Insurtech aims to take pain and frustration out of IT adoption for the insurance industry 

Having started in insurance as a solutions architect for general insurance and then moving into the London market, Send chief executive Ben Huckel understood the frustration around how insurance companies adopt IT.

He therefore founded insurtech Send alongside Andy Moss and Matt McGrillis in 2017, aiming to make technological adoption easier for insurance businesses by getting around the age-old problem of legacy systems and challenging traditional processes in commercial insurance.

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Huckel says: “The aspiration was to make the adoption of technology easier. Getting companies to adopt technology is difficult as they have to stand up a project team and commit thousands of pounds.

“Wherever you try to integrate systems, it’s always really difficult and typically these projects fall down as no one really thinks about what’s going to happen when the two systems start talking to each other. We hit that on the head right at the start by developing Send Connect, a transformation and routing engine which enabled us then to develop drag and drop interfaces to easily integrate systems.”

Come 2018, Send started working on a solution for a major insurer. The insurtech was able to slot into the firm’s architecture with - as Huckel puts it - “minimal fuss” and build a solution called the Underwriting Workbench.

This ”allows business to be underwritten from submission to bind” by enabling the insurer ”to take the bits that [it needs] off the shelf and slot them all together to solve a business problem”, Huckel explains.

“It’s a massive success story for us,” he adds.

Identity as a scale up

When Send started in 2017, it used the tagline “built for change”. The business began with just three men, but has since grown to have more than 30 employees, recording 40% year-on-year growth and processing more than £2bn gross written premium on its platform.

“We have consistently hired people who are well respected and who I would refer to as ‘hard hitters’,” Huckel says.

“Rather than having lots of staff, we have small, highly competent teams. That’s probably born out of some of my frustrations in the way some companies use offshore type capability, so all of our product build is onshore in the UK.” 

Huckel describes Send’s growth trajectory to date as like a “hockey stick” - the insurtech is now looking to scale by forming partnerships.

“This year so far, we have signed two other customers. We have broken into the States, we have signed a big MGA in the States, we have just gone live. We have signed an MGA in the London market. There are other big companies that we are talking to in the London market. We have also got a pipeline of 20 to 30 companies that we are dealing with,” Huckel says.

Send also wants to investigate delegated authority and expanding into other territories around the globe.

“It’s an intriguing time for the business, but it’s super exciting,” he adds.

Alongside its growth plans, however, Huckel is keen for Send to have its own identity in the market - including the “grand ideal” of being a differentiator for its clients.

“What we are trying to work through at the moment is how do you maintain your identity while becoming a scale up? Lots of companies have these grand ideas about how they want to run and operate, but when the rubber hits the road, they all seem to fall into similar sorts of profiles. We are trying to ensure the ethos in the company as a digital accelerator,” says Huckel.

Rock and roll

Send’s success to date comes from humble beginnings. Huckel says: “We went from three men who were building stuff in our spare time to a company. We rolled out the first iteration of the software over nine months and went live for [an insurer’s] whole corporate specialty business nine months later.”

Prior to Send, Huckel worked at computer hardware firm, IBM building software. He then moved into the architectural side of software, before working in the telecoms and finance sectors.

He later moved into general insurance, then more specifically commercial insurance, which he deems “more rock and roll” because it involved insurance for helicopters and oil tankers as opposed to cars.

He believes that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a “supercharging effect” on the London market by pushing the demand for cloud-based technology - this has resulted in the insurtech seeing a higher demand for business.

“Applying technology in the right areas can be really powerful. We have taken artificial intelligence and switched it around as ‘intelligent assistant’,” he adds.

For example, one specific problem Send’s technology could solve is the issue of having multiple policy administration systems.