FINANCE, BUSINESS STRATEGY

Counterpart Launches AI-Powered Crime Coverage For Small Businesses Backed by Aspen Insurance

Counterpart Launches AI-Powered Crime Coverage For Small Businesses Backed by Aspen Insurance
Counterpart, the AI-driven management liability insurtech for small businesses, today announced the launch of Crime insurance. The policy can be purchased on a standalone basis or packaged with its existing Directors & Officers, Employment Practices, and Fiduciary insurance lines. Backed by Aspen, the Crime insurance expansion reinforces Counterpart’s commitment to using its cutting-edge technology to address critical exposures of small businesses.Employee theft costs businesses $50 billion annually, and costs are rising at a rate of 15% per year, according to the U.S Department of Commerce. The new offering helps identify employee theft and social engineering perils by utilizing Counterpart’s proprietary machine learning-based underwriting system, which includes employee sentiment analysis, as well as proactive risk mitigation guidelines.

“Small businesses often lack the internal auditing and risk management capabilities of larger businesses, which can make them more susceptible to Crime risk. Our extensive underwriting experience, proprietary data infrastructure, and increased market presence have enabled us to craft a Crime product that complements our existing insurance lines,We are grateful for the continued support of the well-respected team at Aspen, along with many of our broker partners, who have helped us develop a very competitive product.”

Mike Levins, Head of Insurance at Counterpart


Crime insurance is available for small businesses with less than 250 employees and less than $100 million in revenue and total assets through Counterpart’s wholesale broker partners. “Counterpart continues to impress CRC Group and the brokerage community with its effective and efficient quoting and binding tools. Now, with their Crime capabilities, we can rely on Counterpart as a one-stop shop for comprehensive management liability coverage for our valued Insureds,” said Dan Lazarz, Director, CRC - ExecPro Group. “Counterpart has established an impressive track record of innovation,” said Zac Clammer, Executive Vice President, Management Liability at Aspen. “We are pleased to continue developing our partnerships with Counterpart across the growing portfolio of excess and primary small business insurance products that we are bringing to market.” Small businesses should contact their broker about Counterpart insurance coverage and can learn more about Counterpart’s products and services by visiting: yourcounterpart.com

About Counterpart
Counterpart is an AI-driven management liability insurance solution for the 21st century workplace. The company offers modern Directors & Officers, Employment Practices, Excess and Fiduciary products for small businesses. Through data mining and advanced analytics, the company's rating systems measure risk more efficiently while requiring less information from the broker and applicant. Counterpart’s distinctive approach to underwriting is complemented by a suite of products and services that help brokers and insureds proactively manage exposures throughout the term of the policy. For more information, visit yourcounterpart.com

About Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited
Aspen provides insurance and reinsurance coverage to clients in various domestic and global markets through wholly-owned subsidiaries and offices in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For the year ended December 31, 2021, Aspen reported $13.8 billion in total assets, $7.6 billion in gross reserves, $2.8 billion in total shareholders’ equity, and $3.9 billion in gross written premiums. Aspen's operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of “A-” (Strong) by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and an “A” (“Excellent”) by A.M. Best Company Inc.

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TECHNOLOGY

FluentStream Introduces Advanced Admin and Mobile Apps

Business Wire | October 19, 2023

FluentStream, the preferred cloud communications provider by small and midsize organizations, today launched two new apps: FluentStream Admin and FluentStream Mobile. Both resources provide business owners and their employees greater efficiency and control of their communication services and preferences, enabling them to stay connected from anywhere. As businesses continue to grapple with their work environment policies, research shows that hybrid and remote workforces will persist. In fact, by 2025, estimates predict that 36.2 million Americans will work remotely, a 417% increase from pre-pandemic data.1 To support the growing population of SMBs that are opting for more flexible work environments, FluentStream is committed to delivering tools that enable hybrid and remote workforces. “FluentStream continues to develop proprietary software that allows organizations to interact with their customers however and wherever they choose,” said Cass Gilmore, CEO, FluentStream. “Our new Admin and Mobile apps make it easier for organizations to reliably provide exceptional customer service regardless of where their employees are physically located.” The new FluentStream Admin app gives business owners and operational managers complete control of their business phone system and settings. Administrators gain a quick and simple way to make changes to call routing, manage users, change time of day conditions and more. FluentStream Admin provides a streamlined, centralized conduit for administrators to easily manage the entire organization’s communication settings from any mobile device or location. Natalie Merry, Director of Technology at FourStar Realty, a FluentStream customer for 10 years, said, “I’m so excited about this new tool. FluentStream Admin is intuitive and efficient. It’ll make my job easier and give me more flexibility and control. I appreciate that FluentStream listens to customer needs and delivers valuable tools like this that enable us to operate more effectively.” FluentStream Mobile enables users to communicate with customers and collaborate with co-workers while on the go. Employees, such as healthcare workers, real estate agents, electricians and other highly mobile professionals, can use their personal phones to call, text, and access features such as visual voicemail and call forwarding from their work extension at any time. FluentStream Mobile increases productivity and improves customer satisfaction with faster response times and more after-hour service options. About FluentStream FluentStream is a cloud communications company that simplifies and automates how small to medium-sized businesses communicate with their customers. FluentStream enables service, sales and other professionals to deliver an exceptional customer experience from any device or location. Inc. 5000 has recognized FluentStream as one of the fastest-growing private companies for six consecutive years, and BuiltIn named FluentStream one of the best places to work.

