Growing to $30B, A Discussion with Amwins

A Discussion with Amwins on Maintaining Operational Excellence at Scale

Alright. Welcome everybody.

Good. Good morning. Good afternoon.

Thank you so much for joining us today. I think we’ve got a pretty good group, which is fantastic. Look forward to this. You’ve joined us for, an informal discussion that we’re having with our friends at Amwinds.

Should be a great conversation, the title of which is growing to thirty billion in premium, maintaining operational excellence at scale.

So as many of you know, Amwinds is the largest wholesaler in the country and has grown rapidly, in particular over the past few years.

I pulled a brief description from their website.

Annwin’s group is the largest independent wholesale distributor of specialty insurance products in the United States, dedicated to serving retail insurance agents by providing property and casualty products, specialty group benefits products and administrative services.

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company operates more than a hundred and twenty five offices globally.

So I expect, our conversation to be about thirty, forty five minutes today, and we’ll save time for questions at the end. So, if you have any questions, please do submit them through the button on the bottom.

My name is Greg Morris. I’m the SVP business development here at Patra with oversight responsibility for our specialty practice.

And that’s the practice where we serve insurance companies, wholesalers, and MGA’s, I’m joined by my esteemed colleague, Kevin Durnley, who’s one of the principal, contacts for us on our Amwind service team. And I’m also joined by Eric Moore and Marshall Boiling from Amwinds.

So gentlemen, welcome Thank you so much for being here today. Super excited to have all you here. Let’s get started with introductions. Maybe Kevin, we can start with you, and then and then we’ll work to the end website.

Yeah. Thanks, Greg. So, Kevin Durnley, I am the manager of the specialty team. Like Greg said, we work with wholesalers, MJ’s, carriers, And I’ve been working very closely with Amwinds for a little over a year and a half now.

Eric?

Yes. Happy to.

Good, good morning. Good afternoon, Eric Moore. I lead, group operations at my, my background. I’ve I’ve been I’ve been with Hamlin’s for for a little under two years, coming as just a bit of an insurance outsider. Prior to this out of that, Home Depot and various strategy and operations rules where similar similar kind of challenges had to stand up operations at scale and think about supporting revenue growth. And and part of that, I was in consulting, doing, doing strategy and operations, consulting. So really enjoyed getting to know the the passion relationship over these last eighteen months and, and, excited to be on this call.

Thanks, Eric.

Marshall.

Yeah. So, my name is Marshall Bowling. I haven’t been with Amwinds for right under three years.

Also, like Eric and, certainly an insurance outsider, prior to this, have no insurance experience before joining Annwinds.

I started an analytics division, and then about a year after I started, I, we began to take on Lactra as our main outsourcing vendor. And so, and so I led the, the initiative to bring roughly about two folks over the course of the last year and a half or so. Kevin will know better than I. And, and so we’ve been we’ve been doing that. And And so I’ve been leading the the operations behind all of our vendor management.

Perfect. Thanks, Marshall. And you’ve become an insurance expert, I must say, for that that period of time. I don’t like that.

Alright. So, Eric, maybe I’ll we’ll get this started and I’ll direct a question you. I think I think it’d be helpful maybe just to set the stage, for our audience with, a bit of history of AMWinds, maybe, the background and and, I guess, in particular, what you believe had been kind of the main drivers of growth and success for the organization over the last, the last many years.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, I don’t tell the history nearly as well because I didn’t love it, but I can certainly have a few observations about what I think has gone well and why why we’ve had such script as as think our our website description does a pretty good job of of kinda outlining who we are and what we are, but I mean, it’s it’s pretty mind boggling. I think there’s some of the folks who can hear a while that we’re, we’re more than five thousand employees now, twenty five thousand plus, retail relationships over a billion submissions a year.

So we really you know, we’ve we’ve got, we’ve become a pretty large sized farm at this point. And, you know, I think that growth has happened it’s happened across all the different, business units that were a part of. We do brokerage. We’ve got a binding authority business, specialty programs, crew benefits solutions, and and we we’ve seen growth across across all this.

I think from, you know, the, the histories, the, the takeaways I have as, as I kind of think about this.

You know, and and the growth isn’t first. It it’s been remarkable that it’s been just steady. It’s it’s been really steady sustained growth.

Over the course of, of the last twenty years. And, certainly, there’s been, you know, more of late, but it’s been very, very steady and stable. That’s, just, you know, remarkable to see, and, you know, it for, for our for room and and in the seventh Street. And and I think, you know, some of the reasons for the for the growth are that, I mean, it’s it’s a it’s an easy kind of answer to this question, but it just come down to the the focus and and the people.

And and I think the the focus has always been on the the customer and then on those closest to serving the customer. So we’ve always focused on on the production and making sure that whether it’s, you know, through during acquisitions, or whether it’s during technology builds, or whether it’s through operations that that we’re singularly focused on the impact to the, that our our customers markets, retail agents, or, and then the people serving this. So I think that focus has been has been critical to the success. And then, you know, certainly the from a, a culture standpoint, I think that’s something that we’re just really proud of.

