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A Chat with Shyam Somani, Appian’s New Insurance Solutions Lead

Alaine Dole, Insurance Industry Marketing Manager
August 24, 2022

Insurance companies, like those across many other industries, struggle with systemic issues brought on by disjointed, outdated core technologies. To help minimize the strain disconnected systems can cause, Appian invests in experts with years of first-hand experience to deliver digital solutions that can increase efficiency and improve the customer experience.

To learn more, we sat down with Shyam Somani, our new insurance solutions leader, to introduce him to Appian customers and community members.

Q: What brings you to the Appian insurance solutions team?

Having been in similar roles in the past and building new solutions from the ground up, I realized that insurance carriers are often forced to choose between building or buying during their digital transformation journey. I believe insurers need a middle ground where they can get a head-start with out-of-the-box functionality and extend the application to best fit their unique business needs.

I’ve also seen a lot of insurance companies deploy different technologies for a use case and then often have to deal with multiple vendors. Oftentimes, these integrations aren’t smooth and they don’t get the value they expected. But with Appian, insurers can bring everything together in a single, unified platform.

I always see that insurance companies deploy different technologies for a use case and often have to deal with multiple vendors, not so smooth integrations and do not realize the value they expected. With Appian, they get the entire automation suite and can pick and choose a mix of technology for their use case.

I was also continually impressed by the interactions during the interview process and felt energized learning about the company, culture, and people. The start-up mentality was also a big draw and the ability to try new things, learn from mistakes, and collectively become better. These were all important factors in my decision to join Appian, in addition to the exciting opportunity to lead, build, and scale the insurance solutions business.

Q: How have you seen insurance organizations benefit from low-code applications?

Prior to Appian, I trained myself on a different low-code platform. Despite not having any technical background, I was able to build an insurance quote application. It surprised me how easy it is to learn and build applications. I also read extensively about this space, its application to the insurance industry, and reviewed analyst reports. I have seen many new low-code/no-code providers sprout up in the last five years, but Appian always stood out to me.

Speed and agility is a testament to the potential of low-code platforms for insurance business process management, and I am really looking forward to working with insurance carriers to accelerate their digital transformations, maximize value, and generate quick ROI with insurance solutions powered by the Appian Low-Code Platform.

Q: What are your goals for Appian insurance customers in your first 30, 60, 90 days?

My first 30 days focused on meeting the team and learning more about our insurance customers. It’s been exciting to learn more about how insurance organizations are using Appian to accelerate their digital modernizations and what pain points Appian has helped solve and the wide range of use cases throughout the insurance life cycle.

Within the first 90 days, I also focused on analyzing feedback and building a short- and long-term plan based on client input and future opportunities. I plan to continue focusing on meeting with clients and partners for continued feedback as I further build out the strategic insurance solution vision.

Q: What’s the coolest place you’ve visited, for work or pleasure?

Lucerne, Switzerland. I went for work but was able to find time to explore the city for a couple of hours and could not get enough of this beautiful Swiss town and its pristine lake.

Q: What is your favorite thing about low-code?

A: Low code is truly a game-changer because it empowers anyone irrespective of their background or experience to build applications fast. It promotes citizen developers and removes barriers to entry in the technology space and enables an easy transition to a new career. For businesses using low-code technology, they benefit greatly from the agility, scalability, and ability to drive innovation and growth.

Q: Give us one prediction for the insurance industry.

A:  Insurance industry is going through a significant transformation and the pandemic has only accelerated it. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Insuretech players are gaining market share and continue to see record investments. Global investment in insurtech hit a record $15.8 billion in 2021, nearly double 2020’s level.
  • Traditional insurers will look to protect and grow with new products and innovations. Influenced by innovation happening outside the industry, traditional insurers will be more open to trying new technology and establishing new partnerships.
  • Customer expectations are soaring and will only continue to grow. These expectations will push insurance carriers to fast-track digital plans in order to improve the customer experience.
  • New business operating models will focus on agility and resilience.
  • The hybrid workspace is here to stay. However, attracting and retaining top talent will continue to be a pain point for insurers. Offering a best-in-class digital environment will help bring in new talent and free up employees to focus on more meaningful work.