Over a two-decade career in financial services technology, which culminated in a three-year stint as the global CIO for MetLife, Gary Hoberman felt that most large companies weren’t getting the most value out of their true differentiating factors.

“At a high level, big corporations are focusing a lot of time on things that really have nothing to do with competitive advantage,” Hoberman says. “We’re talking about as much of 90% of a $2 billion budget being spent on commodities.”

That includes things like digital applications and processing. Hoberman believes that insurers should be more focused on how they use data to get the right price for the right customer, rather than trying to improve upon the table stakes of user experience. That’s why he started Unqork, a startup technology company that aims to provide an easy-to-use front end for financial-product distribution.

Gary Hoberman, Unqork

Unqork launched in April 2017 and announced John Hancock as one of its clients one year later. The company provides a drag-and-drop customizable interface that allows insurers to configure a wie range of products using patent-pending technology. Unqork works for either agent distribution or direct, and Hoberman says its selling point is ease of use, which allows carriers to get cleaner data that they can use to refine products even further.

“We tell our customers that we are the front door for new business and underwriting, delivering data clean, in good order and aligned to value,” he explains. “That’s the commodified part. The real advantage is how they assess, accept and price risk, and with us, they have data and analytics they’ve never had before.”

Hoberman says he doesn’t see his new company as competing among the sea of insurtechs for insurers’ attention. Rather, he hopes that Unqork can be a way of incorporating innovations from other startups into insurers’ processes, citing his company’s drag-and-drop API integration as a potential avenue.

“We will be the bridge to take an insurtech and connect them to the large carriers,” he explains. “We view that as a channel to us, instead of a large company having to integrate with the next product.”

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