You’ve got a we we’ve been able to maintain a, both an entrepreneurial culture, and a culture values of people, even at at this sort of size that we’ve gotten to. And we’ve been able to do that really well, even as we’ve integrated and partnered with different different in different areas. So I don’t tell the history really well, but those are the things that stick out to me that I think they’re really unique about amherst.

What’s I mean, it’s been it’s been super impressive, right, to sit back and and watch that. I also think it’s fascinating. I mean, there was a point not that long ago where a lot of people were were, you know, riding off wholesale operations and even retail to a certain extent is is unnecessary. Right? And assume that disintermediation was just around the corner and that all of this would go away.

But I think that hasn’t happened. At all. And in fact, kind of the opposite has, right, and and and wholesale operations have become more essential and and organizations like AMwinds have have grown even more. Any perspective, Eric or Marshall that you have on on why that is the case?

Yeah. You know, I think I mean, I think the best the the way that I’ve I’ve thought about this is actually putting on, you know, kind of a simple, my home depot retail lens to this. We had, we had a really similar, challenge when I was there of trying to we were trying to target a certain, direct directly target a certain type of customer, a plumber. And and we really struggled to get plumbers to buy from, at Shop Niles, and, you know, it it seems so counterintuitive that, you know, it’s Home Depot. It’s got all the products and parts you you could imagine it’s a huge store. But all the farmers kept going to wholesale distributors.

And, you know, as we kind of unpack that, the, the reason was that there was a greater degree in terms of what they’re buying, great degree of customization.

A lot of times the, that, they needed more counsel and advice they needed special orders. They needed, you know, it wasn’t just a commoditized, product that they were buying, and it wasn’t something that we could easily kinda put on the shelf volume, to to serve, serve, customers out of Home Depot. So, you know, it was kind of a similar thing that we were trying to go direct to a customer but couldn’t get around the the wholesaler, who had that level of depth in a niche area for the com more complex not not commoditized items. And and I think there’s a lot of parallels, here in in terms of what we’ve seen with with the, insurance products that that we deal in and that the type of placements that we have where, you know, where there’s a higher degree of customization or complexity that needs to be more at you know, sales support and and, you know, advisory work that that doesn’t lend itself as well to to something thing, with a, with to just disimmediate.

So I don’t know. That that’s how I thought about it. I’m just kind of putting my, my old hat on.

But, you know, I it’s, it’s certainly been an interesting collage.

Yeah. I think you’re right. I mean, its specialization becomes more and more critical. Right? Our our our world is changing, right, constantly. And so that the need for, more specialization in new new areas is is even more critical.

Great. Thanks, Eric. I was hoping you touched on, you know, Amwinds is kind of a big company. Can you give us a sense of how your operations are structured, you know, divisions, you know, how the geographies work. Greg mentioned in that summary that there’s a lot of different offices everywhere. What does that look like for you?

Yeah. I can take this one. The, so we are I think the biggest the biggest theme with Amwinds is that we just have, we’re trying to be everywhere. Right?

We have a big location based strategy, and we want every section of our business to be everywhere. So we have, in terms of the, the big PNC space, we have three big divisions brokerage underwriting, and access. Brokerage focuses on that big open brokerage type of account, you know, riding the city of Atlanta, for, sixty three million dollars or something like that. Right?

The, underwriting is is program based. So very specialty underwriters a mix of brokerage and binding authority.

Everything from trucking to pizza delivery places. Right? Access is is, is kind of generalist a lot of generalists who are able to specialize in things. So, and and much smaller accounts. So they really, really utilize binding authority.

And so we we try to have a mix of those people all throughout the country. We really tried to do that mainly through organic growth and really, especially starting in twenty fifteen, have really been aided by a couple key acquisitions. And so as those key acquisitions happen, we were able to to enable that location based reduced to be a little bit of everywhere so we can, fit whatever that retailer will need anywhere throughout the country.

So with such a big operation, I imagine it’s tough for, you know, those brokerage offices or production teams to get everything done that they need to do. How do you support them more centrally.

Yeah. Good question. So and that’s part of the part of the, the genius of, of these acquisitions. Right?

Is that is that everyone does things a little bit differently. So some people want to go grab those lost runs differently than, than than some other people do. Some people find an account with a couple different steps, with different applications, different accords, whatever it is. And so we’ve really tried to, in the last probably five years, put a huge initiative on having a central, central support team that we call client services or client service team, is where Eric and I primarily focus our time.

And, Kevin, where you primarily focus your time. And, and so that client service team is doing everything from we’ve realized that if we can take on, setting up new business submissions in our in our internal AMLINK system, which is where we house all of our paperwork, quote unquote, right? To issuing policies, to issuing binders, to, grabbing lost runs from carriers, whatever it is. We’ve tried to create a central way to do it so that our we can take as much off of our underwriters and broker’s plates as possible.

