EP 197 – Fred J. Hegner – General Manager, Regional Health at Tune Protect Group – Awareness Is Key to Gain Empathy


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Fred Hegner

International insurance professional with passion for strategic and technical programs that grow operations and service in the digital era. 29 years of experience focusing on claims and underwriting in the US and International P&C, Life, Health and Annuity industries. Extensive background in US, Latin America and Caribbean, Western European, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, Australia/New Zealand, Korean and Japanese insurance market practices.

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The Asia InsurTech Podcast spoke with Fred Hegner, General Manager, Regional Health at Tune Protect Group. Fred shared his unique perspectives on the adoption of AI and how it may help insurers improve risk assessment, underwriting, claims, and fraud detection.

Read the best-effort transcript below:

Michael Waitze 0:04
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia InsurTech Podcast. Today we are joined by Fred Hegner, General Manager Regional Health of Tune Protect Group. Fred, it’s awesome to have you on the show. How are you doing?

Fred J. Hegner 0:16
I’m doing great, Michael. It’s a pleasure to be here and wishing all our listeners a very Happy Chinese New Year.

Michael Waitze 0:23
Good stuff. Same here, same here. What do you think is the biggest trend or emerging trend and insurance and insure tech in Southeast Asia and by extension, the rest of the world to be fair?

Fred J. Hegner 0:33
Well, I think it’s the adoption of, of AI. It’s everywhere. We’ve seen it chat GPT, I’ve just started playing with it a little bit. It’s not available for the masses yet. But insurers need to get their hands around this because it’s going to bring big reductions and operational expense, it’s going to help them capture more customers can do a lot of things. They can’t do them independently so far yet, but I see Michael is like three or four things that are really going to disrupt insurance in Asia and globally. Go ahead. It’s around risk assessment, underwriting claims and fraud detection. And furthermore, I think it’s going to help a lot with just helping the distribution platforms sell. Their agents are going to be interested in this brokers, online direct to customer, there’s, there’s true applications. And we see this now kind of with the chatbots. But it’s going to get better over time, it’s also going to serve as a pass through. It’s not going to I don’t think customers are mentally ready yet. Even the most sophisticated insurance customers to buy something from a chatbot quote unquote, robot. Exactly, yeah. But it’s gonna happen soon.

Michael Waitze 1:52
So much, so much to unpack that I want to get back to these four things you talked about. But let’s back up a little bit even further and get a little bit of your background. How did you get to here?

Fred J. Hegner 2:00
Well, I’m a product of the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. I’ve been exposed to insurance globally, for more than 40 years, my father worked in the insurance industry, he travelled out to Asia, that’s where I fell in love with Asia and Thailand in particular. And I started off my career with in hospital administration, but I soon learned that insurance paid better than hospitals did. So I, I learned the ropes in health insurance, and claims claims administration. And over the last close to 30 years, I was working in mostly technical roles. And I’m really excited to be now in more of a commercial facing role with my current employer.

Michael Waitze 2:51
So where are you from? Originally, by the way?

Fred J. Hegner 2:55
Ah, that’s a good question. I’m a product of having grown up overseas. I, I basically, was born in Puerto Rico, but I feel like pretty much more at home in the state of Wisconsin. That’s what I call my home away from my current home here in Asia.

Michael Waitze 3:11
Fair enough. Do you think because I say this a lot about myself, right? And maybe you don’t know this, but I feel like a third culture adult. Do you know what I mean? Like my daughter’s mom is Japanese. So she by definition is like a third culture kid, we grew up she grew up in Japan, but like, I feel like I was kind of growing up with her there. I’ve been in Asia since I was 24 years old. I think the market knows I’m 57 now. So I’ve been here for well, more than half my life. And even when I was in the States, I didn’t like live in the same place my whole life. Right? So I’ve lived the longest I’ve ever lived in any one particular places in Tokyo. Do you feel like that part of you that third culture, and I’m just assigning that to you part of you, gives you a different view on like customer experiences and the differences between how different cultures in different countries and even different parts of countries react to different types of stimuli when it comes to insurance and even other things as well?

