Olathe-based ebbie is injecting innovation into the risk-averse insurance industry, said Brian Hess.
“We looked for spaces where we could come in and say, ‘We can make this a lot better,’” said Hess, operations officer at ebbie. “Fast forward to now, and we went through the development phase and the build, and we have successfully launched our platform with an insurance carrier that’s utilizing it.”
That partnership — with Overland Park-based Unified Life Insurance Company — propelled the ebbie platform into use by more than 800 insurance agents in 19 states, said Hess.
The Software-as-a-Service company — founded by president Aaron Sims in 2016 — provides an e-application to easier collect risk information, the ebbie IQ underwriting solution, and an API integration platform that works with carriers of any size, he said.
Hess and Sims both began in the brokerage industry at Oracle Marketing Group, he added, with the two directly exposed to the shortcomings in the insurance world.
“We saw a lot of areas in the insurance carrier space specifically where there were some inefficiencies, where there were lags in business being processed,” said Hess. “[We found] there was a big inefficiency in how underwriting and applications were processed and how they were handled.”
Developing the actual software required bringing on other team members, said Hess, noting the ebbie team now rests at seven, with a couple on tap for consulting work.
Making the jump from working at an established firm to “startup mode,” took some reinventing of identity, he said, noting that while he and Sims agreed problems existed in the space, a slow start caused some anxiety.
“Definitely in that first 18 months, when we didn’t have a client on it, we didn’t have anybody utilizing, and nobody had really looked at it — getting to that point [where you’re gaining customers] is tough because you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing,’” Hess said.
Participating in InsurTech Week 2018 as part of the Des Moines-based Global Insurance Accelerator provided important connections that ultimately led to the growth of ebbie, he added.
“We got to present in front of a couple hundred people that included some insurance companies, some other financial and InsurTech mentors, and the board and InsurTech members for the [Global Insurance Accelerator],” said Hess.
Bringing in additional insurance carriers is ebbie’s current focus, he said, as well as setting up several pilots on tap for 2019.