5-Star Insurance Technology Providers

THE HIGH TECH ACHIEVERS

Global funding for insurance technology is surging – in the third quarter of 2021, insurtechs raised a total of $3.1 billion, according to Willis Towers Watson, making it the second largest funding quarter on record. That’s hardly surprising, considering that the world is still mired in a global pandemic that’s been highly reliant on advanced, innovative technologies to enable businesses to prosper throughout challenging times. 

“The insurance industry is undergoing a seismic digital transformation, both to better align with consumers’ heightening expectations and also to enable smarter, faster, and better processes for insurance professionals,” says Jason Liu, CEO of Zywave, one of IBA’s 5-Star Insurance Technology Providers. 

Greg Council, vice president of marketing and product management at 5-Star Insurance Technology Provider Parascript, agrees that insurtech is becoming increasingly dynamic and innovative, especially with applications based on artificial intelligence. Another area that’s hot, he says, is applying machine learning to unstructured data to speed underwriting and claims. 

“The insurance technology provider segment is at a really interesting place,” says Ian Jeffrey, CEO of 5-Star Insurance Technology Provider Breathe Life. “While the beginning of the insurtech revolution saw distributors coming in and attempting to replace carriers and advisors, we’ve now moved into the next phase, which is all about enablement, and that’s where Breathe Life sits. Modern insurance technology providers are coming in and replacing the legacy technology that carriers implemented decades ago, and the changes are huge. It’s a really interesting time as carriers and advisors are moving towards the adoption of modern technologies, and I think we’re about to see a lot of companies emerging with the goal of enabling them.” 

Winning innovations 
Against the backdrop of this evolving landscape, IBA surveyed brokers to find out which technology providers have been the most dogged trailblazers in the digital realm. 

Breathe Life won in several categories for its Breathe Life Hybrid Distribution Platform. Jeffrey notes that according to the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association, an estimated 60 million people in the US are either uninsured or underinsured. Breathe Life aims to target those and other potential customers by making it easier, faster and more cost-effective to buy life insurance. 

“While we are the first technology provider to provide this level of experience to carriers, advisors and consumers, what really makes us unique is our vision to become the operating system of modern life insurance distribution,” Jeffrey says. “This operating system, Breathe Life, will be the platform that connects all channels – existing and new – while putting the customer at the center of everything.” 

And the numbers look good. Carriers on the Breathe Life platform have seen a boost in sales of more than 23%, along with a 26% increase in premiums and a 33% decrease in the cost of customer acquisition. Breathe Life has also recorded a 65% decrease in time to issue and 45% rise in its advisor adoption rate. And it’s taken the average error rate from 30% down to 0% while earning a 94% customer satisfaction score from carriers. 

“The technology we have built is several steps ahead of existing life insurance distribution technology,” Jeffrey says. “The way we approach the industry as a SaaS platform that is continuously improving means that our clients always have the most cutting-edge and user-optimized system in place.” 

Parascript won in two categories for its FormXtra.AI platform, which manages the intake and processing of documents for claims, prior authorization requests and medical case reviews. This documentation is often submitted as a monolithic PDF file that requires staff to review, separate and then locate key data to index; FormXtra.AI automates these time-consuming tasks. 

“Our solutions can take a large data dump of medical records and automatically identify, separate and parse them at automation rates of close to 90%,” Council says. “This enables a wide range of applications, such as records data preparation needed for claim review or to support quality-of-care audits where it can be costly to assess medical conditions through manual review.” 

In addition, the platform features pre-trained capabilities – knowledge of unstrutured data built into machine learning models so clients can concentrate of more important requirements. A smart learning system underpins all of FormXtra.AI’s training and optimizing capabilities and reduces the need to find skilled staff to spend days (or weeks) on data analysis. 

Parascript software parses more than 5 billion pages of unstructured data each year. FormXtra.AI was able to help one client transition from a system with approximately 50% automation – where the company had to review every output – to a system with 75% automation and zero required validation. For another client, FormXtra.AI was able to reduce the medical records workload from 22 employees down to two. 

Council attributes Parascript’s selection as a 5-Star Insurance Technology Provider to “our approach on making complex parsing and analysis of unstructured information approachable as well as reliable. Often technology solutions come with a price: either they are simple at the cost of usefulness, or they are incredibly powerful but not easy to command. Our approach is basically the equivalent of a Mars shot: to make solutions that are highly reliable and useful for complex unstructured data needs without the need to bring data scientists and developers to the table.” 

