Rapidly growing brokerage Acrisure supercharged its technology initiative last year with a stock deal valued at $400 million to acquire Tulco’s AI insurance practice. It’s getting results.
This goes back for us to 2017 when we decided data analytics was going to be a fundamental part of our business. We built a proprietary system, called Acrivision, to extract all information out of agency management systems and anything else that we had related to clients and markets and really use that as a resource to spot opportunities and grow the business.
The next iteration—AI, machine learning, robotic processing—it just made sense. We’ve seen the power of that in our joint venture that we did with Tulco in 2019. We’ve seen what a digital platform with human involvement can do. That’s a business that we grew with a very narrow lens in terms of the products, two products essentially—life and voluntary benefits—but with those two products, we grew the business 10% or greater per week for 24 straight weeks in the middle of COVID. When we saw that capability, we said we really should deploy these tools and these capabilities across the full company. That’s when we did the deal with Tulco to go from a 50:50 joint venture with a very narrow product lens and to just ingest this capability into Acrisure.
If you look at the digital platform we built in the joint venture, what we learned was just how powerful a digital platform could be in terms of accelerating the rate at which we can win new business, in terms of understanding the marketplace, expanding our audience and having insight into the marketplace. It was very, very educational in that regard and a real proof point as to what digitizing our business and taking the best of humans and machine and putting that together could do. It’s really about how we help our 2,000-plus sales professionals become more efficient and more productive. You look at things like digital fulfillment, customer acquisition, identifying adjacent opportunities and using the technology and the tools as a resource to understand the full needs of the client.
We now have rolled out our digital platform. This is impacting every facet of our business if you look at the front office in terms of the sales function, the back office from a robotic processing standpoint, and even insights into the placement of our premium and loss ratios and loss profiles of our business. Just understanding what we are placing in the business much more fully than we have in the past and being much more thoughtful from a strategic development perspective around the placement of that premium.
On the robotic processing side, in the back office we are saving about 1,800 hours a month in work that’s being done robotically that a year ago was being done by a human. We expect by the end of the year that 1,800 a month will be about 3,000 hours saved. We are not using this to displace people, because as we continue to grow at a very rapid rate, the productivity gains and the efficiency gains are significant. It simply means that we have to hire fewer people going forward, but we’re not replacing anybody. This is all about how we make our folks more productive and more efficient using technology as a driver.
Getting better at all aspects of adoption and embracing the technology. The capabilities we have are differentiated. Like anything that’s new, this takes time to embrace and adopt and evangelize, and we have a fair amount of that going on inside the company right now.
A common quote from producers is, “I wish I was 10 years younger. You are giving me help as a producer that I’ve never had before.” We have almost 10,000 employees now, and having every single employee embrace and adopt, I think that’s the next challenge.
The reason that you do this is to gain efficiencies, to do things at scale that you could otherwise not do at scale. But ultimately the tech-enabling of the business should lead to growing the company organically at a pace we hadn’t grown at before.