Graham Company invests in tech accelerator program

Graham Company | February 26, 2020

The insurance brokerage industry is on the cusp of something special. As more and more investment dollars are pumped into innovation and new technologies, brokers are starting to transform their business and risk management operations in order to provide the best possible client experiences and stay relevant in an increasingly digital world. One firm to recognize the importance of embracing innovation is Graham Company (Graham), one of the largest insurances and employee benefits brokers in the US. The Philadelphia-headquartered brokerage, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020, recently announced its investment in BrokerTech Ventures (BrokerTech), a broker-led investor group and accelerator program, designed to build the next generation of technology solutions for insurance agencies and brokers.

Spotlight

It sounds simple: an insurance premium is how much it costs to provide insurance coverage. But figuring out what that cost should be is actually quite complicated — so complicated that insurance companies employ entire actuarial departments to do just that. A lot goes into how actuaries determine the cost of risk, and rating variables are a crucial component in that process.


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INSURANCE TECHNOLOGY

Relation Insurance Services Acquires the Assets of The Wills Agency

Relation Insurance | May 12, 2022

Relation Insurance Services (“Relation”), one of the largest and fastest-growing national insurance agencies, announced today it acquired the assets of South Carolina-based The Wills Agency (“Wills”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Wills provides personal and commercial lines insurance solutions to clients throughout South Carolina and is headquartered in Batesburg, SC. James Wills will continue to lead Wills as a part of Relation. The Wills Agency is a great strategic fit for Relation, and we’re excited to welcome James and the entire team, The addition of Wills brings Relation additional strength in both personal and commercial lines products and adds to our existing footprint in South Carolina.” Tim Hall, Executive Vice President and Head of Mergers and Acquisitions for Relation. About Relation Insurance Services Relation Insurance Services is an insurance brokerage that offers superior risk-management and benefits-consulting services across the United States. It is ranked by Insurance Journal within the top 35 largest agencies in the country by revenue and has approximately 1,200 employees across more than 125 locations nationwide. Relation is a privately held corporation backed by Aquiline Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in New York and London investing in businesses globally across financial services and technology.

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LIFE INSURANCE

Finally, a variable universal life insurance product built for fee-based investment advisors

Nationwide | March 07, 2022

Nationwide has launched a new variable universal life (VUL) insurance product built specifically for fee-based investment advisors that allows for management of funds within the product without a life license. Nationwide Advisory Variable Universal Life is a permanent life insurance policy with a customizable guarantee that keeps the cost of the protection separate from the rest of the investment. This is the first fee-based VUL fully integrated within the registered investment advisor's operating system and it can also be sold by dually registered and hybrid advisors. With no surrender charges Nationwide Advisory VUL keeps your clients' investment money completely liquid, It also has an investment component and allows you to integrate the policy's subaccounts into your assets under management and collect your customary asset management fee." Holly Snyder, president of Nationwide's life insurance business. The product features a diverse fund lineup comprised of over 30 of the most recognizable fund managers in the industry such as Vanguard, DFA, PIMCO, American Funds and Fidelity. Because the cost of protection is separate from the rest of the investment, it can give investment dollars the opportunity to grow more quickly and efficiently. There are fewer fees associated with this product compared with a traditional VUL, There are also no surrender charges upon full surrender of the contract, and no sales loads, which allows more money to be contributed and go to work for your client faster." Snyder. Nationwide Advisory VUL also provides clients the ability to authorize their investment advisor to take their advisory fee from the policy as an advisory loan or as a withdrawal. About Nationwide Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities, mutual funds and ETFs; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; and pet, motorcycle and boat insurance.

