Carey Smith: A Visionary Trailblazer with Focused Approach

Carey Smith | Chief Information Officer | Orchid Insurance
Carey Smith | Chief Information Officer | Orchid Insurance

Artificial Intelligence continues to advance through remarkable milestones that can be utilized to change the way we do business. AI can solve several business problems, and technologists leverage it to prepare for the future. Carey Smith is one such technologist and an evangelist of the democratization of technology. He believes that placing the power to make digital product changes into the hands of the customer and internal business teams is the significant change that can be an industry disruptor. As the Chief Information Officer of Orchid Insurance, Carey strives to deliver personalized, intuitive, simple yet powerful digital solutions that allow easy self-service no matter when, where, and how the customer wants to engage.

The Initiation

With nearly 30 years of experience building and delivering technology solutions and a reputation as a progressive IT leader, Carey Smith has a long history of driving transformational change at organizations within the insurance, financial services, and manufacturing industries.

Carey focuses on developing technology strategies and delivering digital solutions that amplify the business, which drives the achievement of the enterprise vision. Instead of being constrained by the traditions of legacy IT, Carey champions the use of emerging technologies and modern delivery practices to transform business models, drive extreme growth and achieve industry best results.

Carey began his technology career developing digital solutions and expanded his roles covering all aspects of technology. As a leader, Carey focuses on unifying technology and business so that IT teams operate as business units with accountability to business outcomes. Carey has delivered transformational change to enterprises large and small, established market incumbents and startups spanning public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

Cultural change is the biggest challenge Carey always faces, regardless of the organization. Changing institutional IT mindsets to think strategically is key to success from a business perspective. Instead of focusing on traditional IT metrics and KPIs to measure outcomes, Carey’s technology organizations focus on value delivered to the customer. Measuring value and holding technology teams accountable to business outcomes helps shape a different perspective and build a stronger, trusting partnership between technology and business.

The First Choice

Orchid Insurance is a unique and rapidly growing Managing General Underwriter specializing in distributing and underwriting residential and commercial property. Orchid is committed to being “The First Choice” for catastrophe property insurance for thousands of independent retail agencies from coast to coast. For more than two decades, Orchid’s products, processes, and people have consistently delivered outstanding coverage solutions in the insurance industry by offering customized solutions with distinguishable ease of use and expertise. Orchid’s proprietary underwriting capabilities and strong carrier relationships have led to a best-in-class historical underwriting track record.

Carey asserts Orchid IT is pivotal in executing the digital business transformation strategy delivering innovative digital products, and improving enterprise operational efficiency. Due to its recent technology modernization, Orchid IT has achieved 32X efficiency improvement, a 14X progress in delivering platform configuration for new revenue-generating business opportunities, and a 9X improvement in time-to-market for delivering new digital capabilities. Allowing more digital capability to be delivered significantly faster with fewer resources has resulted in new digital product delivery measured in days VS. months/years, allowing for a substantial increase in value delivered to the business. Most importantly, these significant improvements were achieved while also reducing the technology operational expense run rate. Orchid IT has achieved the seemingly impossible by delivering significantly more products, quicker to market, and higher quality while reducing expenses.

Carey states that the contribution that technology makes to Orchid is multi-faceted. Technology delivers the digital business transformation, enabling the achievement of the enterprise goal of tripling in size, driving top-line growth, delivering an Excess & Surplus marketplace, and re-imagining the digital customer experience. These objectives are being achieved through the technology organization’s integral engagement in top-line growth initiatives, new ventures, and new emerging technology solutions delivery. Additionally, bottom-line efficiencies are being achieved through significant technology optimization due to a comprehensive technology modernization.

The Technological Impact

Orchid understands its customers’ needs and delivers innovative products that meet those needs. The insurance industry has traditionally been a laggard in embracing technological change. At Orchid, leveraging modern technology is a strategic cornerstone of digital business transformation.

Orchid’s aggressive enterprise goals require technology to build a new digital ecosystem to support the continuance of its strong growth. It fosters a shift in its business model, supporting new consumer products, national programs, market expansion, acquisitions, partnerships, and new corporate ventures. Additionally, Orchid is delivering a new industry-leading digital experience for its agents that strengthens their ability to focus on the needs of customers easily.

Constructing the new digital ecosystem required modernizing a legacy technology organization while delivering the digital needs of a transforming business. Orchid is leveraging modern technology to amplify its enterprise value-driving revenue growth, expanding Orchid’s scale in the marketplace, improving profitability by optimizing how technology products and services are delivered, and most importantly, better serve its customers. Leveraging advanced analytics in risk analysis, AI-based proprietary algorithms for rating, customer experience bots, contactless digital engagements, and intelligent automation are just a few of the methods Orchid will leverage technology advancements.

The Long Run

Carey asserts that the future is incredibly bright for Orchid as it continues its journey as a market leader, creatively solving the needs of its customers. Carey will lead with continued unification of technology and business, leveraging emerging technologies to solve customer and business needs, driving a digital culture across every enterprise facet, and accomplishing strategic objectives.

Exploiting the opportunity to expand the deployment of modern technology, such as the utilization of blockchain and behavioral analytics to drive value to the customer and Orchid stakeholders alike, are exciting opportunities.

With data continuing to be the new currency of business differentiation, using AI to drive informed decision-making at the point of impact is a challenge that keeps Carey motivated.

Valiant Advice

Carey advises budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the technology sector, or leverage technology to address a consumer problem is to think big, be bold, rage against the status quo, and most importantly, be customer-obsessed. He says, “We need bright, courageous entrepreneurs, and you are never too young or too inexperienced to bring creative, tech-based solutions forward. Focus your sights on solving the needs of We need bright, the consumer and your internal business partner.”