Scott Knowles – CEO of Modgic


From super-producer to Insurtech CEO: ‘Here’s the one thing you need to do in the real world of insurance’

Scott Knowles was worried. His products were the same as his top agency competitors. Prices were the same. He couldn’t bring anything to the client that made him the obvious agent. 

Then, he cracked the code. He blew his competitors away. They tried to make him go away. They tried to hire him. He decided to do something different. 

And, that was the birth of Modgic, a leading insurtech solution in the Workers’ Comp arena. Scott lays it all out in this fast-paced conversation: 

  • How to make price progressively irrelevant to your prospects – by delivering a VALUE that means more to them than te dollars they may save from someone else. 
  • How to have a permanent and positive impact on your commercial lines clients – so they have loyalty that never goes away. 
  • A simple method to help you determine which technologies are right for your agency – and which ones to ignore. 

Whether your agency is personal or commercial lines (or both) this is the conversation that will give you a glimpse into winning in the Modern Age of Insurance. Listen today and get ideas you’ll put into practice tomorrow!

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where our hosts discuss the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent & broker with the industry’s leading figures.

Transcript

Mike: Scott Knowles, so delighted to have you. We’ve been fighting like a couple of salmon upstream to finally make this happen. Here we are. How are you today?

Scott Knowles: I’m doing great, Mike. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Mike: You bet. You and I now have gotten to know each other a little bit, perhaps more than some of the audience. If you take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us ultimately, how did you get into this position as founder and CEO of InsureTec?

Scott: Yes, sure, absolutely. I was a producer for 22 years, I started my career starting from working with some of the branded companies like John Deere insurance and Sensory insurance. Worked in their industry for about 8, 10 years. Then transitioned myself from that world of direct rider over to the broker world. Part of the transition is why I’m here where I am. Because I moved from someplace where I had something that was specific, nobody else had access to a world where everybody had access to exactly the same thing.

Mike: Then did you discover that when you saw prospects that you didn’t feel like you had something unique or distinctive to offer?

Scott: Exactly, yes. One of the biggest challenges was I always had something that was unique and different. Nobody could sell what I had. Talking to an opportunity gave me an easy in the front door because nobody else had what I was selling then. In this case, when I moved to both world everybody’s selling the exact same thing. I was challenged with how do I possibly differentiate myself from everybody else so that this customer wants to potentially talk to me? Which led me up to going to my broker and asking saying, “Hey, what do we have to offer me? What is it that’s going to make me unique and different?”

Mike: His answer was?

Scott: [chuckles] We have great claim service or name of our company is well known in the industry and so forth so on. Obviously, that doesn’t take me very long.

Mike: Okay, so the usual bag of platitudes that the independent agency system is so proud of. Like-

Scott: Exactly.

Mike: -Like we’ve been a business since 1937, so take that one with you, or we take really good care of our customers one that are here a lot. Because, gosh, that’s a brand new idea. Or you we’ve got a terrific tagline, like trust, integrity service, and nobody else, that’ll make you stand out. Okay.

Scott: Exactly.

Mike: You left there with a bag of platitudes, and so what did you do about that?

Scott: I was lucky enough when I was trained at John Deere Century. We were really focused on working with the customer and providing them with information that was valuable to them to make an educated decision. I tried to lean back on my training that I received back there and figured out that I needed to create something to differentiate myself that really revolved around educating clients to make the right decision. From that standpoint, I also was looking at something that I’d really not gotten into before, which was worker’s compensation.

I chose work comp simply because it’s easy, it’s a great end, everybody has frustrations with it. Also primarily because it’s the one product that’s sold by insurance agents and brokers, where you can actually have enough facts on an experienced modern their premium by implementing some different services. That was my light bulb that went up and said, “I know what I can do. I can show them how we can potentially help them to save money primarily by just education.” That’s how it all really started.

