InsTech London’s Ali Smedley speaks to Paul Templar, CEO at VIPR, about the company's product offerings, its user group events and the future of data management.
Ali: You changed your role to become VIPR’s CEO in 2019. Can you talk a bit about your role and what the change was like?
Paul: I've been with VIPR since the company was founded in 2009 - I was the company’s third employee after the founders. After 10 years, the founders wanted someone else to take the reins. I was keen to carry on pushing the business forwards, so I changed roles from Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to CEO. Shortly after I became CEO, we received investment from Tenzing private equity. The investment has allowed us to restructure, enabling us to get the foundations right for our next period of growth.
Ali: What products does VIPR offer?
Paul: We are best-known for Intrali, a bordereaux management tool that allows customers to transform and validate data ultimately storing it in a consistent format, which we brought to the market in 2010. Insurers, brokers and MGAs receive bordereaux (usually Excel-based data reports although we can process multiple data formats), and our software takes the data and validates it, cleanses it, checks against contract terms and conditions, and then produces an exception report. Intrali is used by over a third of the managing agents within the Lloyd’s market, and we have 40 customers using the product worldwide.
Another one of our products is Intarga, which is a flexible due diligence tool. We load the system with insurance-specific predefined data fields and workflows, but it is highly configurable by the end-user. They can set up their own data capture points and workflows, and they can control access to the product within their organisation. It also links seamlessly to Intrali. Interest has grown in Intarga as it complements Lloyd’s recently launched Delegated Contract and Oversight Manager (DCOM). Intarga allows our customers to demonstrate the third-party due diligence process that has been completed with a full audit trail. When the APIs are launched by Lloyd’s in the future, the product will interact directly with DCOM.
Once the data has been processed it can be used for deriving insights that can be used to make data-driven business decisions. Active Reports is the toolset that can be used for this and it’s powered by Power BI. We have a regularly updated set of reports that allow our customers to obtain instant data insights
VIPR also provides the VIPR Managed Service (VMS). If required, clients can be supported by certified trainers in using our products.
Ali: Can you talk about VIPR’s company journey?
Paul: Prior to VIPR I worked with the two founders, Richard and Bob Brown, on another business: Moneynet. It was one of the first personal finance comparison websites before MoneySuperMarket. I knew Richard and Bob well, so they invited me to join VIPR. Bob’s background as a Lloyd’s broker, meant you had a lot of connections within the Lloyd's market. He understood the challenges being faced around quote and bind portals and bordereaux management. We started to build our first products back in 2009 and have grown from there.
Ali: An important part of product development at VIPR is your user group events. Why did you start these sessions?
Paul: We started the user groups several years back, and normally meet three times per year. Their original purpose was to give updates to our customers, but now we share industry insights and have guest speakers. We also recently had some interactive breakout sessions where our customers participated in real-time workshops providing valuable feedback and being part of our innovation journey. We also tend to have a networking event afterwards, which allows our customers to get to know each other and share common challenges and experiences within the delegated authority sector.
Ali: Who are VIPR’s clients?
Paul: Many of our clients are within Lloyd’s and the London market, but we also have several clients beyond that field. Clients include UK general insurers, as well as companies based in Bermuda and Europe. We are also in conversations with several North American businesses and see many opportunities we can develop further afield.
Ali: VIPR has focused on the delegated authority sector. Are you planning to expand into any new areas?
Paul: Delegated authority business is where our focus has been since the conception of VIPR. We will now expand globally and have also recently launched our new product: VIPR Portal. Our high-level objective is to simplify the way that data moves around the markets by making it easy to consume, process and share that data. Portal is the first phase of that. The product sits between the party that supplies the data and the user of our platforms.
Ali: What do you think the future of data management will look like?
Paul: 10 years ago, everyone thought that we’d be transferring data via XML, but here we are today still using Excel. The simple reason for that is that Excel is an easy way to transport data. In an ideal world, we’d connect system-to-system by putting APIs in place, but for some companies this is difficult. The industry needs to take baby steps. We need to put in place the right mechanisms that allow companies to carry on doing what they do best but making the process more frictionless and automated.
Ali: How do you think AI is going to improve data management?
Paul: We have advanced algorithms and technology built into our flagship product Intrali that drives our mapping process. AI and machine learning can go a long way to improve certain processes, but it must be taken gradually. Companies using AI need to get the balance right between what the AI can do through automation, and where human intervention is required.
Ali: Why did VIPR join InsTech London as a corporate member?
Paul: We have been keen to join the InsTech Community and feel now is the right time. It made sense given VIPR’s change in ownership in late 2020 and will support our growth strategy moving forward, building our brand presence. It's great to have the opportunity to connect with other tech firms and understand the challenges that they're facing and their advancements so that we can learn from them. It's also a great platform to showcase what VIPR can offer to the insurance industry, globally.
Ali: What kind of companies are you looking to connect with?
Paul: We would like to connect with technology providers as we are keen on creating partnerships and nurturing collaborations. Right now, our aim is to raise our profile so that existing clients and prospects understand the vast scope of what we can deliver.
For more information on VIPR, go to viprsolutions.com