Fred J. Hegner 4:05
Absolutely. I connect with the TCK or Third Culture kid acronym, I learned about it when I was in high school. And to me it’s a it’s a real benefit, you get the best of both worlds you it can be frustrating at times, especially when you’re younger. But as you get older, you learn how to take the best of cultures assimilate those, you’re able to see things differently to react differently, to use those to your benefit and helping you whether it’s just to make friends or make customer or to win business or, or make customers happy or connect with customers. So all in all, I have that, that real association with that term. And it’s helped me a lot in my career.

Michael Waitze 4:54
Do you think people react to you differently when they find you went to ISB?

Fred J. Hegner 4:59
So Oh, it’s ISP, or for those listeners that don’t know that that’s International School, Bangkok? Yeah, sometimes they do. The school has changed a lot over the years. It’s moved. It’s moved, right, it’s moved its campus. I really enjoyed my time there and the teachers there and got some great experiences, just studying with Thai children. And, and then Americans because ISP at the time was 40% American, but the, but the other 60% was was Asian and European. I learned so much in an early age that I couldn’t have never done from, from the state of Wisconsin, or the US. And it helped me just with overall perspectives of just stepping back in my mind and saying, wait a sec, no, I understand why someone would think this way, or why it’s done this way. And we all have, you know, cultural, what I call a blinders. Yeah, but at the same time, yeah. But at the same time, we all have them. And we all realise that when you understand more of them, it really helps you overcome some of those hurdles and challenges that you encounter in your daily lives. And in your work lines.

Michael Waitze 6:17
I feel like self awareness is a sales tool. And I was having this conversation with a friend of mine about this a couple of days ago, like if you really think about it, I don’t even know if it’s a skill that can be taught. But the more self aware you are, I feel like the more you can be aware of to whom you’re selling. And if you can have that empathy to put yourself in their shoes, the sales process should be a lot easier. I don’t know if you’re involved at that level. But you know what I mean, I feel like if, if you’re self aware, you can be aware of others as well, to a certain extent No,

Fred J. Hegner 6:46
absolutely. Awareness is key to gain empathy. And we all know now empathy is something that’s such a key trait for leaders that leaders need now. And it’s hard to teach empathy. And it’s really hard. There’s no textbook definition of awareness or empathy. So the exposure that I got over here in Asia and and then through Latin America to and in parts of Europe really helped drive that that awareness and empathy.

Michael Waitze 7:18
Absolutely. Like, I want to jump back into the tech here, because I think this is super important. I feel like there’s been a triggering point for artificial intelligence through what Sam Altman and the team is doing at open AI, this release of chat GPT, three came out, you tested it, I tested it. I’ve seen some real uses for it. I’m curious if we dig a little bit deeper, though. Like, what does it really mean for you talked about customer acquisition, customer explanation, even people actually using it to go back and forth? They’ve been chatbots? Forever? What from your perspective has changed? And what do you think it’s going to change, like dig deeper into this idea of getting customers but also walking customers through this purchase? Journey?

Fred J. Hegner 8:02
I think it’s more of the access, Michael, to the data, scouring the wealth of data, open ly available data on the internet. Sometimes it’s trademarked or, and that’s where we run into some problems like with, with on the creative side with what is AI art and all that. But if we go back to insurance, that that data like, let’s say, morbidity, mortality, incidence data is available out there. But an actuary and underwriter sitting in an office in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore just doesn’t know how to get to that data quickly, it’s there. So I think it’s, it’s more than just the platform of reaching out to the customer, it’s the data running behind it that can then provide options to the customer. Of course, with no prior approval to the to the person that is or to the company that is providing those options. I don’t think you want like a chatbot right away to get into that you want it to be a pass through. You want to make sure there’s some human at the other end still that can validate the data, make sure that these are the right options for the customer. And the risk is being assessed properly.

Michael Waitze 9:17
So why is that? So important, though, for you? And I’ll get into my opinion if you’re if you’re really curious, but why is it so important for you that this is a pass through that it’s not sort of give it to the machine the machine spits something out the robot tells you what to do and then you’re done. Like why do humans need to be as my friend Eva GM? She got I can’t remember her last name would say why did the humans need to be in the loop?

