The Silicon Review
Insurance is one of the most common types of financial services availed globally by individuals as well as corporations. It is a guarantee that a financial services organization will cover the cost of damages to property that was insured by the customer. While most people avail insurance to protect themselves against accidents, fires, etc. there are some that go the extra mile and protect themselves against natural calamities like floods, hurricanes, etc.
WaterStreet provides cloud-based insurance software and business process outsourcing services to streamline and automate operations for property and casualty insurance carriers, MGA’s, insurtechs, and start-ups.
In conversation with the visionary behind WaterStreet Company, Gregg Barrett
Q. How did you decide to launch the company and decide upon its offerings?
I founded the WaterStreet Company in 2000 and come from a background in insurance executive management. About two decades earlier, I launched National Flood Services, working with the Federal Insurance Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program on regulatory and write-your-own arrangement issues. In 1994, I joined Bankers Insurance Group and, as executive vice president of sales and marketing, increased nationwide sales from $92 to $490 million in less than four years. Later on, I headed product development and customer relationship as an insurance consultant for municipalities and coordinated the homeowner’s take-out process from the Florida Wind Underwriting Association and the Joint Underwriting Association for a Florida insurance company. What I saw was an opportunity to deliver a superior software platform combined back-office service offerings to add value to insurers of all sizes.
Q. How have your company’s offerings enabled clients to attain their organizational goals?
It is very important for young carriers trying to protect their policyholder surplus position while earning premiums lag written premiums during fast growth. We have been able to help several start-ups get into business quickly and allow them to scale operations as their volumes grow, keeping their systems and service costs variable.
One such client began as a Louisiana-based start-up in 2012. They implemented our policy administration software as well as utilized our back-office services suite that year and participated in the Citizen’s depopulation program. In 2013, we worked with them to expand new product lines including a new homeowner’s, manufactured home, and dwelling products. In 2015, they expanded into Texas adding Wind/Hail and Multi-Peril lines using our platform. And in 2017 they entered the Florida market with their offerings. By 2018, we had gotten them over 60,000 PIF and about $80M in written premium. They are looking to surpass $100M in 2019.
Another such client came to us wanting to move on from their legacy incumbent system. We converted them to our platform which provided new options to automate internal processes. They were able to reduce staff by at least half in underwriting/policy servicing areas and streamline their claims processes by having all their data in one central system.
Q. How have you managed your company’s offerings to cater to current industry trends?
We are building out a commercial property platform – building beyond their current product needs so that we can offer broader commercial coverage in the future.
We are working on more frontend UI flexibility with respect to a multi-device distribution and quoting capability.
We continue to enhance our API and micro-services to ensure we can offer our clients a robust and holistic solution that delivers real-time data access from all their sources in a single platform.
Q. What would you say are the biggest assets to your company?
Our employees either have previous backgrounds in property and casualty insurance or take certification courses in property and liability through our company to become experts on not only software but also the industry that our clients serve.
Our emphasis on the customer experience really sets us apart from the competition. Our approach is to partner with our clients and draw upon our collective industry expertise to help them through every step of product launch or expansion to ensure its growth and success. We want to be there for our clients every step of the way.
Our deep industry knowledge combined with flexibility to work with startups and growing companies allow us to bring a consultative approach to the solution. Rather than dropping a “do it yourself” software platform in the hands of a new or growing organization, we draw upon our industry knowledge to map out a success plan that includes tools in the software and our services to achieve our clients’ goals.
We have happy employees. We really want our company to feel like it has a healthy work-life balance. We offer flexible work hours, generous PTO and vacation, we offer remote work, and also do things like volunteer work and try to give back to our community. We like to get regular feedback from the entire company on what activities, initiatives, or other benefits they would like to see to better their life at WaterStreet and work well.
Continued education and career advancement opportunities help us attract great talent and keep them growing. We offer bonuses and reimbursement for continued education and really nurture the career paths of our employees.
Q. What’s a typical day in your company like?
Usually, it is started with plenty of coffee for the whole team to get going. Many of our client teams have regular stand-ups to get together on the day’s activities and goals for their customers. Every Wednesday we cater lunch for the whole office from a local restaurant and then someone in the company will give a lunch and learn on either work or lifestyle related topic. We encourage everyone to participate in hosting a lunch and learn for the office so we can better learn about what our colleagues are interested in and share ideas. We spend a lot of time collaborating on Google Hangouts and chats with our remote colleagues so we stay on the same page even though we may not even be in the same country. These are critical communication tools and keep everyone cohesive and productive.
About the Founder and CEO of WaterStreet, Gregg Barrett
Gregg launched National Flood Services, working with the Federal Insurance Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program. He later joined Bankers Insurance Group as Executive Vice President of Sales before founding WaterStreet in 2000.