Meet Jacksonville’s 2017 Ultimate CFOs

(Compliments of  Jacksonville’s Business Journal)

The Jacksonville Business Journal introduces the 2017 Ultimate CFO honorees. The role of the CFO has evolved. Not only do they encourage and adapt to changing business models, but ensure core accounting and reporting duties are maintained to the highest level. Additionally, CFOs are managing people, systems, and technology infrastructure in an increasingly scrutinized regulatory environment.

Congrats to all of our 2017 winners!

Financial Services

Nicole Stokes – Ameris Bank

Health Care

Joe Matacia – Smart Pharmacy

William Ryan – UF Health Jacksonville

Chuck Divita – Florida Blue

Lydia Veal – Optimum Healthcare IT

Manufacturing

Scott Harris – Safariland

Charlie Wodehouse – Bluegrass Materials

Nonprofit

Michael Seeraj – Pine Castle

Real Estate

Jonathan Heldenbrand – Sleiman Enterprises

Retail

Kenneth Allen – First Coast Energy/Daily’s

Technology

Christopher Getz – CTI Resource Management Services, Inc.

Transportation

How on-demand insurance will shake up the industry

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

On April 6th, The Wall Street Journal reported that a fintech startup called Trov (“fintech” refers to any technology innovation in the financial services industry) had raised $45 million to bring on-demand services to the property and casualty insurance market.

Trov is an interesting case of how digital technology is disrupting traditional insurance markets. Unlike traditional homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, which provides blanket coverage, Trov enables customers to insure individual items “with the swipe of a credit card” and without talking to anyone.

At this time, Trov insures only consumer electronics and photography equipment, but they intend “to cover jewelry, sporting goods and other property that can be priced reliably.”

What are the implications to the insurance industry?

The CEO, Scott Walchek, sees his company unbundling coverage for single items the way Apple unbundled music albums with iTunes. If that is indeed the case, it would precipitate a disastrous decline in the insurance industry’s total revenue.

For comparison, total revenue of the U.S. music industry was $11.8 billion in 2003 when iTunes was introduced. Ten years later in 2012, total revenue had declined to $7.1 billion, down 39 percent. Trov may thrive, but traditional insurers will not.

While acquiring disruptive startups is an essential part of an overall innovation strategy for any established firm that can afford it, it’s not enough. It’s impossible to acquire all the latest greatest technologies. Companies must drive organic innovation and growth as well. Even Google with tens of billions of dollars of cash on hand for acquisitions is driving innovation internally, too.

What can insurers (and all of us) learn from this?

There are a number of significant hurdles that traditional insurers must clear to succeed at innovation, such as:

  • Acquiring new skills and capabilities in such things as digital technology and dynamic pricing
  • Regulatory hurdles
  • Understanding customer needs

One hurdle that is unnecessarily hindering innovation, however, is the misbelief that customers cannot tell us what they want. This misbelief keeps innovation a mysterious hit or miss event when, in fact, it can be executed as a predictable business process.

Customers can tell us what they want as long as we ask them what they want to accomplish rather than asking them for solution specifications. A skilled interviewer asking the right questions can easily identify that there is a segment of insurance customers who want to insure only a few items rather than pay more for blanket coverage.

The essential questions that every business leader must ask customers to determine are:

  • Why are you buying our product/service? What does it do for you?
  • What objectives does it enable you to accomplish?
  • What problems does it help you to prevent or resolve?
  • What metrics do you use to measure success?

Because customers can provide the answers to these questions, companies can uncover important unsatisfied needs, unmet needs that are opportunities for innovation. This is how leading companies are driving innovation and growth.

Despite claims to the contrary, consumers’ needs for insurance have not changed much over the decades. People still want to protect themselves from financial loss that could occur from the theft or damage of personal property.

What has and will continue to change, however, are the solutions that insurance companies develop to help customers accomplish their objectives. Solutions continually get better and better at satisfying consumers’ needs.

The only way for traditional insurers (and all of us) to thrive in this environment of tumultuous change is to relentlessly focus on helping target customers get their tasks done better than the competition.

Customers don’t care if the solution is a product, service, or technology; they just want to get their tasks done. As Theodore Levitt pointed out many years ago, every business must define its purpose according to the customer needs it satisfies, not the solutions it sells.

Watch out Venmo: Bank of America launches peer-to-peer payments with Zelle

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is now offering peer-to-peer payments through Zelle, a payments network that is embedded in BofA’s mobile banking app.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank is one of many companies to join Early Warning’s Zelle Network. Early Warning is a financial-technology company that delivers innovative payment solutions to banks.

Zelle is an inclusive network open to banks and credit unions in the U.S. The idea behind the payments tool was to create a faster, safer and more convenient payment option. It will compete with the likes of Venmo, PayPal’s free mobile wallet that allows users to pay and request payments.

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Bank of America, an early adopter of Zelle, incorporated the tool’s features in its own mobile-banking app. There is now an option to send, request and receive money under transfers in the mobile app.

“The bank’s clients will be first among Zelle users to be able to split expenses among multiple contacts or friends — such as a group dinner check — and they can even add a personal note along with the payment transfer or request,” BofA writes.

Other partner banks are expected to launch Zelle later this year. The network originally said it would launch in early 2017.

Bank of America also says it will continue to add mobile enhancements in 2017, including the ability to add cards to the digital wallet on customers’ devices directly from the mobile-banking app as well as the ability to add cards to services such as Visa Checkout and MasterPass.

Bank of America also says it will continue to add mobile enhancements in 2017, including the ability to add cards to the digital wallet on customers’ devices directly from the mobile-banking app as well as the ability to add cards to services such as Visa Checkout and MasterPass.

Bank of America launched its mobile app 10 years ago. Today, the app is the bank’s most-used channel, with about 22 million active users and more than 3.7 billion logins annually.

“As one of the first banks to offer mobile banking a decade ago, we’re excited to usher in a new era of high-tech, high-touch banking,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking. “In 2017, you’ll see a strong focus on payments and intelligent solutions that will deliver personalized experiences clients never imagined were possible.”

Bank of America is the second-largest bank in Central Florida, with $9.46 billion in local deposits.