Skyward Specialty Leverages Gradient AI to Offer Stop-Loss Solution

The insurer’s A&H division can evaluate group health risk at a deeper level by integrating intelligence from Gradient AI’s medical dataset into the underwriting process.

(Image credit: Deniz Altindas/Unsplash.)

Skyward Specialty Insurance Group, Inc., a Houston-based specialty property/casualty carrier, has engaged Gradient AI (Boston), an enterprise software provider of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the insurance industry, to power its Accident and Health (A&H) division’s latest technology driven stop-loss solution, SkyVantage.

Byron Way, CEO, Accident & Health, Skyward Specialty Insurance Group.

As employer healthcare costs continue to rise, an increasing number of businesses are turning to self-funded health insurance models, notes a Gradient AI statement on the company’s relationship with Skyward Specialty. However, lack of access to sufficient historical data leaves many companies unable to purchase stop-loss insurance, access necessary protection to self-fund employee benefits and take advantage of the value-added quality and cost containment solutions afforded to self-funded employers. These employers are relegated to the fully insured market to provide health benefits, resulting in double-digit annual increases and plan designs that leave employees functionally uninsured.

Skyward Specialty A&H met this challenge with SkyVantage, which leverages Gradient AI’s SAIL medical underwriting solution, the vendor says. As a result, Skyward Specialty can evaluate group health risk at a deeper level by accessing what Gradient AI characterizes as its vast medical dataset and machine learning and then integrating this intelligence with the company’s expertise in the underwriting process. Using the solution, Skyward Specialty leverages these data insights and more precise assessments to offer highly customized and cost-effective solutions for the self-insured market. This allows employers to provide employee benefits more cost-effectively while also enabling many employers to self-insure who may have been unable to do so otherwise.

“SkyVantage heralds a new era for the self-insurance market with an innovative, holistic solution that simply did not exist before,” comments Byron Way, CEO of Skyward Specialty’s A&H division. “Our philosophy is when the employer plan wins, we win. Combining Gradient AI’s group health data and advanced machine learning with our highly skilled and experienced stop-loss underwriters makes SkyVantage a true differentiator in the market.”

Customized Solutions for the Self-Insured Market

Stan Smith, CEO, Gradient AI.

“Skyward Specialty is a company known for leveraging technology to bring disruptive and innovative insurance solutions to market, solving previously unsolvable insurance challenges,” says Stan Smith, founder and CEO, Gradient AI. “We’re excited that Gradient AI’s solution has enabled Skyward Specialty to build on its reputation for offering customized solutions to the self-insured market.”

Gradient AI describes its SAIL solution as leveraging AI and a vast data set to offer deeper health and medical data and insights than its competitors. In addition, its ability to collaborate with customers to deliver solutions that meet the unique needs of its business model is a key reason Skyward Specialty chose to work with Gradient AI, the vendor says.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, 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 or (503) 936-2803.

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