Fred J. Hegner 9:39
Because insurance is still complex. I think we’re naive to think that a robot is ready to do that just yet. Not to say it’s not coming. But by its very nature, I’ll just take health and life insurance which I specialise in. It’s very complex. Now if we’re talking about travel, embedded insurance, and things that are very simple, yes. But when we’re talking about ensuring someone’s life, ensuring someone’s health, even ensuring someone’s behaviour per se, through, you know, automobile insurance or their driving behaviour or things that really involve more complex risk assessment, I still think the human is needed there, the data will help the Chatbot can help, or the chat JpT can help organise it in a way in a speed that no human can do. But then we need to sit back and make sure are we off, bring the right options to the customer. That makes sense, not just because the company doesn’t want to take a loss or something like that. But to make sure that we really understand this customer. And so much of it is is when it comes to health and life. It’s behavioural. So it’s not a simple binary proposition like travel. Okay, I’m going to travel on these days,

Michael Waitze 10:52
right? Can you talk about this a little bit for me as well, you know, you mentioned earlier this idea of, well, I put the word in your mouth bias, but I think it’s a decent word to talk about, particularly when we’re addressing artificial intelligence. At the end of the day, humans are building the systems and organising the data that will drive what that AI looks like, are we worried at all about this idea of who’s managing it, and then what those embedded biases are? And even if we are, how do we? What’s the right word? How do we adjust for them? How do we compensate for that? If that makes sense? Right? Because what you don’t want is one worldview, then determining the validity of a claim, right? Or even the validity of anything based on a bias that exists or some piece of information that is gets left out? Because it doesn’t seem relevant to you. But culturally, it’s relevant to somebody else. Does that make sense? I mean, that’s part of the complexity here, right?

Fred J. Hegner 11:48
Completely understand? And it’s, it’s a tough question, I’ll be honest, because we all have bias. I saw an interview the other night of asking someone that’s in charge of creating the artificial intelligence for art. And at the end of the day, they’re not sure what their role is ethically in the whole process. And ultimately, they have their own individual biases of what goes into the algorithms, right? So at the end of the day, they can only say, well, it may not be art to some people, but to some people it is and therefore it’s an opportunity. And some, some people will like it, some people will hate it, I guess. It’s ultimately based on whether those people share the same biases. And there’s some kind of connection. But to avoid the bias is really hard. I guess the only solution, I would say, is that, you know, the algorithms come down to are they getting a fair selection from from the sources across the internet? Or is it only coming from when you when you peek under the covers? Is it only coming from, you know, certain data sources that could lead to the bias?

Michael Waitze 13:02
Do you think that services like chat GPT, I’m gonna leave the number off, because that number is just going to keep going up? Right? And other services that are doing it? You see, Google has also announced that they’re coming out with their own thing, something they’ve been working on for years, but just haven’t released, which is weird for them? Because everything they do they put out in beta years before it’s even available. But do you think that some of this stuff is going to is going to get adjusted? Culturally, let’s say you put a query in or ask for some information related to Japan, and the way Japanese people look at the solution to a problem is very different than the way people in you know, Norway look at it. Do you think that those types of adjustments on a granular level can get made? Or is it just a big mishmash, you know?

Fred J. Hegner 13:43
Well, I would hope so because all culture has their inherent biases, but at the same time, it’s going to help drive sales, it’s going to make more sense to those customers locally. So I would hope that that is the evolution with the caveat that everyone knows their customer, it’s not up to the machine to know the customer. That’s where the human comes in. And as long as the company or the human is responsible for knowing their customer, and knowing what they do like and don’t like, I think that input of like, for lack of a better word bias is probably it’s important to ultimately get sales and the customer,

Michael Waitze 14:21
I want to make an equivalency to an experience that we had at Goldman, we built something this was actually the name of it at UBS, but same same type of thing was called Smart sales straighter. And what it did was it gave the sales traders people that were interfacing with clients real access to real time data and real time insights of customer data based on all this historical data that we could access pretty quickly back then. And what it did was it made a good sales trader like Intuit superpowered sales trader and made kind of a middling one. Have to find another job. Right? So it didn’t eliminate the guys and gals that were really great at this at all. It actually just made them amazing. Do you see the same thing happening in the insurance industry as well and how can you sort to allay some of the fears around, this technology isn’t going to replace you. It’s just going to enhance you.

