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Steep Ascents with Barry Zyskind and AmTrust

iStock_89894303_XXXLARGE-2.jpgAmTrust was founded during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. And ever since, it has used technology to power its way up the commercial lines ranks. 

The company, founded in 1998, has experienced explosive growth in the past decade. Between 2005 and 2015, AmTrust’s commercial lines market share went from 0.08% to 1.92%, as the company grew from the 128th-largest writer to the 11th, according to A.M. Best data.

AmTrust, which has grown both organically and through 40 acquisitions, has made data mining and end-user
experience top priorities while building a specialty business that caters to small commercial customers.

“Early on, we recognized that we could differentiate ourselves through technology,” Chief Executive Officer
Barry Zyskind said. “Every application we use, from underwriting to claims management, is built internally to maximize our productivity and data mining capabilities. When we acquire a business, we quickly integrate it on our technology platforms. Our digital strategy has absolutely set us apart in a highly competitive industry.

“We use our proprietary technology and extensive database of loss history to help appropriately price and
structure policies, maintain lower levels of loss, enhance our ability to accurately predict losses and maintain
lower claims costs than the industry as a whole.”

Zyskind said AmTrust is a leading provider of small business workers’ compensation. It also is seeing strong growth in its warranty program business, which was one of its initial products.

“Our warranty program is on a rapid growth trajectory,” Zyskind said. “Today, our automotive and powersports vehicle service contract division is a world leader, while our retail and consumer products extended service plan division ranks among the world’s top three.

“With more than 25 million warranty policies in force in 2015, we’re set for continued growth, not just in North America and Europe, but throughout Latin America and into Southeast Asia as well, where we are working with leading mobile device retailers.” Zyskind said there is great market demand for specialty products.

“Businesses are looking for tailored homogeneous programs to meet unique needs,” he said. “To be able to meet this demand successfully, it is critical to have in-depth knowledge of a specific industry or sector in order to appropriately evaluate, price and manage the coverage risk.”

Looking ahead, Zyskind said AmTrust will maintain a focus on underserved markets and small- to medium-sized
businesses.

“Our small-commercial business continues to be a focus for us,” he said. “Not only do we maintain our emphasis on our low hazard workers’ compensation business, we’re also now seeing marked success and opportunity in our other niche commercial products.

“We are heading into a market in which we believe companies with a low expense ratio like ours will have a distinct competitive advantage for future growth.”

Continued investment in technology will remain a core piece of AmTrust’s growth strategy.

“We will continue to invest in our technology platforms and look for new ways to target our most desired classes of business,” Zyskind said. “We are optimistic about the organic growth prospects of our small-commercial business segment, which for the year 2015 produced over $3.3 billion of premiums, as well as the potential for growth in our other segments. We continue to look at acquisitions throughout the world and believe we are well-positioned to address opportunities that arise.”

Kate Smith is a senior associate editor. She can be reached at [email protected].
Copyright © 2016 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with Permission. www.ambest.com

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