WaterStreet ready to make some noise with new policy admin platform

WaterStreet ready to make some noise with new policy admin platform | Insurance Business America

WaterStreet ready to make some noise with new policy admin platform

After more than 22 years of quiet growth, WaterStreet is gearing up to make some noise.

The Montana-based insurance software company plans to formally release its next-generation insurance industry software platform later this month as it seeks to scale for a broader audience.

It “takes all the pieces that we’ve learned, all the functions, all the feedback we’ve gotten from agents and puts it out to the marketplace,” said WaterStreet vice president Nathan DeSpain (pictured).

DeSpain explained that the newer platform and a push for more aggressive growth follow years of focused, careful growth.

“We are to a point where we’re ready and we can scale,” he explained. “In times past, we’ve just been organically making sure that we can serve our existing customers and slowly taking the next client.”

Gregg Barrett, an insurance industry veteran with a background in property/casualty and flood lines of business, launched WaterStreet in 2000 with the goal of helping the industry boost efficiencies, reduce costs and redirect energies on core objectives. The company’s existing WaterStreet Insurance Platform serves a wide slice of the industry, including P/C insurance carriers, managing general agents (MGAs), insurtechs and related startups. It’s used in areas including commercial lines, standard and non-standard auto lines, flood, umbrella and general liability, home policies and multiperil.

Today, the company employs more than 90 people. It is bootstrapped and profitable, DeSpain said, and conducts business in all 50 states.

WaterStreet produces software for policy administration purposes, DeSpain noted, and it is operating with nine major customers.

The platform facilitates a streamlined workflow for agents and enables a faster speed to market for product managers. In addition, it allows product managers and data analysts to get a complete picture of their book of business through WaterStreet’s business intelligence product. Overall, WaterStreet’s technology automates as many business processes as the client wants automated, from accounting to marketing and distribution, DeSpain said.

There are a number of policy administration technology companies in the marketplace targeting different aspects of the business. They include Sapiens, a large software giant that boosted its presence in the space in recent years with acquisitions. Duck Creek Technologies is another player, with technology that helps manage core systems such as policy administration, billing and claim systems. Zywave-owned ClarionDoor has also dabbled in the space, among many others.

Ideal partner

DeSpain said he sees WaterStreet operating as an “ideal” insurance industry partner, offering software and services in a wide swath of areas for legacy carriers and newer insurtechs alike.

“We also cover the … back-office services, if you will – print and distribution, payment office reconciliation, call center chats, those types of things,” DeSpain said. “When a customer comes to us, we’re in a unique position to offer a complete package.”

The company’s software helps startups as well because it adds infrastructure they wouldn’t ordinarily have.

“It’s very beneficial for those that are in the startup mode, where maybe they don’t have the resources or human capital to get things off the ground,” he said. “They could leverage our software and services.”

For veteran businesses, similar benefits are possible, he added, because WaterStreet’s software enables “taking care of some of the things that maybe they just don’t want to take care of, again by offering a complete suite over and above just the software side.”

Layered

According to DeSpain, WaterStreet takes a layered approach in its programming for the newer platform, using elements such as JavaScript and a “persistent layer” – a programming approach that gives the user access to data hosted within the web service offered. There are also APIs on the cloud-based platform for easier connections.

The platform relies on “traditional out of the box business intelligence” programming regarding standard data and reports coming out of the transactional part of the system. WaterStreet also deploys machine learning in at least one key area.

“We have been utilizing a risk model that we’ve been training to determine which factors influence high risk policies versus others,” DeSpain said.

The ultimate goal is to be able to produce quick and actionable insight for industry users, so insurers can adjust their underwriting process accordingly based on the scoring they get.

Several models in this vein are coming in the future, DeSpain added.