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FINANCE

Lenders Cooperative Unveils Game-Changing Offer for ABA Members

Lenders Cooperative | October 09, 2023

Lenders Cooperative has recently introduced an exceptional benefit exclusively for members of the American Bankers Association, designed to transform small business lending. In response to the evolving requirements of financial institutions nationwide, Lenders Cooperative has unveiled an advanced Loan Origination System (LOS) specifically tailored for small business lending, encompassing both Conventional and SBA lending. This dynamic workflow platform has been instrumental in empowering community and regional banks across the country over the past few years, equipping them with the automation and efficiencies needed to compete effectively in today's dynamic lending landscape. ABA members are entitled to substantial cost savings on the cutting-edge Small Business Loan Origination System (LOS) paired with the Turnkey Back Office Labor Solution (LSP). Lenders Cooperative extends the privilege of no implementation fees and per-unit pricing to ABA members for both the LOS and LSP offerings. Key highlights of Lenders Cooperative's LOS and LSP offerings for ABA members encompass: Cutting-edge LOS Platform for Small Business Lending: Crafted with small business lending as its primary focus, the LOS platform ensures that financial institutions can efficiently oversee the entire loan origination process. Its user-friendly interface and robust data analytics capabilities make it a valuable tool for bankers seeking to deliver exceptional service to their small business clients while streamlining internal operations. Furthermore, fifteen distinct third-party vendors, each contributing to the execution of essential workflow tasks, have already been integrated, enabling banks to implement and go live with minimal development resources. No Platform Implementation Fees and Per Unit Pricing for ABA Members: ABA Members stand to save significant amounts on implementation expenses and can enjoy per unit pricing, ensuring a swift return on investment with the very first loan processed. Support for Conventional & SBA Loan Products: The platform offers comprehensive support for both Conventional and SBA Loans, accommodating a wide range of lending needs. This flexibility empowers banks to cater to businesses of all sizes and across various industries. Comprehensive 1071 Reporting Package: With the imminent 1071 regulatory requirements, the platform includes a complete 1071 Package, ensuring that banks remain compliant with upcoming mandates and alleviating the reporting burden on financial institutions. Turnkey Back Office Labor Solution: In addition to the LOS, banks will also benefit from a turnkey back-office labor partnership capable of providing invaluable assistance in loan processing. This staff augmentation model enables banks to scale their business lines without incurring additional personnel costs. For the next 12 months, every ABA member contracting with Lenders Cooperative's Loan Origination System will have the full implementation and setup fee waived. This exclusive offering underscores the unwavering commitment of both ABA and Lenders Cooperative to support and empower ABA members as they navigate the evolving landscape of small business lending. About Lenders Cooperative Lenders Cooperative comprises a community of over 140 forward-thinking banking institutions. These institutions harness best-in-class loan origination software in conjunction with shared services encompassing credit underwriting, SBA LSP support, bank operations, and white-labeled call center assistance. The Cooperative's offerings, crafted and upheld by seasoned bankers, provide clients access to a profound knowledge repository, the opportunity to exchange optimal methodologies and direct involvement in steering the advancement and execution of innovative technologies.