Mike: All right. You raised a couple of things in my mind and the first thing I’m going to do is circle back to something you said a couple of minutes ago, John Deere. Now, clearly when you think John Deere, you’re thinking green, you think a niche, you think tractors, so it’s a really strong brand. It’s also, and you said that they really emphasized educating the customers. I want to drill down on this one a little bit because, among content marketers, of which I am, John Deere is often recognized as one of the shining stars of content marketing. Because back, I think it was in the 1880s or 1890s, they started a content marketing campaign, which I think it runs every single month. Which has not stopped since then. Okay, so this is 2019.

We have 100 and 20, 30 years of content marketing, and their initial approach was to deliver a magazine. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s not John Deere. It’s clearly it’s from John Deere, and I think it’s free service so it’s distributed to their customers, and maybe to their prospects or to their mailing list. There are issues of that magazine where it never talks about buying tractors, it just delivers valuable content.

Hence, it creates a really strong reputation and feeling of trust, believability, credibility. Certainly, they unleash that law of reciprocity because they give so much value first. When you say that it was part of the culture to really focus on educating the customers at John Deere, do you think there’s a connection between the two or am I maybe just connecting dots there?

Scott: Absolutely. Definitely. You have to understand that working for John Deere, our job, we were in a niche market. We insured John Deere dealers their primary customer is not the person who’s out mowing the lawn or, the landscaper. It’s really the dealer. They have to not only treat their dealers right, but at the same time, they want to make sure, because we were an insurance company. They wanted to make sure that the products that we were selling were really superior to protect their dealers. Because that was their bread and butter, to get these dealers to sell tractors. One went under they needed to get them back up and running.

The product itself was really derived in the mentality around being a far superior product than anything else out there. That pushed us not only to those equipment dealers, that were John Deere dealers, that we were able to carry that into the other dealers in the market including car dealers. That’s where really the mentality came from. Then I was also extremely lucky to have a fantastic boss, who really taught us about the fact of education. Making sure that we were going to teach them that there is a reason to do business with us without selling them. That was really the key is, you don’t have to sell anybody. Nobody wants to be sold, but everybody wants to be sold. It’s a weird situation.

Mike: At least everybody wants to buy stuff. Nobody wants to be sold stuff.

Scott: Exactly.

Mike: Okay, and clearly, people want to feel like they made a smart decision. As I mentioned that there were a couple of things that you said that caught my attention. One was that cultural reference to John Deere and their focus on education and delivering valuable content. The other one is, it’s kind of about workers comp in particular. Yes, it’s a product over which if you specialize, if you have expertise, and actually pay attention and work with your client, you can have an impact over time. Ultimately, you can help them bring down their premiums by helping them reduce claims. Right?

Scott: Yes, exactly.

Mike: Cleaning up their mud. Now, I’m curious about this. Did you discover that when you were in the marketplace, on one hand it would seem like, “Gosh, everybody would be doing that anyway.” Did you discover that they weren’t and that that gave you distinction?

Scott: Absolutely. The advantage I had was coming from that mentality of what I was changed to the rest of the industry, which was really price-focused. It wasn’t about offering services at that time. It wasn’t about trying to help the client. It was about what are you paying? Where do I need to be? How can I get your business and the mentality of any business owner even to work to the advantage of what I was selling, it’s all financial. What do they not like? They do not like losing profit. They don’t want to spend money on workers compensation period. When they’re shopping for WorkComp, in their mind they’re thinking, “My savings is coming by shopping this my workers comp out to see which agents going to come up with the lowest bid.

By having that same mentality, I flipped it around and said, “Okay, well, if money is really the issue here, why don’t we talk about not what you’re paying now, but what you could be paying in the future? Why doing business with me may not be an immediate saving right now, but it will be in the long run because I’m going to be the one who is the trusted advisor, who’s going to be able to analyze your operations, show you that there’s been money that’s been overspent and point you in the right direction to the potential of savings. By having that whole concept, that’s where the products was really created and then Modgic came to life. At that point it was Modgic but it is now and that’s the reason why we developed it.

Mike: At that point in time, were you delivering a very proprietary, maybe closely held technology, probably a fairly simple technology that supported you in your relationship or in your service with your customer that then later evolved into Modgic?

