InsureZone, Inc. was started in 1999 with the goal of creating a real-time, multi-carrier, insurance quoting tool that also provided the ability to purchase a policy via the internet. The result is a propriety technology platform that allows the user to enter one application and receive back multiple, bindable quotes from national carriers in just a few minutes.
InsureZone Inc., is a venture-funded company that was started in 1999. Our goal was to bring technology to an area of the insurance industry where speed and efficiency would open up opportunities in both commercial and personal lines insurance. By creating a COMPARITIVE QUOTING SERVICE and other tools to quote, sell and service an insurance policy online, InsureZone allows a business owner or a consumer to purchase insurance from multiple companies, via the internet. InsureZone’s proprietary technology platform now encompasses thirteen different brandable tools.
InsureZone’s original marketing strategy was to leverage the brand names of banks and financial institutions that wanted to sell auto and homeowners insurance through their websites . As a startup it was not possible to spend significant marketing dollars, so InsureZone signed up marketing partners that included: Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank One.
In early 2001, the original business plan was amended. Our marketing partners generated few leads and those that came in the door were shoppers, but not buyers. While the consumer wanted to shop on the internet, the buying decision was being made in conjunction with their trusted advisor, a traditional insurance agent. As a result, InsureZone adjusted its strategic plan to focus on providing service to insurance agents rather than trying to sell directly to the consumer.
InsureZone purchased AgentSecure, a company started in 2000 by Ed Gillman as part of his Atlanta-based retail agency, Gillman Insurance Group. AgentSecure was a wholesaler that was providing market access to small and rural agents in a partnership with CNA and the Big I of Georgia. With InsureZone’s help, AgentSecure expanded its relationships to include 37 Big I partners and signed up 3,000 agency members.
The technology platform was stabilized, and with 4 national carriers being quoted electronically the company had its first opportunity to focus on the operational efficiencies made possible by real-time connections to the carriers.
Since the mid-2000s, InsureZone revamped its website and added an Agent Dashboard for the efficient delivery and management of submissions, quotes, and bound policies. Enhancements include more carriers, online reporting for our agents, automated email delivery of reports, creation of Clowser (our carrier appetite and underwriting management system), automatic re-quoting of policies that did not sell in the prior year, a revamped payment system to enable increased flexibility in how an agent pays us, and a new self-service area for agent membership tracking.
2006 enhancements included the addition of our 11th carrier. InsureZone also now had four personal lines carriers with whom we were electronically quoting and writing policies. We also added a Quick Quote tool for personal and commercial lines which was revolutionary for our service offering. With just 24 questions on an application which took only 3-4 minutes to complete, InsureZone enabled a user to provide a premium indication for a commercial risk while the customer was on the phone. This lead to deals with I-Bank, Insurance.com, and IMMS/Group 500 which added over 1,000 agents to our network.
In 2010, InsureZone bought CMS Agency, Inc., a Nevada based wholesaler and added 267 new agencies to the AgentSecure family. Later than same year, we started InsureZone Direct as a retail agency cluster (Network). This became the third division of the company and today we have 90 agencies that are part of InsureZone Direct, and It’s expanding rapidly.
Our Technology group continues to impress. In early 2013 we surpassed 35,000 agencies using the platform and we have quoted over $1.5BN in premium since we started. We currently have 17 commercial carriers and 7 personal lines carriers on our platform.
In early 2013, InsureZone partnered with Webcetera to leverage their connections to personal lines carriers. This partnership has enabled InsureZone to continue to expand its lead in the commercial insurance rating space while being able to access over 100 personal lines carriers from Webcetera. InsureZone now has the insurance industry’s first true rating platform incorporating both personal and commercial lines.
We have created some fabulous assets within InsureZone and we see huge upside over the next couple of years.
John Pergande | Founder and Chairman of the Board
John on the strategic changes at InsureZone:
"While technology is vital to the way in which the insurance industry works, what we found is that technology is not used well within the industry. InsureZone was created to bring operational efficiencies to certain areas of the lifecycle of an insurance policy. Our initial idea in 1999 was to be a white-labeled service provider to large financial institutions where InsureZone would not be required to build a brand, we could "borrow" the brand from customers like Citibank, Wells Fargo and Chase. What we found was that while customers were interested in shopping, the use of the internet to do research was not enough to disintermediate the relationship between insured and agent. As a result we shifted our business model to focus on providing service to insurance agents. The technology platform we have created is focused on the entire sales process required by an insurance agent and includes: sourcing leads, quoting policies, document management and retention, integration with agency management vendors and third party data sources, and handling first not of loss on claims. We have come a long way from our beginnings in 1999. Today our technology is used by more than 30% of the P&C agents in the U.S."
