50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2017

VIPR; meeting the needs of the insurance industry

thesiliconreview-richard-brown-director-vipr-2017The insurance industry has no choice but to invest in technology if it’s to survive in today’s increasingly competitive and regulated market,” says Richard Brown, Director of VIPR Ltd, software providers for the insurance industry. 

This statement echoes the problems faced globally by insurers. Many companies have been heavily reliant on manual processes, legacy systems and inadequate or unreliable data, and with an increase in regulations, the market is now faced with challenges. 

Historical practices are simply not up to the job of supporting a modern regulatory regime that relies on understanding a business’s underlying data. Quite simply, the sheer volume of data is impossible to analyze and manage manually.

In response to these challenges, entrepreneurs and businessmen Richard and Bob Brown established VIPR, a company that develops sophisticated software solutions to enable insures to standardize, cleanse and validate data, quickly and easily. This in turn helps the way insurers transact business as well as providing an effective response to regulations.

Over the years VIPR has developed a portfolio of products to meet changing market needs, and most importantly those of its customers. Its client list is impressive; many are Lloyd’s Managing Agents who provide glowing references about VIPR. The company’s reputation in the industry has also been recognised by a number of respected publications; most recently they were asked to contribute to the Parliamentary Review by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

We got up close and personal with VIPR’s co-founders to find out how they have successfully grown the company and how their technology can help the market get to grips with data… 

Why did you set up VIPR and did you face any initial challenges?

We saw a need for technology in the insurance market, recognizing increasing regulatory pressures would compel the industry to modernize and employ better systems. In particular we saw serious issues with vast quantities of data coming into the market disorganized and in non-standard formats. This meant that without effective systems in place insurers would find it extremely difficult to properly understand the business they were writing and where the risks lay.

Although we had a lot of experience developing technologically advanced software solutions in our careers, the challenge was getting traction in a market where we were relatively unknown. It took a little while to get our first few customers on board, but they were crucial to our success and the development of VIPR. 

Tell us about your products?

We now have a total of six products in our portfolio. These include; 

  1. Active Underwriter – Quote and Bind solution and the first product we launched. It enables insurers to transact business with their customers directly. 
  1. Intrali – our data management product that enables the user to standardize, cleanse and validate vast amounts of disorganized data. 
  1. Intarga – an online workflow tool that enables users to have control and management of their customer relationships and ensure they remain compliant.
  1. Active Reports – A reporting tool that sits above our other products and enables customers to produce management information quickly and easily.
  1. Complaints Manager – A complaints management tool enabling complaints to be reported online. Complaints can be automatically assigned to a complaints handler and the whole process tracked online with deadlines set and all actions tracked. Regulatory letters, emails and reports can be produced automatically from the system.
  1. Concensus – Our latest product designed to assist group life insurers to quickly and easily standardize membership data that arrives in non-standard formats. 

What have been the biggest factors contributing to your success?

Talent - Attracting the right talent that shared our passion and had technical expertise was crucial for us to be able to deliver products the industry needed.

Customer Relationships - Maintaining excellent customer relationships has been key to our success. We always go the extra mile to keep our clients happy, and in return they help us attract new business opportunities.

Regulations - Clients are often reluctant to spend money on new technology, but where they are compelled to do so by regulatory pressures, demand in our products has grown. 

Products that work - We often get clients complaining about competitor products that don’t really do what they are supposed to do or what is expected of them. We believe in building products that are simple to understand and use and do ‘as it says on the tin’. We don’t over complicate things for the sake of it and avoid anything that cannot be quickly and easily explained in a couple of sentences. 

And finally, what’s next for VIPR?

We will continue to grow in our current markets but will also be active in other business sectors as well as other territories. We are already working with a partner to develop business in the US and are also looking at Europe as a potential market. 

Tip one’s hat

Richard Brown

Richard co-founded VIPR in 2009 with his brother Bob. Prior to VIPR, in 1996 they successfully launched and subsequently sold, the first personal finance comparison site in the UK. “At VIPR I oversee management of the business and I am fully involved in client relations, as well as product strategy and development. Owning a business is very challenging, so when I do get some spare time I enjoy cooking, which I find very relaxing.” 

Bob Brown

Bob started his career in the insurance market working as a Lloyd’s broker for over 20 years, including 15 years with Marsh. In 2009 his brother and he launched VIPR, where Bob is responsible for overall strategy and sales. “The company is continuing to grow and we have established ourselves as market leaders in our specialized sector. When I have some free time on my hands I enjoy boating and cycling which I am very passionate about.” 

“We continue to invest in, evolve and adapt to current market circumstances and future challenges.”