DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Interestingly, as we tried to build it would also became very clear after the first three or four meetings is that we had difficulty figuring out what to have for lunch, let alone what structure for six companies wanted for the system.
REID HOLZWORTH: And I'm only imagining.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: It was very, very difficult.
SPEAKER 1: This is the insurance technology podcast where we bring interesting people from across the insurance ecosystem to discuss and debate technology's impact on the industry. Join us each episode for insights and best practices from industry stewards and tomorrow's innovators. Now here's your host, Reid Holzworth.
REID HOLZWORTH: we're back with our guest from the last episode, Dennis Chookaszian, former CEO of CNA and founder of AMS. So Dennis is going to talk a lot about the history of the Agency Management Systems. And really, take a note of all of the people he mentions and what they went off to do in this industry.
They've built some of the biggest insurance technology companies in the world after this. So it's a really great history lesson overall. And once again, Dennis is connected in all of it. Hold on, hold on. Back up a little bit for the listeners because you just skipped over a big point there. AMS that you guys-- go into AMS a little bit.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Sure, OK. So let's step in back, in fact, to the systems that were there. So in the '60s and '70s, the systems that were being built were for the companies, only a few systems built for agents. The biggest of those systems was something called ARC, Agency Records Control. And it was built by some college professors at Texas A&M down in Denton, Texas, actually, was where it was set up.
And these professors got together and said, gee, why don't we take our computer knowledge here, because there were early days of computing. We'll build a system to process things for the insurance industry. And they did. So they created what was a punch card system, the 80-column Hollerith cards. And that was the way it was done. And so it was all on punch cards.
And what the agent would do, the agent would prepare their bills which were, largely, typed manually. There was no electronics. They were manually typed. They'd batch them up. They would mail them in to Denton, Texas. They would keypunch the data on Hollerith cards, run it through a set of systems, that were very rudimentary systems, and create the billing for the agency. It would produce a billing statement to be mailed to the insurer and it would give them a little bit of summary information, but very preliminary.
So that was, really, the only agency system of size. Then in the early '80s is you've got IBM, in 1980, came out with the PC. And then in 1982, they came out with the PC XT. And then you had the Wang and you had the Apple, which were starting to get created. And these were thought of as personal computers but they had a business application. So people tried to take some of these systems and build a system for agencies around it.
REID HOLZWORTH: there any that stood out to you?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: One of them that was very successful, actually, was a system that was built by a guy named Rob Thompson. And he was a young fellow that was just out of school working for his father's insurance agency in Pittsburgh and a really smart guy. And Rob built a system on a little portable computer, a Wang, that was a very basic thing. But it was really slick, the way it worked.
So he built this computer system and it was a lot better for agencies than what they were doing. And he sold a lot of them. So as these systems got created, Rob Thompson was successful with his system. And then a new system was created by ARC, called the Batcher, where they could take the data.
And we have now evolved to computer terminals that could enter the data in computer terminals, send it electronically down to Texas, and then they would do the same things. It was still a batch system, but the data was being entered. So these are all the preliminary steps as things are evolving.
And then several other companies developed proprietary systems that were these agency-based systems. And a few of them developed their own in company. So Aetna had Gemini, Continental had The Time Machine. They were building their own terminals so that an agent could send the information directly to them.
REID HOLZWORTH: each having their own system, how well did it work for the agents?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: If you would have walked into an insurance agent's office in 1984, 85, at that time, you'd see a table with seven or eight terminals on it. One for Aetna, one for Travelers, one for Continental. They all had their own terminals, which made no sense. But that was what was developing. It was part of the competition. The guy from Continental would come in and say, we've got a better terminal than Aetna. Here, you take ours and we'll give you a little extra payment to do that. So that's the way competition took place.
So as that was occurring, some of the companies recognized that maybe they would be better off buying one of these big agency systems. And so Hartford bought Rob Thompson's company for, if I remember it right, it was like $37 million, which is a huge amount of money for small insurance agency in Pittsburgh. And he sold it to Hartford at that time. Hartford got several of the companies together with him to support it. Then Fireman's Fund thought that was a good idea. And they stepped in and they bought ARC. Now they had ARC.
So now you had a couple of these big systems owned by them. Then you had the ones built like Continental's and Aetna's Gemini. And so, you had this large number systems out there. And then Commercial Union thought they should get into it. So they went to PMSC, which is their Larry Wilson's company. And Larry had a very successful company system. And they had a very rudimentary preliminary system with no one on it, just a handful of test agents on it. And they called it AMS, because it was PMS, Policy Management Systems, AMS, Agency Management Systems.
