Charting A Course for Success

Season 3 Episode 36

Charting A Course for Success with Kyle Dietz

Season 3 Episode 36


Charting A Course for Success

Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast, the podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you will enjoy today's episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome back to the Insurance Leadership Podcast, today and over the next few months, we're going to be bringing you some of the best speakers in the insurance industry. We are down here at the annual ICMG conference, and we're going to be hitting on topics with key leaders about distribution, about leadership, about product development. And these are going to be episodes you do not want to miss. So today we have a special speaker, Kyle Deitz, who's going to be on the show and he's going to be hitting some of the different things that we need to be thinking about from leadership, visionary goal setting. This is definitely an episode you do not want to miss with that, let's get started with the show.

Well, Kyle, welcome to the show, buddy.

Kyle Dietz: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

Ryan Eaton: Man, we're down here at ICMG in Miami, Florida and joy and hopefully the good weather this afternoon.

Kyle Dietz: Let's hope.

Ryan Eaton: And you're over the golf tournament, which we have here shortly as well, so that's exciting. Why don't you get started to give us a little background? What brought you into the industry, maybe a little bit about your family life? Where are you from all that good stuff for our audience?

Kyle Dietz: Yeah, absolutely. Again Kyle Dietz serve right now as a senior vice president of sales for healthcare. com. Cut my teeth into the business a little over 15 years ago, started with a large Health Insurance Carrier. Some folks may know them. They have three initials in their name. But spent about eight years on broker distribution within that organization. And that's where I learned what a deductible was. What coinsurance means. And then really after that, did a 180 and left UHC and joined a small startup that was focused on the CRM business, and then spent some time there I really understood product having worked for large carrier and I wanted to understand the technology side of it, and so I went the opposite direction that company ended up getting acquired by another large insurance carrier, and then once that happened, I exited after that acquisition and joined up with industry veteran, Jeff Smedsrud and joined him at pivot health and had been there ever since, then pivot was acquired by healthcare. com and in 2018 and it's been a fun ride since then, so that's the business story. Personal wise I reside in Carmel Indiana, which is a suburb of Indianapolis, I've got a beautiful wife Samantha, and I've got three wonderful kids. Porter is eight. Rowan is six and Landry is three and we just did our first five person vacation last week at Disney. I spent five days at Disney and

Ryan Eaton: So you need a vacation right now.

Kyle Dietz: Let's just say I'll see Disney in 30 years from now.

Ryan Eaton: That's awesome you're in the thick of it then, busy with those age ranges that's a fun season, but very busy.

Kyle Dietz: Yeah, that's correct.

Ryan Eaton: Look tell us a little bit too, kind of pivot healthcare. com. What pivot was specializing in, how they came with healthcare. com, what that merger acquisition look like and what's y'all's forward plan.

Kyle Dietz: So the easiest way I would describe the relationship between healthcare. com and pivot is really think of healthcare. com as costco. And think of pivot as kirkland. So it's a preferred brand of healthcare. com, but pivot is not everything to everyone just like every insurance product is not everything to everyone, right? We serve a niche market. We have our own proprietary products, specializing really in short term medical of our own product, and then really healthcare. com is a true marketplace, right? Our goal is to try to bring consumers into the site, and then match them with a partner that can serve that consumers needs the best. Sometimes that's going to be pivot, sometimes that's going to be a carrier directly. Sometimes that's going to be an agency that is agnostic to products, but has a plethora of options to offer, so the goal really is, consumers coming into healthcare. com, understanding their needs and then matching them with a partner that can actually serve those.

Ryan Eaton: And how many customers do y'all have now? Did I say over 5 million customers under healthcare. com? Is that correct?

Kyle Dietz: Yeah, we average on a yearly basis, we have well over a millions of people that are filling out our lead form and matching them with outside consumers.

Ryan Eaton: And do you work with outside brokers as well? Is this all direct distribution? What does that model look like?

