Steve Lathrop — CEO

SSP appoints Steve Lathrope as CEO

SSP today announces the appointment of Steve Lathrope as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). SSP co-founder Laurence Walker, who has been leading the company since 2007, will resume the position of Executive Chairman.

Steve joined SSP in 2011 as Managing Director of the Insurer Division, with responsibility for more than 120 insurance company and MGA customers worldwide. Ahead of his appointment to the role of CEO, he was promoted to Chief Customer Officer and then latterly Group Managing Director. Before joining SSP, Steve spent 19 years with Accenture as a partner in the global Insurance practice, consulting with a wide range of insurance companies in the UK and globally and advising on business and technology change.

Steve Lathrope said:
“This is an exciting time for SSP and I’m delighted to be moving into the CEO role. The whole SSP team is proud of the role we play in supporting the business operations of our 1,000+ customers worldwide. My focus as CEO will be to continue to raise the bar with regard to the service we provide day-to-day, and the contribution we make to our customers’ innovation and growth.

“The pace of change in the insurance industry continues to increase, and the role of technology is more significant than ever. The investment we have been making in SSP’s software products and services is now being realised through the unique solutions we’re providing to our new and existing customers — including our new SSP digital insurance platform and recently launched SSP Broking.”

Laurence Walker said:
“Steve’s recruitment to SSP was a key part of our succession plan. I’m delighted by the development and growth he has helped our team deliver on the Insurer side of the business, and the role he has played in the wider business as Chief Customer Officer and Group Managing Director. I look forward to working with him as our new CEO, and to realising the full potential of SSP.

“We are 100% focused on our mission to be the best insurance software provider in the market. Under Steve’s leadership we will continue to enhance our products and services, put customers at the heart of what we do, and deliver our overall strategic plan.”

Direct Line Group (DLG)

Direct Line Group chooses SSP Select Insurance as a Service for growth

Direct Line Group (DLG) - SSPDLG chooses to support its commercial insurance growth strategy using SSP’s digital insurance platform, SSP Select Insurance as a Service.

Insurance technology specialist SSP today announces a new five year contract with leading UK insurer Direct Line Group (DLG) to provide its SSP Select Insurance as a Service platform to support DLG’s plans for growth. SSP won the contract after an extensive competitive tender process.

SSP Select Insurance as a Service is a SaaS-based digital insurance platform that comprises a set of proven, integrated best of breed components that together provide powerful digital insurance capabilities to insurance companies, enabling them to build and deliver their products and services into the marketplace.

These platform components provide product build, pricing, data enrichment, aggregator integration, policy administration and customer self-service capabilities, as well as pre-application fraud prevention through SSP Verify. DLG will also benefit from SSP’s Intelligent Quotes Hub (IQH), the company’s next generation, whole of market quotation solution that provides powerful, user configurable risk selection, data enrichment and pricing capabilities.

The component options within the SSP solution are pre-integrated, meaning insurers can undertake a ‘low touch’ implementation that involves considerably less cost and effort than with traditional solutions, and get their insurance products live in the marketplace more rapidly.

The SaaS platform is implemented, hosted and managed by SSP, a model that drives a low up-front investment, along with flexible and low cost of ownership. It also contributes to the rapid implementation timeframe.

DLG will become the fourth leading UK insurer to adopt IQH to provide its Insurer Hosted Pricing capability for part of its business.

Jasvinder Gakhal, Director of Commercial Direct at Direct Line Group said:
“We are pleased to have selected SSP and its digital insurance platform to support areas of our Direct Line for Business growth strategy.  The platform enables us to launch new products quickly, monitor their performance, learn from the results and refine them on a cost-effective basis.”

Steve Lathrope, Group Managing Director, SSP said:
“We are proud to have been chosen by DLG and to be providing Select Insurance as a Service as a platform for growth.  We’ve designed the solution with innovation in mind, and are delighted to have a market leader using it to power its business.”

Scott Holmes

SSP invests in insurer relationships with new appointment

Scott HolmesSSP, a leading global provider of insurance technology solutions, has strengthened its Data and Distribution division with the appointment of a new Relationship Manager Scott Holmes.

The move follows the appointment of Siân Nicholls and confirms the company’s commitment to proactively developing its products and partnerships through continued investment in people and the business.

Reporting directly to Ron Atkinson, Head of Distribution Relationships, Holmes will manage and grow SSP’s relationships with its insurer and data partners. He will also be responsible for identifying innovative propositions that enable SSP’s customers to benefit from a wider range of products and services, while taking forward current solutions such as SoteriaDrive, its telematics offering, and Keychoice, the company’s insurance distribution business.

Holmes brings a wealth of insurance industry experience to the role, having held a number of positions focused around product and development. He joins SSP from Sompo Canopius, where he managed the relationships with software houses. Prior to this, he delivered key telematics and data enrichment strategies at LV=Broker.

“I’m very excited to join SSP at a time of extensive growth in the team,” said Holmes. “With insurers facing a tough set of challenges to remain profitable, I’m looking forward to using my knowledge and expertise to help our partners develop new revenue streams, take the fight to fraudsters, reduce their operational expenditure and retain more customers.”

Speaking about the appointment, Atkinson said:
“I am delighted to welcome Scott to our team. Our position in the broker market meant we wanted to appoint a Relationship Manager with a proven track record of building relationships and delivering unique schemes and solutions to brokers. Scott’s appointment confirms our commitment to the broker market at a time of great change in the industry.

“Scott will be key in enabling both insurers and brokers to benefit from the market-leading data intelligence our partners provide. Our continued focus on innovation puts SSP at the forefront of identifying the next new thing in the data space. When our partners ask us for something, they can be certain we have the knowledge to deliver.”

Ando Insurance goes live with SSP Pure Insurance solution

Newly founded New Zealand-based Ando Insurance has started operating SSP Pure Insurance solution after an eight-month implementation phase.

SSP, a leading global provider of insurance technology solutions, was selected by Ando Insurance to provide its Pure Insurance solution in New Zealand late last year.

Ando Insurance provides multi-lines insurance, challenging the traditional insurance company model with a new, simplified business approach, based on customer-centric technology, smart processes and an experienced team.

Created by former Lumley CEO John Lyon and a group of partners, and in conjunction with Hollard Insurance of Australia, Ando has achieved great business growth since launching into the market in 2016.

Paul Miller, SSP general manager, Asia Pacific, said Ando’s dedication and commitment in working together with SSP to achieve a full commercial lines policy administration implementation in less than twelve months was commendable.

“In such a short timeframe, Ando has revealed a disruptive force in the New Zealand market and it is great that the SSP Pure Solution is able to underpin and support their innovative business model,” Mr Miller said.

Ando Insurance COO, Dean Edwards, said that as an agile and focused business, without any legacy baggage, Ando was uniquely placed to take advantage of emerging trends in the industry, such as disruption to the traditional insurance value chain, and new distribution channels.

“SSP Pure Insurance equips us with the agility and flexibility to rapidly launch innovative propositions into the market, which are tailored to meet the individual needs of our customers. As a strategic partner, SSP has played an integral part in developing Ando’s innovative model further,” Mr Edwards said.

SSP Pure Insurance is an easily implemented, flexible, end-to-end core insurance system solution, providing all the key components needed to manage an insurance operation, including policy administration, product development, claims management, finance, reinsurance and co-insurance as well as inbuilt document management, task management and business analytics.

Regulatory uncertainty drives insurers towards more agile hosted technology

  • 55% of insurers see hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) technology as a way to cope with fast changing regulatory requirements
  • Insurers turning their backs on large-scale core IT system implementation programmes in favour of more agile, quick-to-deploy solutions, says SSP
  • 82% would consider deploying SaaS (whether throughout all business lines, on major lines, in niche / orphan lines or as a test)

Insurer adoption of cloud hosted ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) technology is set to grow as a response to unprecedented regulatory change, according to new research from insurance technology specialist, SSP. 82% of insurers are considering deploying SaaS technology within their business in some form, with 55% citing its ability to enable them to respond to regulatory changes as the overall the most recognised benefit.

The research, which surveyed 94 senior insurance decision makers and insurance IT professionals, also found that insurers see SaaS as a way of making their businesses more nimble.  Just under half of insurers see cost reductions (48%) and increased product speed to market (47%) among the benefits of SaaS technology. This is possible because SaaS technology moves insurers away from costly ‘on premise’ installations to a more rapidly deployable, externally hosted and managed model.

