The InsurTech Mentor Spotlight is a series of interviews profiling inspiring stories from our extended network of mentors at Hartford InsurTech Hub. Today, the spotlight is focused on our mentor, Frank Sentner.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in insurance:
Frank: I’ve been in the insurance technology space, InsurTech before we called it that, for the last forty years. Started out working for a company, wound up running a project to build an agency management system—a system for independent insurance agents. And figured that at the end of that experience I knew enough to start my own consulting practice. I did that. Then converted that into a software company. We built an agency management system, which is used by some of the largest insurance brokers in the world right now. And that company got merged and sold, and I’ve been out on my own for the last 20 years, consulting with companies—mostly larger insurance companies and larger insurance brokers, and more recently with a lot of solution providers.
What are your interests in InsurTech?
This is the most exciting time in the last 40 years, even more exciting in some ways than starting my own business. To see the amount of investment that’s going into new digital technologies and to be able to work with startups, it’s sort of like being a grandparent. It has all the joy of starting my own business, but none of the fear and none of the really terrifying aspects that can make it difficult.
Tell us more about your consulting practice.
My consulting practice over the last 20 years has primarily focused on project management, senior project management, systems design, business analysis. I’m working with some insurance companies, ACORD, and also more recently with a lot of startups as the InsurTech revolution has taken hold, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of it.
Why did you decide to become a mentor for Hartford InsurTech Hub?
That is also a pretty natural progression. As part of my eldering process, I’ve decided that what I want to do is transfer some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the last 40 years to younger people—to younger firms—and to give them the benefit of what I’ve learned the hard way. And maybe save them some pain and suffering and hopefully contribute to a better digital experience for insurance personnel as well as insurance customers.
How are you most interested in working with the startups, and what are you most interested to learn?
I really enjoy the ideation phase, and most of the startup in HIH are past that point, but there are always opportunities in terms of design to help articulate what the vision for the product could be. I’m more of a product person. I’ve also learned a lot about budgeting and managing personnel and projects over the years, and I would love to contribute some of that information. And in addition, I have quite a few of contacts—although most of them are not at the most senior levels of insurance companies—I certainly know a lot of very large brokers and a lot of the folks that are in the InsurTech solution space. So I can help connect people.
Is there a specific area of insurance you are particularly excited about assisting with?
Well, my own personal experience is largely within the Property & Casualty space, so that would make working in health a little questionable, although I think there is quite a bit of overlap. I have lots of experience in customer facing applications – there aren’t too many of those in the current cohort. I’ve done database design, so I know a lot about data, although I will admit that big data, machine learning, AI is all a bit beyond me, but I’m very anxious to learn, and I think that’s part of the process.
Is there a startup in the cohort you’re particularly interested in working with?
Well I would hate to play favorites, but the startup I’m most comfortable with their business process is ViewSpection – I’ve had a lot of experience on the front end of the insurance process, and that’s where their product is focused. It’s also mobile, which is a strong passion of mine. So if there were a natural fit, it would certainly be ViewSpection. But I’m open to anything!
When you aren’t working on insurance innovations, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Well, I am a grandparent, so I spend a lot of time with my grandkids. And notwithstanding the fact that my beard is short at the moment, I have a very long beard when it comes to Christmas time, and I do a lot of Santa gigs in my Santa costume, so that’s probably my favorite thing outside of work.
Thank you so much, Frank
Thank you, I’m very happy to be here.