Ask the Expert: Alexander Carr, Director of Product Management


Alexander Carr is a Director of Product Management at Accelerant. Coming from an interdisciplinary background in tech and finance, as well as an entrepreneurial trajectory, Alex has witnessed firsthand the antiquated software of insurance, and he’s spent years designing new systems to modernize underwriting.

We asked Alex to share more on how Product Management streamlines Accelerant’s processes and what his team has been working on to make underwriting more stress-free.

How and why did you join Accelerant?

After growing up as a tech geek playing video games (making maps and skins, learning programming and website development), I went to school for computer science. But I soon realized that wasn’t the path for me, switched to finance, and fell into the wonderful world of commercial insurance.

I started out doing commercial underwriting for a specialty MGA and quickly saw how terrible the software was in the industry. Sometime down the road, I found myself in loss control and risk management, conducting underwriting surveys and inspections on behalf of specialty MGAs in the commercial P&C space.

After this, I started an inspection company of my own and scaled it throughout Florida, working for a handful of MGAs. In running the business, I again experienced the pains of software in the industry. Besides being outdated, it’s very expensive, especially for a smaller business. I leaned into my tech background and developed an inspection portal system for my company, then worked with a designer and a programmer to bring it to life.

Fast forward, and I was faced with the opportunity to sell the company. Instead, I retained ownership of the software and intellectual property then licensed it because it solved a shared pain felt by the whole loss control industry. This is how I stumbled into my passion for building related insurance technology products which leverage my industry expertise. I appreciate that Accelerant always strives to innovate and find a better way of doing something, this culture of innovation is a cornerstone of our competitive advantage.

How does the Product Management function fit in the larger Accelerant ecosystem?

I try to put myself in the shoes of our Members to see where I can make their lives easier. I’ve spent my career building solutions that are actually helpful in solving problems for specialty underwriters across niche lines of business. This is the work I’m focused on at Accelerant to continue helping MGA’s grow their businesses profitably.

How does Accelerant’s team define success and impact Member success?

Success comes down to whether someone is actually addressing the real problem. For instance, there are so many fancy technology solutions on the market which are searching to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s more effective to simply pinpoint an underlying problem that’s actually causing pain every day to an underwriter. I know that might sound simple, but it’s pretty important — more so, even.

Currently, I’m working on advancing our Bordereau ingestion process on the Accelerant Risk Exchange Platform.

A Bordereau file is a complex spreadsheet, many of which don’t follow a standardized format, leading to unique data structures across different Members. A smarter approach is for the data to quickly and automatically ingest and validate data. Having uniform data that is validated from the beginning, creates a smoother workflow. After all, the goal is accurate data that translates to better insights.

What industry trends will have a significant impact on your team and Accelerant in 2024?

It’s been a hard market for people in the industry, and the way to win long-term is by writing high-quality risks that you keep on the books for a longer period of time. This is why many MGA’s are focused on improving their loss ratios while also increasing policyholder retention to reduce customer acquisition costs.  To make risks better, you need to understand who you’re insuring and equip them with the insights and tools to address issues before they become catastrophic.

What will risk management technology look like 10 years from now? What are some long-term challenges and opportunities?

I think there will be a shift away from the traditional model of ordering physical inspections, like paying $200 to send a person to a pizza restaurant to take some basic photos. It’s not efficient and it’s painfully difficult to scale in today’s labor market. There will be a move toward connecting directly with policyholders and using self-inspection tools. I’d say this transition to more digital inspections has already begun, particularly in artisan contractors, restaurants, retailers, habitation & hospitality. Not for a large exposure like an oil rig of course, but I predict the trend will continue to accelerate for small to medium commercial risks. 

Could you share a moment of achievement from this past year that was particularly memorable for you and your team?

One highlight is the technology advancement with managing Bordereau files. There is a lot of complexity, collaboration, and validation under the hood. Something feels almost magical about being able to take data from hundreds of unique formats and somehow make sense of it all to empower our Members & Risk Capital Partners.

What goals do you have for the year?

We are looking into leveraging AI for identifying risks and improving upon them. If we can help our Members grow by using technology and data to enhance their portfolios, that’s how everyone can win in insurance.

What is the most surprising thing about Product Management that you think most people at Accelerant don’t know?

It’s an art and a science which lies at the intersection of business and technology. My criteria for successful product management is the ability to create a flywheel effect where technology products continue to create value for our Members while also capturing business value for all stakeholders involved.

Share three words that come to mind when you think of the product management team at Accelerant?

Innovative, Experienced and Passionate!