San Antonio Firm Quirk Hires New CTO to Reboot Insurance Software

San Antonio—A company called Quirk & Co., which works in a sector known as wholesale insurance, has hired a new chief technology officer to retool software programs for the insurance groups it works with.

Drue Placette started as the chief technology officer of San Antonio-based Quirk in August. A veteran of multiple startups in Austin and San Antonio, Placette is focusing his attention on a software-as-a-service company that is majority-owned by Quirk called Dragonflyware.

Dragonflyware is a backend application program interface for people who work in the wholesale insurance industry, known as managing general agents. Wholesale insurance is an ancillary market to the more traditional retail insurance marketplace. When people need something insured that typical insurers don’t cover, a certain type of broker steps in and makes a connection to someone who will, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle.

Dragonflyware’s software targets those brokers, called managing general agents, helping them track and issue policies and other information, Placette says. Now, he plans to improve aspects of the software such as rewriting Java-based code to support a software-as-a-service application, to better integrate the software with customers’ websites, and change the Dragonflyware pricing model. As a part of the changes, Placette is moving the company, which has four employees, to San Antonio from Austin and hiring a new product manager.

“It’s a prime opportunity to work with an existing, established company and also a new startup that’s agile and lean,” Placette says.

The new company will be located in the San Antonio Entrepreneur Center and Placette plans to work with other local startups on the reboot, such as Grok Interactive, a company that helps startups develop Web and mobile applications.

Before taking the position with Quirk, Placette was an engineer at cloud computing infrastructure-as-a-service company ProfitBricks in San Antonio after moving there from Austin in 2014. In Austin, Placette was the CTO of Centrix Group and one of its subsidiaries, electronic health records company STAT.

In San Antonio, he also serves as the chief innovation officer, a voluntary position, of the entrepreneur center.

Quirk, which was founded in 1930, has a history of developing technology products for its industry. A former employee, Eric Winch, founded Custom Insurance Solutions based on software “work-arounds” he developed while the IT director at Quirk, according to an insurance publication. Custom Insurance Solutions was acquired by insurance tech company Vertafore, which is now based in Bothell, WA.

That program was “basically Salesforce for insurance,” Placette says, and Dragonflyware was built to be another tool similar to that. Placette says his goal of “scaling up” Dragonflyware will help update an industry that currently uses outdated software.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

Trending on Xconomy