Contact Us

How to Build a New Insurance Program

By The Boost Team on Aug 18, 2023
7 min read
A person gestured towards a laptop with a pencil, as another person looks on.

As the insurance landscape evolves, there are several approaches to consider for taking a new, innovative insurance program from idea to reality. 

In this guide, we'll explore the three major avenues to creating a new insurance program: building it from scratch in-house, outsourcing to traditional partners, or partnering with an Insurance Infrastructure as a Service company like Boost.

Option 1: Build It Yourself

Building an insurance program from the ground up is a long, multifaceted undertaking that requires careful planning, meticulous attention to detail, and a robust set of resources. 

The main benefit of this route is the control. When you build your own insurance product, you have complete control over the concept, design, operations, compliance, and tech, so you can approach each area in a way that centers your business needs.

Complexities of Building an Insurance Program

The downside of building an insurance program, however, is that you have complete control. In other words: you have complete responsibility for every aspect of this undertaking, several parts of which may be outside your core business and expertise. 

Building an insurance program is a long and capital-intensive process, with heavy regulation adding considerable complexity. Here’s a brief, 10,000-ft view of the steps to getting your new insurance program off the ground:

1. Obtaining the Necessary Licenses

Your business is probably already licensed to sell insurance, but creating a new program in-house requires your company to also be licensed as a Managing General Agency (MGA). The requirements for this license vary by state, so you’ll need to research the process in each state you intend to sell in. Depending on whether you plan to build an admitted or non-admitted insurance product, you may also need to obtain a surplus lines license. 

2. Developing Forms, Rates, and Guidelines

Creating the actual insurance product that your program will support involves crafting forms, establishing rates, and setting underwriting guidelines. Unless you already have people capable of those tasks within your business, you will need to hire experienced actuaries, underwriters, and insurance lawyers, which can be quite expensive. 

3. Navigating State Regulations

A closely related factor to consider is that each state has its own unique insurance regulations. Forms, rates, underwriting guidelines, licensure, billing procedures, and more vary from state to state. Additionally, state regulations can frequently change, so you will need to stay up-to-date to ensure compliance. This process can be time-consuming and demands ongoing attention.

4. Garnering Carrier Buy-In and Capacity

Insurance capacity is vital for any insurance program. If you don’t have the capital to pay out policyholder claims, then you don’t have an insurance program. That being said, capital is not enough: by law, you will need to secure backing from one or more licensed insurance or reinsurance carriers. This step can take a long time to complete, especially if your business does not have existing carrier relationships. 

5. Developing Distribution Technology

Creating or acquiring a Policy Administration System (PAS) can be one of the most expensive, and time consuming aspects of the process. The PAS is the technological backbone of the insurance program, and one of the most essential (and complex) pieces of the insurance tech stack. In order to deliver a modern, all-online insurance experience, you need a PAS that can support all operations related to an insurance policy.

Getting it right is complicated and very expensive, which is why few companies choose to build a bespoke PAS in-house. Most choose to work with an outside partner and purchase an existing PAS, though this comes with its own challenges (more on that in the next section). Either way, you have to do your research on which path would be best for your budget and your business. 

6. Establishing Claims Administration

Legally, insurance claims must be administered by a licensed claims adjuster. This means that handling claims requires either hiring licensed adjusters in-house, or partnering with a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to administer them for you. You’ll also need to establish processes for how your customers file their claims, and how that information gets to the right person.

While building an insurance product in-house offers control and customization, it is an expensive, multi-year investment. In addition to the functional costs of building the product itself, you’ll need to recruit and hire internal experts to do the work on the program and manage it on an ongoing basis. 

Option 2: Outsource to Traditional Partners

Most businesses that want to create a new insurance product don’t end up DIY’ing it, because, as we just explained, it is complicated, time-consuming, and very costly. Instead, many companies opt for a more cost-effective, less labor-intensive route, which is to outsource.

While we here at Boost are big supporters of outsourcing, the experience you have will really depend on who you outsource to and what they are capable of. There are a variety of traditional outsourcing partners that specialize in different parts of the insurance process - emphasis on parts of the process. You’ll need to work with different partners for different aspects of building a new program. 

Actuarial Consultants

Actuarial consulting firms can help you with the creation of the product itself. This includes developing the forms, helping determine appropriate rates, and creating the underwriting guidelines. Some actuarial firms may also assist you with filing your product once it’s complete.

PAS Vendors

As mentioned in the previous section, you can outsource or purchase a Policy Administration System (PAS) through a PAS vendor. These third-party companies provide generic “off-the shelf” software designed so that any insurance company can buy it. 