Kyle Dietz: Yeah, we do and great question cause pivot is really the insurance arm of our company, and healthcare. com tries to stay a bit agnostic, right? If the right consumer match goes to pivot, great. If it's not, then let's find a partner that can serve the needs of that consumer. So we work with insurance carriers, we work with insurance agencies, it's just really whoever finds value in that consumer, but also feels like they have the right product to offer the consumer and where we're trying to fit the puzzle piece together is we're trying to be the intermediary of saying, we have the consumer, we know generally what they're looking for, and then we're trying to put them to the best experience.

Ryan Eaton: We could have a whole nother discussion we won't get into today, but the connectivity that it takes with all those different carriers, I'm sure to be able to match the needs of XYZ client, ABC client, all the different ones, be able to have all those needs, so you can be that one stop for all the different clients too. I'm sure that's a whole discussion of itself. So Kyle, we were on a call and it's probably two, three months ago now, and it was you and Rob and I think someone else on your team, a few people from my team. And one of the things I absolutely loved was, you guys were talking with intentionality about what you had planned for 2024. And it was still 2023 at that time. And I was like, Oh, I was like, you can tell these guys have their goals, haven't figured out what they're going to do and what are the different things they're prioritizing. Let's start with maybe what do you see as your company's biggest goals or kind of things you want to accomplish in 2024?

Kyle Dietz: Yeah, so I mean going back to the conversation that we've had it's on the healthcare. com side it's absolutely matching consumers and making them have the best experience possible and then with the end goal of finding somebody that can actually satisfy their needs, right? And there's a lot of things that we can do to help consumers meet them where they're at, right? Do they want to click on something and be directed somewhere? Do they want to call a phone number and talk to somebody over the phone? Do they want to meet somebody face to face? Do they want to fill out a lead form and be connected to somebody and chat? There are all these different ways that customers want to interact, so it's really trying to figure out what the data tells us and making sure that we're putting the best experience now on the pivot side, we really are focused on diversifying our product portfolio. We have been one of the industry leaders in short term medical for the last, five to seven years and now we've really understand that the A. C. A. Market is stabilizing, right? We probably need to be more involved in that space, right? We need to find key partners on the supplemental side that fit our plans, but also fit some of the things that A. C. A. lacks, so I'd say the big goal for pivot is really just that product expansion, making sure that we're partnering with companies that have unique products that fit our consumer base that's coming to our site.

Ryan Eaton: I love what you said too about trying to communicate with the customer in the way they want to be spoken to. One of my mentors always said, he said, if you want to be successful, speak to people in the manner in which they want to be spoken to. And that's exactly what you guys are doing and obviously shows why you're a success. Did your leadership team, what do y'all do pushing this out to say, Hey, this is where we're going, this is what we're headed after, do y'all do team meetings? Is there a video that goes out to your whole teams? What do you do to make sure you keep that in front of everyone so that everyone knows where you're going, you got that kind of priority and that focus straight ahead of you.

Kyle Dietz: Yeah. And listen we have tried a number of different things right over, over the years in terms of what the best method is for goal setting, for alignment, for accountability. And what we found is we use an OKR process, so objectives and key results and as you mentioned, meeting with Robin and I, we'll come up with what our objectives are for 2024. And we'll bring those out to the organization and we'll let the department leaders, put forth some of the key results that are going to hold them accountable to hit those objectives, right? And then we'll stay true to those, not to say that we can't, no pun intended, pivot in different ways but point being is try to hold true to those objectives. And then what we do is we do what we call QBRs quarterly business reviews and so we'll meet on a quarterly basis to review the objectives that we have for the year, but also then those objectives and key results that we put forth for each quarter.