So it’s been a huge focus in the last few years, especially as we if if you grow from, right, two hundred, three hundred producers, brokers and underwriters to a thousand plus, You really need some of that central support to be able to to grab the centralized tasks. And so, obviously, as part of that, we There’s a big strategy on do you do all of that onshore? Do you have a center on shore where you, you know, have hundreds of people that work there? Do you do it within kind of offices? Do you have a few people that are working for the CST client client support.

Or do you do you spread that offshore? What is kind of scratching. We’ve we’ve chosen a little bit of a mix of everything, all of those, all of those different types of ways. And so, right now we’re about half onshore, half off shore, and and offshore. We have a couple different locations and onshore, a couple different locations as well, but primarily located our that CST is, primarily located in Charlotte at headquarters.

Great. Well, we are very glad that you’ve decided on that mixture, with some outsource for the central service team.

Hey, hey, Marshall, I’m just curious, is do you is there a mandate that that that offices kind of go through the centralized service structure? Or how do you manage kind of bringing, you know, net new incremental offices into that or or convincing older offices that have done things a certain way to do, to to embrace that approach. Yeah. That’s a good question.

We try to make it so attractive that everyone comes to us, and we never have to ask anyone to centralize anything. Right? That’s that’s the goal. But, yeah, I think so our average account size for for access is like thirty seven hundred, in premium.

Right? So pretty pretty small accounts.

I guess as opposed to the city of Atlanta for sixty seven million, right, in this hypothetical example.

So the because of that, I mean, I think access folks everyone in that division really wants to be centralized because they’re doing so much quoting, binding, marketing with with so many different, with different carriers that, that they they we we kind of centralized everything with access. Something like brokerage, for example, though, is is a lot different. So we really, we really tried to. We we centralized a little bit less for for these bigger bigger divisions.

But we But we really do try to make it as attractive as possible. So if someone leaves a team, we try to offer as many, services as we can. So if they they wanna hire someone on their team to do something a little bit more specific with sales that are allowed to do that, and then we can take kind of the access of of whatever work was on their plate.

Yeah. I mean, I think that that’s gotta be really part of your secret sauce, to be honest with you, because we have perspective of a lot of large organizations who try centralized services in different ways with varying degrees of success. And I think, you know, that you you’re what you’ve done to set this up in a way that makes it super attractive for these different offices to default to doing it is is is critical. And then then once they see it and experience it, people don’t I it seems like you don’t get a lot of push back to to go back to old ways. Yeah. Hopefully. That’s the that’s I’d like to pretend that it’s perfect, but there’s plenty of, plenty of people that that we do get that pushback from, but it’s all it’s all part of centralization too.

Kevin, anything else you wanted to hit on on on on that topic or do you wanna move forward? No. I think that’s it for now. I know we have some other questions about the the outsourcing relationship in general coming up. So Yeah.

Yeah.

You know, and I and, Eric, maybe I’ll direct this one to you, and this kinda really gets it the the heart of of operational strategy. Right? So I think success in the insurance industry is largely about speed, right, and and and and efficiency in delivering you know, an end product to your trading partners that’s differentiated or value added.

What what operational strategies do you consider the most essential, to anyone’s success in that regard?

Yeah.

Well, that’s a I’ll probably give a long kind of broad answer to that because that’s Yeah. That’s a that’s a huge question. Yeah. And and I love it.

But, you know, I think first, we think about operations, you know, at least I do, like, it’s its own business. And and that we’re trying to create products or services that appeal to our our customers. And so I if you to lost audio for a minute, but I think where where Marshall was headed was, like, you know, a lot of what we’re trying to do isn’t isn’t necessarily mandated. We’re trying to create enough buy in, you know, because we we’ve met the mark on what our our our customers are are looking for.

And so we think about that, you know, really our our operation strategy starts with what are the needs of our of our customers.

And, you know, I think there’s a couple lenses that we view that through. And it depends on the type of service or or or, you know, product that that we’re offering. You know, we look at it from a responsiveness and and how important that is.

You know, and I think that’s, that’s really kinda where we start started with with each of the services is is how quickly does it need to get done? How responsive do we have to be? And then for some, you know, there’s varying degrees of of quality.

Some it’s, you know, not very mistake prone. Others are highly, highly critical that we get we get everything right.

You know, we look at flexibility is another kind of key operation operating principle that we we love everything to be really simple and and straightforward and consistent. But as as Marshall alluded to, you know, a lot of the, offices that we support want they’ve done differently. And so we’ve had to figure out what degree of customization and flexibility do we allow versus, you know, how consistent do we need everything to be? So those those are a couple of the kind of principles that we’ve tried to balance. And it’s it’s varied by the type of service that we offer, but we’ve really started with What does the customer need across a couple of those lenses? And then, you know, I really kind of across all that then is there there’s there is a cost component to it. And and we wanna make sure that we can do this these operations in a way that’s at at at least as as cost efficient as how that would be done locally.

