Towers Watson Buys Health Care Software Firm

The acquisition enhances Towers Watson’s position as a health benefits administration and exchange provider.

Towers Watson has acquired Acclaris, a provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based technology and services for consumer-driven health care and reimbursement accounts, including health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other consumer-directed accounts. The acquisition enhances Towers Watson’s position as a health benefits administration and exchange provider.

Account-based health plans (ABHPs) pair a health insurance plan with a tax-advantaged spending or reimbursement account such as an HSA or an HRA. Towers Watson research shows that adoption of these plans is growing rapidly. Approximately 50% of employers could offer ABHPs as their only health benefit option by 2017—up from about 20% already doing so in 2015.

Acclaris offers products that include integrated technology and services to support account-based benefits on a single platform in a scalable way. Acclaris reports supporting 1.4 million accounts (as of March 2015) across all account-based benefit types: HRA, HSA, flexible spending accounts, commuter accounts and custom reimbursement accounts, with both technology and a global service model.

The acquisition will empower Towers Watson and Acclaris clients of any size to offer benefits in new and cost-effective ways, according to Jim Foreman, managing director for Towers Watson’s exchange solutions segment. Foreman cited Acclaris for its operational efficiency, scalable and configurable SaaS-based technology, and service delivery. “We believe this combination will allow us to offer the end-to-end process for both traditional benefits administration and private benefits exchange solutions, and to deliver a seamless experience for our employer-clients,” he said in a statement.

Dean Mason, chief executive of Acclaris, will join the leadership team of Towers Watson’s exchange solutions segment. Foreman will continue to lead the division.

Acclaris’ technology will add a level of integration and ease of use to the Towers Watson benefits administration and private exchange offerings, Mason said in a statement. “We’re in an era of convergence as banking and technology combine to enable advanced account-based benefit services,” he noted.

Acclaris, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, was founded in 2001, and administers 1.4 million health care accounts, working with 6,000 employers, including more than 40 Fortune 500 companies.

Towers Watson is a global professional services company. More information about the acquisition is on Tower Watson’s investor relations page