Jason Janofsky’s role at Betterview is a highly strategic one. As VP of Engineering, CTO, he finds himself collaborating with nearly everyone in the company, from data analysts to designers, scientists, and senior management. “I spend my time managing teams and solving problems,” he said to me recently when we sat down to chat. “I’d like to think that I apply a “critical” eye to the product, ensuring Betterview stays on the right path. I love solving complex problems and finding the best ways to accomplish a task.”
You were one of the original employees at Betterview. What were the challenges facing the company at the beginning? How did you overcome them?
When I started with Betterview, we had just started working on our PropertyInsight product which, ultimately, led to our pivot away from drones. We knew customers valued the imagery and reports we provided with drones, but not at the price and speed that were required for a pilot to drive to a location and fly a drone. Our challenge was creating a process that would deliver the value of a drone inspection, but do it in a quick, scalable, and inexpensive way. As we started on PropertyInsight, we continually questioned if our technology was solving customer need and giving the transparency required to help an underwriter explain why a policy change might be needed.
In addition to product planning, as a startup there is a need to carefully implement process. A few folks in a garage don’t need much process — a small group has near complete trust in itself. As a startup grows, process is needed to make sure that organizational trust is maintained and the level of quality being produced is constantly raised as more folks are brought into the org. Of course, one doesn’t add the policies of a fortune 500 company when there are only a few people on the team. Deciding when to add process, is more art than science at times. Over the years, however, I think we’ve done a good job of adding process at the right time to ensure that we behave like a mature company that clients can trust. One way in which we continually demonstrate this is by performing a yearly SOC2 Type2 security audit. We don’t see this level of compliance very often in the InsureTech space and have been proud of maintaining it for the past couple years.
How did Betterview’s proprietary Roof Scoring product come into existence?
Betterview’s roof scoring comes from cutting our teeth while selling into underwriting departments, a space where the bar for transparency and quality is higher than it is for quoting applications. Underwriters need a chain of reasoning to explain decisions that affect home and business owner policies. That need for transparency led us to build our spotlighting feature where every identified risk on a roof is clearly outlined and feeds into Betterview’s Roof Spotlight Index. When a Roof Spotlight Index is low, an underwriter can then show their client exactly what led to the lower score. To us, the goal was transparency, and that was non-negotiable. We wanted to stand out from more opaque, black-box scoring methods that we have seen out in the field.
Today, I’m really happy to say that we have taken our product to another level entirely with PropertyAction. We provide a true platform where clients are able to surface high and low risk properties based on their own, custom business rules, integrating property intelligence from Betterview and other third-party data. As our PartnerHub continues to grow, these fusions of Betterview and third-party data becomes even more numerous and insightful.
As a VP of Engineering, what keeps you awake at night?
Making sure our systems are stable, fast enough and we making the right decisions with the time/resources we have available for our customers.
A critical component is knowing and understanding customer need. I have certainly lost sleep, at times, wondering what we might do to better suit our product to our clients. I definitely feel heartened by the Betterview team and its heavy background in insurance at its intersection with technology.
Our team is full of folks that came up in the insurance industry. We have seen plenty of startups suffer from lack of experience in the field they are trying to “disrupt.” Betterview doesn’t suffer in this way; we like to think of ourselves supplementing the industry rather than “disrupting” it. This view comes from a deep respect of the industry we work in and its history, because, for a lot of us that grew up in insurance, it’s our history too.
What do you do outside of work? What would people be surprised to know about you?
I have two kids: a daughter, 9, and a son, 4. My daughter is into competitive gymnastics and my son likes to go to swim lessons and drive around in a power wheel.
When I was younger, I used to play the bass guitar in bands. When I retire in 30 years, or so, I plan on being a woodworker. I have no experience in woodworking but like the idea doing something zen like sanding planks of wood all day long.
You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Betterview is on a mission to turn high-quality data into actionable insights for the P&C industry. We foster a collaborative environment, working together to find the best solutions for our customers. If you are interested in joining a strong, innovative team, head over to the careers page on our website or contact us directly.