Insurtech weekly news roundup: April 01

Partnerships, promotions and a key hire

Insurtech weekly news roundup: April 01


By Mark Hollmer

This week there are new insurtech partnerships between Gradient AI and Socotra; Ascend and Stere; and also Bold Penguin and Pathpoint. Vertafore launched a new commercial submissions platform. Insurtech venture capital firm Brewer Lane Ventures promoted two key people. Sure, an insurance technology company, hired a veteran of Google, and Walmart as its new chief revenue officer.

Gradient AI/Socotra

Gradient AI and Socotra are partnering to bring AI-based automation to insurers building underwriting and claims products.

Gradient is an enterprise software provider focused on artificial intelligence products and services for insurers. Socotra provides core platforms for insurtech MGAs and tech-focused insurers.

The partnership calls for Gradient AI to integrate its AI products with Socotra’s cloud-based insurance core platform. By doing so, the idea is to help insurers leverage Gradient AI’s large dataset - which includes tens of millions of policies and claims – through Socotra’s platform.

Here’s the reasoning behind the partnership: Claims and underwriting professionals need the most accurate and precise data to know when they can automate quotes or claims, or when they need more experienced staff to provide closer examination. Insurers improve their bottom line as a result by more closely assessing risk policies, streamlining processes and cutting claims expenses, the companies said.


Ascend and Stere are linking up with a focus on jointly helping brokers, MGAs and carriers modernize their digital infrastructure.

Ascend is an insurtech and insurance payment platform that provides clients automated all-in-one financing, collections and payables. Stere provides a digital ecosystem environment for insurance programs, with a focus on MGAs, insurtech MGAs and embedded insurance programs, as well as their partners such as carriers, fronting carriers, reinsurers and brokers.

Plans involve both companies joining to digitize key pieces of the insurance value chain. In addition, they will jointly focus on fueling their customers’ growth in what the companies refer to as an “anchor partnership.”

Bold Penguin/Pathpoint

Pathpoint and Bold Penguin are partnering to boost digital access to excess & surplus products and services for property/casualty insurance agents.

Pathpoint is a digital specialty wholesale broker that combines technology and service with the idea of offering agents bindable quotes from multiple E&S carriers in minutes. Bold Penguin is an insurtech digital exchange that was acquired by American Family Insurance in early 2021.

The partnership is designed to bring streamlined access to Pathpoint’s technology platform for non-admitted products to users of the Bold Penguin Terminal. Pathpoint gets to expand its reach and Bold Penguin boosts its market capacity.

The first phase of the integration involves Pathpoint offering its general liability coverage for a number of small business categories on the platform, expanding on Bold Penguin’s abilities with the addition of non-admitted products.


Insurance technology company Vertafore has launched its new commercial submissions platform.

The platform is designed to automate and simplify commercial quoting through the whole insurance progress.

It prefills information from Vertafore agency management systems and third-party sources to reduce redundant, manual data entry. In addition, it connects agencies and carriers in real time, allowing for exchanges of structured data and real time quoting. The platform also allows for real time digital collaboration with clients in order to help them finish their applications accurately and quickly.

Brewer Lane Ventures

Chris Choi Downer and Rohan Malhotra have been promoted to general partner at Brewer Lane Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm focused on the insurtech and fintech sectors.

Choi Downer previously developed experience in early-stage analytics and insurtech investments during stints as a principal at both Sorenson Ventures and XL Innovate. Before that, he was at Goldman Sachs in the Alternative Investments and Manager Selection Group.

Before Brewer Lane, Malhotra led growth and expansion initiatives at insurtech brokerage Newfront. He also invested in early stage fintech and insurtech start-ups as a founding investor at Argo Ventures.

Brewer Lane Ventures launched in late 2019.


A retail technology veteran has joined insurance technology company Sure as its chief revenue officer.

Rafe Petkovic will focus on building strategic partnership involving Sure’s embedded insurance and SaaS products and services.

Petkovic has more than 15 years of sales, operations, product and merchandising leadership experience from companies including Google, and Walmart. Before joining Sure, he was senior vice president at Klarna, a Swedish fintech company that provides online financial services including payments for online storefronts.

Sure CEO Wayne Slavin said in prepared remarks that Petkovic will be “a pivotal player” in the company’s accelerated growth strategy and development plans for 2022 and subsequent years.

Sure, launched in 2015, has clients including global carriers who build embedded insurance products on the company’s SaaS infrastructure to distribute, service and scale digital insurance. It is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif.

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