Fred J. Hegner 15:05
I do see that happening, you know, you’re always going to hear stories of like, like the rogue trader, right? Right, that, you know, could have taken down the economy plenty. But in insurance, I guess it would be the could be the rogue actuary that makes a bet that could hurt badly a company. But ultimately, with the right oversight, the right leadership management, will, they’ll be able to hone the technology make sure that those highly skilled people in the organisation are using it to their benefit. And watch out to make sure they’re they’re not taking advantage of it in ways that I see could happen, where they’re not sharing information, or they could be using it kind of for, you know, come for competitive purposes or even hoarding it for trade secrets,

Michael Waitze 16:00
does this what’s the right word, even at the playing field, between small insurers, small claims, small underwriting and large, larger firms or incumbent firms as well, because they can all have access to the same data, particularly if we’re moving into an era of open insurance? Do you know what I mean?

Fred J. Hegner 16:16
Yes, I think it does, it’s going to the larger players are going to benefit from it most, because they have the capital to the instant immediate capital to to develop the systems that will then you know, hone the data. But I think the smaller players and will eventually catch up, they will be faster returns for smaller ones, they won’t need as much critical mass to deliver their products as before. So I think overall, it will even the playing field, but in at the start, you know, I think the bigger players are definitely gonna benefit. First, you know, those players creating huge tech divisions, as we see now insurance companies creating and reinsurance companies creating their tech division they’re already working on, on mining all this and honing it.

Michael Waitze 17:06
So here’s another really interesting thing for me. We had a guest on the show Mohan deep right, who writes technology for a bunch of different realms. One of them is for insurance companies. And his his assessment was in the next 10 years, all insurer Tech’s will die. I think he says it just to be a little bit controversial. But do you see that the way that insurance incumbents are moving into, like you said, building out these big tech teams and trying to understand how technology can be used to make them more efficient, that at some point, this idea of InsurTech is just going to disappear? Because it’s just going to be? What’s the right word endemic to the whole industry? Regardless?

Fred J. Hegner 17:40
Michael, I like that word endemic, I think that’s going to eventually happen. It’s the playing field is blurred a bit between insurer Tech’s what is an insurer tech, what’s an insurance company these days, insurer Tech’s can either be acquired by insurance companies, is we might even see insured picks that are the ones that can survive, because of the funding now is drying up, those that survive and really can succeed. They might even go after acquiring smaller insurers. So overall, I think that yeah, this this playing field is definitely blurred. And at the end of the day, insurtechs will become insurance companies or vice versa. Do

Michael Waitze 18:25
you think that the moat around the incumbents isn’t so much the technology but the balance sheet? Definitely, you know what I mean, I say

Fred J. Hegner 18:33
the moat widening Yeah, I. And it’s because the rate at which cash is burned is not sustainable anymore. Given? No, it never was. But it was exciting back then, when we didn’t have to talk about inflation kind

Michael Waitze 18:53
of hated it, but go ahead. No, because here’s the way I look at it. Yeah. When you were a kid, right? If your dad gave you $100, which would have been a miraculous thing for your dad to do either way, right? I mean, my dad didn’t have $100 to give me but if he had given it to me, and then I went out and not only just spent it on stuff that I didn’t need but overspending and came back and said sorry, but um $1,000 in debt would have been 10 times more than I had been given. Nobody like I would have been not slapped but you understand I would have been punished. And yet somehow in the public world where these big companies can raise a billion dollars and just like almost spend it in a willy nilly way and then come back and go, I think I need some more money because growth. Do you know what I mean? Like this was always insane. No.

