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VIPR: making delegated underwriting easier

InsTech’s Ali Smedley speaks with Paul Templar, Founder and CEO at VIPR, about the company’s approach to partnerships, the importance of efficient data exchange and how VIPR is encouraging the use of artificial intelligence within the company.

Member Spotlight: VIPR

What does VIPR offer to the insurance industry?

Founded in 2009, VIPR has a focus on delegated underwriting. This is where an insurer gives a third party (MGA) the rights to underwrite on its behalf, within certain boundaries. In the Lloyd’s market it is referred to as “binder business”, and in the US it is “program business”.

The data exchange needed for this arrangement is where VIPR comes in. The third party usually sends regular reports back to the insurer, or in some cases via a broker, so that the insurer can monitor its underwriting performance. Our software aims to make this journey of data as smooth as possible.

We aggregate the information into a single cleansed dataset, allowing underwriters and brokers to analyse the data more easily.

What data challenges does the industry face within delegated underwriting?

The main way that data is being exchanged is still through an Excel or CSV file; in some cases, PDFs are even being used. Either way, it is quite a basic mechanism.

From the sender’s point of view, this is an easy process. For the receiver, however, there is a lot of processing that needs to happen before it can analyse the data. This is a big challenge that we aim to solve at VIPR.

Another key challenge is the delay in receiving data. The information in an output report could be 60 days old before it is even sent to an insurer. By the time an insurer looks at it, it could be as old as 90 days. Using this outdated information to make business decisions is not ideal. These decisions include adjusting the rating or pricing that the MGA is using, introducing new exclusions, or asking the MGA to reject certain business. Whatever we can do at VIPR to speed up the data exchange process is of benefit to the insurer.

How does VIPR enable data exchange between parties?

We offer the ability for data to be exchanged in a variety of formats. The lowest level of entry is attaching an Excel spreadsheet to an email, and we offer everything all the way up to system-to-system integration using APIs. This includes a portal that allows third parties to log in and upload data.

VIPR aims to cater for all levels of ability, but when it is on the lower end we work with customers and our partners to help them reach a more efficient way of transferring data. We aim to make data exchange as real-time as possible.

What companies are you partnered with?

VIPR is partnered with a range of businesses including Insurity, AdvantageGo and Guidewire. We are currently onboarding through Guidewire’s partner programme. They have a few products that are relevant to us: PolicyCenter and ClaimCenter.

VIPR consumes bordereaux (reports that have been sent from a third party), cleanses the data and then feeds it into PolicyCenter.

We are interested in partnering with companies that have complementary products to us and those that our customers are already working with.

What benefits do your customers get from this VIPR ecosystem approach?

We do not expect our customers to be system integrators. We are aiming for an approach where we are pre-configured and plugged into systems that our customers are likely to already be using, making the setup of VIPR within the organisation as simple as possible.

Another benefit is the speed at which data can be viewed. When we are plugged into the existing platforms or systems that our customers are using, they can make underwriting decisions on a much more timely basis. This can include, for example, quickly identifying if a third party is doing something they should not be. This can then be rectified within a matter of days, rather than weeks or months.

What do you think the future of ecosystems will look like?

It would be great to get to a point where there are simple integrations at scale with technology vendors across the insurance market. This would allow a customer to choose from a range of products and then be automatically working together.

At VIPR we are focused on the end journey of the customer to make sure that the technologies they are choosing are as easy to implement as possible. There is currently a lot of time and money being spent on implementations. In the future, a more ecosystem-driven approach could drastically improve this process for the customer.

There are many complementary products out there – not every company is competing. In the future I expect to see more companies working together to offer customers capabilities straight out of the box.

How does VIPR choose which companies to partner with?

We generally want to partner with products that are already widely adopted in the market. For example, Insurity’s platform is used by a large number of MGAs in the US. By partnering with the company, we are providing value to a significant portion of our customers and potential customer base.

How does VIPR utilise artificial intelligence in its offerings?

We are very interested in what’s happening within the artificial intelligence space, particularly large language models and generative AI.

VIPR is doing a lot of work behind the scenes to explore potential use cases. We have also launched a number of pilot concepts to show how AI could be used. This includes within the products we provide to customers as well as improving the efficiency of day-to-day tasks within the business.

We are also currently running an internal competition at VIPR to encourage our employees to think about the best ways that AI can be used within the business.

What companies are you looking to connect with?

VIPR is keen to connect with any company that can help with the supply and transfer of data – for example, companies providing administration systems to MGAs.

We would also like to engage with any potential customers. With the Lloyd’s Market instigating possible changes in how organisations manage and share delegated data, I think some managing agents will have to start reviewing the systems that they are using in the coming months. We would like to hear from any organisations that think we would be able to help.

VIPR is also looking to expand geographically. We already have an established customer base in the US and Europe, but are looking to extend our reach in the US specifically.

What should readers do if they want to learn more?

A great place to start is our website – we have a range of information about our products there. You can also contact me directly at [email protected] or our Chief Commercial Officer David Sweet at [email protected].