So those are kind of the the key things that we look at in in setting up a a strategy for for each service. It really starts with the starts with what what are the needs of the, of our clients, and then then we figure out, you know, and try to establish, you know, some some metrics and APIs around those to to make sure that and that that we’re meeting those needs. And then we build our ecosystem around that. The people we hire, the the way we outsource, the level of, you know, automation or technology support is all based on the the needs of our customers and and, you know, and the service that we’re trying to deliver.

Have have you noticed a shift in what those needs are over this past year or fifteen months and with with COVID and everything else that’s changing in the world?

Yeah.

Yes. Certainly. You know, I think, I think I had a package delivered that was, like, in two days rather than same day. And I have out blew my mind the other day from Amazon. So, yeah, I think we’re all our our customer expectations have, like, have completely shifted And and I think we’re all looking for things on demand now. And and that that’s no different with with what we do.

And so so I think certainly there there is a a higher degree of and desire and it’s moving towards that, shorter response times, more on demand, work. And and then, I mean, the other thing that that really struck me was, you know, just how much is still done with paper coming coming from the outside and and how digitized everything is everywhere else I’ve been. But I think that, COVID has has changed some of that a little bit. And and so there’s you know, we we’ve gotten, you know, and we’ve seen more more, shifts away from some of the some of the folks that still love love these paper and and and move to you know, e filing and that sort of thing. So it’s been, those are the two kind of shifts I’d see, but, yeah, certainly, our our our customers are looking for more responsiveness.

Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s really been an accelerator, right, forcing change even even faster, probably, because of the new Absolutely.

Yeah. Dynamics.

You know, I think most of one one of the things that’s most impressive to me as well about your operation is how acquisitive you guys have been, again, especially recently but, you know, maintain consistency throughout throughout that. And I’m sure that can’t that can’t be easy.

Any any comments or perspective you can share related to that, just maintaining consistency through through such periods of growth?

Yeah.

You know, a couple couple different thoughts there. I mean, I think the first is, you know, we’ve we’ve got that guiding principle of, you know, making sure that that that we were focused on on our retail agents, our markets, and, you know, our our production teams. And so by by doing that, and and that being kind of a a guiding principle. We’ve we’ve avoided what used to happen in other places I’ve been where we had acquisitions, which, you know, I had someone refer you once as the hug at death where, you know, there’s an acquisition made and you’re so excited about it.

You squeeze so hard that you’ve dilated all the value of of the firm and and, you know, it’s no longer what, you know, what you what you were hoping to partner with, no longer really exist. And so I think we’ve, you know, we’ve done a really good job of, integrating key pieces, but maintaining, you know, some some level of, you know, local independence and and and also leveraging the capabilities that, some of the acquired and and, you know, the partners that we’ve got and acquired firms that we’ve we’ve evolved with have have had so that we’re we’re not, you know, a sum of the parts or or or even less.

We’re we’re really you know, worth more together than we were separately.

So, you know, I think I think just the approach around acquisitions is different than what I’ve seen, at at other places.

The the challenge, though, as you mentioned, is, you know, how do you you know, we’re the expectation becomes increasingly that we’re we’re one firm and we’re one ambulance. And so how do we drive consistency? And and I think operations is is a really key part of that. And that’s why, you know, that’s why Marshall’s here. That’s why I’m here. We’ve we’ve recognized that and and made investments in that. So that that we can, you know, we we can drive more consistency, the the central servicing and and kind of the the role that that password plays in that is is a key part because by by definition, you know, if if we’re going to offshore some some work or we’re gonna centralize some work.

You know, really, really bad definition, we need that work to be done consistently. We can’t we can’t support fifty different models on on how to do something. That we created enough of a business case for for folks to wanna send us their work and and and offload some of their non sales support we created enough of the business case because of the quality, because of the responsiveness, because of the consistency, and and the our hours of operation, then they they’re willing to comply, you know, and they’re willing to kinda meet meet the process, standards that we add.

And and so that that’s been an enabler of, driving some consistency in in the way we do things is that we we’ve just created such a compelling case to to, you know, do do business with our our client services team that folks, wanna use us and and are willing to, you know, make some changes to maybe how their processes were done for, to take advantage of our services. I think it’s been a key enabler what we’ve what we’ve established.

I appreciate that.

Change your gears a little bit.

You know, Kevin and I would be remiss to have a a a discussion like this without hitting on technology. And I know, technology isn’t your direct kind of oversight responsibilities for the two of you, but it does impact your organizations.

Anything anything you can share regarding kind of the philosophy that, or or the approach that Amaz had taken, you know, regarding the use of technology or data strategies to to drive you know, better, faster, more accurate results for for your clients?