Scott: Yes.

Mike: I’m curious about the creative process because I’ve seen that a number of times in InsureTechs and other technology companies where a full-blown concept, a full-blown idea or solution arises out of something that’s homegrown. What was it that you had that was homegrown that gave you distinction in the marketplace?

Scott: Once I came up with this whole idea behind it, it was how do I deliver this to the client in a way that’s going to entice them. I built the product initially in Excel. It was just a basic form. I put information in it and spin out my reports. That’s really how it started. Then, it began to get more complex because I wanted to turn that into more detailed information that created more value to them to where they can make even better decisions and I could provide them with more insight into what’s going on. That’s essentially how it started. It really started with an Excel spreadsheet that generated reports for me that I would present.

Mike: What was the content of those reports and why were they of particular interest to your opportunities or to your customers?

Scott: What I found was in this process of the other competitors, I was competing against fully just nothing but price, I decided that I wanted to show them that I had knowledge of their operation. It wasn’t just about, I have your documentation here, I’m going to send this off as a submission, but I really understood what it was that they were doing. The content dealt not just with an experienced model. It really dealt with their whole worker’s compensation history, looking back in the future so that we can generate a path to what the future looks like. The pieces that I put together was really not necessarily on a person around the experience model, but really trying to show them I had the knowledge. I knew everything. When they could ask the question, I can answer it. That’s what was really the initial key to our system.

Mike: How long after you hit the independent agency system, was it before you had that as a tool to help you?

Scott: It took me probably about two years before I really had something that I was presenting and actually made sense. It was probably is I used that for about three years after that, where I finally was realizing that I had something that was really spectacular and unbeknownst to me, my competitors who I was competing against and we’re losing so much business, they began to knock on my door.

Mike: They noticed it too. What I’m curious about is with that one tool, and again, that was kind of a pre-release early XL spreadsheet. Not quite qualifying as an InsureTech yet, but it was helping you. How much difference did it make to the extent that you at least have some data on it or anecdotal on it? What was the [unintelligible 00:14:35]

Scott: [unintelligible 00:14:39] was most agents quote business, I changed. I stopped quoting, I started writing. What I mean by that is I wouldn’t quote it’s just anybody. It all became– I would walk in, presents what I was going to do with them and I would pick up a BOR and that’s how I did business. I was no longer going to be the one who was sitting there throwing numbers at a wall. It wasn’t about that anymore. The transition for myself as a producer to go from really a salesperson to the trusted advisor was the real transition that took place because of the software.

Mike: What happened to your closing ratio?

Scott: It was ridiculous. As the closing ratio really didn’t become a closing ratio. It was just the pickup ratio. I would pickup the BOR. The ratios went from one out of every three to pretty much everything I’m always walking into. It was truly astonishing. Then, the neat thing that happened was because I was doing this so much that these businesses were talking in their 20, 20 circles. It became a referral windfall because all I was getting was phone calls,” Hey, I heard you helped out so-and-so. Can you come talk to me? I’m having problems with my agent.”

Mike: Out of curiosity, that makes me think that perhaps you were operating in a niche where people were talking to each other.

Scott: Yes, absolutely. I had stuck in what my time is was the only car dealers. I was really still in that mode of working with car dealers. There are a whole lot of car dealers. I was in California and word spreads pretty quick throughout California. There are a whole lot of agents who really worked specifically with car dealers. I definitely still was in a niche, but it worked with anybody. I was insuring equipment dealers. Not equipment dealers, sorry. I was doing just about anything and possibly imagine machinery companies. I had some very large janitorial operations that I was working with. The system really worked with anybody. I was getting referrals from all sorts of different directions. That was really nice.

Mike: Were you able to pick up a BOR and the customer was now actually paying more for their comp this year, but with the promise that they’d have longterm savings. Did that happen?

