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Industry disruptor finds a mate


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  • | 11:00 a.m. July 3, 2015
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Sarasota insurance executive Jeff Harris often talks about how his industry is turtle-like slow to adapt to technological advances.

To wit: He spent a decade and nearly $5 million on a workers' compensation insurance product, InsurePay, that utilizes proprietary real-time technology to analyze payroll data. The system, in turn, provides a more predictable payment system for customers, contends Harris, founder of Sarasota-based Insurelinx.

While Harris did find some clients, enough for $3 million in revenues last year, Insurelinx, founded in 2006, has been a slow burn. But a few months ago, Harris received a phone call from top executives at Fort Lauderdale-based Patriot National. Patriot, with $14 million in sales last year, handles outsourcing services for companies in the workers' comp industry. Patriot executives were big on InsurePay, saying the pay-as-you-go and payroll-deducted billing will be “major disruptors in the workers' compensation marketplace.”

Patriot likes Harris and Insurelinx so much, it bought the company.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Harris will remain with the firm, in an executive vice president role, and stay in Sarasota. He says Patriot, publicly traded, will make a significant investment in product development and marketing for InsurePay. That includes hiring up to five people in the near future. The company currently has 18 employees.

“It's absolutely a perfect marriage,” Harris tells Coffee Talk. “It will allow me to do things I couldn't have done before.”

InsurePay is a software-as-a-service product. The system calculates, collects and remits insurance premiums through its real-time technology. Clients pay a fee based on a percentage of the total payroll costs. This model, says Harris, is an improvement over the old way. That's where clients pay workers' comp insurance fees in advance, which are then recalculated by an insurance provider after the policy period, based on changes to the payroll. The traditional system, says Harris, is slow and outdated.

Patriot National officials agree. “By eliminating large down payments, streamlining cash flows and paying premium via (an automated clearinghouse) this technology will change the way policyholders pay for workers' compensation and other lines of insurance,” Patriot Chairman, President and CEO Steven Marino says in a statement.

 

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