(Image source: FAST homepage.)
Verisk (Jersey City, N.J.), a provider of data analytics to the insurance industry, has that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire FAST, an Edison, N.J.-based core systems software company serving the life insurance and annuity industry. FAST offers a flexible policy administration system that helps insurers accelerate underwriting and claims to enhance the customer experience and support profitable growth.
“As customer expectations for a fast and easy insurance experience rapidly increase, life insurers are being pressured to modernize operations across the policy life cycle,” comments Neil Spector, president of ISO, a Verisk business. “But transitioning from legacy solutions is a major investment in time and money. The plug-and-play software that FAST has developed lets life insurers make this transition in stages and without a large up-front capital commitment.”
FAST, which stands for “Flexible Architecture, Simplified Technology,” provides a SaaS suite of out-of-the-box components that life insurers can use to quickly enhance or replace their legacy policy administration systems. FAST software, which is used by a wide range of life insurers, also provides a channel for Verisk to deliver its new innovative analytics to support straight-through underwriting.
Expanding FAST’s Market Reach and Data Analytics Capabilities
“The acquisition of FAST will extend our offerings to the life insurance market as we build a comprehensive suite of innovative solutions to support insurer modernization,” said Mark Anquillare, chief operating officer of Verisk. “By working with FAST technology and its customers, we’ll be able to improve our predictive models and offer integrated data analytics to life insurers through an end-to-end workflow solution.”
“Verisk has become a leader in developing solutions that help insurers make critical decisions with increased speed and precision,” observes Tom Famularo, CEO of FAST. “As part of Verisk, we’ll be able to enhance our software, expand our reach, and provide robust analytics to meet the rapidly changing needs of life insurers and their customers.”
Verisk offers a suite of solutions to life insurers that apply advanced analytics, automation, and machine learning to existing and emerging data sources. The solutions are designed to transform existing workflows in life insurance underwriting, life and pension analytics, claim insights, compliance and fraud detection, and actuarial and portfolio modeling, according to the vendor.
Unsurprising Yet Interesting
News of a transaction to acquire FAST is unsurprising, though its acquisition by an analytics company is somewhat unusual, suggests Rob McIsaac, Senior Vice President at research and advisory firm Novarica (Boston). “Entities that create a solid market presence and pivot to private equity investors frequently are paving the way to a future financial transaction, with a change in control being one logical outcome,” he notes.
“Added financial stability for FAST could be offset by other factors that create headwinds making it difficult to maintain focus and momentum in the L&A lines of business,” McIsaac adds. “While this transaction could be a prelude to expanding the platform into other facets of the insurance ecosystem, it is too early to know what Verisk’s plans might be. This will be interesting to watch from several vantage points as the transaction closes.”
Editor’s note: Commentary by Rob McIsaac was added after initial publication.