As an Insurance Compliance Professional, I couldn’t help but “geek” out during my interview with Paul P. Martin, Founder/President of Martin & Company, as he described his journey from literally traveling to DOIs in the ‘90s to obtain Rate, Rule and Form filings as content for his industry newsletters and research for his clients, to today, where he has found a way to vertically integrate every aspect of the insurance compliance arena to include advisory, actuarial consulting, state filings and data solutions into a one stop shop for all Carriers and Brokers alike.
Can you tell me more about your background and how Martin & Company was founded?
Martin & Company was founded in 1993. In 1991, I was a retail agent for 2 years and realized it was not the place I wanted to continue my future, but I loved insurance. It was my first introduction into the P&C industry. What I did realize in that short time was there was a lack of industry information which was publicly available. Whereas, conversely, the industry I came from prior (mortgage and finance), the information was not public but seemed to be always available. And so, I started going to Insurance Departments, and reviewing the approved filings. There was so much valuable information. I felt if it was that valuable for me, it had to be extremely valuable for the industry. The only way to get that information was to go to the DOIs. Obviously, that has since changed with SERFF portals, and being able to access it remotely, which in itself, has its own challenges. That is how the Company began, by obtaining competitive Rate, Rule and Form filings, reviewing, and summarizing those filings and then putting them into reference guides and newsletters that we promoted, sold and still have subscribers today. Actually, our first subscriber, that we had in 1993, is still a subscriber today. We started in Pennsylvania and have since grown to offers services in all jurisdictions.
What was it like before the introduction of SERFF?
Before SERFF, how we researched and obtained Rate, Rule and Form filings was a challenge. I first started off with a copy machine (where you can only make one copy at a time.) I carried that with me, and built a utility cart that I could take with me from the parking lots into the DOIs. We then moved up to document-feeder copy machines that made it a lot easier. Eventually, sometime between 1998-2000, we moved to high speed portable scanners. We literally had boots on the ground in a number of states for years. When SERFF started to open up their portals, it became a lot easier. For example, people would call you up and say, “I want to see if ‘ABC Company’ has a pollution coverage in their filing.” Today you can search for a PDF, back then, you had to page through paper.
Did you also submit the filings, or was it solely research?
No, we didn’t start doing the filings until 2004-2005. We had some clients who loved our service and liked the client experience that Martin & Company offered. A couple of clients pushed us to do the submission of the Rate, Rule and Form filings on their behalf and are still our clients today. We listened to the clients and as a young company you always try to find a way to make it work.
Tell me more about your growth and different data solutions that Martin & Company has established to aid clients: OneView, FilingsDirect.com and MyCircularActivity.com and what lead you to develop them?
Along the way, as we were building our State Filings Unit, we realized we needed actuaries on staff. We began hiring actuaries to help with the state filing piece, as most rate filings require some actuarial support. We quickly realized from that point, that we needed compliance and regulatory professionals as well. As our state filing unit was growing fairly quickly, there was also a need for product development work so we added to that staff as well. We then had all our components: state filing, competitive intelligence, actuarial, product development, compliance and regulatory, and company licensing. Martin & Company has become a one stop shop for many carriers. Our client retention rate is amazing, which speaks volumes to the staff and the client experience we provide.
As our staff was increasing it became apparently clear we also needed data solutions. We realized the technology world was creeping into our space. Everything was paper before. We needed to have a platform that kept our work transparent to our clients. OneView has become an industry leading state filing management solution. All the filings we submit are contained in OneView. Clients can login and see all their new and historical filings, as well as monitor the status. MyCircularActivity.com is a game-changer. Carriers need to monitor bureau circulars and make decisions on the action to be taken. It’s a cumbersome task for many carriers so we built a complete workflow tool that provides aid from the time of review of the circular to to the business decisions that are made to take action. FilingsDirect.com is one of the largest competitive intelligence database in the country for all Rate, Rule and Form filings. You want to search for a company, line of business, or program keyword, it’s all at your fingertips in one repository— eliminating the need for an individual having to go multiple state sites.
How does FilingsDirect.com differ from your newsletter?
We have a team here that writes our newsletters. They will dive into the Rate, Rule and Form filings and provide summaries of the activity in those states for our subscribers; whereas, FilingsDirect.com is an online database to all approved state filings. We made an enhancement to our newsletters a few years back, so subscribers can click on the article and will get access directly to the filing.
How did Martin & Company become involved with the AICP?
I go back to the “Society of State Filers” as a member and was actually on some committees back then. I have been part of the organization for quite some time.
How is Martin & Company adjusting to the Pandemic and the new work-from-home structure?
We were a remote company for the most part pre-pandemic so we were able to adjust fairly quickly. Of the 40+ employees at Martin & Company, 30 employees were already established at home. We have a small staff that has continued to come into the office, but the others transitioned very well. I have to give props to our tech team that and vendors that made the transition seamless.
Martin & Company has both the advisory and consulting services, do you feel one exceeds the other? Or do they work in tandem?
All of our services work in tandem with one another. We see growth in all of our business segments and demand for our services is high.
What message would you like to communicate to the Insurance Compliance industry?
There are a lot of challenges in our industry today. Companies are faced with a magnitude of compliance oversight and they need to stay focused. They need to bring some technology into their businesses. Companies need to be able to have a way to look back at historical work and be able to produce that information for internal purposes or regulators. There are a lot of legacy procedures that are in place today, that cause disruption in the workflow and that can be costly.
Our focus is creating a good client experience for our customers, maintaining our sector strength in our core business segments, and continuing to find new ways to move business through the challenges that the regulatory environment presents to carriers today. We are continuing to improve our data solutions to help with that movement. Carriers want speed to market, and if we can get them there sooner, that is our value to our clients.
To learn more about Martin & Company, click here to visit their website.
Author: Ilana Kauffman is the owner of Regulatory Compliance Consulting, LLC and proud member/volunteer of the AICP Brand & Marketing Committee.