Bobby Touran, Alex Bargmann, and Jay Palekar started Pathpoint in 2017 while at HVF Labs, a startup incubator in San Francisco.
How did these three partners start selling insurance?
We had worked together previously, and then we all ended up together in a software incubator in San Francisco. We were very fortunate that early on we were introduced to leaders in the world of E&S insurance and learned about the need for the industry to reduce cost and boost efficiency, which would deliver better outcomes for end insureds.
Through our research and conversations with important players in the market, we began to appreciate the importance of the global P&C insurance industry, and started thinking about how we could develop and market software that would drive efficiency. The P&C distribution process is expensive, and carriers are often left absorbing a majority of the cost. While every business needs insurance, it isn’t always straightforward to secure - this problem presented an exciting opportunity for us to create a solution.
Why surplus lines?
Our mission to learn about insurance took us on an extensive journey. We traveled across the US, and met retail agents, from the smaller independent agents up to the regional and national players. We met the U.S. company markets, and after we’d worked our way through the U.S., we traveled to London, where we engaged with the Lloyd’s marketplace. Everywhere we went, we met the dedicated people who make up this industry – all committed to best serving their clients.
What we heard again and again, was that the lack of digitization was holding carriers, agents and their customers (U.S. businesses) back, and that there was room to improve the high costs and inefficiencies of the current distribution model.
One area where this problem was most pronounced was the U.S. retail surplus lines market, which was in a unique position due to its fragmentation, lack of transparency, inefficient processes, and many state-level regulations. The market of over 30,000 U.S. retail agencies was trying to buy coverage that was not available in the admitted market, and they were not equally well-served in terms of wholesale broker partners. We decided that this segment of the market would most benefit from digitization, and it became our focus. We applied for wholesale licenses for all 50 U.S. states, became a coverholder at Lloyd’s of London, and started the process of building software to streamline and digitize the procurement of surplus lines coverage.
How did we do it?
We understand that with the challenges and complexities of E&S insurance, sometimes a more nuanced human answer is needed. We know that people are as important as automation, so we hired experienced E&S professionals to help us create a tech solution that made sense not just to us, but to the people we were building it for. This business is greatly improved by technology, but it must also be informed by people who understand the unique nature of this type of insurance, and the challenges that come along with it. So we’ve brought together the best of both.
By partnering with major carriers and creating the best technology in the industry, we’ve built a proprietary rate-quote-bind-issue system that enables smoother placement of products. We can work with any product - API or no API - and any underwriting format - binding authority or brokerage. We partner closely with underwriters to help them develop rulesets and logic to digitize a process that has traditionally been done manually. Our agent partners reap the benefits of speed and efficiency by getting multiple quotes for their risks with one click and the ability to bind online.
Since we started, we’ve been exclusively focused on surplus lines. We are now licensed nationwide, a coverholder at Lloyd’s of London, backed by major investors and actively growing our reach and available products. Three years in, and we are as excited about this industry and committed to providing a better solution as we were on Day One.
Pathpoint is the first digital wholesale broker, combining world-class technology and first-class service to get agents bindable quotes from multiple, best-in-class E&S carriers in minutes. We’ve begun to simplify an extremely complex and often frustrating process, and we’re just getting started!
Ready to work with the wholesaler you’ve been waiting for?
Agents can request access to Pathpoint here.
With any other questions, contact us.