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Meet the St. Pete company that’s innovating the insurance industry

Megan Holmes

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Based on our geography, you may not be surprised to learn that homeowners insurance companies get sued all the time in Florida. Flooding, hurricanes, sinkholes, you name it; when claims don’t come out in the homeowners’ favor, they take their grievances to court. Tens of thousands of times each month.

Insurance companies hire outside attorneys to handle these lawsuits, and some of them charge hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour.

Wesley Todd and Carly Cohen were both attorneys at defense law firms straight out of law school. They each handled hundreds of these cases.

The inefficiencies they noticed were astonishing. There was no central database for all of the tediously-gathered information for these lawsuits. There was no place to centralize communication. All communication and filing took place in an archaic chain of Word documents, emails and desktop folders.

Todd and Cohen knew there had to be a better way.

In 2013, Todd quit his job at a prestigious law firm to build CaseGlide – now the leading case management platform made by experts for expert to handle insurance industry claims.

He originally planned for CaseGlide to simply help worker-bee lawyers get through their work quicker – mostly by automating legal documents. Since its inception, it has grown far beyond his expectations.

CaseGlide is not only helping companies do business faster, but smarter.

The platform manages all of the case information in one centralized platform, keeps correspondence between insurance companies and the lawyers handling their cases, and delivers business intelligence and analytics derived from the data the platform captures. And yes – it still automates legal documents.

In an age of innovation and constantly-changing business landscapes, what CaseGlide calls its “second solution” – the business intelligence and analytics feature – is now its most powerful offering. By harnessing these insights, insurance companies can make smarter business decisions based on real numbers – decisions like whether they should continue to write policies in particularly litigious counties, or which defense firms they should be using for the highest success rates.

Perhaps the most impressive part of CaseGlide’s venture: the couple bootstrapped it themselves. Save for a small investment from Cohen’s father, Irv – a well-known investor in the St. Pete start-up community – they built their business and survived on Cohen’s salary. She continued to work as an attorney until 2016, when she was able to join CaseGlide full-time as Chief Operations Officer.

They did it all without giving up equity. “A lot of start-ups say that they’re lean,” says Cohen, “but that was something that we lived by for the first three years. All of our workforce was remote; we didn’t have an office.”

Their innovative idea to solve a niche industry problem, coupled with their lean strategy, was an instant hit. To best understand the needs of insurance companies – CaseGlide’s target clients – Todd conducted a listening tour. He asked about pain points and listened for areas where companies desperately sought improvement. With just a drawn prototype of CaseGlide’s basic functions, he sold their first client – before the platform was even built.

Now CaseGlide has 11 employees and an office in downtown St. Petersburg. The client list includes 12 insurance companies, five of which are top 10 insurers in Florida. CaseGlide is utilized by 150 law firms, and the company platform has 2,000 users and 20,000 cases. The future looks bright for CaseGlide. The company’s growth is only projected to continue, as Todd and Cohen plan to expand their reach regionally and across insurance markets to auto insurers. In fact, they already have one auto insurer active on their platform.

Their advice for up and coming entrepreneurs? “Find the right partners, find people that you can trust,” says Cohen. “There were so many situations where we leaned on trusted advisors to get advice.”

Another lesson they shared: the benefit of being agile and pivoting. “Don’t be afraid to change direction,” Cohen suggests. “We change direction all of the time. That’s one of the benefits of being a small company. We’re always reevaluating. It’s good for our clients, and I think they see it too.”

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