What is Deft: Looking Ahead to 2024
By: Jeremiah Kiefer

For those of you who have been around the Deft Community for more than a minute, you are well aware that we are not your typical IA firm trying to be everything to everyone while racing our competitors to the bottom when it comes to the quality of our product and the rates we charge. To the contrary, Deft was built to service the narrow, under-served cross section of the independent property claims space specific to complexity knowing full well the costs and narrow margins involved in such an endeavor. As a leadership team comprised of career claims professionals, we were keenly aware that a foundation of integrity, communication, and innovation with a demand for a 98th percentile product atop would be embraced by our target carrier audience who were yearning for something more than the bare minimum they had become accustomed to. While we've endured the growing pains that owner-operator led startups typically endure in our 6 years of existence, I feel comfortable broadcasting that we were correct in our product-market fit hypothesis. Deft has firmly established itself as an industry go-to for large commercial, high-net-worth residential, and complex property claims handling and support services otherwise on a national basis as we set out to do. 

So here we are going into 2024.. Property carriers continue to go out of business and premiums continue to skyrocket in catastrophe prone regions despite the late efforts of state regulators to fight social inflation and stand up programs to harden property exposures. Other culprits include ever increasing costs of more frequent natural disasters which will only compound with climate change, macro financial conditions beyond the control of any single government whether state or federal, and simply stated a lack of competency coated with avarice for decades on end having resulted in an embarrassing chasm between premium and exposure. If this sounds dire to you, then you have a pulse. Is it too late to reverse? We're not sure, but we're not going down without a fight and we believe tearing down the silos between underwriting and claims is the key to restoring order to the system. 

Deft has been fortunate to have the opportunity over the past year plus to build a dedicated risk management program from infancy, through proof of concept, to sustainable success. We are proud to have been gifted this innovative runway via the bravery of our partner, Cabrillo Coastal, in the treacherous Florida large commercial market. Through Cabrillo's industry facing carriers, US Coastal and Orange Insurance Exchange, Deft has been able to experience an intoxicating feeling of making a difference in the marketplace to the extent that we believe we have the secret sauce to restoring the aforementioned order. By being involved from the point of underwriting, we are able to influence a significant reduction in the misalignment between exposure and premium, influence risk hardening through preventative maintenance, and support property stewardship to reduce association costs independent of insurance coverage including establishing vetted contractor networks to service these exposures in good times and in bad. This is all while building genuine rapport with the same association boards, their property management teams, their producers, and those interested in the properties' health and well-being otherwise. If you take the time to compare this checklist of solutions against the laundry list of problems in the previous paragraph, we're checking more boxes than not. We are also doing it without weaponizing the inevitable claim as similar programs stood up by contractor and public adjuster groups are certain to do whether they even realize it or not. 

Bringing it back to the Deft Community and the here and now, I am willing to stake the company my team and I have busted our asses to build over the past half-decade along with my reputation on the fact that the future of property insurance is this same realignment of underwriting and claims. It is our goal to within three short years service only carrier clients who are farsighted and brave enough to do what is necessary at the point of underwriting to change the trajectory of the industry. This focus, parametric forecast modeling, and continued support from our legislators may be enough to turn this ship around, but we MUST take action now. 

A Brief Look Back at 2023
By: Jeremiah Kiefer