A Brief Look Back at 2023
By: Jeremiah Kiefer

After taking advantage of November's "From the Fox Den" message to paint a vivid picture of what Deft is to become in 2024 and beyond, I'd like to briefly reflect on our journey over the course of 2023. While not one to dwell on what has passed, retrospective is important and in line with Deft's culture to reward mistakes as long as they only occur once. 

This time last year the West Coast was being drowned by reoccurring atmospheric rivers while the eastern half of the US was rocked by back-to-back deep freezes which broke pipes from the Texas Valley to Upstate Maine and all points in between. Damages resulting from these widespread weather phenomenon pressure tested Deft as a true National firm, and while we sustained growing pains as one might imagine, we walked away with our collective head held high and with confidence that we are at a point in our growth that we can respond to any event anywhere at any time. 

In unison with handling the day-to-day assignment volume to our own lofty standards, Deft pivoted away from 2022 ambitions of building out a TPA arm in lieu of embracing the opportunity granted us by Cabrillo Coastal and various high-net-worth residential carrier partners to begin repairing the bridge between claims and underwriting that has for too long been impassable. Given the number of words dedicated to this discussion last month, I'll quickly move on while doubling down on the fact that this is the future of our space and that Deft will be leading the movement from the front. 

would be remiss if I did not point out Deft's graduation from infancy to adolescence on the financial side of the house as well. Not only did we hit our goals for revenue (up nearly 50% over 2022) and profitability (to the tune of 16% whereas we were yet to turn a profit in years prior), we did so while decreasing our expenses by 15% over our 2022 totals. Cashflow will always be a challenge for companies of our size in our industry, but Deft is well on its way to being able to hold our own with the best of our competitors when it comes to our P&L and long-term sustainability otherwise. 

Last but not least, Deft has refused to let off the gas when it comes to fearlessly innovating on multiple technology fronts. Our aerial imaging fleet has continued breaking barriers, including a partial shift to American made drones in getting ahead of what we anticipate will be a sea change in the industry's perception of aerial responsibility going forward. Meanwhile we've flown numerous city center high-rise projects not for the faint of heart, and in doing so amassed the experience that one would imagine results from such missions. Behind the scenes, and in unison, we've pushed our IT security to new levels. We've even further embraced the challenge of safeguarding our clients' (and their clients') data in the here and now while accepting and planning for the daunting challenges the future holds in the cyber security realm. 

While it is difficult to look past the challenges of the here and now in lieu of reflecting on longer term success, it is important to do so from time to time (and easiest to do so as the calendar changes over from one year to the next). These periods of reflection inform trends to both avoid and embrace as we constantly strive to be better with each passing year. 

Online Security: Don't Get Left Behind
By: Jeremiah Kiefer