Fred J. Hegner 19:37
Absolutely. I think that the excitement now has died down to the fact that it’s no longer new. Everyone knows who these insurance tech companies are. And really the I truly believe that. It takes I read this somewhere it takes like 40 Ideas 40 bad ideas before you get a good idea well back, just, you know, five, six years ago, when insurtechs are growing, you know, just it took two or three ideas and, you know, people were buying them. But now people are being much more careful, and a much more, let’s just say frugal and really watching because they’ve gotten burned already, even in good times, economic times, and now that the bad times just exacerbate that

Michael Waitze 20:28
completely. Look, one of the things you mentioned a lot, you’ve just kept using the word data, data analysis, access to data, right understanding the data, and I can’t get this out of my head, it must have been in the end of 2011, or the beginning of 2012. So a while ago now, right, I read a book called was it inside the Googleplex, I believe, was the book’s name. And it basically said that Google had such an edge on people with all this data that it was gathering, that there was no way that anybody was going to be able to catch them. And there was all this fear about them owning ecommerce and owning this other business vertical. And yet none of that seemed to happen. They don’t own anything except a gigantic ad business. And I’m known for saying this. But I want to ask you your opinion on this. So we go through another cycle now where people are afraid that big tech is going to own the insurance business. And yet at the end of the day, they just don’t have the DNA to do this.

Fred J. Hegner 21:17
Yes, I thought it was going to come to either Google and Apple, we’re going to be much further along in exploring their options with insurance. And I think with Google, yeah, you’re right, you had mentioned that you would have thought their bets on AI would have been a lot earlier, they would have gotten invested more we we just heard from Google recently with the layoffs. But they’re now completely focused on AI. And their position for that. And I thought that that would have been something that they had already been positioned for. So the rate at which data is being used by these companies outside of ads, it’s going to happen, but I’m seeing a few things, I’m seeing that it’s just a very slow process that may be because of legal and privacy issues. I know that some of it, I think Google’s been very safe to wade in waters by first opening up their platforms to developers with consent. And they’re going through the whole legal process. Now we all know, through Google Fit devices, things that people wear on their wrist, all the watches, the smart watches, they have access to huge amounts of what I call aggregated data that could be instantly used by a number of different sources, governments, both in the private and public sector. Why they’re not doing that now is they can ask for consent, they should, but they’re just going slowly working with third parties to do that. Maybe it’s because deep in their mind or thinking that, that the health applications, which I’m most excited about, they’re just not really ready to invest in that they see other areas where they can make a much faster buck than health. Health, let’s just be honest, it’s messy. It’s complex. And

Michael Waitze 23:09
it’s emotional to write. In other words, it is most people don’t love their cars. Many people do, but most people don’t. But people do love their mom. And if their mom is having a health problem, even if their mom’s car is having a problem, it’s annoying. But if your mom’s having a health problem, it can be life changing. Right? So this is it’s not just about the data and the facts. It’s very emotional as well.

Fred J. Hegner 23:29
Yeah, absolutely. So I think the data is there. It’s about now, you know, asking they, they could easily both Apple and Google can ask for consent and get all that data. They say it’s end to end encrypted. I read about that all the time. It’s, you know, the cloud can’t decipher it, their clouds can’t decipher it. It sits on our, on our and through our mobile devices and our watches, but with just one easy consent and opt in, they would have access to all that they could decrypt it and use it for ways that I think would help all of us. I wish they would, but because it’s messy, because it’s emotional. Maybe they’re just trying to stay away from that right now. I know, that’s where the third parties come in. And that’s where insurance companies are using a lot of third parties to get the data to use it to help them with with customers, as well as, you know, the AI applications in general with the chat GPT