Yeah. I I’ll, I’ll take that and Marshall if you’ve got anything. Certainly jump in because this is this is something I know you’re you’re passionate about too. I mean, first, just just kinda my my overarching philosophy on it is in operations, you’ve gotta lead with the process and then move to technology.

And so I I’ve seen I’ve seen it play out way too often where there’s you get hammered with a a technology, but the underlying business process isn’t isn’t established yet, and and that surfaces through trying to implement a technology. So I I’ve always believed that let’s get the process right first that gets you a fifty, sixty, seventy percent of the way there. And it it’s really the tendency before you before you enable, you know, and turn on any type technology. So that that’s first kind of in my overarching belief, and and I think we’ve approached that, you know, pretty well with how how we’ve done our servicing.

I think some of the, some of the unique things that we’re seeing from a technology standpoint, though, are I mean, obviously, there’s, we we’re in a highly manual kind of environment with with the work, whether it’s, checking documents, or whether it’s pulling loss runs, you know, it’s a lot of highly repetitive things where now the direction that, you know, we’re we’re seeing a lot of technologies go is that it can it can do that work for you. And so I that’s that’s been something, you know, kind of shameless plug plugged into the power line. I know we we just had a call earlier today where we got to see some really cool demos around some of the work that you guys are doing there.

And we’ve certainly tried to stay on the cutting edge of of automation and RPA and, you know, and any anything that’s gonna help, reduce reduce the touches and increase the accuracy of the work we’re doing.

Yeah. Thanks for that. And for those that don’t know, the the ensure, ensure connections alliance is it’s a, alliance of it from the leadership from large, it’s insurance companies, wholesalers, and and brokers that that Potra has brought together essentially to, prioritize, develop, and distribute, technology solutions and standards for the insurance industry. So and that’s related to insurance processing as well as data, data standards. And we’re super excited about the traction that’s gotten in and excited about the future of where that’s going. So, you know, you you mentioned kind of your coming from Home Depot and having a perspective outside of the insurance industry, Eric.

Is there anything and I think that perspective is helpful because you’re relatively new to this industry, but but driving some pretty big change. Is there any technology, that you see you know, if if successfully deployed would be a game changer for for you that we’re maybe not we’re not there quite yet.

But it could be a really big deal for for you as an organization or for the industry as a whole.

Yeah. Well, you know, I think that Not a technology, but what has shocked me is the the level of the level of maturity we’re at as an industry from a data and analytics perspective.

You know, it was something that, you know, I didn’t realize you know, that that other, you know, whether consulting or at at Home Depot, I mean, we had access to everything updated, you know, in the moment and, consumed in a way that you could, you could have insights immediately.

And, you know, there was there were no decisions that were made without every bit of data that, you know, that you needed at your fingertips. And we’re, we’re, you know, we’re pretty far away from that still here. And and I think that’s a that’s really exciting. Yeah.

Yeah. No. We’re not we’re not quite there yet, you know, and and so that that’s been something that that has struck me, certainly, it is is that there’s still so much opportunity not just for, you know, not not to just improve reporting or analytics, but the the visualization of it and then the insights and then getting more predictive with with with data, we’re we’re still, I think, as a as a, as a industry, pretty, pretty early on that maturity curve. So that that’s the thing that’s and that struck me the most.

And then I think certainly from a from a technology standpoint, I mean, there’s just, you know, and anytime you’ve got, in our world of operations, you know, we we’ve just got a a lot of a lot of documents that need touches. And and so that’s just so prime for for increased automation, RPA, scraping text off of, off of PDFs that before, you know, you’d have to type something on or, you know, take a screenshot out of it, and now you can scrape text from that. There’s there’s so many technologies now that are out there that you know, I think we’ll completely change how we do work within the next five years.

Could couldn’t couldn’t agree more on both fronts. You know, regarding our level of maturity at this point and and the opportunity ahead of us. So, I appreciate that.

Kevin, Yeah. Yeah. I wanted to go back to something that Eric you were talking about a little bit earlier. So, you know, the industry right now, the need is to be more responsive than ever, have higher quality than ever.

And we were also talking about, you know, centralizing versus leaving with local offices. Wondering how those things play out with your decision to outsource too because you wanna find a vendor that can be responsive But then you also have that push and pull with, you know, doing this stuff onshore versus sending it to a vendor partner. What does that philosophy look like for you?

Yeah.

It’s we want we want everything. That’s, that’s our philosophy is that we want to have every every pro and zero cons. Right? So, I think that outsourcing particularly outsourcing with Botra in the past two years has has filled a lot of those a lot of those needs. So, I mean, I guess the coming, coming into insurance, coming into, even, even once I was part of ambulance coming into learning about outsourcing, my first I mean, I think the thing that’s probably true for ninety five percent of people is that you hear outsourcing and the only thing I really could associate to it was like call center, you know. Like, it’s the only thing I knew that was outsourced, right, was we’re we’re call center. So that was that was my only experience previously.

