Q&A: Jay Lee on His Appointment as CTO of Colonial Surety

Lee will use his customer-experience focused retail experience to build out Colonial Surety’s direct sales digital platform, enhance its data capabilities, and build its internal technology organization.

(Jay Lee, CTO, Colonial Surety. Source: Colonial Surety.)

Earlier this year, Colonial Surety, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based carrier founded in 1930, launched its direct digital platform as a key focus of a technology-based growth. This week the company announced the appointment of Jay Lee, a technology veteran of several prominent retail brands, to drive further development of the platform and to build the insurer’s internal technology team through targeted hires. In addition to Insurance Innovation Reporter’s main coverage on the appointment, we reached out to Lee about the role he’s going to play as a new technology leader at an insurance carrier.

Insurance Innovation Reporter: How does your career experience at companies like Chanel, Keurig and PepsiCo prepare you for your work at Colonial Surety?

Jay Lee, Chief Technology Officer, Colonial Surety: Digital transformation is a common trend throughout industries, and this is certainly true in the insurance realm. More so, with the onset of the pandemic, businesses found the need to shift focus towards a digital world to better serve customers and stay relevant. During my career, I have identified, built and implemented technologies that improve customer experience and I anticipate carrying over this skillset to improve the direct, digital platform at Colonial and continue to solidify Colonial as the leader in the InsurTech space.

IIR: What is your brief: what have you been hired to accomplish, generally speaking, and what initiatives will you be pursuing toward that end?

JL: Colonial Surety recently launched its digital platform, providing a single source of surety and fidelity bonds and insurance products for America’s SMBs. It’s my goal to expand its capabilities and one of my first initiatives will be to enhance the self-service tools, personalization options, advanced analytics, data processing, and real-time risk management of the platform.

At a high level, I will head the dynamic development of Colonial Surety’s artificial intelligence capabilities with a focus on the digital insurance platform. Using data science, and machine learning, I will be designing and distributing innovative technology, making the entire Colonial Surety product suite instantly available online, in the most efficient way. As a natural next step, I will also be responsible for building out and leading the company’s in-house technology team to support us in this expansion.

My immediate goal is to find and onboard the strongest and brightest people to help our overall mission—to turn our digital insurance platform into a one-stop-shop for all SMB’s insurance needs.

IIR: What kind of company are you looking forward to helping Colonial be? 

JL: Colonial Surety has a 90-year track record of providing insurance and bonding products, but the newly launched platform, and its expanding product suite, are creating an online hub that gives owners and managers of small businesses instant, online and direct access to the exact protection they need to build strong, stable and safeguarded businesses in today’s hybrid working environment. Colonial Surety is extending its range of SMB-focused insurance products and services to help small businesses remain protected and compliant in a rapidly changing world, and I’m excited to be supporting the company to bring these services directly to the businesses that need them in the most efficient, transparent and customer-friendly, by way of using the power of digital technology.

Colonial Surety Names Jay Lee CTO to Support Tech-Driven Growth Strategy

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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