Future
Andrew knows they still have a long way to go. When he thinks about the future economy, he wonders, what will be the risks? How to accept those risks? How to reduce or mitigate them? For this, he studies the industries in depth and tries to get ahead of the trends. The question is not only addressing the risks of today but really the risks of tomorrow through risk transfer as well as risk mitigation.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time getting deeper and deeper into specializations and thinking about risk on a spectrum basis,” explains Andrew. “The reality is that most risk comes on a spectrum that’s between low and high and everywhere in the middle. We also need to think more about how we can be ready to handle the lower risk in a faster, easier fashion while being more open to handling the tougher risks for our clients.”
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries, including the underwriting company Hartford Fire insurance Company, under the brand name, The Hartford®, and is headquartered in Hartford, CT. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice at. www.thehartford.com