Tech-enabled home insurance provider Openly has announced a $7.65 million seed round of funding led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, while also announcing its market debut in Arizona and Illinois. The company is backed by a coalition of investors and reinsurers that includes Greenlight Re, PJC, Techstars Ventures, and The Hanover Insurance Group.
Thirty-five per cent (35%) of insurance consumers choose to shop through independent agents, according to a 2019 report by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Unlike many insurtech start-ups – which sell insurance directly to consumers without agents – Openly sells its home insurance exclusively through independent agents. Openly enables agents to generate quotes for their customers in less than 20 seconds.
“Some people in the tech world think that the term ‘insurance agent’ refers to a relic of the past, but they’re wrong,” said Ty Harris, co-founder and CEO of Openly. “At Openly, we know agents add value by delivering objective advice and options to their clients. Our goal is to help agents as they work to modernize their businesses. We let them offer their customers better, faster and more economical products with comprehensive insurance protection for a wide range of needs. We’re pleased to have the support of such heavyweight investors and reinsurers to fuel our rapid growth into 2020 and beyond.”
With the capital raised in its latest funding round, Openly plans to expand into Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee in the next few months, and four additional states in the near future. The company will also launch complementary lines, such as auto insurance.
“The expertise that Ty and (co-founder and CTO Matt Wielbut) share makes them the perfect team to tackle the challenge of modernizing home insurance,” said Zachary Bratun-Glennon, partner at Gradient Ventures. “Openly offers a combination of pricing sophistication, cutting-edge technology, insurance expertise, and innovation that is unparalleled in the industry.”