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Electronic Chat with Joshua Snead

Joshua Snead is co-founder of Rainwalk Technology, a SaaS cloud-native platform provider for pet insurance. The company uses machine learning to price and underwrite pet insurance, enabling carriers to quickly and cost effectively offer this increasingly popular product to their customers. Rainwalk provides product expertise, filing support, a pre-created set of endorsements, recommended states to release in and which states to avoid, and creation of forms and policy documents to support carriers as they expand into this new line of business. They also work with a carrier’s agents and marketing teams to help equip them to present and sell pet insurance to their customers.

Please tell us a little about your background and how you came to launch Rainwalk Technology.

I have worked in software sales with some of the largest players in the space, and my co-founder Tong Wu is an experienced enterprise technology architect and actuarial data scientist. He and I have worked in insurance and insurance technology our entire careers. We have seen countless insurance technology projects go on endlessly absorbing the time, energy, and money of insurers without delivering on the promise to deliver new insurance products to market faster.

Because of this, we set out to build a platform that delivers and administers pet insurance quickly and cost effectively to help our carrier partners build their business with end to end support and product expertise. 

Pet insurance is still very much a niche insurance market. Do you see major insurers getting into these sales, or is the market still too small for them?

Traditionally, empty nesters have comprised the majority of the pet insurance market, but as the millennial market continues to age, it has brought significant growth to the pet insurance space. Millennials are postponing major life events such as marriage, having kids and purchasing a house, but they have very high rates of pet ownership and attachment. These millennials have disposable income and view their pets as part of their family and are fueling much of the growth. According to Metlife, the pet insurance line has been growing 20% year over year since 2014.

 Major insurers are making significant moves into the pet insurance space. Just last week, Metlife announced they are acquiring PetFirst, a pet insurance program administrator, to add pet insurance to their portfolio of products.

The high growth of pet insurance isn't the only reason insurers are moving into the market now. Building a presence in the next generation of insurance buyer is critical to the future of every insurer. Carriers like Nationwide are finding considerable success in attracting the millennial market by offering pet insurance coverage, then convincing them to bundle their auto and home to save more. Insurers that don't offer this benefit risk losing customers to those that do.

How does your technology work from the insurer side?

 Our goal is to make it as quick and as inexpensive as possible for a carrier to participate in offering pet insurance. Our cloud-native SaaS platform has three key services: pet rating, pet policy, and pet claims processing. These services are delivered to carriers through the Rainwalk Integration Framework, which is a set of APIs and utilities built to make connecting to legacy systems or modern insurance tech stacks easy. 

  • The rating service connects to wherever you generate quotes, and provides real time pricing quotes, as well as delivers analytics about the quotes that are produced and what conversion rates are.
  • The policy service takes an accepted quote all the way through the buying process, and delivers a complete policy package for delivery to and signature by the potential insured.
  • The claims service takes insureds’ claims submissions, checks for fraud, and calculates the appropriate claims payout based on the terms of the underlying policy.

The Rainwalk Integration Framework has functionality that can send the data generated by the services used directly into the carrier's systems of record, or in summary in a bordereaux on a regular cadence.

We also provide full rate, rule, and form filing services, as well as loss ratio commitments to protect our carrier partners' combined ratios. 

You’re based in Columbia, S.C., which is considered an emerging market for insurtech. What do you like about this location?

Columbia has a long and rich heritage of insurance technology, which means there are established, knowledgeable, and supportive insurance technology executives with a history of commercial success. When we combine this expertise with a very large and healthy university ecosystem in the University of South Carolina and a political environment that’s very pro-business, we have a winning combination.

What are your business’s growth projections for the next five years and how do you plan to achieve your goals?

Our goal is to have 10 insurers up and running with their own pet insurance programs at the end of five years. We are starting by establishing strategic partnerships with three insurers of different types: a personal lines insurer, a health and accident insurer, and a reinsurer. To help insurers evaluate if adding a pet insurance program is right for them, we do a complimentary Customer Discovery exercise to evaluate the potential premium and underwriting profits and see if it's worth evaluating further. Any insurers interested should reach out on our website or to a team member on LinkedIn.

What advice would you give to somebody who has a great insurtech start-up idea?

Insurance is a business with many stakeholders: insurance carriers, agents, insureds, regulators, investors. Any insurtech start-up idea needs to have a very clear vision of who their customers are, and who are the stakeholders that need to be involved and incentivized to make the idea succeed. Grand and extremely disruptive ideas that don’t partner with industry incumbents end up being expensive, time consuming, and bring very high earning requirements to see compelling returns on equity for investors. Our view is the best way to deliver innovation is to partner with the industry where it’s at today, and edify and build it up to a shared better vision of future.

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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.


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