Scott: Potentially, there were situations like that. In those cases when you’re picking up the BOR, a couple things happen. First off, obviously it gives you access to everything, but Eliminating all competition. The value that you’re really selling to them is, look, we are still going to do everything we can and market this to every single one of the carriers that we can to get the lowest possible price. The advantage and the difference was the information I was able to give to an underwriter with my reports, allowed me to get additional credits. They are most likely paying less with me then they would have with the current term.

Mike: Even the current term. Got it. Obviously, when you presented the quote and quote the report, you were able to deliver it with credibility. In other words, they believed that you were telling the truth about their future.

Scott: It’s actual. There was no fluff about it. What we were presenting were just straightforward facts. The mod calculations were factual. If this happens, this is what’s going to happen.

Mike: You could demonstrate to them that if we do this and I’m using we, I think legitimately because you’re working with them. If we do this, then this is what’s going to happen.

Scott: This is what could potentially happen. Absolutely. I think the misnomer when you think about educating your clients, and I think a lot of agents really have a hard problem or a hard time with this says, I don’t want to tell them all of this stuff because I’m putting myself out there that I’m going to make all these changes. Then, what happens if I can’t get them saved? The problem is they’re thinking at it from the wrong perspective. The right perspective is I need to educate you, Mr. business owner about what the problems are. If you don’t know that there is a problem, you will never implement the solution. The reality is, the only way you’re going to save money is if you change. Not me. I can point you in the right direction, provide the tools, show you what’s going on, but then you really have to take the incentive of the financial savings and really take those next steps.

Mike: What were the problems and what were the tools and solutions then that you tried to help them execute?

Scott: Absolutely. One of the biggest problems is our reserves. We have a claim, we have a large reserve, nobody’s doing anything with the claim trying to help manage it, get it close to reduce the reserves. Sometimes it’s as simple as picking up a phone and calling a claims adjuster and saying, “Hey, why is it still open? Can we close this before the units that finally takes place?” From an agent’s perspective, that’s something that they can do. From a business owners perspective, it comes down to when you analyze that operation, you can pinpoint specifically where those problems are.

We have the ability to put information into our system about the nature of the cause the body part, so forth, so on. So then, once you put all this information together, it paints the picture of “Wait a second, we have a problem right here.” We don’t have a problem everywhere. We were thinking that we need to spend all this money across the board to the entire operation, but we really only need to spend our money to fix this problem in this one area.

It could be anything as simple as looking at the cost of paying for these claims over time with an increased premium’s from an increased mod, versus what it would cost to take some of that money and maybe implement in some equipment that would reduce the possibility of that potential loss from taking place. The solutions could be anything, it could be anything from providing safety measures, giving them safety, advice, hiring a safety manager, but it all starts with the knowledge. You can’t take action unless you have the knowledge on where to implement the action. I mean, you can, but you’re going to waste a lot of money.

Mike: Got it.

Scott: You have to really do the analysis in order to make those decisions.

Mike: All right. Now, historically, you were a now successful independent agency broker and with a pretty much a killer closing ratio. What was it that then made you think, Oh gosh, I want to go from being an insurance broker to being the founder and CEO of an InsureTech? I’m saying that because I’m asking and I think it’s important for the listening audience to kind of get a handle on some of the elements of risk-taking because the world you’re moving into is or have moved into to some extent it’s high-risk technologies, as we know, is high risk and you were in a relatively stable reliable position. What is it that gets into the mind or the brain of a successful broker to say, “Hey, I’m going to go be a tech innovator and entrepreneur?

Scott: All right. It’s funny how everything always happens, and for me, what really opened my eyes to the fact that I had something was, like I said before when I was getting those phone calls from the other brokers they wanted to hire me. They wanted my software

Mike: All right, so they were willing to hire you to get your technologies is that part of it?

Scott: Yes, exactly. The doorbell was ringing constantly [crosstalk]

Mike: That’s a pretty good sign. All right.