And, but I think that the new and, and the best way to think about outsourcing is truly, like, it it is a branch of your organization. It is it is like a it is a partner. It is not just like a partner. It is, it is a partnership to be able to, to improve your entire process.

Or at least for for us, that’s how we view it. So for Amwins, when we were searching for new vendors, when we were in anytime we’re adding a vendor, We are always looking for someone who is going to make us better, and, and we are going to be able to enter into a really good partnership with. And so even just kind of those those things that you were thinking of. So not only is it good because in the past the the past two years, we have not only grown significantly in our outsourcing.

We’ve all but we’ve also added fifty, sixty, Eric, with no better than me, fifty or sixty onshore folks in our, in our central servicing area because our outsourcing efforts have been have been such a good branch that have made all of our centralization much more attractive to our field, which is which is just it’s like as a as the tide rises, right, it’s just all the ships. And so it’s, it’s it’s been very, like, we we have to follow that philosophy of of that the partnership is going to is gonna increase, everyone’s efforts. And so there’s a lot of tangible set. I mean, There have been times our systems go down, and the Potra team is working overnight when we are not obviously working overnight, and you guys can call it out.

And then our IT team is actually able to get our systems fixed. By the time any kind of underwriters or brokers are in the morning, that’s, even, totally, has nothing to do with our actual that you guys are completing, but are huge benefits. Right?

Not not only that, but, Patra, any any outsourcing vendors, they’re gonna be doing same process. So let’s say pulling loss runs, typing policies, you guys are gonna be doing that for several different clients, and you guys can bring what are the best practices that we may not even know about? And be able to bring those to us. And I mean, just as an example, I think that’s, I think that within a month of, of starting a or one of our first tasks that we did with Potcher when we brought them on was, was, typing and issuing policies and think the Potra team was up to the standard that we considered successful within less than a month, maybe a month of even even teaching their team how to type policies.

Right? Because they had some kind of, some kind of background experience, and they had kind of, insider insider tips to be able to be able to pass along to us, and that’s only made our onshore teams better as well. So, so, not to mention the twenty four seven or twenty four five coverage that we that we’re able to get. Right?

So it’s, there’s a lot of benefits to it, but in, I guess, in in short, the the reason that we outsource is is to make Amwins better by by use of a partnership.

Makes sense. And and if I if I can just add to you, because, you know, I think I think this is a this is a great, great discussion around when and where does it does it make the most sense? And it just comes back to the, again, the customer that you’re serving. And so, you know, where where there’s a really, where there’s a need for a hyper hyper short response time, it’s really tough to staff for that in the US, exclusively because, you know, the the the volumes, when they come in, it it might vary based on the time of day or the day of the month.

And and, you know, it’s it’s tough to you either have to hire way too many people to kinda over serve or you or or there’s gonna be pockets of, you know, times of day or times of times of month where where you’re not meeting expectations of your customers. And so, and that has been a huge benefit in having having folks both on and off offshore, to support in the the highly responsive areas. And then, you know, I think in in the others too, I mean, it it just, again, depends on what we thought about. It depends on what the customer’s looking for.

And if they’re looking, You know, as as Marshall alluded to, I mean, there’s there’s times where we’ve we’ve said, alright. We we need some expertise And and we think we know how to do it, but you guys see a lot more. So we’ve we’ve sent some work to you guys for that. If it’s we we’ve got a new service that we need up and we don’t think we can hire quick quick enough here to stand that up or cost effectively enough, then that that’s gone offshore.

So you know, it really just kinda comes back to what what matters to our customers, and and that’s how we evaluate, you know, our our service model.

Great.

Thanks.

Would you because I think it would help our our audience understand how you guys think about this. But what what do you look at as kind of the key KPIs when you’re working with a a partner and outsourcing, you know, partner?

That that you’re looking at for overall management of the relationship and kind of just evaluation of how things are going.

Think that, I mean, one of the there’s some so some tangibles and then there’s some intangibles, obviously. So the very tangible KPIs are can the team get the task done in in the same efficiency or better than we’re able to do it onshore?

Are we able to meet the service levels that we that we set forward to our fields. Well, a good example of that is, for our new business new business mission, so what we call clearance for throwing any any submissions that are coming in into our system. We want everything done within two hours, basically, at any point. Right?

And and can we, by by taking on an outsource inventor, can we get that done better than we could get it done onshore and answers? Yes. Right? So the I think that meeting meeting our SLAs that we give to, those people that we’re serving, to our clients, which is our internal team and carriers and retailers.

And, and, our efficiency benchmarks, right, are are also the KPIs But then there’s also some intangible ones. Do we get new idea generation?

Do we have people who are who were being able to do time studies for us who were able to, to push our teams to be better onshore as well. So there’s there’s a there’s a couple different ones. Right?

Yeah.

Appreciate that.

That’s been an an emerging one too. Certainly. It’s it’s kinda balancing the speed and and the service levels with with the accuracy. And and that’s one thing we’ve really leaned on you guys for, as as you’ve made, you know, a a a really phenomenal quality program.

And and that’s something we’re trying to take advantage of throughout throughout our services too is So that that that’s kind of the other side of the coin too. Yeah.

I think that’s a great example too of the the partnership that Marshall was talking about because the quality pro program that we have worked closely with you on to build is gonna make all of POTra better too. So it it’s really a win win. It’s been really exciting to see that develop.

Yeah. And and, Kevin, I’m I’m interested in your perspective too, and I think the audience will be, you know, what what are the attributes that an organization like Amwinds or or or or or clients of ours bring that really help us be successful.

Yeah. It’s a great question. I have a couple things in mind, and then I’m curious to get Marshall’s thoughts too, because he and I have worked closely together for a long time now. But I think one of the biggest things is really all around expectations.

And it’s just like any relationship. If you don’t have the right expectations, there’s a lot of room for appointment. And so what we have done with Annwinds really well right off the bat was setting the right expectations about what the team is capable of. And then also what we need from Annwinds to be successful.

And so, you know, we had a a clearly defined plan for how we were gonna bring in new services to the team. We were able to communicate, with them about what our staffing looked like and how we were building out the teams.

So we just stayed really well connected on getting everything off the ground in the beginning.

That continues now. I mean, we were looking at new new ways we can partner together and, keeping those expectations in mind. The other side of that is, really frequent communication, maybe more frequent than Marshall would like sometimes, but we talk all the time.

We have regular checking calls, you know, communicating via email all the time. And even just beyond the, you know, the initial point of contact between him and I, the Amwinds team is really, really exceptional in communicating with our Patra team. And so they have their managers over specific functions that are always willing to jump in and answer questions. That makes the team better. They can share those things that they learn with their peers.

And so there’s just a lot of channels for that that that makes it really easy.

And I think the third biggest thing is there’s been a really strong alignment of what we need in terms of training and resources to get the services up and running. So When we’re training on something for the first time, we’re working with someone from Annwinds who knows the process extremely well. I mean, inside and out, they know everything about it. So we’re able to learn from them, and then we also get feedback from them so we can go live, you know, and start working on the service very quickly.

But at the same time, those people, those subject matter experts, they continue doing the process. So we never have to worry about that knowledge being lost. From the onshore team, and we can always draw on it in the future if we need to, which is really critical.

We have seen, you know, there can be challenges if that internal knowledge gets lost, and then we’re the only ones that know how to do something. It can be really tough when the process has to change. But with Amwins, that all that knowledge still exists in the central support team, so it it’s a total non issue. It’s been really successful because of that.

I think there’s a really, really good point, and I could I can attest to that. Right? Just clarity and consistency of communication is so critical to success. I think going both directions and, you know, thank you for that, Kevin.

We’re we’re getting to the point of where we thought be wrapping up here. So and and I don’t believe we’ve seen any questions. If you do have any questions now as your chance, I think I just have, Kevin, I just have a couple more that we’re gonna go through.

I wanted to kind of I know that Amwinds has a a a rapidly growing benefits operation benefits GA. There’s been several strategic acquisitions recently, associated with that. Eric and Marshall, any different addresses to the operational strategy or structure or outsourcing strategy, etcetera, on on the benefit side is, you know, compared to P and C, or do you see it as is relatively similar?

So so far, You know, I think our our play is we’re gonna run the same play. You know, it’s it’s, and we’re thinking about it very similarly. And the principles that have applied, in in our other spaces where we’ve centralized and and offshored, will apply here too. So, yeah, I I’d say so far it that it’s been, you know, our our thought process is, you know, a lot of the a lot of things Kevin Kevin alluded to too. We we wanna make sure that we we first kind of centralize and and learn the service and establish some some process expertise. And then And then we pull in, we pull in Patra to to supplement and support and transition work to you. So You know, I think our approach around that will be will be very similar.

I’m sure there will be very unique challenges because it’s you know, different, it’ll be some different work, but but the overall, like, philosophy that that we’re gonna bring will be will be the exact same.

And and and I very much anticipate this being, being another win for driving more consistency. And and as we talked about earlier, you know, integrating, integrating a an entire division of, of, you know, of of of various partners that that it operating different geographies, integrating them together through through operations.

Excellent.

Alright, guys. I’m gonna I’m gonna give the final question here.

You know, what’s the final piece of of of wisdom or advice, that you can offer, you know, to our audience, other which, which again, I think is largely comprised of of other MGA’s, wholesalers, insurance companies yeah, based on your experience, based on, you know, leading an organization through so much growth.

