“There were a lot of double-takes, but when people saw I knew what I was doing, they just thought it was a good story to tell their friends that this 14-year-old was helping out with technology” at work, Watkins recalled.
Watkins is now executive vice president and chief information officer of ReSource Pro, a New York-based company with more than 6,000 employees globally that produces software and services for the insurance industry. Its customer base includes more than 1,000 carriers, brokers and MGAs.
Watkins has been in his current role since October 2021 but has served ReSource Pro in various technology roles since 2008. Before that he was a senior consultant for Deloitte where he specialized in technology strategy and systems implementation. In his Deloitte days, he served as a consultant to ReSource Pro going back to the New York company’s 2003 founding.
His current role is all about looking forward and helping ReSource Pro keep pace with technology’s evolution.
“My main priority is to develop and implement technology and digital capabilities into all aspects of our global operations,” Watkins explained. “I oversee our technology partnerships [and] the technology division as we identify new technology, safeguard our systems through our information security program and ensure our service delivery organization has access to the best tools and information they need to deliver for our clients.”
Progress and M&A
Watkins said the company’s initial years involved adding technology to sustain the robust growth. Over the last several years, the approach has broadened toward adding technology that’s client facing.
“We have a growing robotic process automation capability where we’re automating some of our clients’ workflows, through simulating keystrokes and mouse movements,” Watkins said.
Other advances include the company’s policy tracking service called Policy Insights, which is designed to make it easy for clients to have insights into their policy checking process. It involves increased automation.
Recently, ReSource Pro closed its acquisition of towerIQ, an insurtech with a P/C technology platform designed to streamline workflows and capture valuable market data. Adding this technology is designed to help clients boost productivity and optimize their data, particularly middle to large market, complex and specialty commercial accounts. It’s the company’s first insurtech acquisition, Watkins said, and the deal will allow the company to integrate technology into more of the submissions process it completes through its clients. Digitization is also coming to carrier supplemental forms and exposure schedules.
ReSource Pro has made other acquisitions in the past, with a strategy of growing organically and through M&A. Acquiring towerIQ was about the company “solving similar problems but coming about it in a different way,” he said. Both companies have complete client overlap, and Watkins said integrating the technology will benefit ReSource Pro clients in new ways.
As ReSource Pro integrates its new acquisition and its three employees, Watkins will also continue targeting his regular mission.
“One of the key areas I’m focused on is how to have more client facing technology in the old sides of our business,” Watkins said. “That’s one of the things that towerIQ accelerates by providing us an enterprise class [product] that’s already in use by a number of our clients.”
An early start
Watkins connected to technology even earlier than his stint as a 14-year-old IT manager.
“I found a passion in technology when I was very young,” Watkins said. “My parents often joke that the only reason I learned to read was so I can interpret the ‘error’ messages I saw on screen when I was playing on a computer.”
He said he’s always been fascinated with jobs that blended technology and business.
“It’s … understanding that technology was more than just the help desk,” he said, “and really being able to enable core parts of business.”
To him, technology is remarkable because it is never truly static.
“It’s constantly evolving,” Watkins said. “There are limitless possibilities and the potential to make our employees’ lives easier and our customers’ lives easier, and therefore their customers, the end-insureds’ lives easier.”