Better Call Hence

The African Startup has devised an AI platform that combines data and technology to revolutionize the way companies manage their legal needs.

Better Call Saul. Or rather, Better Call Hence. One could borrow the title of a famous TV series starring actor Bob Odenkirk, who plays the unscrupulous lawyer Saul Goodman in the Breaking Bad spin-off, to describe the heart of the business conducted by Hence Technologies. Founded in 2020, the tech startup was registered in the United Kingdom but its development team is based in the heart of the African continent, specifically in Kigali, Rwanda. Hence has created software, supported by data and artificial intelligence, that helps companies search for and choose the most appropriate legal counsel for the case at that given time. It basically helps companies manage and optimize their legal operations by providing insights and facilitating collaboration between in-house legal teams and outside counsel or lawyers.To do this, the software stores and processes disparate data (from internal systems, the Web and other sources) in a single, easy-to-use platform enabled by artificial intelligence capabilities and with the backend powered by Palantir Foundry, a solution designed to assist organizations in managing, analyzing and visualizing large volumes of data.

“We want to create an equitable, efficient, and transformative knowledge economy with an initial focus on how large companies select and work with the right legal counsel – tells to Insurzine Arun Shanmuganathan, co-founder of Hence. Arun explains us that when they meet with clients, potential and current, “people are enthusiastic about our approach, particularly our desire to truly understand the problems users are facing, rather than selling an existing solution, and our ability to prototype and create functional solutions to problems in a matter of weeks, not months or years. This contrasts with the long lead times they experience when working with internal IT teams or with standardized products that do not meet their needs. They are also intrigued by our predominantly African team, which shows that it is possible to create world-class software from anywhere in the world”.

The Partnership with Zurich

Hence currently has several clients in the United States, Europe and Africa. It caters to all sectors, including the insurance industry. In particular, it has a partnership with Zurich under its belt, which came about as a result of winning, along with 11 others, the Zurich Innovation Championship, the global competition for startups organized by the Swiss group now in its fourth year. Hence, while participating in the four-month acceleration track convened by the company, worked with Zurich’s Canadian subsidiary to reduce the overall cost of claims (indemnity and legal fees) by optimizing the selection of defense counsel when claims go to litigation. The partnership led to the creation of an automated lawyer assignment system for Zurich’s claims. To do this, Hance integrated firm-wide data to find the lawyers most likely to provide the best value balance between performance and cost to the company. “So far – says Arun – our partnership in the insurance industry has been mainly with Zurich, which has bet on us and paid off, but we are excited to talk to more insurers in the industry to really bring efficiency and transformation to the industry”.

Looking for the right partners to work with

Arun does not provide numbers on the number of clients but reveals that Hence “is working with a number of the world’s largest firms that really want to develop a competitive advantage at the corporate level by improving their legal departments and the way they interact with lawyers. By starting with the world’s largest companies and solving their most complex problems, we are able to develop solutions that we will be able to bring to a wider audience in the future .Therefore – tells us – we are trying to find the right partners to work with, both in the insurance industry and with corporate legal departments, which face critical challenges in how they work with internal and external people. Our goal is to work with these companies to continue to refine our value proposition to make sure we have a solution that can really scale and transform the market.” Italy is not excluded from the research. “We believe that the challenges companies face in selecting, finding, and partnering with the right legal counsel are universal and that the same principles can be applied. While we don’t currently have any Italian clients, we would be excited to innovate with the right partner to bring a unique solution that works in the Italian market” Arun affirms. On the future of the insurance industry, Arun remains optimistic. “It is ripe to bring many of the new efficiencies that are coming through recent technological advances. Both businesses and individuals expect efficiencies in the industry to reduce their premiums and make risk-taking more profitable. To do this requires much better use of data and artificial intelligence to get the right value out of people”.

Written by Andrea Turco on Insurzine:

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