So Commercial Union paid $22 million to Larry to buy that. And at that time, we were a user of it. And I asked Larry. I said, how did you come up with the $22 million? And he said, well, what I did was I calculated the future revenue stream that we could get from selling this to agents, took the profit from that, estimated it into the future, and multiplied it by 2. And that's $22 million. And that's what we sold it to him for.
REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS]
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So, again, commercially, we bought it. It was a very big purchase for them.
REID HOLZWORTH: So how do you fit in to all of this?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: What happened then between this time, this is 82, 83, 84, was that I saw all this happening at CNA and felt like we had actually visited with all these companies. We went to visit Rob Thompson and ARC and the prices were too high. ARC was sold for 52 million to Fireman's Fund. [INAUDIBLE] on 22 of the big numbers at that time. Those numbers don't sound big today. But this is the '80s. That was big numbers.
REID HOLZWORTH: That was pretty big money, yeah.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So I said this doesn't make sense. And at that point Commercial Union was starting to fail with theirs. So I went to the CEO of Commercial Union and said, look, if you would just contribute the software that you've got, how about if we raise working capital from a number of companies and we'll form a new company around it? And we'll give you a share if you just contribute to software. And so we did.
So we got six companies together, including Commercial Union, and CNA was one of them. And we each put in $3 million, Great American, there were a number of companies involved in it. We put our money into it. And we built AMS. And we took the software that was there and we hired David Rowe as our CEO back in 1983.
REID HOLZWORTH: And David was with you at the time at CNA, right?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: No, David was with Commercial Union.
REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, he was? OK.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So I wanted to meet with the guy who is the head of systems at that time. And I flew in from Chicago and I'm waiting for him. And he asked me to wait in the office. And I'm sitting there and the guy's 10, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, he doesn't come out. And then finally, an assistant comes out and says he's held up a little bit. And so he said, I'd like you to interview one of the people that works for him and he'll tell you a little bit about it, David Rowe.
So David came out. And the guy I was supposed to be never came, which is interesting. And after meeting David and understanding his skill set, I said, I don't need to meet anybody else. This is the guy that I want to talk to. Because he really understood it and he was the developer of it.
So when we put this together, we offered, to Commercial Union, to join. And we said, but we want David to come with it. And they agreed. So David became the CEO and I was the chairman of it. So David became the CEO of AMS and we put the whole consortium together. And then we had sort of a rotating chairmanship and we had a one sixth ownership each.
Well, interestingly, as we tried to build it, what also became very clear after the first three or four meetings is that we had difficulty figuring out what to have for lunch, let alone what structure for six companies wanted for the system.
REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, what the heck. And I'm only imagining.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: It was very, very difficult. And we finally got to a point where each of the carriers, in addition to putting in $3 million, had an obligation to put an additional $3 million in working capital if it was called. It hadn't been called it yet. And so I was at the point where we had burned through most of the money. We said, we now need to bring the next $3 million in each. And I was the only one who thought that was a good idea. The others didn't want to do it.
So we said, after talking to our board at CNA, I said, look, let's just go buy them out. And what we'll do is we'll offer to let them out of their obligation to put the additional $3 million in, because it wasn't making any money, in exchange for them just giving us their stock. So we got all of their stock and AMS for zero.
REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS]
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: And we agreed upon that at that point. And that's what happened. So now, at this point-- but I insisted actually that as part of the deal, we'd let them out. But I wanted them to own each a 1% share of the company.
REID HOLZWORTH: Oh, smart.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So that they would still support it. And they agreed to that. Now, one additional thing happened, just before the buyout actually, that is important. And that is as we were building this, we also realized that ARC was-- in Denton, Texas was failing. So we went to Fireman's Fund and we said to the fireman's fund, look, we'll let you join and take a one seventh share if you give us ARC.
And so, in exchange for going from one sixth, which we had, to go one seventh by adding them. So they didn't give us any cash, but they gave us ARC, which was 5,000 agents, which is a big deal. So with that and with their Batcher and the products we had, we put it all out together.
And then, we were still having trouble making money. And that's when we, as CNA, stepped in and bought all the equity shares by, essentially, saying we'll pay, well we'll take care of the funding. So we've picked up all of their shares until the six of them had a 1% ownership and CNA, 94. Then we owned 94% of CNA.
REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS]
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: That was in, roughly, 1987. And as we started building it, we tried to put together a deal between Applied and AMS. And we thought it would be good if we could merge it. Because at that point, many of the other agency management systems had failed. There were really only the two of us at the end of the scale. And we said if we could put it together, we could build a much better company.
And we did negotiate a deal with Tom Eustace, who was the CEO of Applied at the time, a really good guy. And unfortunately, very sad, but Tom passed away very early, mid 40s. He passed away two weeks before we were going to close the deal. And because of his passing and everything, Bob, his brother, they decided they weren't going to go forward with the deal. So they decided that Applied would just run it on their own.
So Applied went their own way and AMS went its own way. And then we tried to bring back the two companies together with the agency network called Alliance for Productive Technology, the APT. And that was in 1989. And we were never able to get the support of a combination of Applied and AMS working in the right way. So it didn't work.
REID HOLZWORTH: As far as I know, it's never gone back to that. That's--
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: No, it never did. No, it never did.
REID HOLZWORTH: --companies applied and what was now Vertafore, at the time was AMS, really became one.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: That's right, yeah. And so, they never came together at that point. And then now, AMS continued to expand through the '90s, and they were both very successful. They both had about half the market. And then when I stepped down as the CEO of CNA back in 1999, CNA decided to change direction. And they actually downsized the company. It was $17 billion in revenue when I was there.
They downsized it for a variety of reasons. And they decided to sell off a lot of things that were outside the commercial insurance space. And so they sold AMS to Marsh and McLennan to Trident Funds. And so Marsh acquired it, Trident acquired it. And when they did, they built it up and they eventually sold it to Hellman and Friedman, and then it got several times.
REID HOLZWORTH: I didn't know that. I didn't know that Marsh bought it originally.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Yeah, it was originally bought, yeah, by Marsh--
REID HOLZWORTH: No kidding, huh?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: --then sold to Hellman and Friedman. And then it continually was flipped through several different owners to where it currently is. And then the market value is going way, way up. So the market value of both companies is up in this $5, 6, 8 billion range, which is considerably higher than, obviously, the one when we started out. So both had become very successful companies.
REID HOLZWORTH: Tell me a little bit about the time at Vertafore. Because there was always a bunch of acquisitions and there were a lot of people that came out of that that people don't realize that were involved in that that went off to do a lot of big things in this industry and still are very involved.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: There's no question about it. There have been a lot of very interesting and creative companies that have been generated in the industry as offshoots. Back at AMS, we were also acquiring different companies all along the way as we were building it. And we acquired Savage Rating. It was a ratings system we acquired. Doug Roller's company, Micro-Magic, we acquired that. And we built it up, so we have very good rating software.
And then we acquired Craig Walker's company, which had the underwriting systems built in it. And so we acquired many of these different things. And then we acquired a number of smaller businesses had MVRs. And so at one point under AMS, we owned probably 80% or 90% of all of the AM-- all of the MVR production in the auto insurance industry was owned by AMS.
And the MVR production was something that what you would do as an agent when you were going to write a policy on somebody, you needed to get an MVR motor vehicle record on that person. And then we had the contacts to the Motor Vehicle Record Bureau. So you would come to us, you would pay us a fee, and we would go to the MVR, we'd pay the MVR fee, pay us a small amount to do that, and we would bring it back and give you the MVR electronically. So that was a very effective system.
So at one point, what is now Vertafore AMS, owned the comparative rating software and all of the MVRs and all of that. When it was sold to Trident, they changed direction and they started to get into other things like health insurance software, many of the things that we were not in at all. And so Vertafore became a very different company that AMS was by expanding more horizontally into other things, rather than vertically.
And at AMS, we had this little quadrant chart that was a David Rowe's concoction. A concoction which was the four quadrants of what we would do, which included the company systems that included the rating, if you included the underwriting and included the education. So there are four things we were going to try to do when we built those out. And as we built those out, it built a whole series of new systems that got developed and then got sold to other people.
And so a lot of the data systems eventually got sold to ISIL, which is now Verisk, they now own that. So this stuff got spun out and then a lot of new things got created that are out there. Some very creative people in the industry like Easy Links, Bold Penguin. You all go down the list of all the people that are out there that built these things. And then there was a fellow that I met that also created another very, very interesting startup that-- let's see if I remember the name right. It was called TechCanary.