Scott: Yes, exactly. As that happened I realized okay, well, maybe I should do something about this. The funny thing is, it just happened to be that one night I was invited to a dinner with a friend of mine. We had talked and quite a while ago, “Okay, come on out, have dinner with me.” And said, “Okay, sure.” We were sitting around chit-chatting and he had said, I’d asked him so what are you doing these days? He’s like, “I’m doing some coding and technology, blah, blah, blah.” I’m like “Really?” I said, ” I have this thing, and I just don’t know how to turn it into something, would you be interested in partnering?” He goes, “Yes, sure, let’s do it.” That’s how it all started. It started over drinks and dinner one night where… [cross-talk]

Mike: A couple of guys in a garage in Palo Alto, right?

Scott: Exactly. That’s really where it started. Actually what he did was he heard my Excel spreadsheet into a saleable product. He basically just helped write the code so that I could then take that Excel spreadsheet and sell it to people and then I would then send updates and go through email of the new data that was needed to calculate the experience mods every single year.

That was how the product really started. We decided to transition year after that, from an Excel format into a web-based product, realizing that we wanted to get this in everybody’s hands easily not have to send out these constant updates and so forth, so on. We were in California at that time. It was still kind of a hobby on the side, to be honest with you. It was just whatever, “Hey, if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I’m still doing this over here.” It was an interesting transition… [cross-talk]

Mike: I think every business I’ve started, started as a hobby, and then turned into a project, and then turned into the business that took over whatever I was doing previously. That’s really it’s not unusual. In a moment, I’m going to ask you how your solution solves problems and some specifics on what it does, but before we do that, I wanted to jump the big picture again. You’ve been in the industry for how long?

Scott: In the insurance industry 20 years and in technology industry, we developed our first rendition, eight years ago. So long enough to understand what’s going on.

Mike: You’ve got two perspectives there, which are, I think, are incredibly valuable and very interesting. What do you see happening? Obviously, this is not the industry it was when you join 22 years ago?

Scott: No. Certainly not.

Mike: What do you see happening now? Why is the industry different? How was the industry different?

Scott: Well, eight years ago, the industry was a lot older. The insurance industry as a whole has always been an older industry and trying to get younger people in to the industry it’s been a difficult challenge because it wasn’t really looked at as a career choice. I think what we’re seeing now and what we have seen over the last eight years of 22 years for sure, is we’ve seen that transition and we’re beginning to see more younger people come in, and really begin to take over a lot of the business that’s out there. The real issue is that the younger community already has a technology background. They have the need for it. They’re craving that. They’re touching it day in day out with their iPhones. Were there’s always been… [cross-talk]

Mike: If they were millennials, they were kind of born with it. I mean, they’re called digital natives. They’re comfort with contemporary technology it’s learned starting it at age three, or whenever, other people, like previous generation picked up a remote control these people were picking up, kind of contemporary technology, so that is different. That’s an interesting observation. Now, I don’t know whether or not the– I don’t think the age, the average age of the industry has gone down.

I think it’s still sneaking up, but the observation that I share with you is that there are a lot of millennials Gen Xers who are quite innovative on two fronts. One, running insurance agencies that are by my definition, fast growth and are scaling or beginning to scale, and they tend to be using technology to support them. Then the other area, it’s in the technology itself or what we would call in short tech, where they’re not focusing on in running an agency or working in an agency or functioning as a broker? They’re functioning as a vendor, technology vendor innovator, creator. We are saying I think the transformation of the industry from the inside out from that generation in both of those groups.

Scott: Absolutely.

Mike: Okay. Yes. All right. My question is what do you see is different at clearly I think the impact of millennia– Let me see if we’re on the same page on this. Number one, the impact of millennials is changing the industry. Two, the impact of millennials as consumers is changing everything because to some extent, millennials and the values of millennials, what they want it’s changed the entire field of marketing, and the technologies that millennials use has changed the field of marketing. To some extent, everything is different because of the introduction of that generation and the contributions that they’re making to society in general, and then of course, to technology and into insurance. I had asked you how is the industry different now than it was 22 years ago, and of course, why does it matter? Is there anything else there that you see in transition?

Scott: Yes, absolutely. Well, the big transitioning point that I’ve seen is that, the technology that’s coming in is not necessarily out there yet, but I’m very familiar with what is coming. We’re seeing it from the agent’s perspective now, the technology itself is being produced, and being created by the need from the producers who are looking for something to differentiate themselves or to do a value add.

