2020 served as the digital tipping point for some organizations to create new operating models and ways to generate new business. CoEfficient Underwriters is one of these companies. When the possibility of meeting face-to-face at conferences with insurance agencies was no longer an option due to the pandemic, CoEfficient Underwriters needed a new way to market tougher classes like healthcare and temporary staffing.
The MGA recently partnered with IVANS to automate their appetite communications and market products to the largest network of agencies directly within management systems. To learn more about how partnering with IVANS benefits not only CoEfficient Underwriters’ business but agencies as well, we recently caught up with their EVP and Co-Founder Katie Hughes, CPCU, and VP Lisa From.
Christen Kelley: Tell us about CoEfficient Underwriters and the types of business you write?
Lisa From: We’re a specialty Workers Compensation Program Administrator, with a focus on the tougher classes like healthcare and nurse staffing as well as other temporary staffing industries. We also have a niche program for independent contractor drivers in addition to captive creation capabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the insurance marketplace in many ways. While many carriers and programs have pulled out of healthcare and nursing, we are still actively writing these risks.
Christen: How did you previously promote your appetite to agents? What challenges were you facing with this method?
Lisa: Historically, in addition to conferences, we would simply visit agents we already had relationships with. While we had a lot of contacts, we wanted to expand on that and open new doors.
Katie Hughes: We’re a smaller company. We don’t have a large boots-on-the-ground sales force. Then when COVID-19 happened and we couldn’t do face-to-face visits, we needed a way to reach agents that we’re not currently working with. We wanted to create more awareness among agencies that write these types of classes and find new ones to partner with because we’re an open market.
Christen: Was the pandemic what motivated you to become more automated with your agents?
Lisa: It was part of it, yes. In the past, conferences were a big opportunity for us to make new contacts with agents and prospective insurers but COVID shut all of that down. However, another part of it was our industry is moving into the digital age. As older generations retire, we’re seeing the younger people taking their place moving away from face-to-face interactions. People want an easier way to make contact with companies via online interactions.
Christen: Why did you choose to partner with IVANS?
Katie: IVANS was attractive because of the sheer number of agents that use it. The outreach is so much greater. We typically distribute to 1,000 agencies whereas with IVANS, the reach is hundreds of thousands. In addition to the number of agencies we could reach, having appetite embedded in agency management systems so all agents have to do is search within their workflow to find us was another factor in our decision.
Christen: Tell us about your future plans and where you see CoEfficient Underwriters going?
Lisa: For the past couple of years, we’ve been focused on becoming more digital and automated to help our agents become more efficient. We’ve increased our online presence by moving into social media (LinkedIn and Instagram) and rebranded our website. Baby boomers are retiring and younger people are moving into the insurance sector. It’s a different space that we’re working in with agents so being a digital business is very important. Having a digital presence builds credibility. Without an online presence people can’t learn about you so it’s important for building your business’ reputation. In general, we have also started writing more accounts whose operations are more digital such as healthcare staffing companies that hire and place employees almost entirely on their own app-based software programs. This is a space we understand and we plan to expand our workers' compensation platform in unique ways like writing gig economy workers.
Christen: Do you think that working with IVANS will help drive better relationships with your agents?
Lisa: Given that our core products are very unique captives they don’t sell themselves, having conversations are still critical for us versus an agent getting an automatic quote. We see IVANS helping us to build more relationships with more agencies. Once we build that relationship with agents, they understand how it works, they know how to sell it with their insureds. This is really to open new doors for us.
Christen: Is there anything you would like to see become more digitized or other areas you think technology can help you?
Lisa: We’re excited about the possibility of IVANS being integrated into additional agent platforms. We see it as a stepping-stone to continued digitization. That’s the direction we want to go. We are still and will always be a people-oriented company and have people-oriented processes, but technology will help us grow our network so we can foster the new relationships we’ve developed.
Access IVANS Markets online or from within your management system to review CoEfficient Underwriters’ latest appetite.