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March 1, 2019

Leader’s Edge recently had the opportunity to sit down with Applied Systems CEO Reid French to discuss the recent investment by Google’s venture capital arm, CapitalG, in Applied Systems, and the opportunities and openings it might provide Applied.

French viewed Google’s investment as a huge positive for his organization. “You have lots of decisions around risk management, risk mitigation, and coverage” in the insurance industry, he said. “Making those decisions is based on lots and lots of data inputs. That is perfect for software, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.” And Google, according to French, is a company that made its name from how “exquisitely well” its search algorithms functioned, so it is perfectly positioned to help Applied develop new and more efficient ways to process and handle its own internal data—which, through Epic, would also help brokers.

Additionally, the partnership will focus exclusively on technology and how Applied can use it to further develop and enhance its platform. French stated clearly that no Applied data would be shared with Google, and vice-versa. “That data is owned by our customers,” he said, “and we’re not sharing that with anyone.”

In more general terms, Google’s investment is yet another sign that big tech sees the insurance and brokerage sectors as places where it can put its technology to use. One of the problems facing brokerage firms today is how to leverage internal large quantities of internal data. Partnerships with tech firms that have experience standardizing and processing data can only help agents and brokers serve clients better. French explained, “Technology will continue to be leveraged by good agencies to complete transactions better, provide better risk management advice, and ultimately free up people to be good risk advisors and good partners for the benefit of their customer base.”