The capability is now there where it wasn’t in the past. That’s what I really think that we’re going to see a lot of, we’re going to see a lot of new technology that’s coming from not the perspective of a company, like you said, a technology company who wants to develop a product, but from the need for the product developed by the actual user itself, the end user who can really develop something that is going to bring value, not only to them, but to others. That’s going to be the real transition that we’re seeing here.

In addition to that, the other transition is when we talk about insure tech, in most cases, and you go to InsureTech convention, it has very limited impact on the producer. That’s been a problem. Most of the insurance technology companies are focused on the careers, focused on big big big business.

Mike: Has been, now would you agree my perspective is we’re seeing a shift, we’re seeing more and more InsureTech’s that are supporting the agency and the producer?

Scott: Exactly. That’s going to be the transition that’s taking places, we’re finally going to see really the InsureTech that we think about that is going to affect not just the carriers, but it’s really going to affect the users, the producers, which will then trickle down to the business owners. Reality is the ones who really were servicing is the mom and pop business owner, the big box business owner, that’s who we’re trying to provide a solution to. The goal of anybody who’s in the insurance industry, and really cares about it is really focused on, how can I improve this whole experience for this business owner? What can I do to help them because there are problems that are there that need assistance with, and insurance is one of those things that no business wants to pay for but they have to?

It’s a great way to be able to get in there and really make an effect on business and a whole. That’s really been our priority is, how can we help them? How can we save their money? Who will save their money? In the end, we’re going to bring down the cost of goods by providing these services, and there’s so many cool services out there that can really help them. It’s just a question of, who’s going to bundle them all together? Who’s going to be able to walk up to that business and say, here it is. You got it. Now, we’ve got to win. That’s really the goal.

Our goal as a company is to try to do that. We have to plan, we have a very large business plan and a roadmap to actually get to that point. We got to start somewhere. That’s where we are right now, is working with who we are.

Mike: All right. Once again, two questions. The first one easy, the second one hard. The easy one, If you’ve got significant or substantial enough data on this one, I’m going to make a presumption that if somebody did jump into your system, and they then realize that, gosh, I’ve had a long term relationship with this guy, and it’s been a benefit to me. My presumption is that your retention is going to be significantly above average?

Scott: Correct.

Mike: A leading question. What’s EF?

Scott: The big EF is any software, is only as good as the user.

Mike: The customer, I’m talking about the insured, the policyholder, if they entered into that relationship, and it was of long term value, because you’re different and you effectuate a positive change in their life, it would seem to me that the psychological response is going to be loyalty?

Scott: Absolutely.

Mike: That’s easy question.

Scott: Exactly easy one.

Mike: Here’s the hard question. You’re painting a picture of a new insurance world, which I think is accurate, that we are, in fact, already seeing an influx of insured tax from a variety of places, and they’re not necessarily coming from big technology vendors, but it’s probably fair to say that the big technology vendors might be more likely to make an acquisition when they see something successful in the field than to be creating in their own R&D. If that’s controversial, somebody can call me.

For example, in the case of agency revolution, yes, we were purchased, because we were successful. We created it in the field, and then we were purchased by a private equity firm in that world. Now, let’s say you’re an agency principal, and you’re somewhat barrage. I know this, inbound phone calls, inbound emails, with new and emerging technologies, names of which you’ve never heard of before. Got it? You’ve got decisions to make.

I really want to make this a hard question, because, as you and I both know, not all technology companies survive. As you and I both know, not all technology solutions are necessarily good. As you and I both know, not all technology solutions are a fit for everybody. It’s difficult and it’s dispiriting and it’s expensive, when agencies make the wrong decisions about technology, some are stymied. Here’s my question. What advice would you give? What criteria should an agency principal have, when they attempt to sort out which technologies they should consider and which ones perhaps they should set aside for now?

Scott: Sure, that’s a great question. It’s very hard question.

