If you are a broker in the Silicon Valley area, chances are your agency is keenly aware of the tech trends and innovation happening in the insurance industry... and everything else. Your clients are also "techier" than most and likely demands more from your agency, to use and be expert in the latest benefits technology.
But it's just as challenging for local brokers to keep tabs on the changes and almost daily shifts in our industry and the litany of new startups aimed to help brokers evolve and adapt to the new InsurTech changes, mostly developed right here in the Silicon Valley. While the rents and cost of living are exceptionally high, we are fortunate to work and live in this region during this historic time in our industry. The greatest talents and innovation in health and insurance modernization are right here and will define the future of health insurance and help solve some of the biggest challenges not yet addressed by the ACA. It's no surprise the Silicon Valley/SF Bay Area receives more than half of the country's VC funding, and especially true for health and insurance related investments.
The Silicon Valley Association of Health Underwriters is fortunate to have such close access and proximity to top carriers, industry thought leaders, futurists and the entrepreneurs leading this charge. SVAHU has always been lead by bold industry leaders who always seem to be ahead of the rest of the state and country when it comes to innovation. I find that is especially true when I travel to other states and learn what brokers think about technology and their readiness to adapt and change. In many ways, we have an advantage and have little concern about disruption and being behind the tech curve.
SVAHU was bold to have Zenefits CEO, Parker Conrad speak at our member meeting in April 2015, At the time, it was a controversial decision as many SVAHU members were still outraged by Conrad's offensive comments about traditional brokers and his promise to put us out of business. I credit Michael Traynor, then SVAHU President, for his open mind and seeing the bigger picture, that brokers could learn much about the fastest growing startup and judge for themselves if they should be concerned. The interview was electric as it was Conrad's first time addressing a room full of "traditional agents" and the tension was thick as he answered my questions and very transparently shared details of his business model and why he will not partner with agents.
This event inspired SVAHU to continue the speaker series and invite more innovative, market-changing thought-leaders to speak to our members. Much has changed in a year. David Sacks, the current CEO of Zenefits shared updates and insight about the "new Zenefits" and the status of their regulatory complaints, scandals and what's next for the still-swinging giant. I am proud to play the moderator role again and consider our chapter very fortunate to score another first, as this is also David Sacks' first speaking event with a large audience of brokers - his competitors. Kudos to John Bobincheck, our current SVAHU President, and the new SVAHU board for continuing to support this speaker series and invite interesting and provocative speakers.
Silicon Valley/Bay Area innovation is changing the way we do everything - from Uber disrupting the transportation industry to the convergence of benefits, payroll and HCM technology. Health 2.0, Rock Health, Launchpad Digital Health, AXA Labs, Plug and Play's new Insurance Platform, Insurance Disrupted and other events, startup accelerators and programs all reside here. Companies like EaseCentral, Flock, Gusto, and I will add my own company, Limelight Health are grateful to be here and benefit from the wealth of local talent and creativity the Silicon Valley produces and attracts. More industry disrupting companies will be hatched in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area over the next decade, leveraging technologies via the Internet of Things (IoT) movement or, in true Silicon Valley style, creating an entirely new movement altogether. These are truly exciting times for industry veterans and newcomers alike, as most believe technology can help us achieve a better consumer experience and help tackle healthcare's biggest challenges.
Please join us and support the speaker series and let us know what topics interest you most.