Spirit of innovation - Holmes Murphy 2022 - Magazine | Monocle

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BrokerTech Ventures

BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) is a company inclusive of an incubator for early-stage start-ups. Co-founded in 2019 by Holmes Murphy and M3 Insurance, BTV brings together 15 brokerage firms. “We are looking to identify technologies or solutions that help our clients identify risks sooner and drive down costs,” says Susan Hatten, COO of BTV. Companies supported by the convening venture include MākuSafe, a technology start-up that designs wearables for workers operating in hazardous environments. 


Susan Hatten, COO of BrokerTech Ventures (BTV)


Des Moines’s Skywalk.


BrokerTech Ventures HQ.  

Avant Specialty Benefits

Avant Specialty Benefits is a service that provides businesses with the know-how for procuring worker perks such as dental and life insurance, and hands that process to a dedicated team of experts who find the best deals across the competition. Avant also helps businesses inform their employees about what’s on offer by building and operating call centres – a direct line for employees to get up to speed on their benefits – and a reassuring reminder that the company has their back.


Tom Stewart, president of PLUS. 

Innovative Captive Strategies

Innovative Captive Strategies (ICS) is a complex name for a simple idea. This subsidiary of Holmes Murphy – one of many that also includes innovation lab ACAP Health and Creative Risk Solutions (CRS) – consults businesses to help them form their own privately-held insurance company, a so-called “captive”, and then manages it for them. Why is this of value? A captive enables businesses to bring their protection in-house, giving them greater control over costs and coverage with the potential to get some of their money back down the line as a dividend. And for smaller businesses, ICS will also help them to band together with other firms and create a captive. 

“I frame it like this: do you treat a car better when you own it or when you lease it?” says PLUS president, Tom Stewart. “That’s the dynamic behind captives. For years, clients have been paying out to insurance companies but now good entrepreneurs want to take on more risk because they believe in themselves. They also want their employees to go home safely every night. We give them the tools to do both.” 


Holmes Murphy looks to build or acquire innovative companies to ensure clients’ health, wealth and peace of mind.

Stewart sees the alternative risk market – purchasing coverage without a traditional insurance provider, of which captives are one part – as being where the industry is increasingly headed. However, this can raise premiums if workplace risks aren’t managed. “Our job is to find ways of working with clients to identify risks sooner, drive down costs, and hopefully prevent threats in the future.” For some businesses, he explains, it can be about crunching data to spot patterns in the days and times when most accidents occur. To that end, Holmes Murphy is increasingly looking to global tech firms and start-ups that have fresh ideas and new ways of doing things in the insuretech space. “For us, the future lies in building these international connections,” says Stewart.

Important Additions
PLUS (Propelling Leading Unique Solutions) is the name of a network of companies owned and run by Holmes Murphy. PLUS includes Innovative Captive Strategies, Avant, Creative Risk Solutions, ACAP Healthworks, ethOs,  BrokerTech Ventures, Global Captive Management and Charlesworth Consulting.

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