Canadian Underwriter

The rationale behind Applied’s acquisition of Policy Works

October 17, 2019   by Jason Contant

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Providing brokers with a complete view of their business – both personal and commercial lines – was among the reasons Applied Systems decided to acquire Policy Works, Applied’s vice president of industry and partner relations said Wednesday.

Steve Whitelaw spoke with Canadian Underwriter the day after Applied announced the acquisition of Policy Works, a platform for commercial lines business in Canada that allows brokers to instantly create legally binding commercial policies.

“The broker will now have a complete view of their business, so they can have all the analytics and the action-driven insight that our analytical platform will provide, but now it will be inclusive of that commercial data that will come in through Policy Works,” Whitelaw said.

Applied is working on a “super tight” integration of Policy Works into its personal lines Epic and TAM platforms. “That being said, I think it’s important for people to understand we’re also going to continue to be integrating with the other broker management systems that currently integrate to Policy Works,” Whitelaw said. “There’s competitors today that integrate with Policy Works and we will maintain those integrations. Out of the gate, there will be no impact, so customers would continue to deal with their sales contacts and their service contacts that they’ve historically dealt with.”

Leveraging commercial lines data is important, considering the profitability of the commercial lines segment generally exceeds that of personal lines. And the vast majority of commercial lines business written through brokers, Whitelaw noted. “We wanted to make sure we had the capabilities offered to our brokers to be able to leverage that [commercial] opportunity for themselves, grow that part of the book, make themselves more profitable and in so doing, the acquisition of Policy Works became an attractive option for us.”

The ability to bring scale – through resources and a larger customer base – to the Policy Works product was another benefit of the acquisition, part of the succession plan of the ownership group of Policy Works.

“The resources we can bring help accelerate that journey that Policy Works was on and doing a great job with,” Whitelaw said. “We have more customers than what Policy Works had, so if we can offer out that Policy Works capability to these customers, we’ve obviously made an impact to a greater number of brokers.”

As for integrating different technology platforms between the two vendors, a product architect will look at the best way to do so, Whitelaw reported. “We can solve that. The technology, that’s the easy piece,” he said. “The more exciting piece is the fact that we’ve now got the Policy Works team inside Applied. With the acquisition, we are getting that depth and breadth of experience that the Policy Works people have had over the last number of years where we can bring their insights into the integration opportunities and product capabilities, so we can expand those.”

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