Insurance may not be seen as sexy, but there’s a large opportunity for technology to make the industry more modern.
Oscar Health, Clover, and Zenefits in the health insurance space are perhaps the most well-known insurtech startups. But, technology is entering all insurance categories including life, reinsurance, and property and casualty (P&C).
The first quarter of 2016 saw more money invested than ever before in insurtech businesses. According to CB Insights, there were 45 deals completed during the period, totaling $650 million. 2016 itself is poised to become the largest year ever for insurtech deals.
From new upstart insurers to backend technology providers, here are 5 startups to watch in P&C space. For the sake of this list, we tried to show the diversity in this space, rather that sorting companies by size or another metric.
Goji is a car insurance comparison engine that allows users to easily find best rates and policies. After inputting basic information about their car, users receive a short list of policies from which to choose in under two minutes. The tech company’s agents are licensed representatives of some of America’s top insurers and can write policies on the spot. The Boston-based company recently completed a $18 million investment from Brookline Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures. Comparison engines are a common business model for insurtech companies. Among Goji’s competitors are Coverhound, The Zebra, and Insurify.
Zhong An is China’s first online-only insurer. The company conducts all of its business, from underwriting to claims settlements, online without operating any physical branches. It was jointly launched in 2013 by Ant Financial Services Group (Alibaba), Tencent Holdings, and Ping An Insurance Company of China. Zhong An offers more than 100 insurance products including esoteric policies such as insurance against accidents caused by drones. The company covers business, property, cargo, liability and credit guarantee insurance. The company had underwritten more than 1.6 billion policies for more than 250 million customers.
Trov is mobile-only, on-demand property insurance. Users can insure just the object they care about for a specific time frame. For example, a college student going on a road trip with his friends can insure just his guitar for the duration of the trip. The application process in done completely through a user’s mobile phone and is completed by swiping insurance on products on and off. Claims are processed with the use of in-app chat.
“The role of insurance will change from a once-a-year transactional relationship to a more active ongoing relationship with your things,” Scott Walchek, CEO and founder of Trov told Tradestreaming.
The company launched first in Australia and will roll out a UK and US expansion through 2017. The company added some impressive names to the payroll ahead of the expansion. Neil Sands, former Salesforce chief experience officer, recently joined the team. Dane Howard, former eBay director of global brand experience and design, joined the team last year. Ken Rudin, head of growth at Google and former head of Facebook analytics, joined the Trov board in early 2015.
Snapsheet enables car insurers to provide their customers with easy mobile claims processing. A customer can use the Snapsheet app to take a photo of his damaged car after an accident. The Snapsheet technology and team then work with insurers to ensure quicker cycle time for insurance adjustment and claims processing.
Companies like Snapsheet often face regulatory hurdles when trying to make insurance more user friendly. In Pennsylvania, for example, the law required insurance appraisers to be present for all automotive inspections, which was prohibitive for tech firms. The law was amended in December 2015 to allow other forms of appraisals as well, including photos.
Leaselock acts as a cosigner for renters and as a rent insurer for landlords at the same time. Qualified renters can easily apply online, pay a one-time fee and ensure they qualify for the apartment they want. Leaselock appeals to students, H1B workers and other people with good financials, but might have a hard time qualifying for an apartment by relying solely on their FICO scores and regular background checks.
Currently, Leaselock works with a limited list of properties. Its biggest competitor is perhaps NYC-based Insurent, which acts just as a co-signer and is backed by Argonaut Insurance Company.