I like to use the metaphor of a doctor performing heart transplant surgery to describe what we do for insurers at EIS: An insurers’ core technology platform is crucial to its wellbeing – replacing it does not happen very often and when it does happen, it can be an extremely disruptive undertaking. The implementation can be wonderfully successful in the right hands or can be catastrophic in the wrong hands. At EIS, we perform heart surgery with new surgical robotics that make it faster and safer which ensures the possibility of success is maximised.
Greg: How is EIS different to its competitors?
Alec: I like to segment the competitive landscape into two buckets – the established technology companies and the InsurTechs. The established technology companies typically have proven, functionally rich solutions built on technology ranging from ‘old’ to modern legacy. Conversely, the InsurTechs have solutions built on modern technology, but they lack the depth of functionality offered by the established companies. We occupy the space in-between these two segments – we have the scale and rich functionality of the established players, but also have the modern technology enjoyed by the InsurTechs. We have coined our segment ‘CoreTech’.
Two other differentiating factors we point to is our speed of deployment and our multi-line capability. An EIS deployment is generally 2 to 3 times faster than our peer group – something enabled by our ‘off-the-shelf’, cloud-native technology. This cloud-native approach also enables our solution to truly be a platform, with well pronounced separation between foundations and modules. This allows us to apply our technology to multiple lines of business. We believe we are the only vendor that has multi-lines running on a live deployment, the same technology supporting both P&C and A&H business.
Greg: What is your ambition through multi-line?
Alec: We have been aggressively pursuing multi-lines business. Our ambition is to ‘get in the door’ with insurers via any P&C or A&H line, and then expand throughout the business, taking on additional lines of business until the whole enterprise is managed through our platform. Serving all lines through a single platform enables our clients to easily understand the total value a customer represents to their business. One area this is particularly useful is in pricing. For example, understanding that a customer is a good health insurance risk is a factor that should be considered when quoting them a motor policy.
Greg: What is the story behind EIS?
Alec: EIS was established in the early 2000s in the ruins of the dot com crash. Our initial company was a collection of technical assets and team members looking for a business opportunity where there was no off-the-shelf software available. This opportunity came in initially from AIG, whose High Net Worth division could not find a package software for their business. Over the next four years, we developed the first incarnations of the EIS system and in 2008 we started marketing the core system as a product. Our first clients were P&C personal lines insurers.
We won a few customers in the US market, before deploying commercial lines capability in Canada and support for ‘hybrid’ personal and commercial products in California – an example being an insurance product for gig economy workers. In 2016 we entered the Accident & Health market ‘with a bang’, quickly rolling out 7 products in 6 months. We have continued to expand ever since.
Our most recent big move is to increase our focus on international markets outside of North America. We now have teams in Asia and Europe – we see the European market as particularly in need of a modern industrial strength, digital core technology solution. We have established relationships and clients in Europe, especially eastern Europe, and understand the market very well.
Get market insights straight to your inbox
Greg: Why do you think the European market is primed for EIS?
Alec: There are a few reasons we think this. Firstly, we believe that our technology is much more modern than our established competitors and that European insurers tend to be more picky when assessing technology options – being in the Gartner Magic Quadrant is not a sufficient technology selection criteria for European insurers – they also want to know what is ‘under the hood’. This works in our favour.
Secondly, we have demonstrable success of delivering rapidly at scale. We have examples of previous work where we have made very complicated enterprise scale deployments in multiple countries in 6 months. That is a big market difference from what European clients have previously seen.
Thirdly, the European market has a high prevalence of composite P&C and A&H insurers. Our platform caters for both and that differentiates us from our competitors.
Greg: Aside from focusing on international expansion, what is the future for EIS?
Alec: Our focus moving forward is on three initiatives:
- Developing a set of tools that allows insurers to customise user experience ‘on the fly’
- Re-architecting our core infrastructure and database structure, to help us leverage the massive inherent scalability of cloud
- Building full blown life and annuities capability on the same platform
Besides the life capability, the rest of our pipeline is aimed at one thing – speed of implementation. Our goal is to reduce implementation to zero, we will not get there but we will continue to drive towards that goal.
The Oxbow Partners View
One issue we regularly come up against when conducting technology selections, is that the modern, non-legacy technology vendors that clients so desperately want to work with tend to also generate the most red flags when assessed by procurement, due to their lack of scale and financial stability. EIS claim to offer both modern technology and scale. There are relatively few vendors that fall into this bucket (Vlocity being another – see our TechExec conversation, here) and this is an area of genuine demand.
EIS’ focus on rapid implementation is also a clever move. The cost and complexity of implementing the established players is one of the biggest deterrents to taking action. EIS’ claims that they can fast-forward this process to a matter of months will be well received.
The initial challenge for EIS’ international push will be their lack of market experience. Some insurers will want empirical evidence that the platform is capable of adapting to the nuances of their own market before selecting them as a core technology system for their business. However, once this initial hurdle has been crossed, we feel EIS is well positioned for success.