Shore Underwriting Needed an Efficient Quote and Bind Platform to Launch an MGA
Background of Shore Underwriting
Michael Shore and Dave Alexander started Shore Underwriting in mid-2019. They both have been in the professional liability insurance space for over 20 years. They thought it is a good time to create a business based on all the best bits from all the companies they had previously worked at and incorporate them into their own company that they could build and grow together by using their experience, contacts, and connections. Collectively, it would be probably the greatest chance they have to use all the things they had learnt along their way and make it into a successful operation as they had seen it works before.
What products do they offer to the customers?
Shore UW’s main niche is professional liability, and they offer that to Architects Engineers, Insurance Brokers, Accountants, and all that professional sort of side of the business as well as technology companies. There's a lot of tech startups in Canada so they also offer a package of insurance that they were usually required to get up and running, and of course Directors and Officers liability. They offer a broad range of cover for Directors and Officers who are raising money or already at an existing company and would help protect the company's balance sheet really by offering that cover. These are the two main lines of business at the minute.
Why did Shore UW decide to use technology and how they were working before implementing Insly?
Shore UW had a manual process in place and previously used Excel spreadsheets as databases and did mail merges with Microsoft Word, it wasn’t very efficient overall and there was two main reasons. From a regulatory standpoint, as a Lloyd’s Coverholder they needed a secure system and a place that’s very auditable for the regulators to check their accounts and the second reason was for speed. Speed of entry and speed to market with quote their product. So Shore needed to enter the data just once in one place instead of two or three times in different places. Shore UW needed a system that could provide a fast turnaround for their clients, their brokers. They submit a submission to Shore UW and usually their clients are starting their business and want to get on with it, so what Shore UW does is they can provide less than 24-hour turnaround to their clients and by having a good system in place they can do it very quickly.
How Shore UW found and chose the right solution among lots of IT systems available in the market?
Shore UW very much knew what they wanted, and they had worked with different systems in their different companies they had worked and knew it’s not possible to build a business and a first-class MGA without a first-class underwriting system. The buying process and choosing process was very straightforward for them though there are a lot of choices in the market and a lot of companies offer different solutions.
They saw Insly’s Head of Sales Märtin Kosk about three or four years ago in Canada, Märtin told Michael a bit about Insly, its background, how many MGAs Insly has helped in the past and he also demonstrated the system to Michael and Dave. Michael and Dave Immediately figured out that’s exactly the system they wanted and needed since they were working with up to ten different systems before. After they saw Insly’s system they were convinced and knew they don’t need to shop anywhere else, that was an easy decision for them.
What are the benefits of using Insly?
In the sector of insurance that Shore UW is in, usually there are very small accounts but at a very high volume, so they have to turn them around quickly. Shore UW will receive a submission, they will get information on the application form and they have to be able to enter it into a system and make an underwriting decision rather quickly,
What the Insly platform has allowed them to do it's so slick and very streamlined. Shore can submit one entry into the system and make very fast decisions. Insly take the information, rate it and generate a quote letter. From this quote letter, Shore then quickly generate a binder followed by the full policy documents, all in one simple place, so they are able to capture all that underwriting information. This is required for their capacity providers and for decision making on whether or not they want to write to that account quickly, turning quotes around between 12-24 hours after receiving them.
Shore UW is pleased with having a very small operation at the moment, with only two Underwriters and two support staff. The back-end office is now taken care of by Insly, so Shore no longer need four or five back office staff doing data entry for them.
Why 24 hours not 20 seconds? Shore could probably easily say within an hour and they probably can, and a lot of quotes actually are done in two or three hours, it's just a matter of the volume coming in, the time it takes in the queue to get to each one. so usually say within the business day Shore can usually turn it around, but 24 hours seems a nice number, though, if it came in at three o'clock you can get it out the next day before three o'clock. Most of the companies that Shore UW insures are startup companies, and insurance isn't the most important thing on their mind and startups want to take care of it very quickly, relatively, inexpensively, and put it to bed and move on with what they need to be doing so it worked out very nice.
Insly’s platform is web-based so during this pandemic, Shore UW is able to work from home or really from anywhere on the system so immediate impact it really has streamlined their business and it made them able to develop deliver on our prompts
Lastly, Insly has absolutely increased their sales. Shore has been able to turn things around and when they turn things around faster, they will get more submissions in, because their clients realise that Shore can turn it around very quickly and therefore Shore UW has seen quite an uptake on a per broker basis by being able to offer fast service and that's what their brokers want, they want the path of least resistance and that's what Shore UW has been able to deliver with this new system, Insly!
With over 10 years of experience in insurance industry and 2 years of being an entrepreneur, what would be the advice to entrepreneurs or who think about quitting their job?
The first thing that could say is the highs are very high but the lows are very low. You win an account or you meet budget that month it's an extreme high, you're like oh my god! We did what we said we would do and it's an amazing feeling but sometimes things don't always work out the way you plan and the lows can be very very low. The advice, have a very clear plan a clear concise plan that you want to do and if you're not working on something that makes that plan happen or work get off of it and get back on to doing something that makes that plan work. Another one that seems so obvious but simple, work with people you know like and trust that's a big one for me.
You might have a plan to have this capacity in place or that product have a backup plan if that doesn't work out have a backup plan for that backup plan, so no surprises if this goes off the rails you have a contingency plan in place that that can be executed right away and you don't have any surprises or gaps and you can get back on track and keep focused on your plan. Michael recommends having a team with complementary skills. Not everyone is great at everything and what you are good at. Find out what you're not good at and work with someone alongside you that is good at that, so you have complementary skills together and that is another big lesson.
The nice thing about the MGA setup is we can be agile and nimble we can be able to take advantage of an opportunity or a gap in the market and jump in and create a product and to be honest, with having an underwriting system that we have now through Insly, we can really capitalise fast on that we can create a new product we can set it up in the system and add on to our regular suite of products that we already have so those are kind of the main sort of things I've learned over the last two years of being an entrepreneur in the business.