While there are many insurtechs out there trying to co-opt the role of the independent agent, many more have been created with the sole purpose of to aid the role of the independent agent in this new era or innovation in insurance. One such start-up is Veruna. Created on the salesforce platform, Veruna is a new kind of agency management system for agents. Even better, it is based in the Greater Boston area, in Hopkinton, to be exact.
Launched just a year ago at the 2016 Big Event, Veruna has already won a number of awards for its innovative approach to insurance management technology. This week, the company will take center stage at the Insurtech Boston IV event, and with that in mind, we decided to give our readers a chance to meet Veruna’s President, Jonathan Lincoln.
Our readers have probably already heard something about Veruna, but could you give us a quick introduction for those readers who may not be familiar with your company.
Veruna is a cloud-based agency management system built on the SalesForce platform. For years agencies have become increasingly frustrated with the existing solutions in the market and we set out to fix this. By forming strong partnerships with like-minded insurance focused companies and leveraging the most powerful management platform in the world we have developed a solution that offers the robust features and flexibility in a management system agencies have long been looking for.
What is your background in the insurance industry and how long have you been with Veruna?
For years I worked for etfile located in Westborough, MA helping insurance agencies adopt better document management and workflow solutions. During my time at etfile it became clear that agents were not satisfied with the current solutions in the market. So, I set out to fix that by creating strategic partnership with organizations that saw the same frustration I did and could help challenge the status quo. This ultimately resulted in the founding of Veruna. We officially founded Veruna in 2015, but didn’t release to the public until the end of 2016.
Veruna aims to change how independent agents manage their workflow – Can you tell us how?
Most agency systems in the market today are rigid. They are “what you see is what you get” systems with very little ability to customize. This has pigeon-holed agents to all work the same way and doesn’t allow innovative agents to use technology to their advantage. Veruna gives agents the ability to take things into their own hands. With the ability to choose from 4,000 apps on the SalesForce AppExchange along with customizing automated workflows agencies now have the ability to use technology to grow and evolve their business instead of working in a world the vendor created for them.
What are the benefits of Veruna’s platform for an agent in comparison with existing solutions?
Agencies are currently locked into rigid system that are not mobile or flexible. Veruna gives agents the ability to work from anywhere, on any device, and customize the solution based on the needs of their company.
As mentioned our platform is extremely customizable and taps into the SalesForce App Store allowing agents to expand functionality in any number of way. Also, we have partnered with ACORD to integrate with the industry standards in a way that has never happened before which is why we won the ACORD ‘Innovation of the Year’ award.’
Would you consider Veruna an insurtech? Why? Why not?
That’s an interesting question. I have been selling technology to the insurance industry since 2010 and the word ‘InsurTech’ only started gaining steam recently. When we founded Veruna we were simply trying to deliver a better solution to agencies, but now that we are winning awards and speaking at InsurTech events I suppose, yes, we are an InsurTech company.
You officially launched just a year ago at the 2016 Big Event, correct?
Yes, our first unveiling to the world was at MAIA’s Big Event in 2016. Since then things have been incredible. We were named CIOReview’s “Top 20 Most Promising Insurance Technologies” of 2017 and just recently won two more ACORD awards at ACORD2017 for being an Organizational Leader in the industry. More important than the industry recognition is the reaction we get when agencies see our product. The most common reaction we get from agencies is ‘this is what I’ve always wanted’.
How has the response been so far?
Honestly, the response has been somewhat overwhelming. With what started off as a simple idea has taken a life of its own. At this point we have more demand than supply which is a challenge. We knew the market needed a better solution, but had no idea how much people were clamoring for what we have created. While we are in a great position of not having to ‘hunt’ for business we have the challenge of keeping up with the business pouring in.
Why should a Massachusetts agent or agency consider using Veruna?
Beyond the fact we have brought to the market a fantastic solution to help agencies evolve and grow…we are located in Massachusetts. We, of course, want to sell to agencies throughout the country, but it’s especially exciting to have clients in our back yard. We recently moved into a larger office in Hopkinton and love to visit clients at their location. Having them in Massachusetts allows us to easily drop in to see how things are going and do on-site trainings.
What is your goal for Veruna in the coming year?
There is a long list of upgrades we are preparing that will excite agencies, but most importantly we are preparing for scale and growth. In the past 6 weeks we have doubled our staff and plan on hiring many more people in the upcoming months. Now that the product has been released we are building a larger team to offer the best service in the industry coupled with the best management system.
You will be attending Insurtech Boston IV as one of the featured speakers. Will you be taking meetings there?
InsurTech Boston is a great networking event and the guys from AskKodiak have done a great job helping foster growth of InsurTech companies in the Boston area. I would love to meet with some new people there and make new friends. We also have about 10 people from our office attending that would be happy to talk about Veruna as well. You will find us in the purple jackets ?.
How else can an interested agent get in touch with Veruna?
The best way to find us is at www.veruna.com