Digital Property Inspection Startup Spex Gains J.S. Held as Backer

May 8, 2017

J.S. Held, a Jericho, N.Y.-based construction and property damage consulting firm, said it has become a majority owner in Spex, a digital property inspection and reporting platform for the property/casualty insurance industry.

Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2012 to enhance property claims handling, Spex has built a data-driven platform to streamline the process of property inspection and related work. The Spex platform provides for on-site inspections, better collection and organization of data, and greater efficiencies and transparency during the claims handling process, according to its founders.

The company offers mobile apps, project management capabilities, online and offline functionality and options for residential and commercial use.

“As a Spex customer, we have been impressed by its ease of use, robust functionality and systems integration capabilities, resulting in significant field reporting and file management productivity improvements,” said Jon Held, president and chief executive officer of J.S. Held.

Denver-based Spex will continue to be led by its current management team that includes Chief Executive Officer Brett Goldberg, Chief Technology Officer Levi Cook and Founder and Chief Product Officer David Cockrel.

“Quality inspection documentation is the key to a positive claims experience,” said Goldberg, who said the goal is to make Spex a digital standard in the insurance claim arena.

Co-founder Cockrel formerly worked with Eberl Claims Service (2009-2011) and State Farm (2207-2011), where he served as a catastrophe field manager and property claims adjuster. He also founded Computer Helperz, a small business tech service that he sold in 2011.

The Spex co-founders said they were motivated to develop their platform after serving as insurance adjusters on Hurricane Sandy claims.

“After experiencing firsthand how traumatic and stressful the process of rebuilding was for homeowners, adjusters, contractors and the insurance companies after the hurricane, one thing became increasingly clear. The traditional methods of property inspection were outdated, inadequate and exasperating for everyone involved,” the company says on its website.

Cockrel says after Sandy he began work on an inspection tool that “would bring property inspections into the 21st century.”

Including the acquisition of Spex, J.S. Held, which is also a customer of Spex, has added seven specialized consulting businesses since 2015 when the private equity firm Lovell Minnick Partners acquired it. Lovell Minnick Partners targets investments in asset management, financial product distribution, insurance and securities brokerage, specialty finance, and related technology and business services. Its portfolio includes wholesale insurance broker Worldwide Facilities.

Last month, J.S. Held, acquired Meridian Consulting Group, which provides a construction consulting and claims resolution services to the surety industry.

J.S. Held has more than 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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