Employee Perspectives: Ryan Schiller

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At Accelerant, we’re motivated by our mission to rebuild insurance so it’s fair, transparent, and efficient. We’re often asked what it’s like to work at a global company with an audacious vision, so we’d give a peek behind the scenes through our Employee Perspectives… series. After all, people are at the heart of what we do, and we’re proud to bring together individuals and teams who share our passion for creating an amazing experience and working in an amazing environment. In today’s spotlight, meet Ryan Schiller, the Head of Strategy at Accelerant.

Please introduce yourself, your role at Accelerant, and an interesting fact about you.

I’m Ryan, the Head of Strategy at Accelerant. I joined Accelerant formally in January 2021 but have been around the business since February 2019, when Altamont invested its initial $1M. I live in Seattle, WA, with my wife and plants. We drive a silver Toyota Prius that we call ‘The Beast.’ I once sang backup for John Mayer.

Describe your day-to-day work at Accelerant.

At Accelerant, I focus on capital raising, M&A, and a grab bag of other new initiatives. I’m typically up early (West Coast USA), bouncing from one initiative to the rest. What I love about my day-to-day is the empowerment to just get stuff done and the security of knowing that mistakes will happen and that, to some degree, they are just part of the process.

Share a memorable or humorous moment you’ve had with your team.

In 2019, I bet Chris Lee-Smith £5 that Frank O’Neill could indeed eat a 12oz steak in one sitting. Frank polished it off with ease; I think he might have been able to eat two. I later framed the £5 note with a small plaque and gifted it back to Chris. On that same trip, I had to ask what the acronym “ROI” meant because, in context, it clearly didn’t mean ‘return on investment’. Turns out, it can also stand for the Republic of Ireland!

Describe a time when you felt particularly proud of your team’s achievements.

At Accelerant, we are not wont to celebrate. I’m most proud just looking back at where Accelerant came from. There have surely been many milestones along the way, but what’s both exciting and trying is that every year has brought a new larger set of hurdles, goals, successes, and our fair share of mistakes. Every year, we’ve joked that next year will be more plain vanilla – less new, more same. But working at Accelerant is a sprint marathon. We are fortunate to be able to solve more and more of our customers’ problems.

How do you stay creative and innovative in your role?

Team. Team. Team. We’re not a normal team at Accelerant. We’ve got a lot of ideas and a stomach for doing new things or old things in new ways. And we’re not afraid to strike out. Until investors have spent more than a few years with us, I’m not sure they fully understand the differentiation this brings.

What trends in insurance are you most excited about for the future?

Increasingspecialization is leading to the decentralization of underwriting talent. I think AI is largely a centralizing technology—‘one model to rule them all.’ But what we’re seeing is a greater-and-greater ability for the specialist ‘Davids’ of the underwriting world to compete with or outcompete the monolithic ‘Goliaths. Ultimately, this will be much better for policyholders.

What are your favorite activities or hobbies outside of work?

Hiking, backpacking, traveling on a budget. Embarrassing my wife with my kitchen-singing antics. Walking in a park while drafting a list for Costco. Reading random subreddits about philosophical limbo. I love the ocean, my first coffee in the morning, and a carnitas taco.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

There will never be a better time to take a good risk than now.