Nominee of Higginbotham (vacant at this time) | Board Member
Higginbotham is a significant shareholder in InsureZone and has the right to nominate a member of the Board of Directors, but has decided to leave their board seat empty at this time.
His hands-on managerial style makes John an accessible problem solver. Licensed to sell insurance in all 50 states, he understands the dynamics of personal, commercial and surplus lines from a broad perspective as well as at the detail level. In an unusual role for a CEO, John is the project manager for the insurance rating and sales CRM platform used by InsureZone that he helped design and that is currently used by 35,000 insurance agencies around the U.S. for insurance shopping and policy servicing.
John joined the company management team as CEO in 2003. However, he was not new to InsureZone, he founded the company in 1999 and was on the board. The company was established to sell insurance online using an e-commerce platform to manage the policy’s sale and service. The software platform created by InsureZone continues to increase in functionality and is still the backbone of the business strategy that keeps InsureZone growing.
For the seven years prior to 2003, he was a general partner of Buena Venture Associates (BVA), a venture capital firm based in Fort Worth. Through BVA, John invested in and directed eight companies, some private and some public. The first company he bought was Pyramid Services, a software company owned by AON at the time that specialized in workers compensation claims. That was 1996, and John had taken his first step into the insurance business – a life altering decision considering the dramatic growth of the online insurance service market.
Before getting involved in the insurance business, John worked in corporate finance at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and as a corporate banker for Citibank. After getting a BA in Economics and Political Science from Yale University, where he played football and was on the rowing team, his business career started on the floor of the New York Futures Stock Exchange. Then, after two years trading stock options at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, he received an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. His nonprofit interests include the STAR Scholarship Fund, Cristo Rey, the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, and the Fort Worth Symphony. As a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, it’s no surprise that he remains a Packer fan.
Senior Vice President
Always a top performer, Amy’s strengths in streamlining operations and improving workflow that continue to optimize our high growth environment earned her this title in 2012.With responsibility over both the Underwriting and Customer Service divisions, Amy has helped her staff develop the customer-first concept that reflects our goals as a company. Her decades of improving operations have contributed greatly to her ability to establish metrics and develop a plan of action that led to an unprecedented change in processing time for many transactional duties at InsureZone. Her recommendations to our Technology Team resulted in an enhanced platform that includes features that improve service levels and increase both agent and employee satisfaction.
Joe brings over 30 years of Insurance industry experience to InsureZone. Joe started his insurance career with the Guardian Life insurance company, in the employee benefits division. He was promoted to District Manager and was responsible for opening and managing the North Texas sales office. In 1999, Joe became a Partner in the BrooksBittner & Assoc. agency. The agency offered life, health, personal lines and commercial lines products. BrooksBittner sold to APEX Global Partners and Joe served as President of the small and mid-market division. Most recently Joe has been working as an independent business consultant, advising companies in a diversity of industries including Insurance brokerage, healthcare and oil and gas.
Accounting and Human Resources Manager
Yolanda joined InsureZone in July 2014 as an Accountant and was promoted to Accounting and Human Resources Manager in February 2015. In this role, she manages and oversees the company’s Accounting Department, which includes processing commissions, accounts payable, accounts receivable and tech billing amongst other things. She is also responsible for the Company’s Human Resources including payroll, employee benefits and relations.
Yolanda brings with her over 15 years of experience in Business Management working for an entrepreneur in Jacksonville, Florida. During that time, two Software Development companies were founded beginning with a staff of four and she helped grow these companies to over 180+ staff members in 6 different cities within 2 years. Yolanda proved to be a valuable asset taking on key administrative roles which included Accounting, Human Resources and Office Management, managing her roles and other administration staff members remotely for all locations.
Additionally, Yolanda has served in the position of Navy Command Ombudsman. This position, appointed by the commanding officer, serves as an information link between command leadership and Navy families. Ombudsmen also provide resource referrals when needed. They are instrumental in resolving family issues before the issues require extensive command attention.