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SAMBASAFETY: Accurately Pricing Risk

Richard Crawford, CEO, SambaSafetyRichard Crawford, CEO The insurance landscape of today is facing big challenges—limited premiums, increased frequency and severity of claims, and greater need for data are putting a strain on operating budgets. Much of this challenge pertains to a lack of good decision-making tools that can take full advantage of all of the “big data” available to help insurers make timely, accurate risk assessment and pricing decisions. In addition, with customer’s expectation of immediate response driving the emergence of new multiple distribution channels such as online and mobile, carriers are pressed to simplify their process, yet they lack the data proficiency needed to effectively support these channels and capture premium. So how can carriers leverage technology to grow their book of business, reduce costs, and increase margins while meeting changing customer requirements? SambaSafety is helping streamline quoting and underwriting processes by delivering driver insights that help increase profits for carriers, brokers, and agents. “We provide cost-effective data-driven software solutions that allow underwriters to accurately quote and price driver risk and make better, faster underwriting decisions,” states Richard Crawford, CEO of SambaSafety. That sounds good, but what makes this firm different?

For almost three decades, the company has been involved in providing Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) and software solutions that reengineer how and when driver data is delivered. SambaSafety’s innovative approach helps insurers reduce operating expenses by enabling the use of comprehensive driver information earlier in quote-to-bind process. This means improved customer experience, better underwriting performance, lower premium leakage, and improved loss ratios.

According to Rich Lacey, SVP of Product Management at SambaSafety, cost and speed—the major variables in the underwriting—cannot be solved with traditional data sources. “The industry can solve both variables by innovating and leveraging additional expanded data sets,” explains Lacey. For this, SambaSafety has combined MVRs with alternate data sources that can effectively supplement the required risk information. “This helps alleviate skyrocketing state and data fees associated with MVRs while providing our customers a more comprehensive view of potential policy holder’s risk profile,” continues Crawford. According to Crawford, approximately 70 percent of all MVRs ordered by customers do not contain any new violations. “That’s a lot of wasted time, money and effort,” he adds. The company’s intelligent order management system, PolicyWatch®, automatically optimizes MVR spend by leveraging already acquired information to prevent purchases of clean MVRs. “Our comprehensive decision platform solves the problem through our 50 state MVR network, combined with vaulted MVRs and court data solutions, to economically provide the violation data the industry needs to make the best decisions.” Thus, the customers avoid unnecessary spends and lower their underwriting costs.


Better information at earlier stages will give not only quote price, but also bind price, awarding a higher quote to bind ratio


Meanwhile, with over 50 jurisdictions governing the space, each unique in the “what” they provide and “how” they provide it as it relates to violation data, it is imperative that the data in question be consumable and standardized. “We distill all the data down to a common format, so that our customers can compare driver risk in any jurisdiction, or across multiple jurisdictions with a uniform risk model. Since we send data in a consistent, normalized, and standardized format, our customers don’t need to waste time adapting their systems to consume our data,” explains Lacey.

SambaSafety aims to pre-fill data at stages as early as lead generation so that customers can price insurance products competitively and appropriately. The PolicyWatch solution has a front-end decision engine that helps insurers and carriers decide whether or not to buy MVRs based on driver activity. “We ensure that our customers get the most accurate, up-to-date information available and deliver in real time,” says Crawford. SambaSafety’s efforts at delivering value is well-reflected in their customers’ savings, who, after leveraging PolicyWatch, have been able to successfully reduce their annual MVR spend by up to 48 percent.

Additionally, SambaSafety provides its customers more control over the data and how they evaluate it. Through the use of ‘configurable triggers’, insurers can customize specific filters to sift through the information they’ve received and see if their consumers meet their minimum thresholds. “This provides a greater measure of accuracy in determining driver risk and helps reduce the need for MVRs,” says Crawford.

Due to the immense amount of personal information that flows through SambaSafety systems daily, the company also takes data privacy, security, compliance, and regulations (such as FCRA) very seriously. “It is important for us and also our customers that we not only meet state and federal regulations, but that we exceed them. Failing to comply with these regulations can pose significant exposures to the company, our customers, and their policy holders,” says Crawford.

Agile and Nimble

SambaSafety adopts an open and transparent culture that encourages all employees to freely ask questions or suggest new ideas. “We’re software people, not data distributors. We solve our customers’ unmet needs through continuous innovation—which is encouraged across our company,” says Crawford. “We tell our employees that the answers we are looking for are not in this building. They extensively interact with customers and partners, and attend industry events to identify current and future challenges for our customers and their customers as well,” adds Lacey. The employee make-up of the company is unique as they combine insurance industry technologists with leaders from some of the nations’ leading software firms.

Richard Crawford, CEO, SambaSafety
SambaSafety’s innovations don’t stop with the insurance industry. It also looks for synergies at the point where its three core markets—insurers, background screeners, and employers—intersect. For example, commercial insurance brokers who primarily focus on pricing risks realize that they can help their customers eliminate the risks inherent when an employee drives on company business using other SambaSafety solutions. “Our Driver Monitoring solution allows organizations of any size to quickly access individual driver behaviors and view their overall risk through a single, easy-to-use interface,” affirms Lacey.

"Our tools and solutions help customers avoid bad consumer experiences by providing accurate, cost-effective information at earlier stages of consumer interaction"

The Future is Configure and Play

According to SambaSafety, due to the dynamic nature of the industry, the future of software lies in configure and play. “Each market, situation, and driver are unique so technology needs to be configurable at a mass customization level. Our systems are designed not only to meet the customer needs of today, but to adapt to the future as well,” says Lacey.

This means SambaSafety and its customers are well prepared for the future. “We need to provide our customers powerful tools that are not hard coded, allowing changes to mold the tools according to market shifts,” Crawford explains. The software of the future will learn, adapt, and deliver information to traditional underwriting systems so that the underwriter feels confident about binding the policy.

SambaSafety is breaking new ground by bringing affordable data back into the quote process. “Our solutions, expertise, comprehensive data sets, and rigorous compliance standards ensure that our customers get the right information at the right time—helping them improve their processes and profitability throughout the entire policy lifecycle,” concludes Crawford.