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INSURANCE TECHNOLOGY

AXA Tianping Partners with Akur8 to Strengthen Pricing Process

Akur8 | May 31, 2022

AXA Tianping Property & Casualty Insurance Co., Ltd. (“AXA Tianping”), one of China's largest and most diversified P&C insurers, and Akur8, an AI-driven insurance pricing technology company, are delighted to announce their collaboration to further enhance AXA Tianping’s pricing process with Akur8’s high-performing AI technologies. With this partnership, AXA Tianping’s actuaries and pricing team will officially deploy Akur8 to unlock new potential with unique analytical insights and advanced pricing automation. AXA Tianping will become the 13th AXA entity and the first insurer in China to use Akur8 - a testament to its commitment to continuous innovation and improvement to better serve its customers. Thanks to Akur8’s Transparent Artificial Intelligence proprietary technology, AXA Tianping will be able to shorten the time-to-market by automating rate modeling with machine learning in the pricing process, as well as improve the performance of policies with robust AI-driven predictive power. Staying true to its customer-centric approach to products and services, AXA Tianping will leverage Akur8’s next-generation technologies to respond more promptly to dynamic risk environment. It will also roll out a diverse portfolio of well-priced products to meet evolving customer demands, while maintaining full transparency and strong control. AXA Tianping and Akur8 share the same global expertise and strong commitment to grow in the Chinese market. Fully owned by AXA Group, AXA Tianping provides a comprehensive range of high-quality, personalized products and services across health, motor, lifestyle, and commercial lines. Deeply rooted in China for more than 20 years, the company currently serves over three million customers nationwide and boasts a footprint of 25 branches across China. As AXA Tianping deepens its “Payer-to-Partner” strategy and strives to empower clients in every aspect of their lives, this partnership with Akur8 will enable the company’s professional actuaries and pricing team to focus on what matters the most – customers and products - and make the most informed decisions at a faster speed, driving tangible business impact and growth in the Chinese market. Akur8 brings in cutting-edge technologies to our pricing process, which helps us continue to strive for technical sophistication and empowers us to deliver valuable insurance solutions to our customers more efficiently while ensuring utmost transparency and control. We believe Akur8 will not only be an important asset to our team’s work along the whole pricing value chain, but also of great value to our customers for providing increased personalization and targeted pricing in a dynamic marketplace. We look forward to working with Akur8 in unlocking the potential of our business.” Scott Yin, Chief Pricing Officer & Chief Actuary at AXA Tianping. We are delighted to announce this collaboration with AXA Tianping in China. AXA Tianping is a well-established and renowned insurer, and we are looking forward to supporting its actuarial department in its best-in-class strategy and innovative explorations. APAC has always been a strategic market for us. We have been building our presence there for a while now, across various geographies and insurance lines. This collaboration is an exciting way for Akur8 to enter the Chinese P&C insurance market and to strengthen its global relations with AXA”. Samuel Falmagne, CEO at Akur8. By forging this synergetic partnership with Akur8, AXA Tianping demonstrates its strong commitment to embracing best-in-class technologies and leveraging its technical sophistication globally to serve the local market. AXA Tianping will continue to serve its customers with a comprehensive suite of tailor-made products and services efficiently and effectively, safeguarding its customers from all walks of life as a true partner throughout their entire life journey. About AXA Tianping A member of AXA Group, AXA Tianping (registered in China as AXA Tianping Property & Casualty Insurance Co., Ltd.) is one of China's largest and most diversified global insurers, providing a comprehensive range of high-quality, personalized products and services to meet the evolving needs of customers across Health, Commercial Lines and Property & Casualty. The company currently serves over five million individual and commercial customers nationwide, and boasts a footprint of 25 branches in 20 provinces across China. Transitioning to a focus on Health, AXA Tianping is today leveraging a customer-centric 'Payer-to-Partner' strategy in China, along with innovative technology and distribution, to empower clients in every aspect of their daily lives. In 2019, China Banking and Insurance Information Technology Management (CBIT) recognized its award-winning services with an "AA" rating, the highest in the country. In 2021, the company was awarded The Insurance Brand of the Year at the 16th Annual Finance Summit of Asia and in 2020, the company was recognized with an 'International General Insurer of the Year' award from Insurance Asia and was also recognized in 2021 and 2020 with an "A-rating" from S&P Global Ratings, reflecting the company’s strong global influence and firm commitment to the local market. AXA Tianping first became a member of the AXA Group as a Joint Venture company in 2014, before becoming fully-owned in 2019. Headquartered in Paris, France, AXA Group itself is today one of the world's leading insurance and asset management groups. In 2021, it was ranked 46th on the Fortune Global 500 List of the world's largest companies. It has been operating in China for over 20 years offering the full range of insurance and protection solutions to its local and global clients. About Akur8 Akur8 is revolutionizing insurance pricing with transparent AI. Akur8 developed a unique AI-based insurance pricing solution that automates modeling for insurance companies while keeping full transparency and control on the models created, as required by regulators worldwide. Akur8 is the only solution on the market reconciling Machine Learning and Actuarial worlds.

