Thursday Thought Leader: Robin Smith

We first caught wind of power woman Robin Smith at this year’s Dig+In Conference, an annual gathering of all the latest and greatest companies and people who are advocating for a more digitally advanced insurance world. As the CEO and Co-Founder of WeGoLook, she knows exactly how to throw an eye-catching presentation, something made easy with a simple-to-use product. Using a classic DeLorean and an iPhone, Robin demonstrated how WeGoLook reaches out to their nationwide network of over 30,000 Lookers, a crowdsourced and verified group of agents that can meet you at an agreed location to record details of the ordered items. It’s a simple but completely necessary product that helps consumers receive faster claim service while helping to employ thousands of people. How cool is that?

So, how she build this genius empire? With just the right balance of successes and mistakes, of course. She details her greatest learning lessons and how she continues to be the best role model she can for her team.

Robin Smith, CEO of WeGoLook, shares her best nuggets of wisdom in this week's Thursday Thought Leader.

WeGoLook is a prominent leader in redefining how consumers view and interact with the insurance industry. When was the moment you realized this needed to happen and what has the response been like?

Realizing there was a need for a major shift with how policyholders view and interact with their insurance carrier didn’t occur in a single moment by any means.  My initial focus wasn’t within a single industry, as I was providing enterprise clients in multiple verticals with custom solutions utilizing the WeGoLook technology platform combined with our Looker network. However, when one carrier began augmenting their own field assignment group (claims) with our Lookers to provide on-demand field services, I realized there was an incredulous need for this very rapid flow of information back to the carrier while accommodating the policyholder’s schedule for low-complex, high volume tasks such as photos of a vehicle, scene inspections (completed within an hour), requesting police reports, etc.   It became very clear that the insurance industry lacked technology (and therefore speed) on the back-end of a claim.

The response has been incredible as our customers benefit from improved efficiencies associated with turnaround time and cost and others in the industry begin learning of our services.  All enterprise clients desire improvements within improving speed of service at a lower cost, as these two areas are directly related to a higher customer satisfaction score for the client/carrier.

As the co-founder and CEO of a major company, what have been your biggest learning lessons in managing and inspiring a team towards one end goal?

Gosh, where do I start, ha-ha.  It was certainly much easier to inspire my team when it was smaller.  I’ve had to learn to ensure our goal is clearly defined and communicated company-wide while my Leadership Team is able to maintain our desired culture and inspiring the multiple teams at the same time. I definitely think learning to change my thinking as a person and work on ways to improve or innovate within myself is very important. I work to make efforts each week to stay grounded with the floor employees and make sure to compliment them on their work.

Robin Smith, CEO of WeGoLook, always checks in with her employees

What’s one leadership trait that you want to be remembered for?

Perseverance. A lot of people mistakenly believe starting your own company is glamorous -traveling and attending fancy dinner meetings and wearing what you want to work (okay, wearing yoga pants to work is a bonus).  They don’t realize the long nights, early mornings, the scratching, the clawing, the hustle and sacrifices it takes.  Year after year.  I am proud to say I never gave up and have provided true career paths for my employees, supplemental income to our Lookers, creating viable and helpful solutions for my customers…all while changing the way the world works.  It’s pretty exciting but wouldn’t happen without staying in the trenches, no matter what.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and how did you pick yourself up from it?

Ugh.  Well, I’ve made quite a few mistakes but always try to remind myself that Babe Ruth struck out more times than he hit home runs. I’ve made several hiring mistakes that were very costly but have since learned to cut the cord a little sooner and am just getting better and better at hiring the right team members.  Making the wrong hiring decision can really put your company behind for months and demoralize additional team members.  I think I’m still trying to pick myself up from it…I still feel flattened by a steamroller sometimes but keep looking up at the scoreboard and focus on the home runs!

Where do you think digital insurance is headed next?

Digital insurance is an interesting term…in the end, you are still connecting people with people (for now).  How that experience is conducted using digital platforms and tools is still unchartered.  WeGoLook is seeing a lot of success with leveraging technology and I can share a few experiences.  For example, within seconds of an order sent to the WGL platform for a scene inspection (no contact required), the platform begins soliciting multiple Lookers within a few blocks of the property and they are able to capture the photographs, measurements, video within minutes and a completed report is delivered to the claim file within an hour or less of the original order.  Super fast and super efficient!  Our platform also matches the task with the appropriate Looker (think bilingual language skills, licensed adjuster, heavy equipment operator).

The introduction of AI is also rapidly changing the landscape of insurance.  As software becomes more sophisticated, I see a lesser need for human eyes to view damage in order to accurately estimate repair estimates.  Companies like Tractable are already making great gains in this arena and we are partnering with multiple companies offering drone technology, mobile target technology for measurements and more.  Chatbots like those offered by Pypestream utilize AI for a streamlined customer experience.  There are so many incredible platforms carriers can take advantage of, I think this should be a separate blog post dedicated only to this subject!

For now, I see an “assisted” model of humans and technology still working together within (at least) the insurance services we provide.


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