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Meet Updater: Thomas Steffes, Director of Technology, Updater Insurance Division

We’re pleased to introduce the Director of Technology of Updater’s Insurance Division, Thomas Steffes! Tom has over a decade of experience in backend development and working with startups to bring their visions to life. From the hospitality industry to the healthcare industry, Tom has a proven track record of developing apps and technology that enrich people’s lives.

As the Director of Technology, Tom will be leading Updater’s Insurance Division’s engineering team.  The team is working to create new products that will allow users to purchase insurance within Updater. With Tom at the forefront of our technology for the Insurance Division, we are excited to see how his team will build a great insurance step on Updater’s platform.

We caught up with Tom to learn more about his extensive background and what excites him about the insurance opportunities that lie before Updater.

How did you come to work at Updater?

I was introduced to Updater through a technology recruiting firm that Updater works with in Charlottesville, Virginia. After a few conversations and being exposed to the Updater culture, I knew this was an opportunity I could not pass up.

What did you do prior to Updater?

I managed a team of twenty-five engineers as the Chief Technology Officer of a healthcare technology startup called Locus Health.  During my time at Locus, we worked with the University of Virginia Health System to build one of the first platforms to connect children who have recently gone through heart surgery with their medical team after being discharged from the hospital. We were able to do this by integrating with the health system electronic medical record (EMR) on the backend. It was technologically challenging but incredibly rewarding knowing that we had made such an impact on parents and their children who were going through a tough period in their lives. I hope to bring the same impact to my work at Updater.

Tom at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Tom at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

What gets you most excited about Updater’s Insurance Division?

Let’s face it — moving is hectic. Finding new insurance can be overwhelming. Everyone has to experience both multiple times throughout their lives. Building something that improves both of those experiences, which are traditionally associated with negative feelings, is an exciting and motivating prospect for me. Couple that with working with the world-class team that Updater has assembled, and I’m definitely excited about going to work every morning!

What do you see as the biggest problem facing the insurance industry?

My experiences purchasing insurance have not always been stellar. I have found the process long, confusing, and complex.  I think creating an easier way for movers to get the coverage they need and helping buyers be more confident about their purchases will make a significant impact.

Tom at Hoover Dam, Lake Mead

Tom at Hoover Dam, Lake Mead

What is a common misconception about the insurance industry?

I think a common misconception is that insurance companies make money by denying claims. However, the truth is that insurance companies are best off when they have long-term, satisfied customers.

Do you have any moving horror stories?

One time I helped a really good friend of mine move his family from Washington D.C. to Charlottesville, Virginia. We got all their stuff into the new house, only to find that the house had all sorts of issues. One day later, we packed everything up again and moved the family temporarily into an apartment in my sister’s basement. They lived there for two weeks, at which point we packed everything up again and moved them to the new place, making for three moves in two weeks!

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