Funds advised by Apax Partners, a private equity firm, have agreed to acquire Agencyport, a provider of digital distribution technology for the property and casualty insurance industry.

The acquisition comes just weeks after Apax acquired a 60% stake in Duck Creek, an insurance core systems provider, from Accenture. Apax and Accenture will operate Duck Creek as a joint venture, and the goal is to combine Agencyport's distribution capabilities with Duck Creek's platform.

"The teaming of two of the industry's premiere solution sets -- Agencyport's front-end portals for carriers, agents, brokers and customers and Duck Creek's advanced software, and digital and cloud technologies -- creates a unique market opportunity to meaningfully accelerate digital insurance," said Jason Wright, a partner at Apax. "Leading insurance companies of all sizes are looking to highly experienced vendors to guide them through the multi-faceted aspects of digital transformation and innovation. Agencyport and Duck Creek are a clear choice for that leadership."

The move reflects a desire among insurance carriers for more full-service technology suites, says Matt Josefowicz of Novarica.

“Part of Duck Creek’s rationale for separating from Accenture was the freedom to make acquisitions to fill our their suite and compete in a world where most buyers expect vendors to offer portal, policy, billing, and claims in a componentized suite," he says. "Most buyers prefer for a single provider to offer them a full suite of components that can be implemented in any order, and avoid managing relationships between different vendors in a best-of-breed scenario.”

Apax cited a desire to deliver a high-level experience to all business users as a major goal of the acquisition, something Donald Light of Celent says can be a differentiator in the market.

"Insurers want the internal and external users of their systems to have seamless mobile access to new business and other functionality," Light explains. "As is true for any technology acquisition, the soon to be combined management teams of Agencyport and Duck Creek will need to focus on communicating the benefits of their new relationship to current and prospective customers—sending a 'good before, better now' message."

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