There are strong indications that SaaS is becoming more mainstream solution across the industry. Amongst insurers considering implementing SaaS, more than half (59%) said they would across their whole business, compared to 34% who would consider deploying the technology across selected niche or orphan business lines.

However, some insurers remain concerned about a perceived loss of control in moving their software to a SaaS model with a quarter (27%) of respondents saying this is a barrier to adoption. SSP believes that the flexibility provided by SaaS solutions will swing opinion in the long term and expects 80% of its insurance policy administration clients to move to a SaaS model by 2020. 

Stephen Lathrope, Chief Customer Officer at SSP said:
“Insurers tell us again and again that they need their IT systems to be able to respond more quickly to changing demands on their businesses and enable them to take advantage of emerging market opportunities. Compared to traditional “on premise” systems which typically involve expensive and time consuming development and installation, SaaS-based solutions provide new and enhanced capabilities more rapidly and at lower cost.  By having these capabilities delivered to them via specialist providers, insurers can focus their time and money more on innovation within their business, and less on keeping their technology up to date.

“This approach is particularly useful when dealing with the level of change that we see resulting for the current regulatory climate. Insurers have been grappling with Flood Re, changes in the Insurance Premium Tax and the Competition and Markets Authority’s reforms to motor insurance to name just a few. Having these changes handled for them by their service provider reduces the level of distraction within their own teams, enabling them to focus on competing in the marketplace”.

Brokers risk becoming complacent on fraud, SSP reveals

  • Almost three quarters of brokers say application fraud is not a priority for them.
  • Application fraud /inaccuracies costs the industry over a £1bn per year according to SSP.
  • The most successful brokers are more likely to see tackling fraud as a key driver of growth.

Almost three quarters of brokers have put fraud prevention on the back burner according to insurance technology solutions provider SSP. 74% of brokers, say application fraud is not a priority for their business over the next 12 months, with 65% saying the same about claims fraud.

The data, which comes from a survey of 301 UK brokers, suggests that even in the longer term neither commercial nor personal lines brokers plan to target fraud. 62% of surveyed brokers said that application fraud would not be a priority in the next five years and 60% said the same about claims fraud.

The news is concerning given that fraud is recognised as a huge problem for the insurance industry as a whole. SSP has estimated that fraudulent or inaccurate insurance applications in the motor insurance industry alone are costing insurers over £1bn a year1 in lost premiums, whilst the ABI detected £1.3bn of claims fraud in 20132.

Only the most successful small brokers in the UK3 appear to be bucking the trend. A sizeable proportion of brokers (39%) credit their efforts to get on top of application fraud as a contributing factor to their success. Growing brokers are also more than twice as likely as declining brokers to say that tackling fraud will help to drive their growth over the next five years.

Adrian Coupland, Managing Director, Data and Distribution at SSP, commented: “Many of the brokers we spoke to have a clear plan for growth, one which focused on providing an excellent service and investing in their insurer relationships. Yet some brokers still seem to accept fraud as a fact of life rather than tackle it, boost business performance and strengthen relationships with insurers.

“As more insurers use technology to improve their ability to detect and track fraud – including pre-inception fraud in the broker channel – brokers cannot afford to ignore the issue. Insurers will look to place business through the channels providing them with the best risk, and using a system like SSP Intelligent Quotes Hub enables the broker to eliminate fraud risk at application stage”.

The news comes as SSP continues the roll out of its Intelligent Quotes Hub, a market leading pricing and risk rating platform which enables insurers to identify fraudulent customer behaviour before a quote is even provided. Sitting within Intelligent Quotes Hub, SSP Verify is SSP’s counter-fraud solution which deals with complexities such as slight changes in names and addresses and different device usage in order to accurately link data to create a holistic ‘single customer view’. It enables users to monitor individual customer behaviour and identify in real-time if the same customer is providing different application data through different channels (e.g. via a broker or aggregator, online, over the phone or directly to the insurer). Users can also use it to prototype multiple anti-fraud strategies simultaneously.

1For details on how this figure was calculated, see:
2ABI insurance facts 2014:
3Defined as those who have grown in the last 12 months

The future is bright for British brokers, new SSP survey reveals

  • Brokers are optimistic about GWP growth in the next 12 months.
  • Commercial lines brokers are more likely to have grown GWP in the past year than personal lines brokers (63% vs. 37%).
  • Improving customer service, operational efficiencies and skills are the biggest priorities for 2016 with digital capabilities seen as an important long-­term investment.
  • 81% of brokers want to reduce their time spent on compliance and admin.

