Jack Salzwedel

American Family Insurance has purchased a data and analytics software company in a move it said will help accelerate its digital transformation.

Financial terms were not disclosed for American Family’s acquisition of Chicago-based Networked Insights, which focuses on helping market to individuals using artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand what people want, and help brands find their ideal audience.

American Family is a Networked Insights client and has been a minority investor since 2013, increasing its investment over time, the company explained.

Jack Salzwedel, American Family’s chairman and CEO, said that the purchase comes after three years of investment by the insurer in its technology platforms and data analytics.

“This acquisition and others strengthen our best-in-class agency distribution by bringin best-in-class digital and data capabilities, providing our customers with both expertise and convenience,” Salzwedel said in prepared remarks.

The Wisconsin-based carrier noted that it is investing in artificial intelligence and related technology on an ongoing basis, in areas including its Data Science and Analytics Lab, its Strategic Data Analytics Division, Innovation team and collaborative data-science projects with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Salzwedel has been a CEO who embraces technology. Among other things, he is an avid blogger and Twitter user (with the handler @AmFamJack).

Outside of its Chicago headquarters, Networked Insights has operations in New York City and Madison, where American Family is headquartered.

Networked Insights Founder and CEO Dan Neely said his company is looking forward to using its “deep expertise in broad areas of advanced analytics to enhance American Family’s existing data analytics capabilities.” The 74-employee firm and its executive team will continue with the company, and Nelly will join the American Family senior executive team.

Separately, American Family said it acquired HomeGauge, a home inspection software company with 21 employees based in Asheville, N.C. AmericanFamily said this acquisition (financial terms also not disclosed) will help it enhance what it does to proactively protect consumers.

American Family made the acquisitions about a year after its conversion from a mutual company to a mutual holding company, which gives it a greater ability to pursue acquisitions. Its move to beef up its digital/artificial intelligence capabilities comes in the wake of some noteworthy industry-related technology news. In early December, artificial intelligence startup Cytora disclosed it had raised nearly $6 million in new financing from investors including divisions of QBE’s venture arm and Starr Companies.

Source: American Family Insurance