JAVLN boss lifts the lid on Steadfast deal

After raising capital in 2022, Kiwi insurance policy management platform JAVLN doesn’t look to be wasting time when it comes to its overseas growth strategy. Insurance Business sat down with JAVLN founder and chief executive Dale Smith (pictured) following the company’s swoop for Underwriter Central from Steadfast Group in Australia.

“We’re a New Zealand business, but we’ve been selling internationally for a while,” noted Smith, whose camp also has clients in all the Pacific countries. “In particular, in the last few years we’ve been pushing into the Australian market with our product offering to both underwriting agencies and brokers.

“Although we are a New Zealand business, we have a pretty good installed base of Australian customers. So, what [this deal means is] that we can build off our footprint in the moment and make Australia an even more important part of our business.”

Acquisition benefits

With the transaction, financial terms of which were not disclosed, JAVLN gets “a whole team of talented insurance technology people,” as well as the prospect of converting Underwriter Central users into JAVLN ones.

The transition, Smith said, will involve a lot of work, given the enterprise nature of insurance software.

“It’s not a case of just easily moving people off one software and into another,” the CEO told Insurance Business. “There’s a period of time that we will support the Underwriter Central customers on the Underwriter Central platform while we articulate the value of JAVLN, and then work with them to move them into JAVLN at a time that suits them.

“We’ll continue to do that until we move all of the customers over. [Essentially] we’ve bought some new customers in Australia that we will support on the platform they’re on, and eventually we’d like to move them into the JAVLN platform [as a way of getting footprint]… It’s not a given that JAVLN will be used across their business; we still have to work to make sure that we’re fit for purpose.”

Increased demand

JAVLN’s expansion comes amid increased demand for insurance technology, according to Smith.

“Companies know that they have to embrace technology, or the smart ones do,” quipped Smith. “Because it’s the future – it’s how to get the best out of their businesses, to be honest. They need to embrace technology, and we’re seeing an increase in demand for technology like what JAVLN has to offer.”

In fact, of JAVLN’s business, 50% comes from those the company seeks while the remaining half consists of clients who themselves approached the insurtech.

Moving forward, Smith is keen to charge ahead with JAVLN’s progress.

“It’s no secret that we raised money last year from a fund in Australia to help us grow,” the CEO said. “And we’re doing that, which is great. We have a strategy to grow and be a stronger business, and we’re partway through that strategy. For us, we’ll continue to look for acquisitions that fit our business.

“At the same time, we’ll continue to organically grow through acquisition of customers that want to embrace what JAVLN’s got to offer. And we’ll continue to develop our people – we’ve got a fantastic team of committed insurance technology professionals that give their 100% every day, and we’ll just carry on supporting them with their development.”

In terms of workforce, the addition of Underwriter Central brings JAVLN’s headcount to 95.

This article was originally published by Insurance Business.

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