InsurTech Leader iPipeline, Disrupter Then Builder

In 1995, Pennsylvania-based iPipeline stepped up to solve the paper-driven problem that was pricing life insurance policies. It was a long, labor-intensive process until a Chester County insurance agent, Bill Atlee, came up with the idea to integrate all company quote details onto one software platform. Atlee founded LifePipe on this premise and 25 years later, it processes two-thirds of all US insurance quotes and prepares them for agents to analyze.

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Their software-driven services proved to be an easy sell to insurance carriers bogged down by bureaucratic processes. In the mid-2000s, the newly renamed Internet Pipeline (iPipeline) was built out to automate the lengthy life insurance application and annuity purchase process. Historically, life insurance had been a fragmented industry and, consequently, the software development was piecemeal. It was a market waiting for a solution to present itself but CEO Larry Berran needed investors to help his company grow.

Berran approached Mike DiPiano from NewSpring Capital for investment into their fledgling firm. DiPiano partnered with Tim Wallace, a former Arthur Andersen consultant with a reputation for attracting big-dollar buyouts, to vet the potential deal. “Mike said, ‘I want you to take a look at this company in your back yard. I don’t know what to do about them. One day I want to put money in. One day I don’t’,“ Wallace remembered.

Wallace saw the potential for services that would streamline an arduous process and bring in hefty profits at the same time. He eventually joined iPipeline as their CEO with the support of the company's insurer clients and NewSpring Capital's financial backing. Berran stepped into the CFO and COO roles and invited Wallace in as the company's new leader.

Under Wallace's leadership, the company focused on creating automated application systems for agents who offer individual policies before moving onto distributors. They followed with developing a system for brokers who package offerings for insurance carriers and then the carriers themselves who, in turn, could help spread the word amongst the independent agents and brokers. During that time, they also acquired eleven software firms to help augment their product offerings.

As DiPiano expected, Wallace delivered the promising future he envisioned for iPipeline back in 2008. During his tenure, iPipeline successfully raised $104.4 million over three funding rounds; bumped sales from $5 million in 2008 to an impressive $200 million in 2019; and then sold the firm to Florida-based Roper Technologies for a jaw-dropping $1.65 billion on August 8 of this year.

Most of the business basics will remain the same under the deal – iPipeline will continue to operate from their home base in Exton, Pennsylvania. As part of the transition, Berran will step back into the CEO role while Wallace takes on a strategic advisor role. With a strong leadership team and a new influx of capital, the company is well-positioned to meet the future.

“Roper provides iPipeline with a long-term foundation to further develop the life insurance and financial services industry’s leading platform and execute on our core purpose of helping our customers secure the financial futures of families,” Berran said of the deal. “Insurance products provide people protection when they need it most, and we are committed to providing leading digital technologies to expand the market. Roper’s commitment to sustained investment in our business model, products, services, and employees means we will continue to deliver these solutions and domain expertise that have driven significant value for our customers for 25 years.”