While studying at MIT, Snejina Zacharia had a minor accident, which left a scratch on her car. For the first time in 10 years, she had to shop for car insurance. She spent hours filling long questionnaires online and speaking with agents. The experience was so far off from what she was used to when searching for flights and hotels. 'I decided to change that by building Insurify, the first platform that truly makes online car insurance comparison clear, simple, and intuitive.'
Snejina has 16 years of entrepreneurial experience in consumer Internet and enterprise software companies. She sees a unique opportunity in the insurance industry to make a positive change for a large number of people. Snejina is one of the panelists for the ITC Agent Conference keynote "How Consumers Have Changed and Why It's Critical You Do Too" in April. I talked with Snejina about how she manages this challenging industry. This is the way Snejina works.
CEO and Founder of Insurify
One word that describes how you like to work.
Focused. Focus on the main priorities, which have the highest impact on the business.
Current mobile device:
Project(s) you're currently working on:
- Expanding coverage in under-served states and for under-served user segments.
- Improving user experience.
- Expanding in online bind technology.
- Continue to build Evia - our AI based robot for car insurance quoting.
Accomplishments you're proud of:
The biggest challenge we faced building Insurify was to redefine a market category; to switch the business model of insurance from buying and selling leads to a true customer experience end to end. Building a comparative rater requires a lot of perseverance from business development, nurturing the right relationships, and technology, building the right integrations. We drove agency adoption rates up by connecting their existing platforms to Insurify, rather than taking the easy route and building a standalone solution. The challenges continued when we had to find creative ways to gain market share in a very competitive space with one of the highest cost of acquisition.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
- Building the largest integrated insurance agency in the USA without owning a single agent.
- Expand the platform with online bind capability to serve the segment of users who prefer the self service experience.
- Creating the world's first text-to-purchase auto insurance platform, powered by artificial intelligence and NLP.
What do you like most about working at Insurify?
Our team - very sharp, creative and driven and also a lot of fun to work with. We are dedicated to making Insurify the best product for insurance shopping and building a great company together.
What technology, apps or tools can't you live without?
Slack. Google Drive. Intercom. Pivotal Tracker.
What's the most recent app you've downloaded but have yet to use?
Describe your workspace.
A simple desk, with a laptop, monitor, phone, and a stack of contracts and tax documents. My team is all within high-fiving distance.
How do you manage your to-do list?
Prioritization is the key. There is always more to do than there are hours in the day. Spending a little time deciding which items have the most impact and which team members are best suited to tackle them ensures we are running in the right direction.
What do you do when you finish a project?
If it was a large project we have been working on for a while, we'll celebrate with the entire team. Then it's on to the next one.
What's your best time-saving tip or hack?
Prioritize the next day's tasks the night before. That way, in the morning you can hit the ground running.
What is your best everyday habit?
Regular communication with all team members. I keep a running list of their major priorities, and check in with them regularly to make sure things are on track and to provide air cover for them as needed.
What do you listen to while working?
Customers, mostly. We spot check our agency phone calls to make sure our customers continue to receive the highest level of service, and to identify any unmet needs.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading Traction: A Startup Guide To Getting Customers. I highly recommend it.
How do you decompress?
Spending time with my husband and two wonderful children. No matter how stressful things get, their smiles are always contagious.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The opportunity to make a positive change. We are building something very big. Every day we make progress toward our goals.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A quick chat with my key team members about priorities and critical issues, followed by a number of conversations with external partners - brokers, agencies, carriers, data providers, advertising partners, etc. I spend a lot of my time developing relationships to expand our business.
Who are your business idols and why?
Steve Jobs for building innovative products, which anticipate customer needs.
Andy Grove - as a stellar wartime CEO.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Focus on your strengths and build a team, which complements you.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
Be positive, but realistic.
What's your favorite blog or website?
What would you be doing if you weren't working at Insurify?
Join an exciting start up with a big vision and make an impact.
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Dan Ariely - Professor at Behavioral Economics, now at Lemonade
The This is the Way blog series asks ITC employees, agents, carriers and other people in the industry how they work and to share their tips. Is there someone you want to see featured or questions we should ask? Tweet us or leave it in the comments below.
About the Author
As senior vice president of sales and marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s sales and marketing departments. Her specialties include creating and documenting processes; establishing metrics for managing those processes; developing content strategy and generating leads; and driving the overall company sales and marketing strategy. Becky was named an Elite Woman in Insurance by Insurance Business America in 2016. She has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder