This edition marks Dave Bradford’s third stint serving as guest editor for Carrier Management. Last year, he also served as guest editor for a section of CM’s May/June magazine edition focused on the theme “Future Shock: Managing Risk in a Time of Accelerating Change.”
Bradford, the principal of Iosis Consulting, learned his own lessons about keeping up with rapid change during a 40-year career that started at Allstate Re in 1980. After holding executive positions at Reliance Re and Swiss Re, as well, Bradford and Tom Ruggieri, a former managing director of Marsh & McLennan, teamed up to launch Advisen—an information and media company, and one of the industry’s oldest InsurTechs—with the goal of providing an online information resource specifically for the commercial insurance industry.
“We didn’t get it right at first,” Bradford said, noting that the pair assumed people wanted to do all their work digitally. “We envisioned an Advisen on every broker’s desktop, but that wasn’t the way brokers worked, [and] it wasn’t the way risk managers worked,” he said. Over time, Advisen “migrated to becoming largely a data company,” licensing the data separately from the Advisen.com platform.
The Advisen pioneers were ahead of the curve with another part of their vision: to create underwriting tools using natural language processing and machine learning. “We made a huge investment in that technology, which in 2000 was pretty primitive.” With no payoff on the investment, the idea was scrapped. (Note: In mid-November 2020, insurance technology firm Zywave announced the acquisition of Advisen.)
Leading his own consulting firm today, Bradford aids tech startups as they navigate insurance markets. His sobering past experiences—of taking fantastic ideas to market and then having them not work out—help him guide InsurTechs when they need to pivot, he said.
At Iosis Consulting today, Bradford works with leading firms to provide feasibility studies, financing, outsourced back-office functions and other services to early stage insurers, MGAs and RRGs, and helps mature players develop innovations to address emerging risks and underserved markets.