CEO Jamie Reid of AccuSure has developed a solution to take all the headaches out of choosing and renewing workman's compensation insurance, and soon, many other kinds. With his company's new platform, the right agent and the right insurance for your restaurant can be yours in literally about 24 hours, he says. Renewing will take even less time.
“With our solution, restaurants are able to choose among competing bids. We create the platform for them to go get quotes for their operation and manage the process afterwards. It's really important for us to remain transparent and neutral in the decision-buying process, so we can be a source to help you determine what your best options are,” Reid explains.
Reid spent 15 years on the commercial insurance side. “I had all the different roles of insurance carriers – claims, underwriting, risk control – and in that experience I was exposed to different agents across the country,” he says. “A few years ago I decided to become an agent. I thought, well, this should be easy. But to land the first business, I found out, not so much. I was introduced to amazing people; we'd have a great initial conversation. Then I would need to get five or 10 pieces of information from them to start the process and here's where it got dicey. Most businesses had nowhere to turn to get that information easily, to fill out the simple application to provide the data we needed to get them a quote. I started thinking somebody's got to create a simple way for small businesses to collect and distribute that information,” he says.
So he went to work creating the concept and launched AccuSure six months ago. The company supports all industries but focuses primarily on foodservice.
“I started with restaurants because they were getting hit pretty hard with rate increases, back before 2008,” he says. “After that, insurance started coming down for everyone, but it came down particularly well for restaurants because there was a lot of competition in that space.
But the lower cost bottomed out in 2008. “And since then, there's been a dramatic increase in workman's comp,” he says. “Restaurants are feeling the pain of the market cycle starting to change. Costs are going up, and couple that with the fact that the process doesn't do anything to help profitability, so they need to minimize this to the greatest extent possible,” he points out. “That's where we come in.”
It's as simple as going to the company's Web site, www.get.accusure.com, and following the green boxes to get started. “It's pretty easy for any business to create an account. You simply fill out what we call a 'request for insurance,' which is our application process,” Reid says. “The most complicated piece they have to submit is their federal employer ID number, their tax ID. It's very straightforward information.”
When restaurants get to the application, they enter a word that describes them (usually the word “restaurant”) and AccuSure matches up the right code. “They update how much payroll is there. We ask a few specific questions about the restaurant industry; with the goal to minimize the back-and-forth it takes to get quotes for agents. I like to equate it to TurboTax,” says Reid.
But don't think that's the end of it for AccuSure's involvement. “We're available, as well, each time an account is created. We touch base with the business; we have a sales team that helps negotiate the whole process. If key issues come up, we're there to support them.”
Since the most difficult part of the process often is pulling together all the information required to get a quote, AccuSure tries to make it as seamless as possible.
“Businesses know, when workman's comp comes up, they need to minimize that cost. They're being solicited by phone calls and emails and they're trying to qualify who to work with and at the end of the process, they decide on one or two agents and begin emailing or hard copying all this information,” he says.
Reid recalls one relatively sophisticated buyer who actually was able to pull the information together pretty quickly. “I asked her, how do we stack up against everyone else? And she said her former agent gave her a form to fill out that was 12 pages. “Others she solicited, she wasn't even able to get quotes from. She failed to engage an agent, despite trying to screen on the front end. She did a great job putting together the information to hand off to me. We accomplished it all with about 10 emails back and forth, which may sound like a lot, but in the past it was 50 or 60 independent phone calls moving the information around and at the end, she still couldn't easily compare quotes,” he says.
“That's what we do, we go out, and we pre-qualify an agent. We set expectations for how the agents correspond with the business and when we tee up an application, it's easy to complete in five minutes. At the end of the process, agents are required to upload key data, so, at the end of the day, you can look inside our app and see those quotes, unbiased, compared side-by-side, apples-to-apples. It streamlines that whole process and puts it in one nice, easy to use place for them to look at,” Reid notes.
One recent client with $4 million in payroll and three locations – a fairly complex set-up – was able to finish the whole process in seven minutes. “She didn't need to do any back and forth with the agent, and she received a quote in less than 24 hours. So it's pretty powerful. That application's now saved for her, and we log her renewal into our calendar, so next year, 100 days out before it comes up, we let her know her workman's comp is coming up for renewal, would you like quotes, here's your application from last year, fill out any changes, and it's back out to market in seconds, potentially,” he says.
Reid says he decided to focus on foodservice because it's an industry where rates are now going up. “There's a large appetite for restaurants, so any one agent can only quote so many of those companies. There might be 50 or 70 insurance companies filed to provide insurance. It's really hard for a company to figure out the best one on its own without some technology that can reach a greater part of that audience. That's where we come in.”
As for the agents, they're hand-picked. “That's where my insurance experience comes in handy. When I was on the carrier side, I was exposed to agencies nationwide,” he says. “There are a lot of good agencies out there. Insurance brokers are trying to figure out how to get in front of good businesses, as well. It's not easy to make that introduction and it often falls short, just a warm hand-off. There's still the process of extracting that information, but we have a more complete solution.”
Reid says restaurants are looking at new ways of doing business these days to maximize profits and minimize staff work. “I saw the change in '08 and '09. Everyone became much, much leaner in those really tough years, and no one's added back a ton of people. They've figured out a way to do things in a streamlined way. Fewer people are taking on more and more roles in organizations so they need to be able to leverage technology like this that can make it simple, and trust the results they're getting out of it,” he says. “Let's face it. Time is money. Now it's all at your fingertips. We're doing the legwork for them. They're busy running a restaurant. They don't have the time and resources to do this. They can feel confident they made intelligent decisions about this. At the end of the process, they want to feel that what they got is the best the market has to offer. That's what we bring to the table.” For more information, visit http://get.accusure.com/