November 11, 2022

Applied Systems Acquires EZLynx.

Broker Buddha CEO Jason Keck shares his thoughts on the Applied/EZLynx news and what it means for independent agencies.

Share icon

Applied Systems Acquires EZLynx.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Applied Systems was acquiring the agency management system EZLynx.

Another day, another acquisition, courtesy of the emerging duopoly that is headed by Applied Systems and Vertafore. 

I’m not here to whine about a company like EZLynx executing an exit strategy. Good for them. As a venture capital- backed startup, I have a responsibility to investors to think about exits, especially if it was a scenario that was good for our customers, employees and users.  

But  I do question how another acquisition like this one, the latest in a regular series over the last year, serves the independent agent. 

Why are Applied and Vertafore buying?

Let’s start with the logic behind most acquisitions in the world of tech. The motivation behind the purchase typically falls into one of these four buckets:

1) Company A wants to add a specific tool to its offering. It’s more financially viable to buy it fully-baked than develop it from scratch. Company B is purchased.

2) Company A wants to bolster its roster of talent. Buying Company B is a way to onboard a whole bunch of smart people virtually overnight. 

3) Company A wants to eliminate a competitor, so they purchase Company B to make it go away. Sometimes it disappears overnight, but typically it’s a longer process that involves wilful neglect, eventually followed by a quiet press release that mentions “sunsetting.”

4) Company A wants to purchase an asset, Company B, that they understand and can grow.  They leave it alone—mostly—but give strategic guidance because they know the space.

How does Applied/EZLynx help independent agencies?

Only Bucket #1 offers value to the independent insurance agent. If the AMS you’re already using gets upgrades to help you work more efficiently and build stronger client relationships, that’s a positive. But I’m afraid this acquisition doesn’t pass the sniff test for #1. It’s a behemoth AMS buying another, um, AMS. 

So if this acquisition falls into Buckets #2, #3 or #4, aren’t there arguments to be made that it still provides value for independent agents? Wouldn’t there be some user benefit to brokers who have been on either EZLynx or Applied?

Okay, let’s look at Bucket #2. Sure, that shift of tech talent might bring a spark to the larger enterprise. Maybe all of a sudden that clunky AMS of yours is humming with new features that help your agency team deliver a positive customer experience. We’ve all heard the case made that the “greater resources” at the bigger organization will give the bright minds that were onboarded a chance to really shine.

It sounds good on paper. But chances are those additional resources will come with increased stipulations, a lot more meetings, and a much bigger org chart to navigate. The freedom that existed at Company B prior to the acquisition evaporates, and eventually a lot of the new talent moves on or just gets comfortable punching a clock every day. It turns out the best thinkers love seeing unicorn ideas come to life on shoestring budgets. And they’re not as excited about watching clunkers get pushed ahead just because they’re backed by big budgets. 

What about Bucket #3? Well, there’s really no way to see the elimination of competition helping the independent agent. In any industry, the absence of competition is bad news for pretty much everyone, except maybe the company that has wiped it out. 

Bucket #4?  Just doesn’t make sense.  Why buy an asset that competes with something you have?  Why divide and conquer when you can focus? That’s what good companies do.

For independent agents, a decrease in AMS competition should be alarming. Quite simply, it leads to an absence of genuine choice. It removes leverage. It leaves you stuck. 

Insurtech needs competitive fire. 

Fact is, innovation is fueled by a demanding marketplace. When it’s challenging to put together a tech stack that delivers the most value for your firm, the companies in control—the two that are now at the top—don’t need to hustle to improve theirs. 

Clearly, I’m not a fan of two tech companies gaining a stranglehold in an industry that I think isn’t doing enough for independents. If you’re an agency counting on either Applied Systems or Vertafore to offer solutions that help strengthen bonds with clients, you’re not using the power of positive thinking. You’re being naive. 

You won’t find many people who are bigger technology enthusiasts than I am. I’ve worked in tech my entire career. But when we launched Broker Buddha, we didn’t set out to replace brokers with mouse clicks. Instead, our aim was to give independent agents the tools they need to compete in a demanding insurance ecosystem. Our users get access to their own data and features that help them analyze it...and we don’t charge them extra for it. 

