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How Openly is Empowering Insurance Agents through Innovative Technology

Featuring Matt Wielbut, Co-Founder


In the highly competitive insurance industry, independent agents often face challenges when it comes to finding technology solutions that meet their needs. This difficulty is primarily because many insurance carriers rely on an array of glued-together off-the-shelf software, which often does not provide the flexibility and efficiency required to serve agents effectively. 

Openly, however, has taken a novel approach to insurance and technology by building its own tech stack in-house, including its pricing, underwriting, billing, and policy management systems. By doing so, Openly has set itself apart from traditional carriers, and empowers agents with a superior technology platform designed to improve the user experience and streamline operations.

Prioritizing agents

Unlike traditional insurance carriers and providers, Openly is able to tailor solutions specifically for agents. Matt Wielbut, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Openly, explains: “Having our own technology helps us better serve our agency partners. Because we own so much of the experience, we can better meet the specific needs of agents, delight them, and make things more effective,” he says. 

A subtle but notable example of the benefits of controlling our technology stack can be seen in our integrated chat system, which has surpassed industry standards. “Chat in and of itself isn’t revolutionary. But I don’t think any other insurance company has leveraged it as much as we have,” says Wielbut. Openly’s live-chat feature enables agents to communicate with the agent support team directly, and from within Openly software, ensuring quick and efficient assistance, and with an average response time of less than one minute. 

“The full integration of chat into our agent portal is an example of how customer service can better meet the needs of agents. Our support personnel are provided with contextual information about the agent's current position within our systems, so they can see where they are stuck or on what page they are running into a problem.”

Openly maintains an open line to agent feedback and understanding of their needs due in part to initiatives like the Agency Council of Excellence, or ACE. Through this initiative, agents contribute to shaping Openly’s product direction and technological improvements, which showcases Openly’s dedication to meeting independent agents’ needs with a high level of engagement and responsiveness. “Agents have shared with us that no one else works as closely with agents to guide the direction of the product,” says Wielbut.

Innovations in underwriting

Openly's commitment to custom-built technology has improved its rating and underwriting engine, allowing for faster quote generation with minimal data input. “Our custom interface makes quoting a breeze, with instant price changes so you can see how different coverage selections affect the price,” Wielbut says. 

This level of interactivity sets Openly apart from traditional quoting processes, which often involve exhausting loading times and limited customization options. Wielbut affirms, “Openly systems are a breath of fresh air, giving agents what they need, when they need it.”

Openly’s advancements in underwriting processes also enable the insurance provider to eliminate the frustrations that come with going back-and-forth. “We’re the ones with truly guaranteed replacement cost coverage without the need to haggle over the cost,” says Wielbut. 

Streamlined claims processing

Openly's commitment to owning its technology extends to claims processing as well. With the recently released in-house built eFNOL (Electronic First Notice of Loss) portal, Openly can capture and route relevant claim information more efficiently. By enabling quick and accurate information transfer to the appropriate adjuster, Openly ensures that claims are addressed promptly, providing an efficient experience for agents and policyholders alike.

Seamless integration

Openly's ability to integrate different parts of our system together seamlessly is a significant benefit of an in-house technology stack. “From a former agency owner’s perspective, it’s frustrating to use the fragmented and archaic interfaces and systems that other carriers have. What we’re doing is packaging it in a really cohesive way,” Wielbut states. “We can integrate any part of our system to another. What that means is that agents can have the data they need—quotes, documents, bills, reports—at their fingertips in a nice package. This single-platform approach improves efficiency and cuts down on agency operation costs.”  

Openly's dedication to providing cutting-edge technology solutions also includes tech-savvy and larger agencies, thanks in part to the flexibility afforded by an in-house technology stack. “We’ve leaned into the idea of API integrations for some of these agencies, and a lot of them are excited about building their own interfaces and experiences, and plugging into Openly on the backend. This wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t build our technology,” explains Wielbut.

Future innovations

Openly's decision to build its own technology stack has allowed the insurance provider to reimagine the insurance experience for independent agents. 

“Because all the tech is ours, we get a direct line to anything that is going wrong. So rather than trying to coordinate priorities with an outside vendor who doesn’t fully appreciate the needs of our agents—and the speed in which we move—we can deploy agent requests faster than competitors. We have systems monitoring for errors and alerts, and multiple engineering teams ready to address issues and push out updates, currently averaging a dozen changes per day.”

Openly's forward-thinking approach to technology doesn't stop at its current offerings, either, with ambitious plans to enhance self-service capabilities that allow agents to handle more tasks independently. By continuously improving industry technology and focusing on the future, Openly endeavors to overcome the frustrations associated with outdated systems prevalent in the insurance industry. 

“We don’t have any of the legacy systems that often hold our competitors back. It's incredibly liberating,” states Wielbut.


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About the Author

Alyssa Little | Senior Content Strategist

Alyssa is the Senior Content Strategist at Openly, collaborating with industry thought leaders to provide insightful and informative content in the home insurance space. With over 15 years experience in content marketing strategy, copywriting, and editing, Alyssa has refined her expertise through her work at such companies as Gartner, Nike, and Trupanion. Alyssa holds a BA in History from the University of Puget Sound and an MA in Museum Studies from Newcastle University.

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