Texas-based ITC, a provider of websites, agency marketing, comparative rating and management software and services, announced today that it has received a majority equity investment from Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm.
The new partnership will provide resources and capital to accelerate product innovation and allow ITC to expand its leadership position in the insurance industry.
Laird Rixford, former president of ITC, has been named as ITC’s new CEO.
Scott Upfield, founder of ITC and former CEO, will remain with the business following the transaction.
The Accel-KKR funding marks the first outside investment in ITC’s 35-year history, Rixford told Insurance Journal, adding that the new funds will help the organization expand current products for independent agents and their carriers.
“We want to be able to bring agents and carriers the best technology that allows them to grow in this ever-changing, insurtech-heavy market,” he said. “This investment solidifies that direction – to really make sure that independent agents can compete with large direct [writers], insurtechs and lead aggregators and move their businesses forward in and through technology.”
Rixford couldn’t comment on the exact investment dollars put in place through the Accel-KKR partnership but noted that ITC leadership will retain a significant portion of the company. “This is definitely an investment,” he said. “We are in this for the long-haul and absolutely will grow through both organic growth and through acquisitions.”
Since its beginnings in 1983, ITC has grown from a firm that primarily sold computers to insurance agents with some rating software to a company focused primarily on software development for independent agents and the insurance industry.
Rixford joined the organization in 2008 when ITC acquired his company Evolution Designs and its product Insurance Website Builder
“For 35 years, ITC has grown by focusing on making the best software for the insurance industry and providing great service,” said Upfield. “Today marks the next chapter in ITC’s history, and we couldn’t have a better partner for this new chapter than Accel-KKR.”
Rixford said that going forward ITC will remain focused on the best technologies to help drive the industry forward and delivering it to agents nationwide.
Technology enables everybody to work and do their job better. From buying shoes to selling movie tickets, technology is bringing new ideas to market, said Rixford.
Finding ways in which technology can supplement and enhance but not replace the insurance agent is what ITC is looking to continue, Rixford said. “We are always looking for new technology and new ways to help agents better acquire, sell and nurture prospects into long-term clients, but we are also looking for ways to improve our existing technologies.” He says the support received from the Accel-KKR partnership will help ITC to strengthen that mission.
The recent growth in agency technology and insurtech overall has opened the eyes of technology investors at opportunities in independent agency channel, Rixford said. That’s good news in his view for the future of the agency system.
“Technology is a critical piece in any growth strategy so by having technology that is enabled anywhere and everywhere, where you can do a quote or manage a policy directly on your cell phone, or where consumers can purchase a policy directly through an insurance agent using buy-now technology – that will create an environment that is consumer-friendly.” That’s where ITC hopes to excel going forward.
“We are agent focused,” Rixford said, adding that ITC will remain so in the years to come. “We have numerous agents that work for us and we really understand the agency market and how agents use our products.”
Investment banking firm Morgan Partners represented ITC in the deal.
Headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, ITC serves more than 200 insurance companies and more than 6,000 agencies.
Accel-KKR is a technology-focused investment firm with $4.3 billion in capital commitments. The firm focuses on software and IT-enabled businesses. Accel-KKR is headquartered in Menlo Park with additional offices in Atlanta and London.
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