Vertafore’s 2015 Partnership Announcements

At NetVU 2015 held from March 25 – March 28, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Vertafore executives took an opportunity to brief the attending industry technology analysts (that including my attending from my company – Market Insight Group, Ltd) and the press about their new partnerships with Birst, Microsoft Surface, and Mitek. Market Insight Group believes that Vertafore is taking the correct nations to broaden the manner in which the firm provides capabilities to its clients. However, we do not believe that Birst will fulfill their stated objectives with insurers or that Microsoft will fulfill their perceived objectives with producers for the reasons mentioned below.

Birst

The objective of the partnership with Birst is to bring business analytics capabilities to agencies and carriers. In the accompanying March 26, 2015 press release to the executive briefing, analysts and press were told that “Birst can enable agencies to interact with customer data, apply analytics, and identify cross-selling and retention opportunities and enable carriers to derive insights on consumer demand for insurance policies and evaluate strategies for optimizing agent-to-customer relationships.”

All true for the insurance agencies. Providing business analytics to agencies makes sense assuming the agencies have the resources to conduct the iterative, curiosity-driven initiative of business analytics.

And it is true for carriers as well. BUT

Insurers have a very long history (at least back to the 1970s that I personally experienced when I was a young pup working in the marketing / marketing research departments of insurers) of using BI capabilities. Insurers have been using BI solutions from technology vendors such as Business Objects, Cognos, IBI, SAS, SPSS, and others to conduct research on all manner of customer, producer, agency, market, claims, and other issues.

I seriously doubt that carriers are going to throw away the BI solutions they have invested money, time, and training in because Birst has “seen the light.” Might some carriers add Birst to the mix? Sure. But not to the extent that Market Insight Group perceives that Birst might want.

Microsoft Surface

The stated objective of the partnership is to provide discounted Surface Pro tablets to agencies and producers. The desired objective is to increase Surface Pro market share.

Given the (very) significant market share of Android and Apple tablets (and smartphones), I was truly shocked to hear about this partnership. The Vertafore executives told us that they didn’t expect producers to stop using their Android or Apple smartphones. But producers not using their Android or Apple smartphones is not the point (and won’t be happening in our universe anytime soon anyway).

I question how willing producers will be to carry their Android or Apple smartphone, their Android or Apple tablet, AND the Surface Pro. I also question whether Microsoft really believes a significant number of producers will decide to switch from their Android or Apple tablets to the Surface Pro tablet regardless of the discount. From our perspective, Market Insight Group believes this feels like a desperation play on Microsoft’s part to gain market share in the tablet space.

Mitek

The Vertafore executives and associated press release stated that the objective of this partnership is to give agents the ability to on-board and service customers quickly and efficiently using a mobile device and camera. Further, Mitek’s mobile imaging technology will automatically capture images of vehicles and identify documents, extract relevant data, and auto-fill information to the Vertafore products.

(Is anyone else thinking of USAA’s initiative to capture relevant information from a check image and use that information as a virtual deposit slip to the USAAs member’s bank account?)

But to this partnership … Market Insight Group thinks it makes a great deal of sense and if or when combined with an e-signature capability from Vertafore’s 2014 partnership with DocuSign will create a very efficient customer-facing solution.

This post is from …

This post is an extract from Market Insight Group’s QuickNote report “Vertafore’s Partnership Announcements at NetVU 2015 – First Impressions & Opinions.” I also discuss Vertafore’s 2014 Amazon Web Services and DocuSign partnerships in the QucikNote.

All QuickNote reports are available for free. You can access and download this report.

 

I’d appreciate hearing what you think about the effectiveness of these Vertafore partnerships.