However, these systems usually aren’t usable straight off the shelf. In order for it to be able to support your insurance program, you will need to customize and configure it to support your business’s specific needs and workflows. Most vendors will do this work for you, for a substantial fee. There may also be ongoing licensing or platform costs required to use the software.

Additionally, system capabilities will vary from vendor to vendor, and not all PAS may be able to support every insurance operation. Depending on the level of sophistication your program requires, you will need to do some research on what off-the-shelf product would be the right fit. 

Reinsurance Brokers

A reinsurance broker acts as an intermediary between you and reinsurance carriers. The broker’s primary role is to connect you with reinsurers who might be able to give you the capacity you need for your program. While these partners can be expensive to work with, they can be a big help in getting your program the necessary risk capital backing.

Third Party Administrators (TPA)

Third Party Administrators (TPA) are agencies that employ licensed claims adjusters, and manage various aspects of insurance policies, claims processing, and benefits administration. Generally speaking, working with a TPA is a cost-effective way to get licensed claims adjusters to handle your customers’ claims for you. They also operate as intermediaries between you and your policyholding customers. The downside of that however, is that the only touchpoint that your customers will have with their insurance company will be with the TPA and not with you. That means that you won’t have visibility into customer experience with this portion of your brand. 

Disadvantage of Outsourcing to Traditional Partners

Outsourcing can be a quicker and more cost-effective solution than building from scratch, but that’s not to say that it is quick or inexpensive. The biggest disadvantage of this route is that since most traditional partners only cover a part of the insurance program development process, you will likely need multiple partners to create your program.

Each of these partners will provide their piece of the puzzle, but managing the process and making the pieces work together will be your problem. Not to mention, working with multiple vendors will likely add up in costs and time to market. 

Option 3: Insurance Infrastructure as a Service

Unlike the traditional outsourcing partner companies, insurance infrastructure as a service (IIAAS) companies like Boost provide everything you need to start offering insurance to your customers. Think of us like a one-stop-shop for all of your insurance program development needs. 

As a first-of-its-kind IIAAS partner, Boost has already gone through the build-a-program steps we looked at in the first section, and has put together the necessary infrastructure for every aspect of new insurance product development. In fact, we are the only outsourcing partner that assembles compliance, risk capital, and technology infrastructure under one roof. 

An IIaaS partner like Boost handles every aspect of development in-house, including

  • Forms 

  • Rating 

  • Underwriting guidelines 

  • Tech integration 

  • Reinsurance

  • Filing 

This is an important distinction because, in comparison with DIYing it or working with multiple traditional partners, working with an IIAAS partner will help you cut down expenses and minimize the effort of juggling multiple contracts and partnerships.  You can leverage your partner’s existing expertise and infrastructure to get to market more quickly, with lower overall costs. 

Whether you decide to build from scratch, partner with traditional partners, or embrace the innovative IIAAS approach,  launching a new insurance program is an intricate journey with multiple avenues to explore. 

If you want to learn more about partnering with Boost to build a custom insurance program, contact us

