With the perfect blend of seasoned insurance industry knowledge and hands-on experience in both the business and IT realms, Les McElhaney is ideally matched to take on the position of DRC’s new Director of Product.
We invite you to become acquainted with Les through this informational Q & A Session:
Q – 1. Can you please provide a brief summary of your professional experience prior to joining DRC?
A 1. Les: “I have over fifteen years of leadership experience in the insurance industry in both insurance information technology and insurance product management. My most recent position before joining DRC was with Berkley Aviation, LLC, a subsidiary of W. R. Berkley Corporation, as Vice President of Product & Technology. In this role, I oversaw the initiatives for both IT and product business intelligence.
“At Fiserv, as Senior Vice President of Product and Technology, I developed the core product technology strategy and led initiatives expanding business capabilities and product offerings. At 21st Century Insurance, I was the Manager of e-Business where I led the Internet strategy development and execution of online initiatives including quoting, binding, policy self-service, and corporate portal.”
Companies Les has previously worked for in technology positions include Fiserv and 21st Century Insurance. Les’ extensive insurance background of experience also includes insurance product management experience with product development and profit and loss responsibilities for private passenger auto programs of over 1 billion dollars in written premium. Companies Les has worked for in product management include Insurance Companies of the West Group and Farmers Insurance Group.
Q – 2. How will your experience help you in your role as Director of Product with DRC?
A -2 Les: “I think I am very sensitive to what insurance business leaders need. I believe that when they express their needs, I’m going to pretty quickly understand that, not just from a software or technical perspective, or not just what they need – but the reasons why it’s important to them.” Les adds, “a president of a company told me at one point, ‘I can’t figure you out – I don’t know whether you are an IT guy with a strong business sense – or if you’re really a business guy with a strong IT sense’ (laughter)…and I think that is a really accurate summary of me – I’m pretty comfortable with either definition.”
Q- 3. You’ve had a few opportunities to choose from – why did you decide to go with DRC?
A-3 Les: “Good question. I first encountered DRC back around 2004 – 2005 and became acquainted with their technology and their approach to application development and was very intrigued by it. And our paths kept crossing every couple of years so I was able to stay somewhat in-tune with how DRC’s products were evolving and their market development, and the one thing that stood out, and still does, about DRC is that they approach the whole insurance enterprise application or system from a completely different paradigm than any of their competitors (…) and I believe this is a tremendous opportunity for DRC (…). I have always had a great appreciation for the technical approach to solving problems that DRC has pioneered in insurance, and think it’s unique and distinctive enough in the market that we really should be able to do some wonderful things here at DRC and get the word out and really begin to grow the company beyond where it’s been before. So that was really the primary attraction for me.”
Q-4. If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would those words be?
A-4 Les: “I think one for me would be innovative. Ever since I was a little tiny kid I’ve looked at how to build something new and different, whether it was building boats out of scrap wood to float in the creek – to the types of things I do today (…). A second one would probably be balanced, and what I mean by that is – I do have a bias in not chasing technology just for the sake of technology alone. I think I’ve done a really good job of keeping my team delivering value (…). A third one would probably be thoughtful. I’ve probably been misread or misunderstood by some people who might have been looking for an instant reaction out of me. But I tend to be one who listens and absorbs a lot first before I reach a decision. I’m not a knee jerk reactor. I form opinions pretty quickly, but I generally don’t verbalize them. I like to gather as much information and different perspectives as possible before I start verbalizing my own.”
Q-5. One last question Les, what did you do before you got into the insurance industry?
A-5 Les: “I was a rocket scientist.”
That’s right. Prior to entering the insurance industry, Les McElhaney was a rocket scientist on the Space Shuttle Main Engine for Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International…which is an interesting story Les will be happy to tell you more about…
On a personal note:
- Les McElhaney received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and his Master of Business Administration in IT Management from California Lutheran University.
- Les McElhaney plays the bass guitar and trumpet.
- In his free time, Les is an avid road cyclist – biking approximately 125 – 150 miles a weekend.
- Les’ favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.
DRC Product Spotlight: Change the way you play the policy admin game with GameChanger on your team. GameChanger’s user-friendly platform enables insurers to:
- Implement new technology cost efficiently
- Maximize operational resources
- Increase speed to market
- Reduce total cost of ownership
- Effectively reduce the demand on IT resources
Want to learn more? Please give our team of experts a call for more information, and to arrange a customized demo of GameChanger to discover first hand – how GameChanger’s flexible, adaptable, scalable technology will help you gain the competitive edge you’ve been looking for in a policy administration system.
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