Rhoads is a technology company generating milage out of a particular niche: Boosting efficiency for the insurance industry compliance process.
The business is also potentially quite lucrative, according to Allister Yu (pictured), Rhoads’ senior vice president for operations, who noted there are 11 million licensed producers in the US alone.
“Even though it is very niche we see it as very big in terms of how we can build efficiencies,” Yu said.
The New York-based operation has been in business since 2007. It initially focused on the education space for the insurance compliance sector, pivoting later to developing products that address insurance compliance regulations for producer licensing and related functions.
“We provide software that’s [used] by insurance organizations – specifically their compliance teams – to manage, track and maintain product licensing information,” Yu explained during Applied Net 2022 in Nashville on Oct. 3.
The company’s focus has served it well, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. After all, compliance is a necessity in good times or bad
“Compliance has not stopped. Insurance has grown as a market during the pandemic. The need and importance for compliance has grown as well [and] the investment in technology has grown within the marketplace [and] it has enabled us to be successful,” Yu said. “That’s really led to a lot of the successes that we’ve had. People are looking to utilize their technology and more effective ways to augment, and make business processes more efficient, and we play a role in that.”
With more than 40 employees today, the company has grown steadily and today counts close to 100 customers, through which close to 600 organizations are using the company’s technology to manage their compliance functions, Yu said. Agencies, carriers, producers and adjusters are target customers.
“Our customers include three of the eight largest brokers [and] we have the top three P&C carriers utilizing our products,” Yu said.
He added that the company is profitable.
Yu describes the Rhoads core technology as a centralized compliance database, where producer data is stored and managed. AI comes into play to help automate compliance functions such as renewals for insurance licenses.
“We’re able to take mundane tasks and automate them so that users are not having to spend their time processing these types of applications,” Yu said.
Rhoads’ technology also addresses automation for the entire lifecycle including notification engines, tasks and workflow creation.
“We can track day-to-day activities and build metrics from that as well,” Yu explained.
Broadly speaking, the company’s technology works with agencies or carriers to manage the producer lifecycle from onboarding through termination. They take the compliance data and integrate it with downstream applications, whether it is agency management platforms, or commission/underwriting systems at carriers.
“We can implement things like just-in-time appointments, or terminations as well based on licensing,” Yu said. “Integration is a key component to what we do, and it helps build efficiencies within our customers’ enterprises so they can make more intelligent [products and services] in their businesses.”
Yu describes Rhoads as being “agnostic” when it integrates with clients. The company uses standard APIs for importing data and standard APIs for exporting data. There is also a routine standard imports file for producer/profile information.
“We work easily with IT teams with our customers because we say ‘here are the formats. You are able to code them very simply,’” Yu said.
Importantly, the company doesn’t build point-to-point integrations.
“Every customer will have a different HR system, [but] we’re saving time and effort by saying ‘here’s a standard – just be able to push data in this format,’” Yu added.
Rhoads also pushes data to customers out nightly in a standardized format, which is designed to empower them to use the data in as many systems as they’d like.
In addition, Rhoads exports out licensed data that agency customers can put into their agency management systems or use in other ways.
Having API links helps the company integrate in days or weeks, Yu noted, due to standardized formats that the links rely on.
“We’re providing sample files so they know what to expect,” he said. “For us, the effort is minimal. The maximum effort is on our customer side – it can take one week, five weeks, 10 weeks – it’s really up to the customer how long it takes.”