Ryan Eaton: So question off that then think about, prioritizing when you're successful like you guys have been in what you do, there's a quote I like that says distractions will show up at your doorstep dressed like opportunities. I think Craig Rochelle was the one who said that. It's a great quote, but how do you keep with these objectives? Obviously things will come in. Oh, this is a good idea. Oh, this is a good idea. How do you keep those priorities in check and make sure you don't get distracted and start chasing other rabbits to come along the way.

Kyle Dietz: Yeah that's challenging, right? Especially, the thing that pops into my mind is we are a virtual company, right? Our executive team expands, I think it's seven states, we have one person international so to your point, when those roadblocks come up to try to get everyone centralized, it's not like what I've been accustomed to and, I'll call it the old days, right? Of everyone sitting in a, Corporate park and we just come into the boardroom or the everyone's there at the same time.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah, we just meet.

Kyle Dietz: So that has been really challenging and I just go back to what has worked well for our organization is going back to those OKRs and those QBRs and making sure that everyone goes back to those things i'd say that the way that we handle initiatives within those are, we really have a scoring model, and so we look at each initiative that departments will want to bring and we do a t shirt size on, what's the revenue implications. Is it a good experience for our customers? How does it value our brokers and our partners? And that's how we can evaluate things. And again, it's just going back to those and making sure people recognize that, Hey, this is what we established and let's try not to move away from that.

Ryan Eaton: Because there's so many different things that pop up as a different thing and prioritizing based off the departments and figuring out what's the revenue model, this makes sense for this side of the house, but it doesn't make sense for this side of the house and looking at that it can be tough. So hitting on roadblocks again, just a little bit what do you do for in our industry? I say it all the time, maybe it's a DOI roadblock. Maybe it's a administrative roadblock. Maybe it's a programming roadblocker, hey we need 30 more programmers tomorrow to be able to build this out, right? There's always those type things. What do you do when you see those roadblocks? And how do you guys try to overcome them?

Kyle Dietz: Yeah, so I mean I think in this business, you have to be flexible. This as well as anybody, the amount of because again you're dealing with government regulations at times that pop up that don't always give you ample amount of time to make changes

Ryan Eaton: Or information, right?

Kyle Dietz: Or it's a big the information that's given is somewhat ambiguous and so you may read it, your compliancy may read it differently than ours. So I think for us really try to do our best to not steer away from what our objective because it can be really easy to go chase something that you think could be, something big and then you're on a wild goose chase from there and so I think, not to say that we've always been great at this but we really have over the last couple of years tried to stay true to these are our objectives and this is what we're going to do and if roadblocks come up, it's figuring out how do we work within those roadblocks to still stay true to the objectives that we had set forth.

Ryan Eaton: So when you do hit those objectives, you do hit a goal, you do hit something you want to do, maybe it's a number of policies, maybe another lease, maybe a number of this or that. How do you keep the team, because culture is obviously extremely important, and when you're in different states it makes it a little bit tougher. It's not like everybody's in this one office where we can all go grab something to eat after work, but how do you celebrate with the team, motivate the team, get the team excited, and then celebrate once you've hit it?

Kyle Dietz: Again, going back to the virtual environment, that's challenging, right? It's challenging to get people and it's expensive, right? Because you're trying to bring everyone together and there's some cost affiliated with that so, one thing that we've utilized over the last couple of years. As simple as it sounds as surveys, and we meet our departments where they're at so the surveys may not be exactly the same because we know that different business units within our organization have different concerns and needs and so we try to tailor those surveys to being where we think we'll get the most amount of information and so that's been really helpful in terms of getting feedback from our employees in terms of where, what they like about the organization, what they'd like to see us improve upon and almost doing like a net promoter score on ourselves. How much would our employees recommend us as a workplace to somebody that's coming, that's looking and so the surveys have been big as silly as this sounds, I swag goes a long way.

Ryan Eaton: I was wondering if you were going to say that.

