A leader motivates, challenges, and develops various skillsets to stretch people’s imagination & creativity and enhance their contributions resulting in positive outcomes.
In recent years, transformational leadership has risen to the surface. Organizations in all industries are seeing a rapid change in today’s digital era. Transformational leaders know how to encourage, inspire, and motivate employees to perform in ways that create meaningful change. From time to time, every industry finds talented leaders that are responsible for transforming the industry.
Their proficient knowledge combined with the emerging technologies gives them an advantageous edge in the given volatile insurance market. Rao Tadepalli is one such leader who brought transformational leadership with a proven history of success in the insurance industry as an experienced executive.
Rao is currently a Strategic consultant to Guidewire on Mergers & Acquisitions and Insurtech investments. Rao is also an Insurtech advisor/mentor to PlugNPlay, a Silicon Valley-based Startup Incubator and Innovation platform. Rao was a judge for several hackathons and works with the selected winners in introducing them to venture funding.
Let’s indulge in the remarkable Journey of an Innovative Leader
After completing graduate studies in Computer Science, Rao Tadepalli started his journey as a Management Trainee with Tata Consultancy Services in India. Early in his career, Rao worked in Australia, Malaysia, and Europe before coming to the United States.
Initially, Rao worked for consulting companies and helped many clients successfully implement systems. Rao’s first project in the US was with an insurance company based out of Santa Barbara, CA. After spending a few years in middle Management with a leading National Insurance carrier, Rao became CIO and Sr. Vice President in 2007.
As an advisor for several Silicon Valley startups, he helps the firms prepare the Go to Market Strategy and product design, along with helping with the pitch deck. Rao is the Founder and CEO of DigiTran Technologies, a company that focuses on helping Insurance companies digitally transform by partnering with Insurtechs and replacing legacy systems that are becoming an impediment to digital transformation and innovation.
Rao is also an advisor for the Design Thinking Executive program at the University of California, Riverside in, USA.
A Benchmark of Excellence
Rao is an award-winning CIO who drives innovation throughout the entire value chain by partnering with Insurtechs and combining the deep insurance industry knowledge with technology expertise to improve efficiencies, cost savings, customer experience, and competitive advantage. He can leverage his vast knowledge of the InsurTech ecosystem to capitalize on digital transformation and value creation opportunities. Rao is a recognized leader in the insurance industry and the Insurtech world, a thought leader, visionary, author, and a sought-after speaker.
Rao is known for aligning IT with business to lockstep with business strategy, reducing Combined Operating Ratio (COR) by implementing technology solutions that focus on increasing premiums, reducing losses, and lowering expenses. He also creates a transformational impact by proactively solving problems with innovation as a priority and a collaborative approach with Insurtech partnerships.
Evolving with the Changing Times
Rao believes that Embedded Insurance is going to play a significant role in disrupting the insurance industry. He expresses, “We already see that companies like Tesla sell auto insurance at the time of purchasing the vehicle and this model is most likely going to expand to other insurance lines like home and some commercial lines.”
Moreover, he adds, “Telematics and other computer vision insurtechs will bring pay-for-what-you-use models into the insurance industry. Insurance for many years was based on subscription-based models, and now with telematics and IoT devices, the new model will be the consumption-based model instead of the subscription-based one.” Rao recommends creative adoption of Insurers striving to become successful leaders should be flexible and be open to ideas from other industries.
Having worked with a company close to Hollywood, Rao has been able to take inspiration from television production procedures in the form of a “runner” role. Rao explained, “A runner is someone who does most of the odd jobs.” In large projects, teams tend to act as silos and neglect things that don’t belong neatly within their responsibilities. To close the gaps, Rao applied the runner concept to keep projects on track.
Indulging in the Words of Wisdom
Rao advises Insurtech founders that a clear message of the value proposition is critical. The carriers are looking at three things, either increase the premium or decrease the losses or lower the expenses. So, making sure there is a clear value proposition and at least the value proposition should focus on one of these three things.
Rao says, “If you can do all three, fantastic, but at least one of them should be there. And then assembling a diversified leadership team is extremely critical. That should be multi-generational, and the team should have challengers and enablers with networking connections to the industries. Also, don’t underestimate the capital needed. Finally, one has to understand emotion and not always the reason that drives most decision-making.”
Rao calls it two ECs; they stand for Economic Connection and Emotional Connection. These are extremely important. “If you don’t have a story, someone else will make up a story, and that could be your competitors,” he concludes.
The Portrayal of True Excellence
- As an advisor, facilitated the acquisition of an insurtech that is focused on identifying the safest route for auto insurance.
- During covid, helped companies introduce digital payment solutions at an accelerated pace.
- Advisor for worker’s compensation return to work startup using IoT.
- Implemented full suite of Guidewire Products, including Policy Center, Claims Center, and Billing Center, on time or ahead of schedule, realizing implementation cost savings of 20% against budget.
- Increased new business submissions by 25% by implementing an AI and ML-driven electronic quoting system that enabled Straight Thru Processing (STP).
- By collaborating with Insurtechs, propelled customer retention levels to 90% by deploying digital portals with Analytics and Omnichannel capabilities that dramatically enhanced user experience.
- Chosen to be part of the US delegation that attended GES2017 led by Ms. Ivanka Trump in India.
- Judge at several Insurtech and Fintech startup competitions at both national and international levels, including the Kids Shark Tank competition.
- Published many articles on Insurance and Insurtech and part of several podcasts on the insurtech subject area.
- As a CIO, Rao won the Celent Model Insurer award for successful transformation.