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HEALTH INSURANCE

HOMETOWN HEALTH ENTERS THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT MARKETPLACE WITH SOFTHEON'S ENROLLMENT AND BILLING SOLUTIONS

Hometown Health | December 20, 2021

Nevada's largest not-for-profit health insurance company, Hometown Health, has entered the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace and has expanded their health plan offerings through a partnership with Softheon, a leading cloud-based health insurance exchange and service provider. Softheon's innovative platform is helping bring quality health care to Nevada residents enrolling in Hometown Health insurance through Nevada Health Link. "Softheon's expert knowledge of the ACA marketplace coupled with their leading enrollment and billing technology has made them the perfect partner during Hometown Health's first open enrollment period on the exchange, Today, more than 100,000 people in Nevada choose Hometown Health for their insurance needs. Thanks to Softheon, we look forward to expanding insurance coverage options, in a way that is simple and convenient, to our friends and families who use Nevada Health Link." -David Hansen, Hometown Health CEO. Since the beginning of the 2021 open enrollment period, over 800 new members have seamlessly enrolled in Hometown Health's insurance thanks to Softheon's cutting-edge software. The partnership with Softheon will improve member enrollment, billing and communications, enabling Hometown Health to remain focused on their core mission of providing excellent healthcare to Nevada residents. As the health insurance division of Renown Health, northern Nevada's leading healthcare provider, Hometown Health offers members competitive rates and the largest network of providers in the region. Renown Health provides advanced medical services including Renown Regional Medical Center, an 808-bed full service regional hospital, Renown South Meadows Medical Center, a 76-bed acute care community hospital, Renown Children's Hospital, the region's only children's hospital with 83 beds, and Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, a 62-bed rehabilitation hospital. These facilities provide quality healthcare for Renown's primary service area, Washoe County and the secondary service areas of northern Nevada and northern California. Renown Health has more than 7,000 employees and serves northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California with a total population in excess of 2 million. In addition to hospitals, Renown also has 110 medical group practice sites, urgent care and outpatient imaging sites. Renown Health and Hometown Health offer advanced care for patients and embrace their role in improving the health and well-being of the people and communities. "The continued growth of the Affordable Care Act marketplace is welcome news for consumers who are seeking more options for accessing health coverage, We are excited to partner with Hometown Health on their entrance into the ACA marketplace to create seamless experiences for their members and connect more individuals in Nevada with quality health care." -Eugene Sayan, CEO and founder of Softheon. Along with improving member enrollment, billing and communications, Softheon helps Hometown Health continue to ensure accuracy through monthly Advanced Premium Tax Credits premium reconciliation. The turnkey solution provided by Softheon has guided Hometown Health in handling all regulatory and operational requirements required of insurers in the ACA marketplace. The partnership has given Hometown Health the opportunity for expanded reach while making a bigger impact on communities across the state. About Softheon Founded in 2000, Softheon's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Business Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) solutions solve complex challenges for health plans and government health agencies. Currently, Softheon's solutions serve 8 State agencies and over 90 health plans. Issuers and consumers utilizing Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA Marketplace benefit from Softheon's innovative technology that reduces administrative overhead and enhances user-experiences. Softheon is an Agent, Broker, and Merchant of Record that facilitates health insurance enrollment, billing, and renewal. About Hometown Health Established in 1988, Hometown Health is the insurance division of Renown Health and is Northern Nevada's largest local, not-for-profit health insurance company. Providing wide-ranging medical coverage and great service to members, Hometown Health represents a philosophy of health care that emphasizes active partnerships between members and physicians.

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Spotlight

It sounds simple: an insurance premium is how much it costs to provide insurance coverage. But figuring out what that cost should be is actually quite complicated — so complicated that insurance companies employ entire actuarial departments to do just that. A lot goes into how actuaries determine the cost of risk, and rating variables are a crucial component in that process.

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