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UPC Insurance launches spinoff company

Brian Hartz

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UPC Insurance, which specializes in catastrophic property insurance claims, has launched a spinoff company, Skyway Technologies, that will specialize in direct-to-consumer homeowners insurance. Photo by John Middelkoop on Unsplash

UPC Insurance (NASDAQ: UIHC), one of the largest publicly traded companies headquartered in St. Petersburg, has launched a spinoff enterprise, Skyway Technologies, that was made possible by a collaboration with tech firms Mindtree (NSE: Mindtree) and Duck Creek (NASDAQ: DCT).

UPC Insurance has, since it was founded in 1999, specialized in residential and commercial property insurance for coastal properties that are exposed to risk from catastrophic weather events. Skyway Technologies, according to a statement from UPC Chief Information Officer Chris Griffith, who will serve as president of the new firm, “will offer direct-to-consumer personal lines homeowners’ products, allowing for a true multi-channel experience for UPC customers.”

UPC’s diversification comes on the heels of the company announcing a first-quarter post-tax loss of $19 million, largely because of Winter Storm Uri, which pummeled much of the country with heavy snowfall and damaging ice from Feb. 12 to 16. The storm produced record-breaking amounts of snow in Texas and covered approximately 73 percent of the Lower 48 states in snow, according to weather.com.

UPC, like other Florida insurers, has also suffered losses and implemented rate increases because of a sharp rise in litigation related to property insurance claims — a hot topic recently addressed by the Florida Legislature. The company’s 2020 net loss, after tax, was $96 million.

Mindtree, which bills itself as a digital transformation and technology services company, has helped UPC become more digitally enabled, while Duck Creek has put the insurer on Duck Creek OnDemand, its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform created specifically for property, casualty and general insurance carriers.

The two companies, in a news release, said their upgrades will allow UPC to process claims in a matter of minutes instead of hours. Specific improvements were made to the speed at which first notices of loss are taken in and handled. Touchless claim handling and enhanced payment capabilities, including digital payments, were also made possible via the collaboration.

“We applaud UPC Insurance for taking bold new initiatives to become the premier carrier of catastrophe insurance in the United States and modernizing its core systems to achieve its digital transformation objectives,” Mindtree Executive Director Venu Lambu stated in the release. “Together with Duck Creek, we are able to ensure on-time, on-budget delivery of solutions — allowing UPC Insurance to deploy new products at the speed of business, and to provide its customers with an improved digital experience.”

Duck Creek COO Matt Foster, in a prepared statement, said his company’s partnership with UPC will allow the insurer to focus less on back-office operations and more on innovation.

“This digital transformation represents a significant step forward for UPC, and is yet another signal that evergreen SaaS technologies are the new standard in property and casualty insurance,” Foster said. “Duck Creek OnDemand will let UPC focus on offering the new products and customer experiences its policyholders expect — while our team provides all the services, support and computing resources it needs to forge ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Together with Mindtree, we are proud to congratulate UPC on this important milestone in its continued growth and success.”

UPC’s Griffith, in the release, added, “By accelerating our digital transformation efforts, with help from experienced partners like Mindtree and Duck Creek, we are able to adapt more quickly and bring innovation to our customers along the coast.”

United Insurance Holdings Corp., UPC’s parent holding company, reported $846.66 million in gross revenue in 2020, up from $825.12 million in 2019.

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