A new digital wholesale brokerage is changing how retail agents access E&S products

By
Ben Grosser
July 1, 2020

Transferring risk is the purpose of insurance — serving as a conduit for that transfer is the name of the game for wholesale brokers. Wholesale brokers serve an integral function in the insurance market; they’re relied upon to route retail agents to insurance carriers’ products and to match the retailers’ small business clients to those products which best satisfy their risk transfer needs.

As a digital wholesale brokerage, Pathpoint brokers Cyber & General Liability commercial insurance, providing quoting and binding in real time. Pathpoint's design empowers independent retail agents when insuring their small business clients, allowing highly customizable, unbiased quoting in the platform.

Pathpoint is more than just another wholesale broker with an online quoting feature: it is a whole new way to place small commercial E&S.

At Pathpoint, our challenge was to build a system that evaluates the risk transfer needs of any small business, quickly accesses the most relevant carrier markets, and returns the most viable insurance solutions with speed, accuracy, and best-in-class coverage quality.

The result is an Pathpoint wholesale operation focused on the design of better wholesaler processes for the purpose of driving better results for retail agents and their small business clients — to achieve this, we’ve obsessed with how insurance brokering is processed, leveraging technology and humans.

Pathpoint is an emergent and incredibly powerful technology platform that provides an interactive interface for real-time commercial insurance market access. Pathpoint’s platform allows retail agents to quote, bind, and manage their insurance procurement from multiple carriers in one place.

Let’s explore a few design principles which frame building the Pathpoint wholesale system and briefly demonstrate how this all comes together with our Cyber solution as an example.

Principle 1 — challenging the wholesaler dilemma

At Pathpoint, we’re building a wholesale operation designed around better processes, solving for a dilemma faced by most wholesale operations. This a dilemma with powerful implications for small businesses and their retail agents, born from the operational reality wholesalers face.

The stark reality for most wholesalers today is that they must balance speed with coverage adequacy and quality, with these qualities mistakenly considered mutually exclusive. Wholesalers are inundated with a high daily volume of small businesses insurance placements, often leading to less than 5 minutes dedicated to the marketing of any one small business insurance placement to their carrier network. All-too-often speed takes precedent, and the result is underinsured small businesses paying premiums otherwise sufficient to access insurance coverage better suited to their risk transfer needs.

There is a missing link here, and it’s hurting small businesses and the retail agents which serve them.

We think technology is the missing link which, when leveraged in concert with human expertise, can solve the wholesaler dilemma by providing retail agents efficient access to small business insurance with unparalleled processing speed, delivered without sacrificing quality coverage tailored to each individual small business risk transfer needs.

Principle 2 — empowering independent retail agents

Pathpoint is changing how retail agents broker commercial insurance with its purposeful and focused design, empowering independent retail agents and their small business clients; businesses that are often lost in the fray.

For eons, independent retail insurance agencies have relied on the wholesale marketplace for access to insurance solutions, products and underwriting capacity.

Now the time has come for wholesale innovation, not by removing the wholesale-retail partnership, but instead by empowering the independent retailer by providing a better quoting interface: one that provides a straightforward user experience, easy access to insurer products, and one that removes the commercial noise from the negotiation of insurance contracts.

We provide independent retail agents with access to a diverse set of insurance markets and carriers, and tailored versions of their Cyber and General Liability insurance solutions — provided exclusively in partnership with Pathpoint.

Principle 3 — focusing on risk transfer, not sales

Insurance is the transfer of risk in exchange for the payment of premiums, made possible through insurance contracts. Sometimes this gets lost amidst everything else that happens in the process of quoting and binding coverage. Pathpoint is working to get back to those roots.

Any one insurance quote that a retailer receives from a wholesaler today is almost never representative of the best coverage available. This is not a result of poor wholesaler intention or lack of desire to provide great coverage, but instead by legacy marketplace routing design.

Pathpoint strives to get the end insured that “best” coverage that they’ve been missing out on. By best, we mean that the underlying contractual terms and conditions match the insured small business’s exposure to risk & financial loss, all at a price point that works for them.

Pathpoint provides insurance policies for small businesses to the extent historically only available to the largest of organizations. Every policy is delivered with the quality of coverage to sufficiently transfer their cyber risk and exposure. This is possible thanks to a diverse team of insurance and technology experts, with a shared passion for insurance markets, who have come together to build a solution that combines software’s speed and accuracy with the human touch.

Spotlight —Pathpoint’s Small Business Cyber Solution

Let’s consider Cyber Insurance as an example to test against our digital platform’s design principles. Cyber is a uniquely relevant case study as it’s a complex risk driven coverage and the first robust insurance solution readily available on the Pathpoint platform.

Cyber risk is complex, changes every day, and is an increasingly material financial risk as small businesses become more and more reliant on advanced technology stacks. Cyber insurance contracts are equally complex and nuanced, with well over 100 insurers underwriting and offering the coverage yet almost every policy containing drastically different coverage terms, breadth, and limitations.

If you’ve read one cyber insurance policy, then you’ve read one cyber insurance policy

A common musing amongst cyber insurance brokers and underwriters is that, if you’ve read one cyber insurance policy, then you’ve read one cyber insurance policy. While this observation hits home with specialist brokers and underwriters in their day-to-day, it is particularly worrisome for small businesses who purchase cyber insurance. If specialist brokers and underwriters are overwhelmed with the nuance and differentiation from one cyber policy to the next, think of the real world implications for the small businesses who buy the policy and are led to believe it adequately transfers their cyber risk.

So, how do our design principles perform when tested against our Cyber Solution?

Pathpoint’s Cyber Solution challenges the Wholesaler Dilemma

Our cyber solution provides retail agents access to multiple cyber quotes in a way which balances speed with coverage adequacy and quality, intertwining the two in one elegant process. By completing one Pathpoint application, the data collected not only drives quoting but is also used to deliver tailored coverage terms, highlighting the cyber risk transfer needs most pressing to each unique organization. No longer must speed sacrifice coverage sufficiency, or vice versa.

Pathpoint's Cyber Solution empowers retail agents

Our cyber solution empowers retail agents by allowing agents to see multiple cyber quotes, seconds after submitting, along with tailored Pathpoint proposal insights and coverage breakdowns. The result puts the retail agent in the driver seat, giving them the confidence and tools to quote and bind cyber insurance, in good faith, for their small business clients.

Pathpoint’s Cyber Solutions delivers the best cyber risk transfer centric outcomes

Our cyber insurance solution is provided in partnership with over 5 leading cyber insurance carriers, a list which is growing over time — most recently with our addition of At-Bay. In partnership with these carriers. we’ve designed exclusive and dynamic cyber insurance coverage solutions, ensuring a focus on small businesses is delivered. Even more importantly, our partnered cyber insurance solutions go a step further by considering the unique basket of cyber risks faced by each small business, such that coverage sufficiency is delivered dynamically, on a case by case basis.

For example, a small business which operates as a pediatrician will receive quotes from markets which have an appetite for pediatricians. Pathpoint's proposal will go even one step further by highlighting the unique exposure presented by operating in the healthcare field while describing how the insurance solutions provided are customized for such operational cyber risks.

As an added but non-trivial cherry on top, our cyber insurance solution results in objective real-time insurance recommendations without commercial bias. A fancy glass of 🍷 from an underwriter is appreciated, but it won’t change our insurance solution mechanism or design.

Retailers, we’d love to partner! If you’re a retail agent and would like to give the Pathpoint platform a spin, we’d love to connect. Not a believer? We’d still love to connect, and let you try it for yourself. Request access through our website linked below.