Even though Guidewire is now 10 years old, this year's Connections is only the seventh annual user group conference because there wasn't much of a point for the first few years, according to Marcus Ryu, the company's CEO, speaking in the general session at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, on Monday, Sept. 26. There were only 30 people at Guidewire's first user conference. Today Ryu spoke to a room of approximately 650 people.
Guidewire has seen rapid growth since its founding in 2001, and now has 103 customers and 73 live implementations of its core property/casualty insurance processing systems. Across that record of success, Guidewire has stayed true to the principles it articulated at its founding, Ryu asserted. First among these was to solve an intractable problem -- that of an industry inadequately served by its software providers; second was to build an enduring company that made decisions for the long term, "with an eye on the horizon"; and third, to do all this the right way, meaning "telling the truth, making rational decisions and working as a community of equal professionals."
Ryu mentioned the "milestone" of Guidewire's release of InsuranceSuite 7, with enhancements to the core PolicyCenter, ClaimCenter and BillingCenter products, as well as new modules for rating, reinsurance and customer account management. He touted "the largest software engineering team dedicated to the P&C industry," and asserted his confidence that the PolicyCenter 7 is "the best modern policy administration system available on the market today," noting that, he trusted that the customers exemplified by the conference attendees would "be the judge of that."
Ryu drew attention to another milestone: Guidewire's S1 filing with the SEC in anticipation of an initial public offering (IPO).
"I've been asked by a lot of customers, 'What does this mean?'" Ryu acknowledged. "Does it mean change in direction? Absolutely not. It equips us to be sure of fulfilling our original ambition to be a long-term, standalone, independent company that executes with intensity on this industry."
Ryu added that the IPO would supply capital to enable the company to invest in various anticipated projects, and promised "many improvements to come." He added that "another benefit is that being a public company imposes transparency, and that's a challenge we want to step up to."
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