Any perspective you can share before we sign off? Yeah. I yeah. I’d say, maybe just being more of echo thoughts, but hopefully more specific would say the two biggest things are, like Kevin said, just communication frequent and and good communication And second thing, just being to keep in mind that that everything is is for that partnership.

And so, Kevin hit on it earlier, but the fact that we don’t let anything that is one very popular route that people will go with is where they kind of they kind of let the outsourcing vendor dictate everything they do. And then the other route, also very popular is, like, we’re gonna tell you exactly what to do, give you no no understanding of, like, why or what the process is. Is the exact steps. And and I think the I mean, the best answer is to to be somewhere in the middle, like, and that and that’s our philosophy is is that We everything that is happening offshore.

Someone onshore is doing it most likely or at least knows exactly how to do the process. If not, we have even more people that are doing it on shore. And so for us, it’s just a huge, a huge, very important and pivotal part is that is it an outsourcing vendor is not is not some, some tool for us necessarily. Right?

It is truly a truly a partner to be able to, to improve everything.

Eric, can you final thoughts you’ll add?

Yeah. No. That’s, I think that’s that’s a great point. And and we’ve always thought about our offering is it’s one team, whether it our our, the the folks we support, it didn’t matter if the work is done in Charlotte or Texas or or buyback or, you know, wherever it shouldn’t matter. It’s one team, and and we do things together.

And I think that’s been a key part of our our relationship.

I think from a from an operations growth and scalability standpoint, you know, I would just I’d just call out that, you know, you’ve gotta you’ve got a forecast where are we headed. And what is you know, if we were to double in size in the next two, three years, what What what, what are the competencies? What are the capabilities that we’d need to be able to deliver on that? And then and then what are the gaps?

And I that’s that’s pretty vague and pretty, you know, pretty high level, but you you’ve gotta do that, and you’ve gotta focus on the the one or two things that are gonna be the bottleneck and and we’ll be the detriment to growth because focusing on anything else isn’t gonna isn’t gonna improve your process. So I think a good example of that is you know, we we foresaw a lot of this growth in in our our, growth in our operations. And we knew that one of the one of the bottlenecks to growth, one of the capabilities we need would be vendor manager, because we’d have so much work and so much complexity, that that we would need someone to to be a liaison and to support that.

And that’s that’s when we started training and ramping Marshall up, and and this helps in that case was all the well in advance. So that now, you know, now we’ve got, sorry, Marshall, I’m referring to you as a capability, but we’ve got a capability, a a very, a very, you know, It’s all been a charming capability. I have a capability.

We’ve got one. And and we’ve got the we’ve got the ability now. We’ve and the muscle memory established where now as we grow, we we can do it. And every and he knows how to do it.

Our our team knows how to do it because we we knew that we would need a capability like this, to support our growth. So I just encourage you to, you know, think about what are the What are the choke points to growth, you know, for, think think about what I go through the exercise. We if we double, if we triple, what’s gonna break. And and this was one of those pieces that would have broken, had we not had the support, not not the relationship, but but we we need the we we need someone otherwise, the all all the all the work is just gonna hit all all of our teams, and it’s gonna hit, the the client services team.

We need one central central capability.

Around vendor management. So I would just encourage you guys to forecast and think what what are the choke points and and how do you support those in getting of those, you know, so that you can be successful.

It’s great. Very very well said from both of you. Thank you very much.

Eric Marshall, Kevin, absolute pleasure, as always, to to talk with you guys. I thought this was great. We went over time actually, which is which is good. And, thank you so much to the audience for joining us today.

We’re gonna post this, on our website. If you’re unfamiliar with Patra, in life form information, please go to w w w w dot patric corp dot com.

We’re one of the largest, outsourcing organizations that’s exclusive to the insurance industry.

Our specialty practice is one of the fastest growing divisions we have in the company right now. So the work that we do with wholesalers, MGA’s insurance company. So we’d love to talk with you.

With that, let’s wrap up. Until next time, everybody. Thank you again to to to the panel. Eric Marshall, you guys are great, Kevin. Have a great afternoon, and we’ll talk soon.

Webinar: Growing to $30B, A Discussion with Amwins

Join Patra and executives from Amwins for a live, interactive panel discussion.

Patra Panelists:

Kevin Dearnley | Manager, OnDemand Services; Patra
Eric Mohr | SVP Operations; Amwins
Marshall Bolling | Manager, Vendor Operations; Amwins

Details of this webinar:

Presenter:
Greg Morris | SVP Business Development
Duration:
50 mins, 37 secs
Publish Date:
May 13, 2021

In this recorded session, we will dive into the following topics:

  1. Lessons learned – What operational strategies and techniques have worked.
  2. The evolving needs of customers – What retail agencies and insureds expect in the modern insurance environment.
  3. Centralized operations – Managing consistency in a highly acquisitive environment.
  4. How to effectively utilize an outsourcing partnership – What to outsource, how to work with a partner, and recipes for a successful collaboration.
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