Michael Waitze 24:24
Yeah, I mean, you saw me smile when you said end to end encryption. I mean, I love it, WhatsApp is end to end encrypted and so are you know, half of the other chat applications out there. At the end of the day, if the government wants to get access to it they can just unencrypted. But but here’s the thing for me, and we don’t even have to go to quantum either. But I mean, I’ve had experiences in my life where stuff where information was supposed to be protected. And then if somebody just came over to me and repeated verbatim what I said and that’s across corporate government and any other thing that’s out there, I just worry about it. Now. We We can have we can dig deep into quantum computing and what that’s going to do to encryption. But I feel like it’s a conversation for another time. Big organisations, particularly what’s happening in the Eurozone around GDPR. And data protection are super important and big companies are being sued for remember, they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t think that the fun wasn’t big enough to offset the gain, if that makes sense. Do you know what I mean? So I worry about the anonymization of data. It’s not has nothing to do with you or me. It’s just that it should get done to the extent that it’s gonna get done and it’s not going to get hacked? I don’t know. I just worry about it a little bit. Is that Is that fair at all?

Fred J. Hegner 25:37
Absolutely. I think we see it in the US with, with HCA. If we go back to health. That’s the, you know, the privacy and confidentiality laws for for consumer health. We see it in now Europe with GDPR. And it’s coming to Asia, more and more companies are taking that on. So we’ve got PDPA laws in Thailand and other countries in Asia, it’s it’s gonna, it’s spreading. And I think that’s overall good thing, I think it’s really, it creates that balance so that there are no road people out there, you know, assigning data to personal information. I’m all though for like, what I call this concept of aggregated or federated data, where you strip out all the personal information, and you can really see vital and important trends. And that’s something that as long as you take the privacy nature out of that, I think there’s real use for the insurance companies.

Michael Waitze 26:35
I agree. Can you talk to me about just from your from your vision, right? How artificial intelligence becomes an even bigger part of the health and I haven’t even said healthcare yet. landscape, but also the health care landscape, right? In other words, if something happens to me, can I self assess by just using the camera on my phone and feeding it into something that can look at it and understand and say, like, yeah, that’s not a big deal. Or feed it some data. And so you should see a doctor, because you could have these three things. Do you know what I mean? Like how deeply embedded does AI become part of the health and healthcare system?

Fred J. Hegner 27:06
Oh, it does. And I think the key is, is that, you know, it has to be tested properly to make sure there, there are no rogue, you know, diagnoses. Now, at the end of the day, every one that has something like a symptom checker, or Google has something where you can assess your skin, if you see a bad mole on your skin, it will tell you with a certain degree of accuracy if you need to go see a doctor, but I think the key is, is really no replacement for a doctor, we talked about health insurance being complex. Well, medicines more complex. I don’t see like the chat. GPT is replacing doctors, they’ll replace insurance companies before doctors,

Michael Waitze 27:51
I don’t think so they’ll tell you why. Like, I don’t even know what to replace the guy that I go to the pizza from because I want just like for extra pepper. Do you know what I mean? It’s so specific, like what people want. And when you talk about personalization, they say, I will just let the data decide. Yeah, but like, again, I go order a coffee. And the woman thinks she’s doing me a favour now because she remembers my last order. But that’s not what I want today. Does that make sense to you, I mean, I just want to double shot and on the triple shot, and she’s still giving me triple I can’t complain. Because that’s what I’ve asked her to do in the past kind of thing. And this, I think gets back to what you were talking about. You need to have that human in the loop as well. So that you can confirm the things that you think are actually true. Even if the data tells you that they are Yeah.

Fred J. Hegner 28:34
Yes, you need that, that pasture at the end of the day, I could see myself doing the same thing. I like the fact that my past orders are recognised. Yeah, I love a price. I can say that, because I like pepperoni. I might like this other Italian sausage. And that can be an option too. But the human there is going to really assess your your the expression of your face, your your emotions, how you’re talking that day, just to get a better sense of what you really want. And that personalization, we’re not there yet. The one thing though, that really interested me is I saw something where in these certain podcasts, there’s now AI four eyes so that when people are not looking at each other, they can focus straight at you. So this whole nature of like the human expression and trying to render and trying to assess how a person is looking on a camera or reacting. There are AI applications for that too. I think we just need to as humans, though, realise that those are not going to instantly improve our lives. If if we’re shy maybe we need to learn how to take courses to have more direct visual contact, right?