Previous articles
Side view of a businesswoman looking thoughtful as she works on a tablet.
Top 4 Things to Keep in Mind When Adding a New Insurance Line
Sep 29, 2023
So, you’re an insurtech business that’s looking to grow. Adding a new line of business is the obvious next step, but what’s the best way to go about it? You could build your own new program in-house, but since that’s a very long, expensive road, you’re probably going to leverage a partnership instead. That still leaves you with a long list of possible options that you’ll need to narrow down!  In this blog, we’ll talk about the most important things to keep in mind while you’re planning your expansion, and how they can help you determine your best path forward. This goes without saying in any business expansion: what do your customers need, and what can you offer to meet those needs? It’s not always as simple as deciding to offer pet insurance, or cyber insurance, or whatever kind of insurance your customers will want to buy. There can be a lot of differences between products of the same type as far as what they cover (or don’t), and what value they provide for their cost.  It’s clear that products without sufficient coverages aren’t great for the end user, but products with too much coverage can be almost as bad. Every additional protection included in a product increases the cost, whether the buyer will ever use it or not. So if a product includes many more coverages than the customer actually needs (or wants), then the customer isn’t getting great value for their money.  The ideal scenario is to offer a product with everything your target customers need, and nothing that they don’t. While some insurance-as-a-service products allow you to customize the  coverages you want to offer your customers, many traditional products offer a set package of coverages that you must resell as-is. It’s important to carefully review what’s included in a potential partner’s offering and what your options are, to ensure you’re choosing the best fit for your audience. What experience do you want to offer your customers, and how will you make it happen? Modern buyers expect purchasing insurance to be as easy as purchasing anything else, with just a few clicks online. Traditionally, however, the insurance industry has lagged behind the technical infrastructure required to make it happen. While this creates opportunities for insurtechs who can deliver a better experience, it also adds another complication to choosing a partner. Technical capabilities can vary a lot between individual insurance providers, which can then impact both your go-to-market timeframe (how difficult will it be for your developers to integrate with your existing systems?), and the experience you’re able to offer (how much of the transaction can be completed online, and how much friction exists in the purchase flow?). In addition to the actual insurance product a potential partner can offer you, it’s increasingly critical to also review what they can offer you technologically. Get specific on what you want to do in your website or app, so you can get answers on how (or if) their product can support your vision. With any new product introduction, the hope is obviously that sales of the product will be wildly successful. But as you’re doubtlessly aware, insurance products can also be victims of their own success.  The need for additional capacity presents a unique scalability challenge for insurance programs: the more policies you sell, the more capacity you need to continue selling policies. If you can’t secure that capacity quickly enough, your program risks losing growth momentum while you sort it out.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how your new LOB will scale up, before you even launch it into the market. If your partner handles the capacity side, how much do they have available, and how will they get more? If time is money, then there’s a double cost for time spent deploying a partner’s insurance product - the actual cost of implementing the product, and the opportunity cost for each extra week that you aren’t in-market.  When evaluating potential insurance line partners, their GTM process and requirements are an important thing to consider. What needs to be done in order for the product to go live? How much technical development work is required? Are there any other dependencies to be aware of? The faster and smoother the implementation, the sooner you’re able to start selling your new product. Doing your research ahead of signing a partnership can help prevent unexpected snags that can slow down a rollout (and throw off a revenue projection). There’s a lot to think about when expanding your business with a new insurance line, especially when choosing a partner. With the right planning, you can choose the right product and partner to help your insurtech business reach your growth targets.  Thinking of expanding your portfolio with a white-labeled insurance product from Boost? Get an overview of our platform and products, or contact us to get started.
Continue Reading
Two businesspeople shake hands over a table, while another person works on a tablet.
Live with a New Offering In Just Four Months: Read Node's Story
Sep 27, 2023
This week, we're excited to spotlight Boost customer Node International - an insurance platform with a strong tech focus, dedicated to helping businesses and individuals protect themselves from cyber threats. In the case study, we outline Node’s journey towards adding cyber insurance to their offerings and explain how Boost helped them to get to market faster and increase their revenue. Node was ready to add a new cyber insurance product to their lineup, but creating their own would be an expensive, time-consuming headache. Node partnered with Boost, leveraging Boost’s well-documented API to complete the integration in just four months. The Boost partnership drove 30% of Node’s GWP in the following year, and allowed Node’s team to work more efficiently with all-digital underwriting. “Boost has a very well-thought-out API. Combined with a support matrix and the documentation in the developer guide, it allowed the people actually integrating on our side to pick it up and run with it, versus having to figure it out.” — Neil Gurnhill, Node’s Founder and CEO  How did it all come together? Get all the details in our full case study! Read the Case Study To learn more about Node’s cybersecurity and insurance offerings, visit them at To learn more about how you can partner with Boost to get to market with a white-label insurance program, contact us
Continue Reading
A black-and-white image of a tablet sitting on a table with a pen and coffee. The tablet is displaying the cover of the Boost ebook How to Succeed with a New Insurance Program.
Get Our Free Guide to Success with a New Insurance Program
Sep 15, 2023
Creating an insurance program to offer new, in-demand coverage options can be a big growth opportunity for your business - if you do it right. If you don’t, however, it can be an expensive, time-consuming misstep. This guide aims to help you do it right. Download How to Succeed with a New Insurance Program  To create this guide, we tapped into some of the most experienced insurance experts we know: our own internal team. The Boost team has built 9+ products since 2018, and before that our experts led groups at some of the biggest names in the industry. We got their advice on how to determine if a new insurance program is the right opportunity for your business, and if so, how to set yourself up for success: What to Know Before You Start covers the growth opportunity of insurance, and the most common pitfalls that we’ve seen businesses fall into. The Foundation for Success outlines the most important pieces to have in place before starting work on a new insurance program. Elements of a Successful Program discusses the areas that we’ve seen the most successful insurance programs take the time to get right. The Insurance Program Build Process explains what’s involved in actually building the new program, including timeline and budget estimations. Already know that a new insurance program is right for you? Learn more about the next steps in the development process with How to Build an Insurance Program: A Guide for Insurtechs
Continue Reading