Insurance agents looking for a faster and easier way to provide coverage are starting to benefit from a partnership between CoverForce, a new insurtech API, and the ISU Insurance Agency Network, a community for independent insurance agents.
CoverForce powers bindable quotes that can be accepted and completed in a “one-click purchase,” said Cyrus Karai, co-founder and CEO of CoverForce.
ISU’s Quote & Bind platform works with carriers’ preferred APIs, like CoverForce, to see many quotes and guide workflow from a chosen quote through to completion. Great American Insurance Group has been an early adopter of the combined API and platform.
“Not many insurtechs come with large distribution partners. CoverForce paired with ISU was a ‘no-brainer’ for us,” said Josh Robinson, digital distribution manager for digital small commercial at Great American Insurance.
The combination of Quote & Bind with CoverForce is responsive to issues with quotes and helps bring agents’ business to Great American, according to Robinson. “They programmed a fantastic platform, very minimal errors that ever pop up. They’re quick when it comes to support. If one of the ISU agencies is having an issue there, sometimes they’re fixing it before I can even reach out to the agent,” he said. “Now we’re expanding to other capabilities, so they’re starting to bring other agencies to us, to a point on the platform. We’ve had situations where an agent for one reason or another is delayed in getting an integration up and going with us. CoverForce has a white label solution for those agents in the interim.”
Karai founded CoverForce in 2020 with Behram Dinshaw, chairman, and Kaivan Wadia, chief technology officer. Dinshaw had led small commercial and middle market business centers for Travelers. Wadia had managed software development at Amazon. Karai has experience in financial services and insurance, both in banking and consulting, at Credit Suisse and PwC.
“CoverForce was essentially founded with the mission to bridge the digital gap that exists between agencies and their preferred insurance carriers and partners, to really help enable that digital flow of data that exists,” Karai said. “Typically the industry has been quite focused on more manual flows of transferring PDFs or emails in certain cases. We’re trying to help work with agencies and carriers to help digitize that communication.”
ISU now has about half of its 230 members using the CoverForce API since beginning to work with the insurtech in May, according to T.J. Ryan III, CEO of ISU Group. “The feedback that we’ve gotten from the members is quite positive,” he said.
With CoverForce now powering ISU’s Quote & Bind, application forms can be completed in minutes, with quotes coming from carriers in seconds and one-click policy binding also in seconds. This is an improvement on a process which typically takes 10 to 15 minutes for independent agents using a carrier’s site on their own otherwise, according to Steve Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Catalyit, a technology services provider for independent agents, who is also a member and former working group chair of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), also known as Big I.
Quote & Bind is limited to nine carriers who will respond to inquiries on the platform, keeping its roster of underwriters exclusive, as Ryan explains. “Carriers don’t want to be diluted, and be on a platform where you get 40 quotes,” he said. “Carriers like to talk about their service levels, the product design and the form of the insurance coverage. Most agents only look at the price. So the carriers are reluctant to be shopped.”
Along with Great American, other carriers on the platform include AmTrust, Chubb, CNA, Employers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide and Travelers.
At the same time, the CoverForce partnership with ISU is unique because of the number of carriers on board as possible destinations for independent agents to write coverage, according to Anderson. “What’s different about this announcement is the work that’s been done with APIs to the carriers, and that’s an aspect that carriers have been slower to adopt actual API’s,” he said. “Opening them up to their agency forced to help streamline some of that process.”
Through Quote & Bind and CoverForce, ISU’s agents in markets where carriers have dropped coverage can reach other markets to make up for that shortfall, Ryan noted. “Agencies in California don’t have any product to sell. They’re really in a bad way right now,” he said. “This gives them the opportunity to develop a vertical and sell all over the country, which is a pretty powerful thing if you’re an insurance agent.”