Guidewire Announces Acquisition of FirstBest Systems

The acquisition will enable Guidewire to provide North American writing complex commercial, specialty, and workers’ compensation lines greater support for their risk assessment and decision-making processes.

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Guidewire Software, Inc. (Foster City, Calif.), a provider of software products to property/casualty insurers, and FirstBest Systems, Inc. (Bedford, Mass.), a provider of an underwriting management system to property/casualty insurers, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for Guidewire to acquire FirstBest. A Guidewire statement says that the addition of FirstBest’s technology and people will enable the expansion of the Guidewire Insurance Platform by providing insurers in the U.S. and Canada writing complex commercial, specialty, and workers’ compensation lines greater support for their risk assessment and decision-making processes.

John Belizaire, CEO, FirstBest.

John Belizaire, CEO, FirstBest.

“We are excited to bring our expertise and innovative technology to Guidewire,” comments John Belizaire, CEO and founder, FirstBest Systems. “Our team has been focused on delivering transformative solutions for underwriters for over a decade and we look forward to continuing to do so as part of Guidewire.”

Guidewire couches its announcement of the acquisition in terms of the opportunities for insurers to pursue growth through commercial lines ventures that adapt rapidly to emerging market opportunities. The vendor notes that commercial and specialty lines underwriters currently rely on manual processes, multiple different data sources, and disjointed systems and tools to help them evaluate and underwrite large and complex risks, and to collaborate across internal teams and with agents. As a result, underwriters can spend a significant part of their day accessing various sources and tools simply gathering and reviewing data. Underwriting management systems, such as FirstBest UMS, complement and enhance the submission intake, risk analysis, underwriting process, and collaboration capabilities of policy administration systems, according to the statement. That being the case, pairing FirstBest with Guidewire PolicyCenter or other policy admin systems is a natural fit for many commercial insurers, the Guidewire statement asserts.

Karlyn Carnahan, Research Director, Celent.

Karlyn Carnahan, Research Director, Celent.

“Like Guidewire, FirstBest has been committed from its founding to advancing the strategic goals of P/C insurers through modern software,” comments Marcus Ryu, CEO, Guidewire Software. “Their expertise in complex risk analysis, and the informational and workflow needs of commercial underwriters will deepen our ability to serve this vital constituency within the industry. We welcome the FirstBest team as well as their customers and partners to the Guidewire community.”

The acquisition follows a trend of savvy rounding out their offerings for carriers in order to provide best of class capabilities well beyond traditional core functionality, according to Karlyn Carnahan Research Director in Celent’s (Boston) insurance practice. “This allows the carrier to access a seamless set of capabilities from a single provider which most carriers prefer.  Portal functionality is one of the areas carriers are investing heavily in as they work on optimizing the experience for agents and FirstBest is one of the leading solutions with robust functionality especially for commercial lines.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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