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Skywire Software Acquires Docucorp

Skywire's acquisition of Docucorp signals an aggressive expansion into the insurance market.

Skywire Software (Frisco, Texas) has expanded its presence in the insurance industry with its acquisition of Dallas-based document automation and customer communications solution provider Docucorp International for $127 million. The company resulting from the Skywire/Docucorp merger will operate as a privately held subsidiary of Hall Financial Group and market a comprehensive range of insurance information technology products under the Skywire name.

"The clear value of Docucorp to Skywire was that the former has such a huge footprint in the insurance industry," comments Craig Weber, a San Antonio-based analyst with Celent. Prior to the deal, Skywire had about 350 customers worldwide, the majority of which are in the insurance industry. The Docucorp acquisition delivers approximately 1,250 additional customers, bringing the combined company's total number of insurance customers to 1,000.

Gartner senior research analyst Kimberly Harris-Ferrante points to Docucorp's contribution to Skywire's menu of core insurance solutions. "Skywire has been growing through acquisition, and this just continues to move the company along to become a larger player in the insurance solutions market," she says.

Acknowledging Skywire's ambitions in that direction, the company's CEO, Patrick Brandt, notes the merger's potential to provide more-integrated insurance IT solutions. "Just to be in the market you have to integrate with Docucorp, so we already had a number of products integrated with Docucorp," he says. "Now it's theoretically a more-integrated offering. The closer you can mold together our core insurance products, the better it is for the industry."

The addition of Docucorp also helps complete Skywire's comprehensive suite of core insurance products, Brandt asserts. "Whether it's rate, quote, bind and issue, or exchanging data between agents and carriers, or warehousing and reporting on data, we feel we're involved in the complete life cycle of insurance information," he says.

Skywire's decision to retire the Docucorp brand, however, has raised some concerns in the marketplace. "Docucorp is a very well-known brand and is considered incredibly stable," says Gartner research director Toby Bell. "This may send a bad signal to a very conservative install base that things are going to change."

Skywire's Brandt says that after much soul-searching, executives of both companies concluded that the Skywire name was more suitable to project the image of a provider of a broader range of solutions. "Even before Docucorp was merged with Skywire, it did a lot more than just document automation, but that's how people often pigeon-holed it," he says. "We offer such a broad range of software and services today, so [branding under the Skywire name] allows us to let the products speak for themselves."

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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