Michael Waitze 29:50
Yeah, but on the flip side, right, because I was looking at this till you’re talking about this thing that would would put my eyes actually directly into the camera and even if I looked away, it would still put my eyes looking, I think it’s so bizarre because sometimes I’m looking away to give you the notice that I’m thinking, does that make sense? I’m not ignoring you. And sometimes I will. I will say this exact phraseology. I’m not ignoring I’m just thinking. But this, I think has real expression. I’m doing it on purpose, you can see it. And I don’t want to correct into this because it’s just so bizarre and strange. No,

Fred J. Hegner 30:23
no, it’s creepy. I agree. And I think we’re over basically trying to compensate for this. It’s, it’s interesting nonetheless, just like everything that we’re seeing come out of AI. But there’s just some things where we just have to stop and say, Look, this is the normal way we think humans and either we don’t, you know, I just I’m not comfortable with a robot giving options to me. And I still want at the end of the day, I want to talk to another human so too,

Michael Waitze 30:49
and I don’t think it’s just me, I think I say this a lot to humans make visceral connections with other humans. They don’t make it with robots, and we’re just not there yet. I feel like at the beginning of 2022, and I know this because I was involved that like the metaverse joined the party. And I feel like I feel like it’s sort of towards the end of 2022. Artificial Intelligence, came to the party, grabbed a beer and then said to me to Metaverse pulled my VR because I got stuff to say as well. How do you see these two things like interacting with each other, if that makes sense?

Fred J. Hegner 31:20
Well, the metaverse great gaming applications, great Virtual Reality applications. I’ve seen on with insurance now. Okay, we’re going to create a virtual agency. So customers, maybe the younger ones, will put on their, you know, their Google lens or their their Oculus and buy insurance. I don’t see that happening right away. No way. I just don’t see that now. So it’s a bit of a gimmick there. What I do see though, is a real application. The Metaverse to me still is just has the gaming applications. And we all know if we have children or young friends that gaming is a big thing. And and maybe you know there are risks inherent in gaming, you can lose your your your credits, your tokens, whatever, in sharing that part is exciting. It’s an exciting concept to me, but buying something within the metaverse, I think we’re still while it’s being experimented with, I think we’re still far off from that.

Michael Waitze 32:24
I think it would have been great if you could have bought, like some kind of recovery or recovery insurance on your axes for xe infinity, because I think what it would have done, at least at some level would have been set would have said, Wait a second. an actuary has actually looked at this and said, those things are worthless or something like that. Because if you couldn’t insure it, then maybe you couldn’t actually earn anything from it. It’s just a little bit of an axe I have to grind. But you understand the point, right, is that if you can’t value what it is, then maybe there is no value to it at all, or the value is infinity and either way, it’s not good for anybody that’s involved in it. I don’t

Fred J. Hegner 33:03
know. I I see that too. But I just at the end of the day, I see how how my bank account is dwindling because of Roblox credits. So someone has someone has value there. Now, you know, so at the end of the day, I think that that value is just created by the user, the gamer. And if at the end of the day, though, that I guess the parents are buying the the insurance for for their children unless they’re big gamers too. But I think there’s a huge segment there of an educated customer that knows about insurance. It’s also a gamer. We do know that gamers the average age of gamers keeps going up each year. So as those gamers understand or need insurance for other things outside of the metaverse, they might start thinking inside the metaverse to now are we going to buy property insurance for our Metaverse properties? I wouldn’t go that far yet. But we know we see some crazy things where people are valuing things. And I think there’s going to be eventually some actuarial science around the value placed on some of these Metaverse items. It’ll take time, but I couldn’t see that come.

Michael Waitze 34:14
Yeah, I agree. I don’t think we’re there yet. But I do think we’re gonna get there. Okay, look, I’m gonna let you go. I really appreciate this. Fred Hegner, General Manager Regional Health at Tune Protect Group. Now that we’ve met you and had this conversation. We have to have you back again, just for a follow-up. Thank you so much for doing this today. I really appreciate it.

Fred J. Hegner 34:31
Thanks, Mike. It’ll be my pleasure to come back and have a great one.

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