TechExec: Raja Singh, GM Insurance at Vlocity
May 2, 2020 Greg Brown
In the second instalment of our TechExec interview series, we are interviewing Raja Singh Vlocity’s GM of insurance.
Greg: Welcome Raja. For those that don’t know you, can you briefly introduce Vlocity?
Raja: Vlocity is a provider of industry-specific cloud and mobile software, driving digital transformation for the world’s largest companies across six industry verticals – comms, media and entertainment, energy and utilities, health and government and insurance. Vlocity’s Insurance Cloud provides a Digital Insurance Platform that covers the full policy lifecycle from quote, rate, apply to binding policies, MTA’s, billing and payments, to FNOL & Claims across all lines of business including P&C, Life & Health.
Our core mission is to allow insurers, MGAs and brokers to run their insurance business in the cloud. Digital transformation has never been more important, especially during these unprecedented times.
Vlocity is 100% native on the Salesforce cloud platform for two key reasons:
The first is that key elements such as trust, security & scalability are essential in transitioning core business processes to the cloud. Salesforce has been offering at scale cloud platforms for 20+ years now and has successfully helped transform some of the world’s largest businesses through their cloud platform in a safe, secure way.
The second is that Salesforce, and hence Vlocity, is all centred around the customer and not the policy like many other systems. Additionally, Salesforce gives us access to a wide array of capabilities such as CRM for Insurance covering Sales, Service, Marketing as well as innovations such as Einstein AI & Lightning Web Components.
Our platform allows clients to stand up an entire insurance business in a modern, flexible way.
We’re proud of the external recognition we’ve received. Vlocity ranked 11th in the Financial Times’ inaugural list of the 500 fastest-growing companies. We’re also a three-time Forbes Cloud 100 winner. Salesforce also has many accolades and has been ranked by Forbes as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, sitting in the top three companies on this list every year since Forbes began compiling these rankings in 2011.
In February this year, Salesforce signed a definitive [i.e. non-conditional] agreement to acquire Vlocity, which is super exciting.
: Digital Insurance Platform
HQ: San Francisco, CA
Live clients: 50+
Target clients: Insurers, MGAs, Brokers
Greg: What makes Vlocity different from other vendors?
Raja: I like to compare us to two categories of vendors – the legacy vendors and the upstarts.
We’re different from the legacy vendors as we start from the customer experience, not the policy. We focus on end-to-end cloud architecture and friendly API interfaces. Legacy vendors can struggle with these and they are often an after-thought. We are truly cloud native. We also have the agility of building insurance products that are built on clicks, not code.
We differ from the upstarts including InsurTechs because most of the smaller companies are building their own SaaS infrastructure whereas Vlocity sits on top of Salesforce’s enterprise cloud experience. For small vendors with limited capital that is really risky. What if they don’t survive?
By being built on, and owned by, Salesforce, we can give you the flexibility of true cloud technology with the stability of an established player.
Greg: In February this year Salesforce acquired you for $1.33Bn. What does this deal mean for the business and your insurance clients?
Raja: This is a big deal for us. Salesforce has historically been industry-agnostic. This has treated them well for over 20 years with consistent growth rates of over c. 30% year on year. The Salesforce management have now realised that they need to focus more on industry specialism to continue the growth trajectory. Vlocity is a natural extension of that.
When we talk to our customers, they tell us they love this news, as we integrate, our products will only be more robust, with more streamlined sales and implementation cycles. This will allow us to integrate much more closely with the Salesforce platform as well as get access to the broadest ecosystem of functionality and partnerships.
Greg: How will the platform evolve over the coming years?
Raja: At Vlocity, we focused on building a Digital Insurance Platform. Unlike other platforms that started at the back end [e.g. policy administration], we started from customer experience and worked back towards middle and back office.
We are working hard to meet the needs of our customers. In terms of platform completeness, we’ve come a long way. We are now focused on the smaller features, to round out the solution. By far the biggest of those is the reinsurance module. We are also improving rules, pricing and product scenarios to name but a few.
As we integrate more closely with Salesforce, the user interface we will create a truly seamless experience for policyholders, employees and brokers.
Finally, we’re continuing to prove how flexible the platform is by pushing out more and more new products. We are currently live with a diverse range of products including private-client, small commercial, speciality and health. We’re about to go live with voluntary benefits in the US and with motor and homeowners in Europe. This diversity is testament to the flexibility of our meta-data model.
The Oxbow Partners view
Vlocity has inarguably made impressive progress in the last 6 years, with a four-year growth rate of more than 10,000 percent. This has, at least in part, been driven by the close tie to Salesforce and the credibility this brings to the market. We often see ‘new tech’ players perform very well in selection processes but struggle to give the confidence that they can support enterprise needs and have the financial strength to survive in the long term. This credibility can only be helped by the acquisition by Salesforce.
The Salesforce relationship also has value. Access to the broader Salesforce functionality and partner ecosystem gives a capability boost that other independent players can only dream of.
On the flipside, not all clients will want to buy into the Salesforce ecosystem. For example, where people have chosen other CRM platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics it could be a tough call to also align to Salesforce.
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