Innovating Insurance and Optimizing IVANS
| Connections Editor | Jul 16 2021
Reid Holzworth, formerly of TechCanary, is the current CEO of IVANS where he leads its strategic direction. Thanks to Holzworth's strong history of being at the forefront of insurance industry technology, we sat down with Reid to learn what he has in store for IVANS since taking over last November, what his vision for the future of the insurance industry is and what we can expect from IVANS during Applied Net 2021. Read on to find out!
Connections: You came to your position with IVANS in November 2020 with a background that’s inclusive of experience in both broker and insurer distribution environments. Can you share a bit about your background and how it led to your current role?
Reid Holzworth (RH): Sure. I was 19 years old when I started my first business and continued to run my own businesses until 2007, when I joined my friends’ insurance agency. I watched them grow the agency from a very small business to about 1,000 employees, using technology to help scale.
I eventually decided to start my own agency, and built my own technology on the Salesforce platform. I wanted a system that would work specifically for the challenges and goals of my business, and I called it TechCanary. It ended up being really successful, which pushed Salesforce to reach out to me about bringing it to the wider independent agency market. After that, TechCanary became the No. 1 insurance solution on the Salesforce platform and was acquired by Applied Systems in 2019.
Following the acquisition, there was an opportunity to bring my insurance and technology expertise to IVANS. Being a well-established company, IVANS had all of the relationships with the carriers and agencies/brokerages, so it was well positioned to revolutionize the industry even more than it had been doing. And that’s where we are today. We are creating this superhighway for servicing and distribution between agencies/brokerages and insurers, and I can’t wait to see how it will continue making a big difference in the industry.
Connections: The latest Agency-Insurer Connectivity Report reveals how digital initiatives can be designed for the benefit of all stakeholders. What are some other key insights from the report that agencies and brokerages should take note of?
RH: I think it’s important to note that when we asked agencies to rank their demand for automated interface with insurer partners on a scale of 1 to 10, 71% of agencies chose either a 9 or 10. This is the highest ranking for automated interface demand we have seen in the past six years of putting this report together, which is promising for the future of the industry. The more demand there is from agents and brokers for insurers to provide digital interfaces, the more insurers will digitally transform to secure that business.
Another insight from the report that is encouraging for the industry is the increase in the use of e-documents and Messages download. The use of e-documents and Messages is high among agencies and brokerages – about 69%. The exciting part is that insurers are increasing their use, reporting 65% of insurers send e-documents and Messages. This is 19% more than last year. While there is still a lot of work to do, we are seeing that the pandemic really accelerated the digital transformation of the industry .
Connections: Commercial lines continues to be a pain point for agencies/brokerages and insurers. Given feedback from the report, how are you and the team at IVANS working to improve this process for both parties?
RH: IVANS has been working on streamlining the commercial lines distribution workflow for several years. We began with appetite communication, known as IVANS Market Appetite. This allows insurers and MGAs to automatically communicate their appetite to agents and brokers directly within their daily workflow. This saves time for both parties as agents/brokers don’t have to leave their management system to find insurer appetite information and insurers can quickly update their appetite in their system and have it automatically update in Market Appetite.
Recently, IVANS released IVANS Distribution Platform. This includes IVANS Market Appetite and adds the ability for agents and brokers to send standardized data to insurers and MGAs for quoting. So, rather than having to collect the data, enter it into an insurer portal or send the data via email, the agent or broker can send the application data to the insurer directly from their management system. The agent/broker does not have to leave their management system to send multiple applications, saving them time. And, insurers don’t have to rekey information from the application into their system, saving time and potential errors.
We have recently welcomed Indio, Semsee, Bold Penguin and Relay to the platform, too, and they’re now providing their agencies and brokerages with access to more markets. We definitely have more in our pipeline that we will be welcoming soon, including support of additional Applied commercial lines within the new IVANS Distribution Platform. Stay tuned! It’s all very exciting!
Connections: In December 2020, you shared some thoughts on your vision for the future of the insurance industry with PropertyCasualty360. Have your thoughts changed since then? What about your vision is most important for Applied Client Network members (and readers) to understand?
RH: No, my thoughts are still the same. I feel that it’s so important for the insurance industry to become more connected, to streamline workflows with technology to create more efficiency for all stakeholders.
Anyone in the insurance industry can tell you why this is so important. The current process to create, submit and quote commercial lines policies is extremely inefficient. It requires agents/brokers to leave their management system, research applications, call insurers or MGAs, go back-and-forth with customers for applications, send bulk PDFs to insurers or rekey all of that information into insurer portals, and then just wait for the insurer or MGA to respond with a quote or declination. It’s so time consuming and inefficient!
Using technology to automate and digitally connect all of these processes will make the process quicker, remove the friction and will ultimately benefit the end customer. We are in the process of creating the solution as we speak, which is super exciting. It will then be up to the industry to adopt these processes for the greater good.
Connections: Finally, Applied Net 2021 is coming up in August. Is there anything you can tease about sessions you’ll be involved in that attendees won’t want to miss?
RH: IVANS is excited to be a part of Applied Net. We are sponsoring the Insurer Connectivity track this year and working with Applied Product Management and many Applied Client Network members to provide content on IVANS Exchange, Applied Epic Interface, Download and some carrier content as well. We are also part of the Commercial Track, along with Applied, Indio and other SMEs talking about digital distribution and the future of commercial lines.
For more interviews with Applied Systems executives, click here. Plus, if you like our Re:Applied podcast, be sure to check out Reid's Insurance Technology Podcast.
Tags: Commentary , Applied Net , Applied Systems , Digital Agency , IVANS Insurance , IVANS , Innovation , Reid Holzworth