An update on the Boston-based Insurtech aiming to re-design the commercial insurance experience for independent insurance agents
In January of 2019, Agency Checklists published a profile on Tarmika, a new online commercial insurance quoting platform designed exclusively for independent insurance agents. Now six months in, we decided to check in with the company launched by two Boston area insurance industry professionals, Raghav Tanna and Geetha Sreedhar to see how things are going. Here is what they had to say:
For those who did not read Agency Checklists initial profile of Tarmika, what exactly is Tarmika and what does it aim to do?
We are a lot of different things, but our goal is to help insurance agencies operate more efficiently. We are a commercial lines platform that allows agencies to access multiple quotes through a single submission through the Tarmika Bridge. We have since expanded our product offering but we’ll let people call us to learn more.
How did the idea for Tarmika come about?
Funny enough, I was attending an insurtech conference while working on the agency side. I was looking for solutions that our agency could implement to become more efficient. I listened in on a panel and one panelist mentioned that he wanted insurance agents to be come obsolete. As he pitched his idea, I thought about all the reasons the product wouldn’t work but the sticking point was that there was no insurance expert involved in his process flow. The next day, I went home and started designing an agency friendly technology solution. Had some bumps along the way but we love what we do.
How big is the Tarmika team now?
We are now at 11 employees now, in office and remote, but we are rapidly expanding over the next 6 months. The office may be getting a little tight soon.
It has been about 10 months since we profiled Tarmika which was just planning its official launch. Can you give us an update on how the company is doing six months in?
We officially launched back in April as surprising as that is. We ran a beta from December to April and have been full steam ahead ever since. I am very proud of our team and where they have taken us over the past six months, but we have big goals and even bigger hurdles ahead of us, so we’re excited to continue our expansion.
How many carriers is Tarmika now working with? Have you had any more sign-on since we last spoke?
Tarmika is now working with 11 carriers with a few more on the way. In some cases, we are helping our carrier partners build out the tech stack needed for a full integration and we hope those will be live towards the end of this year.
How has the Massachusetts insurance industry responded to Tarmika?
Massachusetts was a great place to start. The agency community has been extremely receptive to us and our goals. We have since expanded into several new states, from Maine down to Texas.
Initially, you had said that Tarmika would be a regionally focused platform. Does this still hold true? Do you still envision this geographic focus for Tarmika, or have you broadened your range?
I was always optimistic we would expand outside the region but wanted to walk before we started running. Today, we are working with national carriers as well as regional carriers throughout the country and plan to continue to expand our offering.
Since your official launch, what has been the biggest challenge Tarmika has overcome thus far? Your biggest success?
Where do I even start? I’ll start by saying that people only see what you allow them to see. In most cases, that means fundraising, awards, and awesome testimonials. Our team stresses the need to be transparent, so we openly talk about tough days and struggles in the office. The biggest challenge for us was the chicken and egg game. We needed agents to get carriers but carriers to get more agents. To be honest, that has also been our biggest success. We knew going in that it would be a tough sell on both sides but it’s a great feeling when your plans come to fruition.
How do you foresee Tarmika growing over the next 3-6 months?
We have some big things coming, but we are going to have to keep it a secret for now!
What’s your take on the current status of insurance innovation overall?
I am excited to see the future of the insurance industry. We are in a hyper-competitive world, where insurtechs are scared to collaborate with other insurtechs and some incumbents view all insurance innovation as a bad thing, but progression takes time. We are moving in the right direction when it comes to innovation and adoption of that innovation.