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Accenture's Duck Creek Acquisition Signals Evolving Software and Mid-Tier Strategy

The acquisition reinforces Accenture's stature as a provider of core insurance software solutions and will support a more aggressive strategy in the mid-tier insurer market.

Accenture (New York) has entered into an agreement to acquire Duck Creek Technologies (Bolivar, Mo.), a privately held company that specializes in software solutions for the P&C industry, according to a statement from Accenture. The acquisition is the latest development in Accenture's attempt -- exemplified by the May 2010 launch of Accenture Software to establish itself as not just a consultant but also a credible provider of core software solutions to the insurance industry for both the P&C and life insurance segments.

Accenture says that the acquisition will strengthen the consultant and software vendor's ability to support P&C insurers of all sizes. Duck Creek's assets will enhance Accenture's ability to help insurers react faster to changing markets, quickly launch products that match consumers' evolving demand and improve customer satisfaction, while reducing operating costs, the Accenture statement asserts.

The technology acquired from Duck Creek will complement Accenture Software's existing P&C, component based software platforms, such as Claim Components, and also give the company a widely used asset in P&C and a large set of software relationships among P&C firm, comments Matthew Josefowicz, founder and principal of analyst and advisory firm Novarica (New York).

"It's a big step for Accenture to buy one of the market leading P&C solutions with a large installed base," Josefowicz comments. "It seems to signal Accenture's intention to be more competitive in the mid-tier market, coming on heels of the sale [of Accenture Life Insurance Platform [ALIP] to Navy Mutual on the life side."

"It's an interesting development in the marketplace, indicating that Accenture is potentially expanding its strategy to be much more aggressive in the mid tier market," adds Josefowicz, who notes that Novarica updated its software M&A report this morning.

Accenture characterizes the acquisition as giving the firm and industry-leading suite of software with one of the most comprehensive spectrums of processing capabilities for the P&C insurance market, from product configuration and definition to policy management, including underwriting, billing, rating, ISO-based products support and claims management.

"Duck Creek is a leader in the P&C policy administration market, as demonstrated by its customer base and sales momentum," asserts John DelSanto, global managing director of Accenture's insurance practice. "This acquisition further demonstrated Accenture's ongoing commitment to providing differentiated software platforms for the insurance industry, supported by valuable and cost-effective software maintenance and upgrade services. It will also reinforce our presence in the marketplace while expanding our offerings to significantly more clients, including in the mid-market."

Duck Creek was founded in 2000 and currently has an install base of more than 60 clients in North America and the UK, processing all commercial, personal and specialty lines of business. The vendor was advised by Spurrier Capital Partners, a technology focused M&A advisory firm based in New York.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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