Mike: I’ve been asking a lot, and I’m beginning to get some put together kind of a composite good answer. I want to hear what yours is.

Scott: With every agency, you have to look at first off, what’s the demographics of your agency. We have some agencies who are young producers, who will walk in the door and really need these tools. We have some agencies who are an older generation agency, and are looking for tools, they really weigh on the relationships, but they need the tools in order to compete with some of the other agencies who are bringing to their customers, those relationships are beginning to break because of this new technology.

It creates this interesting world, if you will, we need something to set us apart in order to stay in line with what the industry is doing. With any agency owner who’s really looking for new technology, they have to consider a couple of things, what is the potential for this product to be used and or shelf? It’s one thing to put a product in front of somebody, and to have them say, this is fantastic. This is going to do this, this is this. Then low and behold, the actual integration, the usability of that product really gets limited to maybe one or two people in the office or if anything, nothing, nobody.

My suggestion is, number one, don’t put yourself in a position where you can’t get out. There are a lot of agencies out there who get into these long-term contracts, get stuck in, locked down, and can’t get out. Then they’re stuck paying for these things for years and years. That’s the number one.

Mike: There are a few horror stories in the industry.

Scott: There are a lot of horror stories. We hear them all the time, we happened to have a competitor and we do hear about those stories. That’s the number one I would say, don’t get stuck in those situations. Number two, when you’re evaluating a software, the number one thing you should look at is, what is that company doing to help my team who’s going to use this product, make it usable?

Mike: Got it. Onboarding and support, is that?

Scott: Onboarding support, not just that, but the biggest focus and this is where I always look at Steve Jobs, he’s my hero. I think he is such a creative person. His mind, the way that it worked, he was always focused on the use of the person who is really using it, not necessarily the end-user but the person who’s got to go in there. It’s got to be easy and what my feeling when people would ask me, “Why do you buy Mac?” and my answer is always simple. “It’s just works.” right?

Mike: Yes.

Scott: It’s just work.

Mike: Right?

Scott: I plug it in. It’s just work. I don’t get these things that just popup on my screen that’s confusing, so when we develop our software and when we started thinking about that, my main focus, and our main focus is, it just has to work. It has to be easy, it has to be simple, it has to be clean. Just make it simple and the whole software- [crosstalk]

Mike: You’re talking about the user interface?

Scott: Absolutely.

Mike: It needs to be simple. Okay.

Scott: The user interface has to be so simple that you can watch your kid and my kids and sit them down and say, “What does that do?” That’s really your audience. [crosstalk]

Mike: That’s distinct from the onboarding and customer support process. Is it?

Scott: It is.

Mike: Okay. I’m going to say those are three criteria. Okay. [laughs]

Scott: Yes.

Mike: Let me tell you a very short story about the ladder thing, okay? Also a Mac user. When I got my new Mac last week, I discovered it doesn’t support my old monitor who’s going from HDMI, the thunderbolt-to-USB C and it’s like by the time it went from the monitor to the Mac, it just didn’t work. I purchased a new one and it showed up and I had a meeting in about eight minutes. I had a video conference in about eight minutes. It showed up and I thought, “Wonder if I can get this thing going in eight minutes”. God, I’m so excited. This is such a cool monitor. It’s really thin. It’s really beautiful. Boom, yes, ahead. Like boom. Pulled it out of the box, set it up. The instruction manual was four by six shiny piece of paper with no words. There’s no words. It was like three pictures. Do one, do two, do three, boom. I had a minute left before my video conference and I was completely setup. That’s what we expect now with technology is ease of use and friendliness. Okay, got it. All right.

Scott: It has to be. [crosstalk]

Mike: Here is your three-part list and if want to add to it, fine. One, avoid getting stuck in a long-term agreement that you can’t wiggle out of. Two, make sure that the user interface is friendly and probably allow the users on the team to play with it before you purchase it because they’re going to be the ones who are going to be able to tell you. Three, maybe I threw this in on you but I think you believe in it that the onboarding process, which is the process that happens at the beginning of the relationship. From the point of purchase to the point of at least usability, that’s the onboarding process. Then, after that, there is some customer support. I think one, two, three. Is there anything else you would add to that?

