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Interview with Nigel Walsh

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Interviews,

Nigel Walsh

Nigel Walsh

Partner at Deloitte

Key Topics:Insurance, InsurTech, Innovation, Technology
Location:London, UK

As a Partner, Nigel leads InsurTech and disruptive technology within insurance for the firm. You can hear him regularly on the InsurTech insiders podcast where he co-hosts the show.

He has contributed to a number of books and publications including the recent best-selling InsurTech book, his chapter ‘frictionless insurance in a land of utility’ focussing on the intersection of customer experience and the rise of the sharing economy and the AI Book, also by Wiley. He co-authored a report on the Sharing Economy – ‘Squaring risks in the sharing age’ with Lloyds of London highlighting the opportunity for insurers in the gig & sharing economy.

Nigel has a background in end to end technology transformation from core system replacement through to digital transformation including helping clients to rapidly launch new products and propositions to market and establish new businesses ventures.

Tell us about your background and how you developed your social media influence?

I’ve been in consulting for the last 10+ years, and prior to that, 10 years in the software business. For years I would present at conferences, engage in focus groups and much more. With the arrival of blogging, social media and more the opportunity and pace of engagement changed dramatically.  For the last few years I have also been a co-host of the InsurTech Insiders podcast from 11FS with Sarah Kocianski and David Brear which has both been super fun and a great way to highlight startups and continue to learn at the same time!.

What are the key topics you’re most passionate about?

Disruptive Technology in Insurance – put these two things together in an industry that has under-invested, we have a massive gap to close and an opportunity ahead. We can go anywhere now, from self-driving cars, Artificial Intelligence, Future of Work, new business models, Gig Economy and so much more.  Whilst I’m a technology guy, I always believe in customer first, so technology can not be for technology sake – I see too much of this, still!  Let’s be super clear on what we are solving and why!. Then run fast!.

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

This is a huge community of people from around the world, so I won’t name them all. A few folks spring to mind – Jim Marous, Ron Shevlin, Simon Taylor (weekly FinTech Brain Food) and Brett King from the banking & FinTech world, too many to mention from Insurance, but folks like Spiros Margaris, Matteo Carbone, Florian Graillot & Robin Kiera demonstrate passion and consistency every day.  Matthew Grant & Robin Mertens in building InsTech London & the weekly podcast.   Helene Li, Theo Lau, Leda Glyptis and many more for broadening the debate horizon and engaging in honest debate around gender, race and much more and finally – David Kirk, Bobbie Shrivastav for keeping me fit healthy and accountable – I think the important thing is to look beyond your own wheelhouse – i.e. if I just did insurance, it could be pretty tough going and honestly, quite boring. Others including Lenny Rachitsky for sharing how to build a community, Harry Stebbings for twentyminutevc, Kara Swisher & Scott Galloway for my bi-weekly dose of Pivot and finally Domm Holland for sharing the startup journey in building Fast.  There really are so many and all from around the world which adds amazing perspective, but once you get me on names and influences – it’s a long list, key point – don’t live in an echo chamber!

I mix mine quite a bit given Insurance has such a broad reach, from motor, to health to property – so I look for people in each of those areas too. Follow someone new regularly, get lost in Twitter or LinkedIn and see how it relates to your world.  Always be learning.  I always describe Twitter and other social channels as a global Central Perk, you can join in for a coffee, join the chat and engage, then leave again – but there’s always friends online from across the world.

What is your social media routine? Do you have any daily habits that you’d recommend?

Honestly, this may sound weird – but be-careful, because on one hand I will say, lose your self in it and find, explore & understand new things, people, areas etc. The flip side, is it’s easy to get lost and lose an hour, then sit back and go, where did that go!. The other thing I read a long time back, is never get into a fight on social – you simply can’t win. So if you met me in real life over a coffee, or on social, I’m the same person. Define your personality and stick to it. You won’t (I hope) find me swear or get too angry, but you will find me be passionate. Know when to walk away from debate. Given the political challenges around the world, this is highly topical and very dividing. So just know what you are getting in to! Know how to turn notifications off!

What motivates you to post on social media?

I enjoy sharing ideas, brainstorming, seeking feedback, challenging my thinking and engaging with folks from around the world who are as passionate as I am about the future of the world we live in. Given this, I love the community of which there are many sub groups in different places too which are great.  It’s an immediate feedback loop for testing ideas and thoughts and helping challenge and refining what we do every day.  It’s an amazing place to learn and meet new people.

What tends to be your most successful posts?

I don’t think there is one type, many of mine are linked to issues of the day, perhaps through the work and commentary I do, leveraging our Passle platform. See here for more: I do an annual predictions which are fun, for me at least!. Often the ones you put your heart and soul into are the least engaged with (at least in public) and the quick notes or things you’ve just done on a whim gain the most engagement and debate. I’ve learned to accept this over the years!  I did one the other day about motor and invisible insurance – 25,000 views later and loads of comments and feedback – this is amazing.

Where do you start in finding relevant content to share with your audience?

Insurance touches everything we do in every waking moment of our lives, it’s not a difficult one – I’m also a tech curious early adopter that loves to dabble or try things. I share a lot of personal experiences which I think makes the blogs/writing/engagement much more human – well I hope it does. I can be sat on my Peloton and be wondering about how the amazing community can be applied to Insurance, on a holiday road trip and something else will spark. I’m always making notes somewhere as the draft start for a new piece.   Add that to being a busy dad and you are never short of learning.  One of my early posts was about my amazement of the kids smart watch for £30 compared the Apple Watch at £350 – here – and then what that means for Insurance.  Hard to believe that was back in 2014

Do you receive any support or encouragement from your organization?

Yes absolutely. We pay particular attention to Eminence, and given the roles we have in consulting this is critical. Ultimately our clients hire our people to solve problems with and for them. We have some amazing folks here that have zero social profile, other than perhaps LinkedIn, and that’s fine too. Some people just don’t like it and never will. I’m on a mission to get more folks engaged in the debate across the Deloitte network worldwide. There’s equally a careful balance between sharing all the cool stuff online and working on things that are clearly client-specific and confidential.   The proof is in the pudding, post lockdown in March, online engagement for us has seen a 650% increase in people reading our blogs and commentary online in the UK alone.  I’m so proud of the team now doing this.

What results have you seen both personally and commercially for your company?

I have met amazing people, I have built a whole new group of friends across the world and go-to people I would never have done if I didn’t put my head above the social parapet. Commercially, without a doubt it has led to continued new business for the firm over the last few years.

What do you feel was your breakthrough moment?

I’m not sure there was any single breakthrough moment. Persistence and perseverance is key. As the old saying goes, It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  Its important to know what matters and what doesn’t.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Listen, Listen, Engage, Repeat. Try not to pick a fight online, there are no winners.  Give before you ask/get. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see or be on the front page of tomorrows newspaper that puts you, your colleagues or your firm in harms way.  Be kind, be respectful, be yourself