Companies to Watch - February 2012
Company: Policy Works Inc.
President: Kevin Campbell
Year founded: 1991
Number of employees: 22
Public or private: Private
Policy Works was born out of frustration. In the 1970s, when company founder Don Campbell was working as a broker, he found that insurers took a terribly long time to conduct business.
“At one point he went to visit his biggest client for a renewal a year after the policy initially took effect, and they still hadn’t received the documents from the year before,” says John Eastly, Policy Works’ vice-president.
To speed things up, Campbell developed a system for producing policy documents at the point of sale. But he wanted to take the concept further. In 1991 he recruited his son Kevin Campbell and Kevin’s former colleague Eastly—they had worked together at technology company Hewlett-Packard Co.—to form Policy Works, creating customized policy-production systems for carriers and MGAs.
Over time, the team realized it could package the underlying software for brokers as a commercial management system (CMS), giving Policy Works access to new customers.
In 2000 the company launched its CMS to automate workflows. A few years ago Policy Works shut down its custom policy-production system operations, pouring all of its energy into the CMS. “We want to focus our efforts on what we’re best at,” Eastly says.
“There hasn’t yet been mobile software launched for the Canadian insurance sector, and we’re about to launch ours. We’ve been working with a number of producers and they’re quite excited about the prospect.”
Reasons to Watch
Over the last 10 years, Policy Works has made significant headway connecting brokers with insurers, pioneering electronic data-exchange. Since 2007 the company has developed integrations with nine insurers: Intact, Gore Mutual, Royal & SunAlliance, Aviva Canada, L’Unique, The Economical/Missisquoi, L’Union Canadienne, SGI Canada/ICPEI/Coachman and The Dominion. In 2008 the company received a Centre for the Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) Achievement Award for advancements in XML implementations.
The early electronic integrations focused on bridging solutions to insurer portals. The latest evolutions use straight-through processing to provide brokers with inquiry, policy sync, and real-time quotations within Policy Works.
“We are proud of the integrations we have developed with our insurer partners, and excited to be working with them on even more innovative solutions for brokers,” Eastly says.
In December, Policy Works launched a new feature. “Brokers can have their entire book of business downloaded from Intact or SGI into Policy Works, and immediately have everything online,” Eastly says. “It’s a real efficiency gain for them.”
He adds that Policy Works is working with other carriers to enable access to their systems in the same way.
“Brokers are a diverse bunch and they have very different needs,” Eastly says. Some are commercial-focused, while others focus primarily on personal; yet they may have some commercial business as well – and they may be interested in growing that business.
Policy Works has traditionally targeted the commercial-focused brokers, but the company also wants to attract brokerages with smaller commercial books.
To address that, Policy Works has adopted an internal strategy dubbed “SASI: simplified applications for specific industries,” Eastly says. The initiative aims to develop technologies that speak to a wider audience of potential customers and streamline package-policy handling.
One of the first SASI products is an app for Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet. The software lets producers collect customer information and market it to the insurers, all from the customer’s premises.
“There hasn’t yet been mobile software launched for the Canadian insurance sector, and we’re about to launch ours,” Eastly says. “We’ve been working with a number of producers and they’re quite excited about the prospect.”
Policy Works participates in Canadian Blood Services Partners for Life, the Bow River clean-up, and donates to the Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade.
215A – 10th Street NW, Suite 1, Calgary, Alta. T2N 1V5
Copyright 2012 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the February 2012 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.