REID HOLZWORTH: [LAUGHS] I know those guys.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So obviously at that time for our listeners that Reid was the founder of TechCanary and asked if I would potentially get involved with them. And David Rowe and I thought it was a great idea. We liked what he was doing. And so we joined Reid on the board, helped do the fundraising, and then, ultimately, TechCanary was acquired by Applied.
So there were a lot of very creative companies built like that and some very smart people in the industry building some very good technology. The challenge were that it's still very, very fragmented. And you have the two agency systems, which are both good. Applied has a good one, Vertafore is a good one. They both are successful. And you have different agency groups that support one or the other.
REID HOLZWORTH: So is one more effective than the other?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: They're both very, very effective. And the industry is pretty well supported there. Now over on the company side, what happened? In the company's side, it happened in a very different way. Because by the time you got to the mid to late '70s, Larry Wilson's systems were really starting to work. And the Larry Wilson system, which was PMS, had a very interesting story.
Because Larry was a young college student at the University of South Carolina. He was just a college student there. And there was an insurance company called Seibels Bruce. And Seibels hired Larry as a summer intern and said, you know, wouldn't it be a good idea if we built a computer system? And Larry built a system in RPG, Report Program Generator, which is a very basic system.
He built an RPG system and it was really good. And Seibels used it. And so a number of companies started to buy it. And it ultimately turned out that it became such a successful thing that Seibels was struggling in the insurance business. And now, this little software business was worth way more than the insurance business. So to keep themselves afloat, they sold it off, Larry became the CEO, and it became an independent company with some private equity backing.
And then Larry built it into an extremely successful company. Now as you got from there, through the '80s, at that point in time, he was very successful in selling of the 1,000 companies. They were the 20 big ones. And for all other 20 big ones, probably 10 to 15 of those companies bought the PMSC software.
But by the time you got to the early '90s, because of the internal politics in those companies where their heads of systems never really like the fact that they had to buy packages because they wanted to build their own and the underwriters would say, no I want this to be green or turn it on the side or whatever to do that. So that one by one, they all sort of dropped away from it.
REID HOLZWORTH: So were they successful?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: PMS had many sales, 300 or 400 companies, in the small, medium, and smaller size. But they were down to only one remaining company in 1990 in the big company. And that was us at CNA. And the reason for that is that I was the head of systems and my guys kept coming to me and saying, let's get rid of this and build our own.
But because I had known what went into building and I built my own, I said, no way. What we're going to do. And they said, well, the system doesn't do it like this. It does it like this. And I said, there's an easy solution. We'll do it their way. So what we did is we customized our operations to look like what the system looked like, rather than making the system fit us.
Now that meant you didn't get everything exactly the way you got it. But what it meant is you had a much better system in terms of support capability. And we have one third of the number of people in computer systems that our competitors did. And we got great support from PMSC. And so it was like that all the way through the '90s And they were also developing the newest and greatest systems, so we were getting, actually, better development than our peers were getting.
Until you got to the mid '90s. Then by the late '90s, what happened is that PMS had a couple of operational problems and eventually got acquired by CSC. When CSC acquired it, CSC did not really continue the development the way PMSC was. By that time, I don't know the number but I'd guess it's 600 or 700 companies using the system. And it was profitable and throwing off a lot of money.
They didn't invest in taking it to the next generation. They didn't invest in the Agency Company Interface. They didn't invest in the cloud. They really didn't invest in any of that. So many of those companies, over time, left and bought other company systems. Back at that point in time, many other systems were created and Hartford supported Accenture in the building of a claim system for them. And they built that whole system for them. And Accenture was now a competitor on that side.
And then over time, you see that's the people built and Guidewire got started in the late '90s, 2000, 2001. And there were four engineers from Akamai, really smart guys. They started Guidewire from scratch. I was actually on their first advisory board when it was put together. And they built up a very successful claims system. And then eventually, they built a premium system.
So today, you have other people competing. And then Doug Roller from Micro-Magic, who worked for us, he had left and he formed Duck Creek. And then Accenture, to have something to couple with their claim system, bought Micro-Magic. The Micro-Magic idea, they upgraded on and he created Duck Creek. They created Duck Creek.
REID HOLZWORTH: Cool. Oh then OK. All right, Yeah.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So the Duck Creek, that said Micro-Magic was what we acquired. And then, Doug Roller or, after he left, he created Duck Creek. Duck Creek was acquired--
REID HOLZWORTH: --by Accenture.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: --by Accenture. So you now had Duck Creek and they had their own claim system. So they had a complete suite. Guidewire, seeing that, said they had to build their own. So they built their own. And then in the meantime, you had Insurity, which is a very successful company, and then you had Freedom and you had a number of other companies out there.
