December 4, 2019 by Jason Contant
Applied Systems announced Wednesday it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Indio Technologies, a software company that digitizes the insurance application and renewal process.
The announcement comes less than two months after Applied acquired Policy Works, a major platform for commercial lines business in Canada.
“We wanted to bring a team that had not only a product solution, but a depth of knowledge, expertise and relationships with carriers on the commercial lines side,” Applied CEO Taylor Rhodes said about the Policy Works acquisition Tuesday in a pre-briefing conference call with Indio CEO and co-founder Mike Furlong.
In June, the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) welcomed Indio as a vendor member and in October, Indio announced its entry into the Canadian marketplace with its workflow management platform for the commercial insurance industry. Indio currently serves about 360 agencies and brokers, mostly in the United States, but also a handful in Canada.
“The CSIO partnership was a meaningful one with us and really spearheaded our going into Canada,” Furlong said.
Going forward, Applied “plans to spend the next several months studying the best way to integrate the most valuable elements of Policy Works and leverage the Indio products and solutions as a technology base,” Rhodes said. “[They are] complementary and an amplification of our commitment to closing this gap that everybody feels – this painful gap – in the end-to-end commercial lines ecosystem.”
Rhodes was referring to what he calls “a broken process full of paper and PDFs, duplicate forms from many carriers that [brokers] have to fill out in a painful way that often ask for all similar information.”
With Indio’s solution, “they’ve created a smart, intuitive way for brokers to pre-fill and de-duplicate a lot of these forms in a smart form library,” Rhodes explained. “They then can send it to their insured customers in a digital way that walks them through the application process step-by-step and de-duplicates. You can fill out one form that can then be sent to X number of carriers, but you fill it out one time.”
The benefit for the agent or CSR is improved workflow management. “It tells them when a renewal is up, what steps they’ve taken, where the customer is in returning their form and really walks them through in a foolproof way the entire renewal or application process,” Rhodes said. “The next step is how we can take this and create digital submissions capabilities directly to the carrier in an API manner.”
Applied has heard brokers want to have a simpler and more user-friendly way to interact with their customer base, “and it ticks that box,” Rhodes said. “It ticks the box of reducing E&O risk because now they have a pristine data capture mechanism. It allows CSRs and producers to be a lot more productive and saves them a lot of time.
“We also have been hearing a lot of loud voices talking about the pain on the insurer side,” he added. “Remember what happens now is these things are captured on paper and through PDF and then somebody has to key them in. Then you email them to a carrier, they sit in an inbox and somebody has to go and open it, then go through and do their quoting process. It’s just slow and laborious. So, the digitization of the submissions process to the carrier will also be incredibly productive for them and quickly increase their quote-to-bind or sales ratio.”
In general, commercial lines products are becoming more important to the brokerage channel and because they’re more complex understand, more advice is needed to get the best product and price, Rhodes said.
“What our product does is enable a broker to be more of a consultant and not have to deal with the administrative headache and we do that by making it really easy for the broker and customer to collaborate mutually on the application,” Furlong said. For example, the broker can pre-fill data, comment on questions, and mark different questions as required if they know a carrier really needs certain questions to be sent through to bind. “Our technology allows the ultimate flexibility of interaction and data completion from both sides.”