Insurtech weekly news roundup: July 22 | Insurance Business America
This week, Zesty.ai raised $33 million to help fuel a product and market expansion. Independent insurance agents expect a big increase in online commercial insurance buyers, but are they ready? Hourly.io made a major executive hire. Counterpart rolled out a new product for small businesses. Corvus extended a key partnership, and Next Insurance forged a new one.
Zesty.ai, has pulled in $33 million in new financing designed to help expand its existing insurance-related products and develop new ones for the real estate market.
The San Francisco-based startup is a provider of property risk analytics fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision.
Centana Growth Partners led the Series B round. Current investors and Brex also participated in the oversubscribed round with equity and debt.
Zesty.ai said it partners with close to half of the top 50 property/casualty insurance carriers in the US to underwrite and rate homeowners and business insurance.
Amica, Aon, Berkshire Hathaway, Cincinnati Insurance, Farmers Insurance, and The California FAIR Plan are among its clients, according to the company.
A little more than half of independent insurance agents expect a big increase in online commercial insurance buyers over the next three years, according to a new survey from commercial insurance platform Semsee and TrustedChoice.com.
TrustedChoice.com bills itself as the nation’s largest digital marketing platform for independent agents and brokers.
The survey found that 53% of agents expect an online commercial insurance buying jump, though perceptions vary about how good their digital distribution options are.
About 60% of agents viewed their digital customer-facing capabilities as “good or “excellent” today. Only 47% perceived carriers’ agent-facing technologies as “good”, about 35% rating them as “average,” and 6% said those technologies ranked as “excellent”.
Agents cited a lack of consistency from portal to portal, limited interaction with underwriters and no upfront indications about whether carriers will accept new business as the biggest concerns.
In a related note, only 49% of agents said they currently use SEO, or search engine optimization, to find new business. They blamed lack of time to plan and the fact that no-one in the agency understands it.
Most respondents – 51% - said they lack an SEO strategy or are not sure whether they have one.
Former Markel executive Jerico Vinsonhaler is joining workers’ comp/payroll startup Hourly.io as head of underwriting.
Previously, she spent 20 years leading Markel’s underwriting strategy.
In her new job with Hourly.io, Vinsonhaler will oversee Hourly’s overall underwriting strategy, portfolio management and manage the underwriting team.
Launched in 2018, Hourly is designed to bridge the gap between workers’ comp, payroll and time tracking. It simplifies paying and insuring hourly workers for small and medium-sized businesses through its full-service platform, which relies on real-time data.
In June, Hourly raised a $27 million Series A funding led by Glilot Capital Partners, with participation from S Capital, Vintage Investment Partners, and MS&AD. It has raised $34.2 million in venture capital to date.
Counterpart, a management liability insurtech MGA, rolled out its new Excess insurance product for small businesses.
The cover, backed by Aspen, is designed to help support small businesses during a time of heightened litigation. Counterpart provides Excess insurance on directors and officers, employment practices and fiduciary liability, with a maximum limit of $3 million. Small businesses with fewer than 250 employees and under $250 million in revenue and total assets are eligible for the cover, through Counterpart’s wholesale broker partners.
Counterpart claims to be the first management liability provider to use proprietary data and cutting-edge technology in response to growing settlement and legal expenses.
Corvus Insurance has extended its partnership with SiriusPoint Ltd., a global specialty insurer and reinsurer, and R&Q Accredited, a program management solution provider.
Corvus is a specialty insurance MGA that offers “smart commercial insurance” products informed by AI-driven risk data.
R&Q Accredited is the fronting insurer in the enhanced program, which follows an initial investment and multi-year underwriting capacity partnership announced in September 2021. The new multi-year investment from SiriusPoint and R&Q Accredited adds an additional $100 million to the program and will let Corvus build on its Smart Cyber Insurance Offerings.
Corvus Insurance coverage and digital tools are designed to reduce risk, increase transparency and improve resilience for policyholders and program partners.
Next Insurance, an insurtech carrier focused on small- to medium-size businesses, is partnering with Evident, a provider of third-party insurance verification services. They’ll focus on creating a custom verification and embedded insurance program.
The goal of the partnership is to help small businesses achieve compliance and stay that way regarding the coverage requirements of their larger insurance customers, said Eric Harnden, vice president of partnerships and agency at Next Insurance.
The companies said their combined product will be a fully automated, fully digital insurance verification and fulfillment product.
Next Insurance recently announced plans to slash 17% of its workforce, reflecting a cut of roughly 150 jobs.