The insurance software landscape keeps changing, with the August 1 announcement that Frisco, Texas-based Skywire Software will acquire Whitehill Technologies. Although I had not heard any previous hints or rumors about this deal, the news was somehow unsurprising and logical.Skywire has emerged as an aggressive player in the insurance software space, positioning itself as a provider of "best-of-breed components to assist insurers managing the life cycle of an insurance policy," according to a company statement. In a press release, Skywire explained that the acquisition "will solidify [its] position as a dominant, vertically focused software company." Whitehill itself has gained market share through acquisitions -- specifically, its 2006 purchase of InSystems and 2005 purchase of the technology assets of Metaserver.
The deal beefs up Skywire Software's capabilities in the document and content automation/management space, an area that, while not new technology, has been the focus of a considerable amount of insurance IT investment recently. These initiatives have been driven not only by the age-old quest for operational efficiency, but also by a range of customer experience, regulatory compliance, operational risk and channel integration requirements and opportunities.
At the same time, concepts such as value chain, straight-through or end-to-end processing, and enterprise connectivity are moving beyond rhetorical or buzzword status in insurance and becoming realities. This is not only because of advances in connectivity, integration and flexible architectures (read SOA), but also because a growing number of solutions providers are able to cover all the operational bases, so to speak -- either through partnerships (a la Microsoft Insurance Value Chain partners) or via branded solutions that they have developed or acquired. With more insurers opting to buy rather than build, it's smart for a company like Skywire Software to expand its capabilities and offerings with strategic acquisitions such as the Whitehill deal.
Posted by Kathy Burger
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio