How insurers can approach major carriers

Home insurance group Hippo acquired the startup in late 2020 and will continue the company as a subsidiary. First Connect president Aviad Pinkovezky (pictured) explained that the platform gives independent organizations a valuable way to expand their reach.

“The relationships that First Connect has with various insurers allow independent agencies to access the carriers without having to deal with manufacturing overhead and the like, which is often difficult to obtain,” Pinkovezky said.

Pinkovezky was previously Hippo’s chief product officer, helping it develop the technology tools and products that bring its concepts and services to market. The former LinkedIn executive and former Israeli intelligence chief was Hippo’s first employee and helped the company enter and expand the US real estate market. He became the President of First Connect in February 2022.

Now the company has more than 40 agents and thousands of independent insurance agencies or clients. Pinkovezky focuses on helping all aspects of the business grow, but it’s the star.

“Looking here is just not right [growth]because you want to make sure that you have the right carriers that provide … the availability of insurance in the best possible way, which means that they can provide services at the level of agents that we have,” Pinkovezky. said. “Quality is more important than anything else .”

Beyond home insurance, First Connect also offers carriers access to agents in auto, life and commercial insurance – one of the additions Hippo has acquired.

In early July, First Connect added Cowbell Cyber ​​to its platform – an MGA insurtech focused on providing cyber services to small and medium-sized businesses.

“When I joined First Connect’s leadership team, we started growing the business, and continued,” Pinkovezky said.

First Connect makes money by distributing commissions paid for selling carrier policies, a standard practice in the industry.

Agents pay zero commissions.

Quick connection

First Connect’s core technology revolves around APIs and “quick connections” independent agents can make with different insurers, Pinkovezky explained.

“Instead of going through different carriers, agents quickly get access to all of them from the first time, so they can manage their permits and approvals and so on, and track their payments,” he said. “They receive a fee that is also managed by First Connect.”

API-driven integration with multiple insurtechs and carriers is core technology at First Connect. The goal is to create a better experience for agents so they can provide better services to their customers.

In other words, the main ingredients are APIs and the First Connect cloud access platform provides. Independent agents may not have the same technical expertise, Pinkovezky said.

“Often these are businesses owned by families who do not have access to modern equipment, he said. “They are, by the way, left out of the game of technology because there is no solution in the market that connects insurance” to them easily.

The value proposition, he said, comes from managing the game nationally so that small and medium-sized independent organizations can build their business by connecting to the platform. Carriers, he added, would not cooperate with independent agencies on their own.

“Carriers can’t be combined with different organizations one by one, because of their size, obviously,” Pinkovezky said. “What we are doing is providing these institutions [access] that usually [don’t] be innovative and don’t benefit from scale. We give them the same access, productivity and API integration that the big players can have. “

Carrying aids

To integrate with carriers, First Connect first looks at how they provide access to organizations. Based on their needs and preferences, First Connect offers an integrated system from its portal to an API that provides all the means to name and build with as few keys as possible, Pinkovezky said.

After the technical integration, First Connect joins new additions to its agents and carrier group. There are also training courses and webinars that are integrated between the company and new carriers, and introduce a new carrier method to agents.

Then, First Connect starts offering opportunities to new agents based on their interest.

Meanwhile, agents can contact new carriers, view documents and access agent websites to help their customers.

Integration with carriers can range from a few weeks to a few months, Pinkovezky said.

“It’s been transformative and inspiring,” he added.