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October 16, 2023 AI in CT

Aureus Analytics’ AI subscription service gives insurance agencies insights into customer satisfaction

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Anurag Shah is the co-founder and CEO of insurtech Aureus Analytics.
Click below for more information about Aureus Analytics.
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Customer churn is a concern in every service industry.

Even the most loyal customers won’t tolerate a brand if they’ve had several bad experiences with it, according to a PwC survey.

The insurance sector is no exception.

The industry’s average retention rate is 84%, but losing a customer is expensive. It costs seven to nine times more for an insurance agency to attract a new customer than retain one, according to CompleteMarkets, an online marketplace for insurance agents/brokers.

Enter Aureus Analytics, which has developed artificial intelligence-based technology to help the insurance industry cope with these and other customer service hurdles.

Its DONNA data analytics subscription service uses AI modeling, machine learning and natural language processing to give independent insurance brokers a real-time understanding of customer sentiments, and steps to take to improve policyholder relationships.

The India-based company has its U.S. beachhead in Hartford, where it eventually plans to relocate its global headquarters, said Anurag Shah, co-founder and CEO of Aureus.

“Agents don’t have to wait for a customer to leave to know they’re unhappy,” Shah said. “Using AI gives them a competitive edge to become more efficient and better understand their customers, what products may be a better fit and grow their revenues.”

Aureus’ cloud-based software uses internal and external customer data — derived from tens of millions of insurance policies — to predict a policyholder’s retention risk or appetite for additional coverage.

The information is provided real time, via an online portal, and viewed on a dashboard that includes metrics, graphs and icons like smiley faces that depict a current snapshot of each customer account.

The program also provides recommendations. For example, it may suggest there’s an opportunity to pitch a customer an umbrella coverage for home and auto insurance.

Agents can rate if they “like” or “dislike” the AI-generated recommendations.

“Our platforms learn from that feedback and keep improving the quality of the recommendations for the agency,” Shah said.

These analyses would otherwise require data gathered through customer surveys, which have a low record of participation, he added.

Gaining traction

Initially launched in India a decade ago, Aureus Analytics’ leadership decided to expand into the U.S. in 2018.

The move required Aureus to reconfigure its technology to cater to American independent insurance agencies, Shah said.

“A lot of the tech components were built originally for the Indian insurance industry, but were reconfigured for the U.S. market where the data sets are very different,” Shah said.

Aureus was selected in 2018 to be part of the inaugural Hartford InsurTech Hub, a now-defunct accelerator program that was run by London-based Startupbootcamp. Aureus was also a winner of Connecticut Innovations’ 2018 VentureClash competition, which facilitated the founding of its Hartford office and access to insurers in the U.S.

The insurtech company initially raised more than $3.1 million, with backers including Connecticut Innovations, Multi-Act, Alpine, Meridian, and individual investors.

Today, over 200 agencies, large and small, have adopted DONNA, Shah said, including The Hanover Insurance Group, Hertvik Insurance Group, Quantum Assurance International, Grange Insurance and CoVerica.

Aureus is also expanding by partnering with industry groups like the Massachusetts Association of Insurance, which signed on earlier this year to offer DONNA to its members. The association, which includes nearly 1,000 independent insurance agencies and their estimated 9,000-plus employees, is regularly vetting insurtech products for its members, said Nick Fyntrilakis, the group’s president and CEO.

DONNA, Fyntrilakis said, “stood out as a strong offering to provide insights and value to our members, focusing on doing right by their clients in terms of coverage and products.”

For future growth, Aureus wants to continue partnering with industry-based associations and networks. It has also introduced a new product, HARVEY, an AI-backed data analytics platform that helps insurance carriers and networks identify trends and opportunities.

Privately held, the company doesn’t disclose revenues, but Aureus has processed close to $5 billion in premiums on the platform in the U.S., Shah said.

The company has 45 employees globally, including five in the U.S.

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