Maria Ferrante-Schepis is the managing principal of insurance and financial services innovation at Maddock Douglas. She has more than 25 years as an executive in the insurance and financial services industry, holding officer roles at Guardian, Prudential and Bankers Life & Casualty of NY.
Ferrante-Schepis is focused on innovation, recognizing the significant public and government demand for change. Her mission is to enable like-minded executives to shape their own future versus having it shaped for them.
Ferrante-Schepis is a frequent industry speaker and columnist for the National Underwriter Life & Health Edition. She has also co-written the book: Flirting With the Uninterested -— Innovating in a “Sold, Not Bought” Category.
In 2015, National Underwriter named Ferrante-Schepis one of the 20 Most Creative People in Insurance.
Many people in the insurance industry fantasize about creating a customer experience that rivals those of other categories, like retail, or that of specific companies, like Zappos. But some may say the fantasy is just that. After all, insurance and shoes are not the same when it comes to demand, so we need to set […]
For those of us who have a front row seat to the digital transformation of the customer experience in life insurance, there is a sense that our world is being, or about to be, rocked. In a way, it is; however, when you understand the customer experience cycle and all its component phases, you realize […]
As an introvert, I don’t often write or talk about subjects that are highly personal to me, but, every time I do, people seem to appreciate it. In fact, my partner and friend Mike Maddock always encourages me to do it more. Another good friend and a highly regarded insurance industry thought leader, Nick Gerhart, […]
I have been fascinated hearing my futurist colleagues talk about the subject of minimalism as an emerging trend. While not new, the practice of deliberately ridding one’s self of things that do not add real value to life is apparently gaining traction for a variety of reasons that point to the need to understand it […]
As the insurance industry pushes ahead into the next decade, adapting to change and, in some cases, leading change, those committed to the industry and its purpose face an underlying tension that they all wish would just go away. They wish the industry were not so hated by the public. While “hate” is a strong word and […]
After decades of experience working with and getting to know thousands of people whose job it is to give advice around insurance, investments and real estate, I’ve observed a few traits that I personally believe are critical to long-term relevance. Frankly, I also believe they will make certain advisers immune to the threat of their […]
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” This is the opening line of the very famous poem called Endymion by John Keats, published in the early 1800s. While this line is intended to set up a beautiful story about timeless romance, the line itself in popular culture has been used in literature, movies, ads […]
There is a growing energy around trying to predict the future of the insurance industry. Much of that energy is aimed at the use of technology and seeing what’s possible when we apply new stuff to our current approach to handling risk. I’m more interested in the future of handling risk, as that topic gets […]
Disrupters and the disrupted get all the attention these days. But do you know who never seems to make big headlines? Brands that have been around for 100-plus years. Such businesses definitely could have been disrupted, yet they are still growing and innovating and, most importantly, remain highly respected. This notion struck me during the […]
Innovation insight: Competency eats culture for lunch. If you answer no to any of these five questions, then it may be time to hire or outsource talent to fill capability gaps before doing anything with the optics of innovation. If your 2017 objectives include creating a more innovative culture in your organization, I invite you […]
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe we have forgotten that technology is not a “what,” it’s a “how.” Technology is intoxicating, because it comes complete with millennial attraction, new vernacular, hip-looking office space and sometimes a lot of money. However, keep in mind that the cool new app, acronym or buzz phrase is only as […]
It’s supremely intuitive that customer focus is the key to business success. It is also something that industries that have typically focused on products or distribution are now aware they need to change. Bravo! However, how many leaders are really harnessing the full power of customer focus? If after reading that question you immediately thought […]
After several years of working with executives in large corporations to help them innovate, I have seen a distinction emerge that has really helped some teams get on the same page: innovative thinking vs. innovation. These might sound the same, but they are not. Both are very important for companies to remain relevant and successful […]
Let’s have a moment of silence for the “sold, not bought” paradigm. Before anyone gets panicky, we’re not laying agents to rest, but rather recognizing that sold, not bought is about a mindset that served our industry in the past and that holding on to it for too long is now hurting us. It’s not […]
LIMRA and Maddock Douglas embarked on a study that unveils significant findings among mass-market consumers and their attitudes about “retirement.” Retirement is in quotes because the notion of traditional retirement, that is, the stoppage of work at a set age, and saving up enough in advance to prepare for it is likely passé, perhaps even […]
What do Steve Martin, Alice in Wonderland and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (or any other successful entrepreneur) all have in common? They know how to “get small.” While the notion of getting small means something different to each, the ultimate meaning for all is that getting small is the key to something bigger. For Steve […]
After several years of having courageous leaders in the insurance industry begin to fund the flow of new ideas, it is evident that we have begun to overcome one problem and are now facing another. The old problem was a lack of game-changing ideas. The new problem is our bias against them. Result: The game-changing […]
As the Department of Labor’s “ultimate” ruling becomes finalized in the short weeks ahead, insurance carriers across the country are putting a lot of sweat equity into various strategies. These strategies include many variants of two plans going on simultaneously: Plan A: Fight. After all, there are flaws in the way this ruling was brought […]
If you are thinking that what’s next for the life insurance industry has something to do with the experience surrounding buying and owning life insurance products, think again. Yes, the life insurance industry has a big opportunity to improve the customer experience. Companies are improving the complex and inauthentic language used in communications, improving engagement levels with […]