The Boston-based insurtech was acquired by IVANS on August 10th
In another sign of the growing symbiosis between insurtech and the traditional insurance industry, IVANS, a division of Applied Systems, has acquired the commercial lines appetite engine and of one of Boston’s first insurtech start-ups: Ask Kodiak.
“Our investment in Ask Kodiak furthers our mission to expand the IVANS data superhighway, creating a more connected and valuable digital ecosystem of insurance,” said Reid Holzworth, chief executive officer, IVANS. “Merging Ask Kodiak with the IVANS Distribution Platform will combine the industry’s most robust appetite management and communication tool and the industry’s broadest distribution platform to enable agents, MGAs, carriers and partners to digitize the end-to-end commercial lines policy lifecycle and provide additional opportunities to more broadly connect across more lines of business.”
Founded in 2015 by former Agencyport veterans, Michael Albert and Allan Egbert, Ask Kodiak idea had a great idea from the get-go: employ their technological expertise to offer exceptional commercial lines market appetite and search capabilities for the independent agency channel. With its acquisition, the company will now help IVANS further its own commercial lines connectivity solutions, particularly with the IVANS Distribution platform.
A follow-up to the official announcement
As Ask Kodiak was one of the first insurtechs Agency Checklists ever profiled, and one we followed closely as the hosts of the popular Insurtech Boston meetups, we thought many of our readers would be interested in learning more about Ask Kodiak’s acquisition and their plans for the future. As such, we reached out to the duo to see if they could answer the following email questions about the acquisition and what it means for Ask Kodak going forward. Here are their responses:
Congratulations on Ask Kodiak’s acquisition. How did the opportunity with IVANS come about?
Earlier this year we were discussing a partnership with IVANS. We have a growing ecosystem of partner platforms connected to Ask Kodiak and it only made sense to us that IVANS be one. We’ve known Reid Holzworth, CEO of IVANS, for a very long time. In fact, during his days as the CEO of TechCanary they were a partner of ours. One thing led to another and here we are.
Had you been considering selling Ask Kodiak?
No, not at all.
What were the main advantages of joining forces with IVANS?
Adding Ask Kodiak to the IVANS Distribution Platform combines the industry’s premier appetite communication tool and the industry’s broadest distribution platform allowing agents, carriers, and partners to digitize the end-to-end commercial lines policy lifecycle. Simply, we can do more together than we could alone. Our whole team is very excited for this next chapter.
Going forward, how is Ask Kodiak to be integrated with IVANS? Will Ask Kodiak continue as a separate brand name or be merged with IVANS?
Ask Kodiak will serve as the appetite component for IVANS Distribution Platform. In addition to the platform being made a key part of the IVANS offering, for now the Ask Kodiak name will live on too.
How will the merger with IVANS benefit Ask Kodiak and its subscribers?
Our customers will benefit from a much bigger team (we go overnight from a team of five to a team of around 150, with back-office support from Applied Systems) and a larger addressable platform audience as we broaden our integration with IVANS and Applied.
What about the Ask Kodiak team? What are your plans after the completion of the acquisition? Will you stay on after the sale, take some time off, start another insurtech?
Being energized about the combination was essential. We would not have come together if we didn’t believe in the shared vision or want to roll up our sleeves and be a part of bringing it to life. To that end, our team will remain intact and continue under the IVANS banner improving Ask Kodiak, integrating it with the IVANS Distribution Platform, and helping IVANS stand up its Innovation Lab to churn out great new products.
What changes, if any, do you see resulting from Ask Kodiak joining with IVANS?
Ask Kodiak customers and partners will experience no immediate impact to their primary services, support, and sales contacts. Over time, the combined company will evaluate opportunities to create greater synergies within our sales and customer support functions. Tighter integration of Ask Kodiak with IVANS Distribution Platform will provide significant benefits and greater choice to both companies’ customers, partners, and other stakeholders in the industry. IVANS is committed to investing behind the combined teams to drive continued product innovation and deliver the highest level of value to our customers and partners.
IVANS will continue to support and grow Ask Kodiak’s relationship with Insurtech and integration with broker management solutions in the marketplace, supporting the growing IVANS Distribution Platform partner network.
Speaking of insurtech, what about Insurtech Boston, do you both have plans to continue organizing events?
Oh, for sure. More to come on this topic soon.
There seems to be a lot of consolidation going on between legacy companies and insurtechs. What is your take on the current state of insurtech and how it will evolve going forward?
Startups are a proving ground for new ideas. There are some of us that hit on something and it’s only natural for larger industry players to want to tap into new technology, revenue, and customer bases. Our take is that M&A activity in the space is testament to the overall health of the industry. And there’s a huge long-term benefit to all players in the industry as fresh technology and new faces move into leadership positions at companies that have been around for a longer period of time. ‘Legacy’ is a state of mind, not a condition of age. We’re hoping to prove that point very soon.