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Pandemic Hastened, then Slowed Brown & Brown's Acquisition of CoverHound

Brown & Brown Inc.'s acquisition of CoverHound Inc. offers an example of how the coronavirus pandemic accelerated change in the insurance industry then slowed the execution of that change.

Lockdown orders and widespread remote work cut off in-person meetings and traditional channels of brokerage sales.

CoverHound was making fundraising rounds at the time, and Brown & Brown's was one of several buyout proposals, particularly for its personal lines business, offered in the place of backing capital, CoverHound CEO Keith Moore said in an interview.

The insurance technology company offered Brown & Brown a sort of plug-in for digital sales, said Moore, who is also CEO of subsidiary CyberPolicy.

"A good catalyst for that conversation was the fact that as an industry and as a nation overall, we've been seeing this digital acceleration since March," he said.

In addition to the sudden shift to remote work, businesses that make up CoverHound's clientele found themselves with more exposure having to deal with customers outside their stores and take payments over smartphones for the first time.

Many large insurers realized that their online sales channels were underdeveloped if they existed at all, so for all their brokers, they did not have a way to transact digitally, the executive said.

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