Got Policies? IVANS Service Helps Feed Commercial Lines Producers
Robert Regis Hyle | March 23, 2016
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers. With its new service, IVANS Market Appetite, IVANS allows agents to see a list of U.S. insurance carriers ranked by market appetite at the moment of opportunity.
This new search engine improves productivity by reducing time spent on the traditional ways of identifying carrier appetite, including referencing carrier risk guides, accessing carrier websites, search engines, historical agent experience, or directly contacting underwriters on an individual basis, according to Matt Foran, vice president and general manager of IVANS Market Appetite.
The product evolved from Applied’s acquisition of EvoSure last September. EvoSure was in existence for about two and a half years and was made up of broker and carrier people who saw a need that was not met in connecting agents with carriers that had an appetite for risk.
“We had a lot of experience in distribution and market selection,” says Foran, who came to IVANS from EvoSure. “The problem is finding the right people for the right risk. We built EvoSure because we couldn't solve those problems. The domain expertise was there, but it lacked the sophistication of non-industry technologists so we recruited people from cutting-edge technology firms and paired them with people who understood the problems and appreciate the role of the underwriter and the agent and we built this tool for them.”
“Applied had a vision of creating a Google-like search engine to help agents,” adds Foran. “(EvoSure) had a similar version with a twist that it could be done at the individual level. (The acquisition) was a marriage of vision, people, and technology.”
IVANS Market Appetite went live last December and Foran reports there are around 50,000 users with access to the tool. Its power comes from the fact an agent has to make just a few clicks to obtain a view across the marketplace to see what carriers are willing to write a particular risk.
Foran explains IVANS started with eight commonly-booked commercial lines products and he expects the number will expand to roughly 90 products by the end of this year.
Acceptance by agents has been important, according to Foran, who points out some agents use the tool three times a week, although the company is not ready to release official figures just yet.
“We are working to identify the amount of premium we are supporting, but we know already it's a big number and the feedback from the agents has been tremendous,” he says.
IVANS is just beginning to engage more carriers, although the system works independent of their engagement, points out Foran. The solution aggregates data across multiple systems and third-party data and infers answers with historical trends for a majority of the carriers in the industry, according to Foran.
“Their engagement simply means how we represent them becomes far more specific and up-to-date and provides them with some ranking advantage,” he says. “We just started signing clients. We have data that helps determine what these carriers are most likely to do. Historical trend doesn't always reflect what they want. Most go through a profitability review every six months.”
Being a client makes things more active on a real-time basis, though, explains Foran. Trends don't define what the insurers don't want.
“The submissions they decline is a tremendous waste of operational efficiency and profitability,” he says. “Being a client of ours offers the ability to improve rankings on search results. It helps to position them more effectively relative to non-participating carriers.”
IVANS releases code every two weeks. Foran believes the evolution of the product is fast and targeted and the direction the new company is headed is where their customers tell IVANS they want to go.
“We are empathetic to the needs of our users,” says Foran. “We want their direction so we can understand their business and their pain, how our tool is working, and what they want it to do. They want us to give them a heads up and where things are going in the next 120 days and the available markets to pursue opportunities. We want to supply answers before someone has to ask the question.”
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