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Meet The Insly Team: Ott Kell, our Head of Insurer and MGA Business Unit

We’re excited to introduce our Insly team members over the next few weeks. Find out who the talents and masterminds are that make sure your business runs smoothly with Insly.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing a selection of our people within Insly who have been with the company for a range of years, explaining their roles and thoughts on the company and the industry.

The first person we spoke to was Ott Kell, our Head of Insurer and MGA Business Unit. Ott is one of the most experienced people at Insly, having joined the team from the first day Insly was founded. That’s why he has some great stories to share. We sat down with Ott and asked him some questions so he could reflect on his journey, and talk about some of the most memorable projects he has worked on

How long have you been working at Insly? What fascinated you, why did you want to join the team?

It would be great to have a funny and exciting story here such as “all the stars aligned and then it happened”. Actually, it wasn’t that spectacular. I initially joined the team at Insurance Broker Services (today operating as IIZI), which was the predecessor of Insly and a service company helping Estonian-based brokers. When that company retired and Insly was established, a logical step for me was to join Insly. I guess that I am a bit of a grand old man here.

What has your journey been like at Insly?

Looking back, I remember the exciting times when we started and there was no particular role splitting. For example, we only had developers and no testers, customer support and project management were done by our CEO Risto Rossar, etc. I am happy to have seen different times and stages and to have a comparison of then and now.

Your work at Insly as Head of Insurer and MGA Business Unit. As simple as possible: what do you do and how does that help customers?

In short, I guess I do a bit of everything. At least, I would like to think that everything we do is focused on helping our customers.

Describe Insly in 3 words.

Insly is like the city of Tallinn and the Lake Ülemiste, providing the city with drinking water:

  • it will never be completed, as the saying goes for Tallinn;
  • it’s cool and clean inside;
  • it has a strong stock price.

What makes Insly different from other insurtech companies?

The insurtech and start-up business is very much focused on the outside appearance. What distinguishes Insly is that from the early days on, we have been and continue to be very open and honest about who we are, what we do, and how we are doing.

From an employer’s perspective, it’s hard for me to say as I haven’t worked at other insurtechs. It would mostly be based on hearsay.

Can you point out some of the most interesting projects you have been involved in?

Each of our projects is unique and interesting in its own way. The best part is that there is no one and the same, the one-size-fits-all. Often, I have heard that a particular functionality is something that everyone needs, but that is not entirely true. On a generic level, needs might be similar, but the devil is in the details.

Speaking of the most interesting projects, I would point out MG Underwriting, a UK-based MGA with a large network of brokers, providing different types of commercial insurance lines. It was a tricky project – what seemed to be pretty straightforward in the beginning turned out to be more complex than we could have expected. What I liked about it was that we took up challenges together as a great team.

A project that taught us a lot was for Orwell Insurance Services, a UK-based MGA providing different types of household insurance. The company was run by very nice and friendly people. The project is so memorable, because it failed despite of a significant amount of energy, we invested into it. Looking back, it was not actually that difficult rather than a combination of many negative things that aligned. Today, we would definitely make it a success story. It shows how important it is to get back up, learn from your mistakes, and improve.

I definitely have to mention Ches, a Canadian-based MGA providing different commercial insurance lines. We have a long history and have grown together from the early days of our cooperation. What makes Ches special is that they were the first real Canadian project for Insly.

What inspires and drives you in your daily job?

Although I might not look like it, I am actually a huge fan of discipline and order. I like when things work as intended. I honestly believe that we have a good product, a good team, and that we create real value to our customers. Someone once said that the worst possible thing that could happen is if no one cares when a company disappears. I would like to think that our customers and partners would be in trouble without us. 😊

What helps you let off steam?

Blowing off steam has a smell to it that one is very stressed. Sure, there are things that I would like us to be better and faster at, but overall, there are no serious issues. Everyone should work out decently and try to keep it healthy. I follow the same rules myself.

What’s the funniest story that has happened to you in Insly?

There have been plenty of potentially weird and funny incidents involving customers and colleagues. Risking that some people might find such incidents offensive, it’s probably best to leave these jokes to a smaller audience.

Stay tuned for more stories introducing team Insly!