So today, there are many companies in the software business. CSC still is big. They have a lot, but their system is not as robust as some of the others. And now in the new system sales, you'll see those new systems going to people like Guidewire or Accenture. Well actually, Accenture then, by the way, sold all of Duck Creek.
They sold out their share of that off because they felt like they were doing the systems integrator work. And they felt that was a problem if they both owned it and were doing that work. So they sold theirs off to Stone Creek. And so, Stone Creek now owns the majority of that system. They bought that.
So as they started spinning these things off, different people owned the different parts of the-- they started owning the different parts of the computer systems as it were generated like that. And that's the state of the art today. So today, many people out there, with Insurity, Duck Creek, Guidewire, CSC, they're all out there providing these company systems. And the agency's systems are still largely with it, too. And those are the two dominant ones. That's a long story. But that's sort of the state of art and how it evolved.
REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah, no. It's interesting. I mean, it is. What a history. And you've been involved in it all the way through in so many levels. And so it's funny. When you talked about the exchanges and the systems and the people involved, these are still problems we have today. I mean, they were trying to solve that problem in the '80s, right? And so, I'm just curious.
What do you think? How do you think that this history has really developed into what it is today and how is that really molded modern insurance technology now? In other words, like a lot-- I hear these stories and it feels like we're still dealing with some of the same things. And some of the same people are still involved. But we have a lot of innovation that's coming out with technology changing, everything. There's so much going on. But it seems like everybody's still trying to solve some of the same problems, right? Is that fair to say? And what is your opinion there?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: I think that's completely accurate that many of the things that we were trying to do in the industry have-- the technologies improved, for sure. Processing has improved but the core problems still exist. What are they? At the core of it, an agent would like to have SEMCI, Single Entry Multiple Company Interface.
They'd like to be able to enter the data one time, get comparative rates from a lot of places, decide where to place it, and get appetite's for which carrier would want to write a dynamite plan for the hardware store. And by getting that electronically, that's what the Jim Koutro's idea back in formation of IVANS. That was the idea.
REID HOLZWORTH: [CHUCKLES]
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: And that was 1982. And to this day, it's still not happening.
REID HOLZWORTH: Do you have some examples of solutions that were before their time?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: There have been a number of things. That Todd Young built the thing that was called Prospects.
REID HOLZWORTH: Yep.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Which was this agency appetite system and got off to a really good start. But eventually, it lost traction and was not successful going forward. And so, there have been many, many attempts to do this. But there are a bit of a problem they still haven't worked.
Just one quick thing was that Salesforce had also had a couple of times looked at stepping in and trying to do that. And many agents will use Salesforce for marketing but they've never been able to integrate it back into the carrier marketplace to the things that we've said.
REID HOLZWORTH: So you're still doing a lot. What do you have going on now? What are you involved in, personally, business? Lightly, because I know I know it's a lot. I know you well enough to know. But like, what are you into right now?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: I'm well, when I left CNA, I also did an internet startup, one of the earliest ones. It was called Empower. It was the first of the electronic robo advisors for providing electronic advice for 401K plans. And we started with just a few employees, built it up to 300 employees, and sold it to Morningstar. And it was one of the early on internet startups.
And then I started serving on boards of companies. And so today, I serve in the boards of companies. I teach two courses in the University of Chicago. I teach in two universities in China. So I'm doing quite a bit of teaching. And I'm pretty actively involved in the insurance industry. I'm on the board of one insurance company that's a work comp writer. I'm in the boards of several technology companies. So I'm pretty involved in the industry still.
And then on a personal level, my son and I now own 12 restaurants here in Chicago with two of our partners. And that's been a lot of fun. And I'm building a hotel addition in Colorado to a hotel that we own out there. And so I've got a lot of things going on that are kind of fun. I'm still very active in all of those things.
REID HOLZWORTH: I'll ask another question, too. What do you foresee are some kind of trends now and in the future in insurance technology?
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Sure.
REID HOLZWORTH: Specifically, insurance technology.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: So as for trends in the industry, I think one of the things that you are seeing is you're seeing the rise of predictive analytics. And you see a number of companies. I've been involved with actually three of them, been on the boards of three of these companies who do predictive analytics. And they are good at generating algorithms that can be differentiators for you. And now, carriers are moving in that direction. So that's a major trend that's taking place.
