RECAP — TechBrew:AM w/ Brad Rasmussen

At our first TechBrew:AM of 2024 on a snowy January morning, we hosted featured guest Brad Rasmussen. Brad shared key takeaways from his technology career and his strategy at Merchants Bonding Company, including innovation, agility, cross-functional teams, and superior customer experience.

Brad Rasmussen, a visionary technology and innovation leader hailing from Iowa, stands at the forefront of technological advancements, software development, and infrastructure. Throughout his career, Brad has been a steadfast investor in Iowa’s technology ecosystem and an involved board member of the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI). 

With a decade-long tenure as the Chief Information Officer at Merchants Bonding Company, Brad is on a mission to infuse an innovative spirit into the surety bonds space. As Brad put it, Merchants Bonding Co. ensures that construction projects in Iowa are completed and tax dollars fulfill their intended purposes.


1.  Fostering Dynamic, Cross-functional Teams

Merchants Bonding Co. boasts a unique organizational structure within its technology teams. Brad ensures that team members are cycled through various areas of the organization, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the teams they support. The organization employs a six-week pitch process for web development, encouraging new and innovative ideas. This process involves cross-functional teams to ensure that developments align with the needs of both internal and external customers.

2. Agile Innovation for Customer Experience

Technology change is driven by pains in the customer experience. By closely monitoring customer interactions with technology, the organization can swiftly pivot and implement software updates in as little as one day. This commitment to delivering superior customer experiences prompts ongoing evaluations of systems and upgrading legacy systems to modern platforms. Even newly implemented technologies are considered part of a continuous innovation cycle.

Internal challenges also spark innovation. For example, a scalability issue in underwriting talent led to the adoption of underwriting automation, resulting in efficiency gains of up to four times faster completion of work.

3. Superior Customer Service

Brad acknowledges that the insurance industry is not renowned for being tech-forward. However, he is determined to infuse a technology-focused spirit into insurance to enhance customer service. For Brad, technology serves as a key differentiator, enabling the organization to stand out in terms of user experience. He emphasizes using technology to improve customer interactions, ensuring customers think of Merchants Bonding Co. first.

4. Team Empowerment

When discussing his leadership strategy, Brad shifts the focus away from himself and highlights his commitment to supporting and empowering his employees. His leadership philosophy centers on granting autonomy and freedom to his teams, enabling them to reach their full potential.

In his closing remarks, Brad encourages the audience to embrace continuous learning and the application of new and emerging technologies. His parting words resonate with a commitment to ongoing education: “Learn until you can’t. Don’t ever choose not to learn.”

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