SEI Sphere Reflects on the Future of Affinity Distribution


The following is part of a series on affinity distribution and the future of insurance through the lens of PIMA Company Members who are seeking innovative ways to address industry challenges. Discover their visions for the future:

About SEI Sphere

Since 1968, SEI has been providing technology-driven solutions for some of the top financial institutions in the world. A lot has changed during this time. Through its managed services business arm, SEI Sphere, the company continues to evolve its cybersecurity and managed services to meet the needs of businesses in this highly regulated industry.

In fact, SEI Sphere has become a complete Managed Detection and Response (or MDR) solution and a sharer of cybersecurity threat intelligence in the financial services sector. Its robust cybersecurity platform combines cutting-edge third-party tools with proprietary systems and best practices to protect clients from emerging digital threats.

The company is now bringing that solution to market so other businesses in the affinity space can experience the same cybersecurity postures as SEI and some of the top financial institutions in the world.

The Future of Affinity Distribution

Steve Bomberger, head of SEI Sphere, attests that the increasing level of cybersecurity risk will partly shape the future of the insurance sector. Bomberger explains that it's almost inevitable that a company will become the victim of a cyberattack. In addition, technology risk no longer sits with the CIO alone. The entire senior leadership team has a fiduciary responsibility to get involved and understand whether they’re doing enough operationally to protect the company from cybersecurity risk.

Naturally, many companies are turning to cybersecurity insurance for added protection. The move can certainly help reduce the financial risks associated with cyberattacks, yet it’s also beneficial to the insurance sector as a whole. With the increase in policyholders, insurers are much more aware of digital exposures and risks. They’re also more adaptive, conducting near-continuous risk monitoring and assessments that have led to the creation of new products and offerings.

Other companies are focusing more on the technology front, and for good reason. Innovation in the cybersecurity space is happening at a rapid pace. Bomberger believes that this is largely due to the lack of cybersecurity talent available in the market. With such a resource shortage, it's best to try to integrate tools and services into a single cybersecurity solution to deliver the business outcomes expected around cybersecurity. After all, it's difficult for any company to properly secure operations without full visibility that provides context, causation, and correlation of attacks.

Bomberger believes more work still needs to be done on a number of fronts. One area, in particular, is the ability for organizations to share cybersecurity threat intelligence at the speed that it’s ingested. Getting information out to other organizations when threats arise can help better arm the entire cybersecurity industry to not only protect businesses, but also quantify risk exposure in the future.

Complicating matters further, as Bomberger explains it, is an organization’s ability to integrate all its cybersecurity threat intelligence across departments, making the task of securing operations mostly segmented. If the different systems can't “talk” to one another, it increases the chances of a breach. After gaining initial access, cyberattacks can easily make lateral moves deeper into the network and gain access to sensitive information.

More importantly, cybersecurity in all its iterations calls for a change in the very nature of the conversations on the topic. Instead of only discussing cybersecurity as a risk, positioning talks around how cybersecurity and MDR solutions support business improvement efforts can strengthen the case for greater investments in this arena.

This is especially true when organizations don’t have the same types of measures regarding the many digital risk factors, including those associated with cybersecurity threats. Fortunately, repositioning discussions makes buy-in from the C-suite no longer as much of a question mark as it has been in the past.

The Next Generation of Insurance Industry Leaders Can Push the Sector Forward

As the next generation moves into the affinity market, Bomberger suggests focusing on a few distinct areas: Agility is chief among them. The ultimate goal is for a company to find a means for rapidly adapting, responding, and remediating to both internal and external factors. Better tools are continuously flooding the market, so it’s important for insurance professionals to stay on top of what the newest technology has to offer.

Building trust with customers through greater transparency and authenticity will also be critical. Consumers now expect this, and such efforts can bring you closer to the people and businesses you intend to serve. When you better understand their wants and needs, you can develop more personalized solutions — another expectation of today’s customers.

Furthermore, Bomberger states that a strong digital presence can help drive awareness. SEI Sphere, for example, uses its website and blog to educate consumers on important information and provide advice on how to best protect their businesses the same way SEI protects its own.

If you’re interested in learning about how PIMA can help your company meet customer expectations, drive growth, and connect with other insurance industry leaders, contact us today.

Published on June 6, 2022.

PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group-sponsored benefits market.