According to new research from insurance technology provider SSP, the majority of British brokers (64%) expect to grow in the next 12 months, with over a quarter (28%) expecting to grow their gross written premium (GWP) by more than 10%. In contrast, only 3% of respondents claim that their GWP will decline, reflecting brokers’ optimism for the future.

SSP has surveyed over 300 brokers across the UK and found that commercial lines brokers are growing faster than their colleagues in personal lines. In the past 12 months, commercial lines brokers have grown faster than personal lines brokers, with 30% of commercial lines brokers expecting to see a double digit increase in the next year.

To ensure ongoing growth, it is fundamental that brokers understand the challenges they face and protect themselves against a new breed of emerging risks. Looking to the near future, the research shows that the biggest areas of focus for the coming year will be improving their customer service (85%), improving efficiency by reducing time spent on admin and compliance (81%), and improving skills of employees (78%).

Top 5 growth drivers for UK brokers
1 Improving the quality of client service
2 Improving relationships with insurers
3 Increasing employee skills and training
4 Diminishing levels of competition
5 Entering a niche market

A large proportion of brokers also admit that there is an increasing need to revamp their digital strategies. Over half of respondents (51%) are planning to invest long term in their digital technologies and more than 2 in 5 (45%) are looking to upgrade or integrate new IT software in the coming year. This ‘digitalisation’ process will help brokers deliver a faster, more personalised customer experience at a competitive rate, particularly important given today’s competitive market.

Steve Pearson, Managing Director, Broker Division at SSP said:

“Against the backdrop of financial markets instability and increasing risks, it is re-­assuring to see that brokers are optimistic about their future performance, which is generating positive momentum for 2016.

SSP welcome the optimism expressed by the majority of respondents and are pleased to see that brokers are responding effectively to issues and challenges which may have an impact on their growth trajectory.

To stay ahead of market competition, we believe that a broker who is up to speed with technology capabilities and focused on delivering digital strategies is far more likely to succeed than one that chooses not to make that sort of investment in the future.”


Hawkwell becomes fourth insurer to combat fraud with SSP Verify

Insurance technology specialist SSP today announces that motor insurer Hawkwell has become the fourth insurer to sign up to use the market-leading fraud-combatting capability SSP Verify.

By adopting this solution, Hawkwell will be able to create a holistic single customer view to identify in real-time fraudulent applications pre-inception. With this insight, Hawkwell can price premiums correctly and avoid fraudulent applications.

SSP Verify allows the behaviour of individual customers to be captured and monitored in real-time across all insurance channels, providing sophisticated insight into when application fraud is occurring. The rules within the solution differentiate between honest mistakes and deliberately fraudulent behaviour, and can be tailored to reflect each insurer’s tolerance to application fraud.

The price of not implementing such a solution is immense. Last September, data from SSP revealed that the industry loses a potential £1.42bn in premiums as a result of motor insurance application fraud, in addition to potential exposure to claims costs in the region of £1.36bn.

Commenting on the deal, Adrian Coupland, Managing Director, Data and Distribution at SSP said:
“The level of insight provided by SSP Verify means that all insurers who sign up will improve their underwriting results by identifying problem customers before exposing themselves to the risk and then price or decline accordingly.

“As a result, these early adopters of our system are able to focus on building books of quality clients, with unwanted business passing back into the market to be written by insurers who remain unable to identify fraudulent applicants.

“Application fraud will rapidly become more acute for insurers who do not subscribe to such a service.

“Already the amount of attempted dishonest motor insurance applications uncovered by insurers rose by 18% year-on-year in 2014 to 212,0001. However, SSP has discovered that fraudsters are now targeting the details that are not so easy for insurers to verify, so these ABI figures are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.”

Tony Smith, Chief Executive at Hawkwell said:
“Application fraud is endemic in the industry and the SSP solution enables us to combat this. While other options just check limited criteria like addresses and NCD, SSP Verify actively tracks data manipulation in real-time for the more difficult to identify criteria.

“We can’t afford to invest huge sums in buying information from all the available databases. With SSP Verify, we get a view across the whole insurance market in one place, providing essential protection that we can afford.”