As the Product Marketing Director for Claims Decisions at Shift Technology, Tom Harrington works to promote our claims products, which helps insurers accelerate the claims process while increasing accuracy. To this role he brings experience from two leading insurance firms, Aon and Liberty Mutual, and 13 years in enterprise software space at Pega. In total, Tom’s insurance career spans nearly a quarter-century.
At Shift, Tom is more than just a marketer – he’s responsible for ensuring that the ideas we put out into the marketplace are realized in the form of a stable product that works as advertised. In terms of creating Shift’s claims decisioning offerings, his role is as important as any of our developers or data scientists.
How did you get started in the insurance industry?
Like any seasoned insurance professional, I started because I needed money for my own apartment. [laughs] When I joined this industry, it was back in 1997, right after I graduated with my marketing degree.
My first job was as a commercial lines broker for Aon. It wasn’t necessarily what I intended on doing – I was first interested in working for mutual funds – but the role gave me some unique opportunities. I learned a lot about the various businesses within commercial insurance, and after that I began to understand how our products helped our clients, I was hooked. This led me to my next role at Liberty, where I became a product manager and then a special projects leader driving strategic initiatives.
What would you consider to be your biggest achievement in the field
When I started at Pegasystems, a software provider, the insurance team employed 20+ people out of a 600-person company. During my tenure, the business grew globally to employ over 200 individuals. I was able to work on two of the biggest deals in the company’s history in back-to-back years, while spearheading relationships with several other major insurers.
The kicker is that Pegasystems’ product was a horizontal offering that we took to market vertically. Working with my team, I was able to understand industry pain points, identify relevant use-cases, and then craft solutions that address mission critical insurer needs
I know, right?
How were you able to take your experience from the insurance world and apply it to a software company selling into the insurance market?
Going from insurance to technology with no prior experience was a huge leap. In hindsight, it was crazy to do it without any previous experience, and I was lucky that it worked out.
Fortunately, my experiences at Aon and Liberty helped give me a good insight into insurance and how it functions. I was fortunate to have roles that exposed me to multiple lines of business and that gave me a broad, cross functional view of the industry. That breadth of experience was critical in understanding the challenges carriers face and how technology drives business benefits across operations. Also, I had the opportunity to work with carriers across lines of business – P&C, life, annuity, wealth, etc. – and across geographies. You quickly learn that while each company is different the challenges they face are common.
What are you most passionate about in your role?
The opportunity to help the insurance industry chart a better future is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s about taking a concept from the idea phase and shepherding it along until it becomes an operational reality. You need to really be able to see a bigger picture and help insurers understand the “art of the possible”
With that in mind, evangelism is what I tend to enjoy the most. I’ve done countless webinars and in-person events over the years, and I’ve used these opportunities to change a lot of minds. It’s always great to help an idea take hold in the industry – to be the one actually pushing the industry forward in a meaningful way.
How do you think Shift is pushing the industry forward?
We are carving out something really unique in the marketplace. Getting the market to understand that need is very exciting. No one else in the insuretech space really offers a full decisioning platform that can work across carriers and different industry verticals. Using this solution, insurers can solve a lot of their biggest challenges – they can scale without adding headcount, streamline the customer experience, and open their technical and business architecture to broader ecosystems. It’s a very exciting time to be in the insurance industry, and I’m happy to be a part of it.
Want to learn more about Tom Harrington and how his expertise helps insurers navigate the future? Contact us to set up a conversation with Shift subject matter experts.