Kyle Dietz: It just, it really does. If you can promote your organization and give people, so what we do is we have a healthcare. com store, and we allow our employees to pick what they want. I'm a golfer, I want a quarter zip, right? But we've got developers that aren't ever going to wear a quarter zip. And so just as simple as it sounds providing that and even for me, I appreciate that, I appreciate that and then I'd say the last thing we do is, our CEO Sean Taylor is really good at holding monthly all hands meetings and he is incredibly transparent with the organization, I've never been with an organization that has been as transparent as healthcare. com with our employees. And so that's another thing that I think boosts morale is whether it's good or bad, just having employees understand that they feel like they know what's going on.

Ryan Eaton: Clear communication from the top. That's huge.

Kyle Dietz: It's clutch. Yeah.

Ryan Eaton: That is awesome.

Kyle Dietz: We just did our first survey. I guess we filled it out a month ago and we got our answers back last week. And some of the things, when you're reading it, you're like, Oh, this is awesome, then you see the comments like, Oh, I didn't realize that, it can punch you in the nose a little bit too but it's great. I recommend, like you said we're just brand new and I'm probably gonna get with you after this and see what you've learned from it to see what we can do as well, but I agree with you greatly on that. All so getting close to the end. We're here at ICMG, tons of meetings obviously over the next few days.

Ryan Eaton: What are you most excited about for 2024 in the industry?

Kyle Dietz: I think what I'm excited for is, I think the insurance business as a whole, and I would just use healthcare in general. Is moving in the right direction in terms of how our industry is looked at, and what I mean by that is consumers are starting to have more of a voice of what they want to understand.

Ryan Eaton: Price transparency,

Kyle Dietz: A lot of information around prescription drugs and how, why does an MRI cost this much over here, but this much over here? Those are important things that consumers, even myself, I want to know, right? So I think from that standpoint, I'm excited. Again, I recognize to some people, it's a little bit scary, having some of these regulations, but I think it's a good thing overall, on the insurance side specifically, for our business we've got some FCC regulations that are coming up on the performance marketing side that I actually think are going to be positive and that could be a whole separate podcast of, what these mean to performance marketing organizations.

Ryan Eaton: I was very interested to learn about that.

Kyle Dietz: The biggest thing is, they want a one to one ratio so if somebody fills out a lead form, you can't just send their information to 20 different companies and have those 20 different companies call that person 50 different times. So you really have to match again, it goes back to what I've been saying this entire time, which we've been at the forefront I think of already getting to that point of matching a consumer to an end. What we try to do is consumer comes through and we put on there, we've matched you with this carrier or with this partner. And then to expect to get a call from that person, right? it's not out of the blue that you're getting a call from someone. So I'm excited for some of, I think the improvements that are either forced but consumers are wanting and ultimately,

Ryan Eaton: Making our industry better.

Kyle Dietz: Yeah. That's what we serve.

Ryan Eaton: So last question for you, getting the leadership. What is either your favorite leadership quote, or your favorite leadership lesson you've learned? Or you can give one of each, whatever you're thinking, just off the cuff.

Kyle Dietz: One that comes up to mind, so I'm a big sports junkie, and I'm going to go back to the late, great Pat Summitt, who was the women's basketball head coach at Tennessee, number of wins. And I may butcher this so I like it. I think she said something along the lines of, players don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. And I appreciate how we started this podcast with asking, not just me as an insurance person, but me as a person and so I try to do that with my, hopefully my team would say that is, I value them as human beings. And I think that needs to happen in our, not just our industry, but just leadership in general. You have to know that people. They have life going on, I got three wild kids at home I love them, but that's life, right? And so if my team knows that about me, then they can interact with me in a way that is better and we can be more productive at the end, so I think care for your employees.

Ryan Eaton: I've heard that quote. I never know who said it. So I appreciate that. Oh, that's great Kyle, man, thank you I know you got a thousand things going on and I appreciate you coming today and being on the podcast and for everyone on the show, thank you for listening today remember, it's better to have a good plan today than a great plan months from now. Appreciate you joining in.