Scott: Yes. Well, those are just some basic without what you need to look at [crosstalk].

Mike: Let me thrown in one more that a lot of people have suggested which I think makes sense. It’s, try to get a realistic expectation of ROI. It’s like, are you going to get a return either from efficiencies or from effectiveness. Are you going to subtract time or are you going to multiply effectiveness somehow?

Scott: Absolutely.

Mike: ROI. Okay.

Scott: Time is money. [crosstalk]

Mike: Yes. sure. Those are four really good criteria. All right, so now I’m going to ask you about Modgic itself. What’s the big deal?

Scott: We talked about why it’s here and so forth and so on. Modgic in my mind and what we developed around, it’s a tool every broker should have. If you’re going to be a broker who’s going to provide any sort of advise, if you have work clients who are commercial and work as compensation, it’s your obligation to educate them and it could be a simple as– If I’m a business owner and I have an experienced mod that is a 1.0 and next year it’s going to go to a 1.5 and my premiums are going to double, is it really the obligation of the agent to let them know that, “Hey. This is coming. You need to be prepared that you’re premiums are going to go from $100,000 to $150,000.” That’s important information to know. It’s like if you have a homeowners policy and you’re on a fluctuating rate and what’s next years rate going to be. I need to be prepared for this to pay it, so from that perspective, there is some agency out there who should not have some sort of tool that helps them calculate an experienced mod for the upcoming year. Right?

Mike: Right.

Scott: That’s the number one reason why anybody should buy our product. Number two, Modgic is just the best tool and in my mind, it’s the only tool that’s out there that specifically helps for the pickup BORs by educating business owners. That’s what it was built to do. It was really built on the foundation of an experienced mod but it’s really meant to perform the task. If you can grasp the concept, look at it and see how exactly you can use our system to do that through this education process and listen to our videos that we provide, it’s going to help you and the ROI on it, it’s ridiculous. You close one deal by using our software or you can use it one deal and you are going to make money, period

From a perspective of any agency that’s really looking for a software that can help solve a solution and provide analytics to their clients whether it’d be one or every single one, it’s up to you, this is the software that you need to buy. We’ve made it so that the parameters of a buyer like you talked about what are some of the things you should look out with long-term contracts so forth and so on. Look at the concept here. You need to do your research and see what are the ratings on this company? What’s the background on the people who are behind it? What is really their interest and their… in us! How are they going to help us? That’s really being our job. It’s we think of every single time we hear anything from any of our customers as an obstacle. How do we overcome an obstacle? Our whole lives are about overcoming obstacles. Modgic is one of those solutions that helps overcome an obstacle to help break down the barrier.

Mike: Scott, how many states are you in?

Scott: We are in the entire United States. We currently are not in New Jersey. We will never be in Wyoming. We will never be in Washington and we will never be in North Dakota just because of the type of states they are.

Mike: Okay.

Scott: We will be coming into New Jersey but otherwise, we are nationwide.

Mike: Got it. All right. If listeners want to reach out, either make contact with you or learn more about your solution, how should they do that?

Scott: It’s pretty easy. You can just go to www.Modgic– Which is spelt M-O-D–

Mike: Yes. Let’s spell that one. Okay. I won’t interrupt you. I really want to make sure people get the spelling on this right.

Scott: Absolutely. It’s Modgic. M-O-D-G-I-C.com and we have a easy way to contact us right on the website. You can watch a demo on there if you want. You can reach out to us. You can ask us for pricing. We’re a very open company. We’re very family-oriented. We love our users and we are looking forward to talk with anybody who wants to talk to us. We’ll help them along.

Mike: Right on. All right. Well, Scott, it’s been a pleasure spending a little bit of time with you and I really appreciate your perspective on technology and insurance. Once again, thank you so much for sharing your generous time.

Scott: Absolutely. Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it and look forward to talking to you in the future.

Mike: Look forward to our next conversation.


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