Insurance and risk management company Zurich North America's acquisition last month of 3-year-old Dallas-based digital applications startup Sea Pine Technologies is part of how the larger company continues to grow, a company executive said.
"Zurich continues to invest in the businesses and customer segments where it sees the best opportunities for excellence," said Kathleen Savio, CEO of Zurich North America, was quoted in a Feb. 25 announcement of the acquisition. "This acquisition builds on our strengths by delivering competitive capabilities for us in North America and accelerates our delivery of innovative and valued solutions to our customers."
Zurich North America acquired 100 percent ownership of Sea Pine Technologies, which the announcement described as "a company specializing in innovative digital applications for the marketing of vehicle protection products."
The acquisition was made under Zurich American Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Zurich Insurance Group, according to the announcement. The deal closed Jan. 31.
"Zurich is a top provider of automotive Finance & Insurance (F&I) products and services in the United States," the announcement said. "This strategic move further expands Zurich's automotive F&I capabilities and strengthens its innovative offerings to both auto dealers and car owners."
Zurich North America's parent company is Zurich Insurance Group, based in Zürich, Switzerland and that country's largest insurer. Other Zurich Insurance Group subsidiaries include Farmers Insurance Group, Zurich Gruppe Deutschland and Endsleigh Insurance.
Sea Pine was founded in 2016 and is best known for developing technology used in auto dealerships to help sell service contracts. Sea Pine "saw a macro shift in consumer purchasing behavior, where technology companies capable of developing on-demand, or real-time solutions in a user-friendly format were able to impact entire industries," the announcement said.
The shift pointed up an opportunity to leverage its technology "to deliver a modern, comprehensive and efficient buying experience," in client dealerships, the announcement said.
"Today, the company boasts several proprietary digital applications designed to enable dealers to meet the growing consumer demand for automotive F&I products, retain customers and increase their bottom lines," the announcement said.
Zurich struck up a relationship with Sea Pine last year when the two companies collaborated in a pilot program with auto dealers to test Sea Pine's digital application. Sea Pine's technology, combined with Zurich's current finance and insurance selling system and years of association with auto dealers, produced "a significant increase in F&I product sales through additional channels," the announcement said.
Zurich North America head of Direct Markets Vince Santivasi is president of the Sea Pine Board of Directors.
The acquisition is good for both companies, Sea Pine Technologies CEO Andrew Rosen said in the announcement.
"We are extremely excited to become a part of Zurich North America, truly a first-class organization that puts an emphasis on being at the forefront of innovation and bringing real distinguishable value to its dealer network," Rosen was quoted in the announcement. "Motivated by a desire to offer relevant and productive technology solutions to an automotive industry that is rapidly changing, we are confident this move will have a meaningful impact on shaping its future."