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Speed to Market: From Startup to $78M DWP

As Seen in Digital Insurance

SUMMARY

From Startup to $78M DWP Publicly Traded Company, With Strategic Support From the Right Technology Partner. Maison Insurance Co. Credits its Rapid Growth to a Focused, Experienced Management Team – and to an Advantage Called “Extrasourcing,” Provided by WaterStreet Company.

As Doug Raucy, Maison Insurance Co. president and CEO, tells the story, Maison’s quick success was a matter of hard work and industry savvy, plus the foresight to build an alliance with an industry-centered tech partner that trimmed Maison’s workload while delivering consistent peace of mind.

“We’ve achieved growth and prosperity thanks to an experienced management team, which consistently has executed on a focused plan. And, from the beginning, we’ve been able to attract independent agents who are committed to selling our products,” Mr. Raucy said recently.

“But another significant factor in our success has been technology. Since day one, Maison’s strategy has centered on the ability to roll out new products in new states quickly and effectively. That’s a recurring theme for companies who partner with the insurance-tech specialists at WaterStreet Company.” Equally important, he said, has been extraordinary user experience for both agents and insurers. “That’s another WaterStreet strong point. Easy access to real-time information through their portals has been a major differentiator for us.”

Maison Insurance Company is a Louisiana domiciled company that began business in 2012. In 2013 Maison introduced its home-owners, manufactured-home and dwelling programs in Louisiana. The company participated in the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (“Citizens,” for short) depopulation program from 2012 to 2017, managing to assume more than 10,000 policies.

In May, 2015, Maison was approved to write in the Texas market, and in September of that year their Texas manufactured-home and wind/hail programs began. Homeowners’ multi-peril insurance followed close behind in December, 2015. In 2017, Maison entered the Florida market with a Citizens take-out of 3,500 policies. Lately Mr. Raucy’s company has begun to offer wind-only policies in the voluntary market.

Maison had more than 57,000 policies in force as of July 31, 2018, when its direct written premium in the preceding 12 months totaled $78.6 million.
Most of that represented organic growth, Mr. Raucy said.

At every step of the way, he noted, access to affordable technology tailored to insurance-industry concerns has freed him and his team to focus on long-term goals. “If I were to leave you with just one take-away,” he said, “I’d advise every insurance company to find a tech partner that goes
beyond delivering software and services to give you what WaterStreet calls Extrasourcing.”

WaterStreet spokesperson Carol Barton explained. “We’d been serving the industry for more than 15 years when we realized that our solution really does transcend ordinary outsourcing. So we adopted the term Extrasourcing. It refers to the opportunity, for P&C companies, to do much more without staffing up or investing heavily in IT, through WaterStreet’s talents and technologies.

“Doug Raucy has it right,” she said. “As insurance companies look for ways to modernize and update their policy management systems and services, digitalization and digital engagement should be top-of-mind. Smart companies find ways to use technology to touch and service existing customers, acquire new customers, increase operational efficiencies and grow their businesses.

“At a minimum,” Ms Barton said, “P&C companies are wise to insist on access to the features and processes that our clients enjoy:

  • Comprehensive underwriting rules and edits with sub-second return of information from internal and external sources
  • Fully integrated policy and claims systems for all lines of business
  • Automated and digitized document management and distribution
  • Comprehensive billing with multiple payment plans and methods
  • A configurable rating engine able to make extremely quick changes
  • Anytime, anywhere access via flexible, easy-to-use agent and consumer portals
  • The option of self-service channels
  • Digital distribution channels that offer touch points to customers wherever they are

“Speed to market is just one benefit of our approach,” she said. ‘With WaterStreet’s help, you can bring up a new product in a new state in six to eight weeks, while our competitors can take up to six months. You’re not only making your life a lot easier; you’re beginning to make money a lot sooner.”

As Mr. Raucy sums it up, “Technology played a very important role in our growth. In addition to pure organic growth based on our ability to get new products to market quickly, the technology systems we use have dramatically improved agent and customer service, increased efficiencies in processing our business, and reduced our operating costs.”

Carol Barton

Vice President – Business Development and Marketing, WaterStreet

What are the drivers behind PAS replacements? How do the integrated functions and analytics-friendly features of these systems help insurers operate more efficiently?

Intense competition, continuous change (including industry and technology disruption), and customer demand for digital channels and self-service: All of these factors drive PAS replacements. At this point, integrated functions and analytics-friendliness are givens. But the really advanced systems offer “headless” (GUI-free) solutions that optimize microservices within layered architectures. This approach fosters differentiation in two ways: By facilitating continuous delivery and deployment, it enables insurers to stand up new products and roll out changes more rapidly. It also provides instant access to the single, comprehensive data source that a carrier needs for risk evaluation and critical decision making.

How do the latest policy admin systems help carriers differentiate their offerings and respond more fully to customers’ expectations?

Carriers can earn the loyalty of customers who want to do business anywhere, anytime, by building intuitive portals that promote ever-more-exceptional user experiences. Those customers want to buy, sell, and conduct research via text, email, Messenger … and platforms that are just now emerging. Amid rapidly changing market dynamics, the most successful carriers are the ones able to modify operations and processes quickly and seamlessly. That’s where the extreme flexibility of today’s advanced policy administration systems pays off. And that flexibility depends on effectively engineered, multilayered software architectures like those that WaterStreet Company employs.