We know it’s working and making independents stronger—agencies on our platform get higher Net Promoter Scores than ones that are not. So while the world of insurtech got a little smaller last week, we remain confident that our belief in putting agents first is the best way forward.  

—Jason Keck, CEO, Broker Buddha


Goodbye time wasted.
Hello optimization with Broker Buddha

blue check mark
Online forms
blue check mark
Efficient use of time
blue check mark
Automated Reminders

Never miss an episode

Subscribe here to be notified when a new podcast episode goes live.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Broker Buddha logo
Replaces email, paper,fax, spreadsheets and PDFs, simplifying the submission process
Featured Articles

You might also like

Oct 24, 2022
Broker Buddha Makes Complicated Submissions Easy

Insurance agents who take advantage of Broker Buddha's platform can realize instant and substantial time savings while improving accuracy and decreasing response times.

read now
Oct 7, 2022
A Recap of Our Innovation Conversations at the ITC Vegas Conference

Members of the Broker Buddha team were among the 30,000 insurance and tech industry executives at ITC. These are our takeaways.

read now
Jun 20, 2022
Proud Moment: SOC II, Type II

Data security has been a core value to us from day one, especially in our industry where the impact of a cyber breach can be catastrophic. That’s why I am extremely proud to announce that Broker Buddha is now SOC 2 Type II compliant!

read now
May 24, 2022
Vertafore Launches Commercial Submissions at NetVU - CEO Take

‍‍All they did right...and the one big thing it’s missing.

read now
Oct 27, 2020
TECHASSURE Virtual Summit 2020

It's not easy to pull off conferences in 2020, but last week's TechAssure Virtual Summit was immersive and engaging. When it comes to meeting virtually, TechAssure raised the bar.

read now
May 7, 2020
Broker Buddha Selected for FinTech Innovation Lab

After a rigorous selection process, we were invited to participate in FinTech Innovation Lab New York, Class of 2020. We're looking forward to working with this organization and finding new ways to refine our platform to make it even more valuable for our users.

read now
Apr 17, 2020
Going digital more important than ever for commercial insurance agencies.

We're not the only ones touting the importance of building a digital agency.

read now
Dec 5, 2019
A BIG day for InsureTech

A brief summary of what the Indio acquisition means for the insurance industry.

read now
Aug 17, 2018
If You Can’t Beat ’Em: How to Join the InsurTech Movement

Although InsurTech was once believed to be a threat to independent agencies, many agency owners now realize they can use technology to get ahead in a competitive market. But finding the right approach isn’t that simple. The right approach to InsurTech can help you overtake your competition, while the wrong choice can set you back years. Agency owners who get this right will be the ones you read about for the next decade. With so many options on the table, owners face a classic strategy question: build, buy or partner?

read now
Aug 16, 2018
How Does the Cloud Impact Data Ownership and Privacy?

The importance of data privacy is at an all-time high, and there are no excuses for getting it wrong. As the entire insurance industry embraces the cloud, independent agents must work harder to understand data privacy, as well as the difference between ownership and right-to-use client information. Anyone who understands the insurance industry knows that access to data is the key to success. But who owns the data? Who is allowed to use it? And for what purpose? When information is shared over the phone and via email, the answers to these questions are unclear. But with the rise of InsurTech, there is an opportunity for greater clarity.

read now
Aug 15, 2018
Google Revamps Chrome With Long-Awaited Facelift

When we started building Broker Buddha, we swore that it would be different. After seeing countless insurance technology products with painful design paradigms and frustrating user experience, we knew that we could use design as a differentiator.

read now
Aug 14, 2018
The One Place Robots Won't Take Over - Ever

There is a lot of hype in the news about robots taking over jobs. From the New York Times predicting that the next generation will be run by robots to the BBC claiming that robotic automation will replace hundreds of millions of jobs within a decade or so. But don’t panic. When it comes to advising businesses on making complex insurance decisions, robots simply cannot replace humans. In fact, they will probably make life easier.

read now
A buddha linear icon


Book a demo