At the end of an hour-long interview, the chief executive officer of an InsurTech focused on liability coverage for middle-market commercial construction contractors gave an unusual answer to a reporter’s final question about future goals.
Executive SummaryA former construction risk manager turned technology developer, a former construction insurance underwriter and a former software engineer for Airbnb have co-founded Shepherd, an InsurTech focused on rebuilding the underwriting process for construction insurance from the ground up. Here, two of the co-founders, Justin Levine and Stephen Buonpane, share details of how their past career experiences led them to their shared mission, describe a platform that's already set up to help brokers write business from other carriers and discuss next steps for the MGU, which is poised to start writing excess casualty to fill capacity in a hard insurance market later this year.
Shepherd’s seven-member team has already rolled out a broker platform automating construction insurance sales processes and an MGU poised to write construction excess casualty by year-end. In years to come, it aims to grow its workforce to a much larger group of underwriters, product developers and engineers, also expanding its insurance portfolio to primary casualty lines.
Asked how he’ll measure the success of Shepherd as it grows from what it is today, Shepherd CEO Justin Levine didn’t talk about headcount, premium volume or profit margins. Instead of these quantitative measures, Levine told Carrier Management, “In five years, in 10 years, I think if the incumbent insurers look more like Shepherd…than we do like them, then we have succeeded.”
To look more like Shepherd, insurers would have leverage deep connections with construction management technology platforms to create a digital-first experience for buyers of construction insurance and their insurance brokers, according to Levine, who at an earlier point in his career developed technology helping risk managers with subcontractor prequalification processes. Importantly, looking more like Shepherd will also mean that carriers will be incorporating ways to incentivize construction contractors to use various types of construction risk mitigation tech in the underwriting process, Levine and another co-founder, Stephen Buonpane, explained throughout the interview.