And I think you're also seeing a continuation of the movement to the sales on the internet. That's happening. And so, particularly on those things where there's simpler insurance products, they've virtually gone entirely in that direction, like automobile insurance, for example.
It's now very clear that the automobile insurance is pretty easy to sell on the internet. But in a complicated situation, you're not going to do that. You're going to buy a policy like a [INAUDIBLE] masterpiece or something like that where you've got somebody who can handle the complexities. You go to Hagerty for your antique vehicle insurance. But if you have a Prius or a Toyota or Chevy or whatever you have, and you're not complicated, and you have a simpler homeowner's situation, you'll buy it on the-- you'll probably buy it online. And you'll price shop it, which oftentimes happens.
So what's now also really changed is that it's no longer possible for you to do natural search and drive people to your company. So everything is moved into the market where lead aggregators now aggregate the leads. And they buy them from Google, they buy them from people like a [INAUDIBLE] Alpha, you know. They'll get them to buy the leads, they fraction of them, and they sell them to agents.
The largest company, in this case, is a company called All the Leads I'm on the board of All the Leads And All the Leads generates the majority of leads for the insurance industry that are generated via internet right now. It's a very successful company. And it's very good at doing that.
So the trends are a future move to more and more internet. The company's systems are getting better and better. The comparative reading is pretty easy to do now, that's happening. So a lot of good things are happening.
REID HOLZWORTH: In personalized.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Personalized, yes. Now I don't really see much change coming in that regard in the commercial side other than maybe in BOP, Business Owners Policies and Small Policies. There, you can do a little bit. There are some companies like that. Larry Wilson and I many years ago, set up a thing called NetComp to do that. And then it eventually got sold. And now it's owned by actually Marsh now owns that.
So there are many new developments going on. And you mentioned another thing before and I think, just reflecting on it, I'd say it's accurate, which is that you say it's the same people. If I look at the people that I've worked with for, literally, since 1970, so that's now 50 years that I've been involved in this.
And unfortunately, some of my very good friends that have been in the industry passed on. But the ones who can still put one foot down in front of the other are still very actively engaged in it. And we see each other frequently. And it's an amazing industry
REID HOLZWORTH: I would say the movers and shakers of the industry kind of all tie back to those original founders, if you will, within this. Because they're still very involved. People like yourself and a lot of the names you've mentioned are big influencers in this industry.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: And I would say that as this is the first in your series, there are a number of really interesting people that would be great for you to get on the podcast series. And Larry Wilson really is the father of computer software for the company side. And then Doug Roller, so creative. He's on the rating side. And then also, having built Micro-Magic
REID HOLZWORTH: And Duck Creek.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: For that rating side, which was Micro-Magic And then worked for us. And then he went on the company side and built Duck Creek and sold Duck Creek, eventually, to Accenture. So they're really great guys and maybe interesting people to talk to. And then many others, not to leave others out, because there are many, many other people that were really top people in the industry. Marcus Ryu was very important in the building of Guidewire. And so when you go down the list of all the people who were involved in this industry, there are some great people involved in it.
REID HOLZWORTH: They're still very involved, all the people you just mentioned.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Still so very involved, Yeah and the industry's a pretty closed industry. People tend to stay in it. They don't run off and go and do automobiles or airplanes or something like that.
REID HOLZWORTH: Yeah. Well, listen, this has been great, Dennis. Awesome history lesson. I'm sure the listeners have learned a lot. And yeah, we're going to go talk to a few of the people you mentioned and kind of keep going down this road of the history of insurance technology and everybody that's involved. And so again, thanks for your time, Dennis. Pleasure, as always. It's been a lot of fun.
DENNIS CHOOKASZIAN: Great, Reid. It's been fun talking to you. It's fun to recount and recollect what the history of the industry has been about.
REID HOLZWORTH: I can't thank Dennis enough for taking his time to join us. Dennis really is an OG in this industry. What he's done for this industry is amazing. And this is just one little piece of the history there. There's a lot more if you really get to know Dennis. I can't thank him enough. It's awesome.
Now in future episodes, we're going to continue to interview some of these OGs that have brought us here today. But we're also going to be interviewing some of the new startups, people that are building new and innovative things that some of you may have never even heard of. But they're all part of our industry, the OGs and the startups. And look, there's all of these people love our industry and are heavily involved in helping us be more successful. And they're hyper focused on that. It's a great time to be involved in insurance technology.
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