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TECHNOLOGY

Extu Launches GoTu Rewards, a Flexible, Affordable Incentive Platform to Drive Loyalty

PR Newswire | October 31, 2023

Extu announced GoTu Rewards, a fast to launch, flexible and affordable new incentive platform designed for companies of all sizes that want to initiate a basic loyalty program on a modest budget. GoTu Rewards is notable for its ease of use and exciting reward catalog featuring millions of options. "Midmarket and SMB companies are frequently looking for programs to incentivize their sales teams, employees, resellers and consumers—yet many programs are too expensive and difficult to manage," said Extu's CEO Steve Prebble. "Recognizing this need, we've created the ideal solution with GoTu Rewards, a platform that takes the worry and work out of incentive programs." With no monthly fees, GoTu Rewards' pay-as-you-go structure allows companies to purchase points or physical gift cards in bulk to deliver to their participants as needed. It reduces the administrative burden while offering a vast array of appealing rewards that keep participants engaged and earning. GoTu Rewards also provides companies with peace of mind by meeting Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 compliance requirements to ensure that sensitive corporate and participant data is safe. William Lupo, Extu's Chief Revenue Officer, explained, "GoTu Rewards offers a back-to-basics program for companies or teams that want to be able to award people quickly and easily for a job well done. It's a high reward but low cost option with great perks for participants that are sure to spark motivation and drive revenue." Prebble concluded, "Safety, speed and rewards that resonate are the hallmarks of GoTu Rewards—making it a perfect fit for companies that are looking to launch quickly and drive loyalty across their employee or sales networks." About Extu Extu, formerly known as Incentive Solutions and OneAffiniti, is on a mission to inspire growth. Extu provides through-channel marketing automation, an innovative online rewards platform, with millions of exciting online rewards, prepaid and gift card incentives, as well as group travel incentives. Our solutions are built to help manufacturers and dealers increase sales, capture mindshare, build customer loyalty and improve data collection throughout their channels. Founded in 1994, Extu incorporates powerful technology with real-time data, helping clients get a full view of reseller performance, and empowering channel marketers and driving growth.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

U.S. Small Business Administration Grants Funding Circle 7(a) SBLC License

Business Wire | November 02, 2023

Funding Circle, the leading online platform for small business loans, announced today that we have received a formal notice from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) that our application has resulted in a tentative award for an SBA Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) license to participate in its flagship 7(a) small business loan program1. The SBA’s decision to grant Funding Circle one of the first SBLC licenses since 1982 is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to modernize the agency and address persistent gaps in access to capital impacting small business owners and to grow the economy. The announcement follows recent research published by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve and Bank for International Settlements that found Funding Circle is “increasing access to capital at a lower cost for borrowers who are less likely to receive credit from traditional banks” and “predicting future loan performance more accurately than the conventional method to credit scoring, leading to better loan performance.” “We are excited to help more small businesses in the U.S. get the funding they need to win,” said Steve Allocca, Managing Director at Funding Circle U.S. “By leveraging our advanced data and technology platform and providing a superior customer experience, Funding Circle is well positioned to become the #1 SBA lender in the country for 7(a) Small Loans under $500,000 by providing creditworthy small businesses in low-moderate income neighborhoods and rural areas access to affordable capital to start, run and grow their businesses.” More than 50% of banks have imposed stricter lending criteria on small businesses with half of entrepreneurs seeking credit encountering funding shortfalls or receiving the full amount sought. This credit crunch disproportionately affects minority-owned enterprises, with 51% of Black-owned, 40% of Hispanic-owned, 36% of Asian-owned, and 30% of White-owned businesses experiencing financial hurdles due to limited credit availability. The SBA 7(a) program, which guarantees up to $36 billion a year in small business loans up to $5 million, currently sees participation from relatively few of the 11,000 banks and credit unions in the United States. 25 lenders are responsible for 50% of all 7(a) loans, averaging around half a million dollars—neglecting the crucial need for smaller loans to small and underserved businesses. 77% of Funding Circle loans are for less than $150,000, 33% go to businesses in low-moderate income neighborhoods and 40% to businesses in rural areas. By expanding lender participation and streamlining the program requirements under $500,000 to leverage technology and more closely mirror the private sector’s policies and procedures, the SBA is making it more efficient to get more small loans in the hands of small and underserved small businesses. Funding Circle will begin offering SBA 7(a) Small Loans in 2024. Small businesses seeking financing up to $500,000 can visit www.fundingcircle.com to apply online in a matter of minutes. About Funding Circle US Funding Circle (LSE: FCH) is a leading online lending platform for small business borrowers. Since 2010, Funding Circle has originated $4.5 billion to 45,000 small businesses in the U.S. and $21.1 billion to 143,300 small businesses globally. 1 Funding Circle will be permitted to begin originating 7(a) loans once all lender oversight requirements are met to the satisfaction of SBA and upon receipt of an executed Form 750, a Small Business Administration Loan Guaranty Agreement.

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