Zywave won in seven categories for its Sales Cloud platform. For lead generation, Sales Cloud provides instant access to millions of commercial prospects with robust insurance insight such as current broker, carrier, OSHA violations and DOT citations, pulling data from more than 40 sources. Marketing automation empowers users to automate and streamline communications with simple communication and campaign functionality. And Sales Cloud’s configuring, pricing and quoting (CPQ) functionality automates the mission-critical steps of each buyer’s journey. 

Zywave has had seven acquisitions in past two years – the most of any insurtech since 2019 – and counts all of the top 100 US insurance brokerages as customers. The company had 274 product releases in 2020 alone, maintains more than 800 employees across three continents, and processes over 30 million quotes a year. 

“Zywave is the fastest-growing major software platform provider and the only insurtech provider to offer front-office solutions for independent insurance agencies across all lines of business,” Liu says. “Zywave offers agents and brokers an all-in-one, cloud-based platform, providing sales, marketing and management solutions to power growth – their very own modern RevOps machine. The industry’s attention is shifting from back-office efficiency to focusing on how to attract new customers and grow existing customers. And that’s where Zywave is the clear leader.” 

Advice for future contenders
So what suggestions do Breathe Life, Parascript and Zywave have for other insurtechs? 

“Be customer-obsessed,” Jeffrey says. “Focus on the needs of not only your customers, but also – and almost more importantly – of your customers’ customers. It’s all about creating world-class user experiences and meeting customers where and how they want to be met. That should always be your number-one priority.” 

Council advises fellow insurtechs to “approach any prospective customers in the voice of applied technology in the form of their real business problems and processes and not some abstract, feature-laden presentation. Speak about outcomes or results, not about the technology itself.” 

Finally, Liu notes that Zywave “utilizes an open API structure because we believe collaboration is crucial in this space. We would encourage all software and technology vendors to embrace that view of open architecture, standards and integration. It’s the one of the best ways to ensure our customers enjoy a positive and productive user experience.”

5-Star Insurance Technology Providers

  • 360Globalnet
    360SiteView
  • ACCLAIM IQ
    Agent Licensing Compliance Management
  • Agentero
  • Appian
    Appian Connected Claims
  • Appulate
  • Certificial
  • CogniCor
    CIRA platform and AI-enabled digital assistant
  • Convr
    d3 Underwriting

 

 

Client and Policy Management

  • Appulate
  • Breathe Life
  • Certificial
  • CogniCor
  • Cover Genius
  • Embroker
  • GloveBox
  • Patra Corporation

 

Social Media Management

  • Zywave

 

Commission Management

  • Patra Corporation

 

Document Management/Automation

  • Appulate
  • Certificial
  • CogniCor
  • Cover Genius
  • Embroker
  • GloveBox
  • Parascript
  • Patra Corporation
  • Zywave

 

CRM

  • Agentero
  • Zywave

 

Quote Management

  • Agentero
  • Appulate
  • Breathe Life
  • CogniCor
  • Cover Genius
  • Embroker
  • Patra Corporation
  • Talage
  • Zywave

 

Claims Processing and Management

  • 360Globalnet
  • Appian
  • Appulate
  • CogniCor
  • Cover Genius
  • Embroker
  • One Inc.
  • Parascript
  • Patra Corporation
  • Zywave

 

Prospect/Sales Management (Non-CRM)

  • Agentero
  • Breathe Life
  • CogniCor
  • Zywave

 

Predictive Analytics

  • Agentero
  • Groundspeed
  • Zesty.ai

 

Insurance Rating

  • Appulate
  • Insureon
  • Zywave

Methodology

To select the best insurance technology providers for 2021, IBA enlisted some of the industry’s top experts. During a 15-week process, the IBA research team conducted one-on-one interviews with brokers and surveyed thousands more within IBA’s network to gain a keen understanding of what’s important to insurance professionals when selecting a technology provider to work with. 

Technology providers were asked to put forward a nomination, detailing how their solution stands out against those offered by competitors and what makes their technology the best in the market. IBA then reached out to brokers, asking them to rate their overall satisfaction with the insurance technology providers they dealt with. 

Companies that received a score of at least 80% were named 5-Star Award winners in recognition of their excellent service and performance.