TrustLayer’s signature platform is all about obtaining proof of insurance risk. The Florida-based insurtech startup is a collaborative risk management platform that helps companies share and track compliance – and especially insurance information – between each other.
It’s not a flashy part of the insurance system but it is a necessary one, explained John Fohr (pictured), TrustLayer’s CEO and co-founder. The platform comes in handy in a variety of situations.
“Maybe [it’s to] track that the subcontractor coming out of a job site has certain [insurance] coverage of a certain license … and then often companies will have to validate that their counterpart has certain insurance, like are they actually a plumber in this country,” Fohr said.
TrustLayer incorporated about four years ago but officially launched in 2021. The company has raised approximately $21 million in venture capital financing in two rounds, and currently employs 36 people.
TrustLayer is making its mark at a difficult time for tech startups, after the public markets pulled back from technology companies last year and investors have partially done the same. TrustLayer ended up reducing its staffing in the short term, which Fohr said was a difficult but necessary decision.
“What we saw was that the market was tightening up, and it is in an incredibly difficult position to be in for any company. But at the end of the day, my job as CEO is to set the vision, build the team and then play the role of a capital allocator over where to invest our time and money,” Fohr explained. “The thought was, it’s much better to make tough decisions when you have substantial capital in the bank rather than waiting until you are not in as strong of a position.”
The longer goal, he said, is to continue the company’s robust growth and spend money wisely.
“We are trying to be as efficient with capital as possible,” Fohr said.
TrustLayer’s platform is SaaS (software-as-a-service), with a focus on automating what has traditionally been a paper-based workflow.
Validating insurance coverage has been an “exceptionally manual, super painful to track” process, Fohr said. “The problem with this is you often don’t know if the information is authentic. Just because I get a piece of paper doesn’t mean that I didn’t make it up yesterday. Just because I gave you that paper doesn’t mean it’s accurate, and just because I had insurance yesterday doesn’t mean I didn’t cancel it today.”
TrustLayer confronts this with “really slick tools” that automate extraction of information from documents and help create digital proof of insurance, Fohr said. Clients include property management companies, construction companies and franchisors that have to track insurance information. TrustLayer also often works with carriers and brokers as partners.
TrustLayer’s platform relies on robotic process automation “and some really fancy AI,” as well as older OCR (optical character recognition) tools and natural language processing. Combined, this helps TrustLayer obtain enough detail about an entity so it can automate the process of collecting, tracking and extracting information from paper documents.
TrustLayer also just launched its version one of its digital proof-of-insurance platform, which is now in beta testing.
Whether it is with vendors, tenants, borrowers, rideshare drivers or others, the customer signs up and identifies insurance requirements for that relationship.
TrustLayer’s basic platform tracks documents such as articles of incorporations, passports, drivers’ licenses, COVID forms, OSHA documents, or related workflows. Customers click a button that allows TrustLayer’s systems to reach out to all of those related parties. They can also drag and drop documents into the platform, and then TrustLayer’s system works to identify the documents, their classification and then the AI helps extract information. TrustLayer’s rules engines also compare requirements that exist for that party and their relationship with the submitted paper documents.
In addition, it can integrate with multiple companies and systems, such as its integration with construction software company Procore and other construction software platforms. In many cases those linkups are already done before customers sign up.
“We’ve done the heavy lifting to allow our customers to easily integrate with these platforms,” Fohr said. “We’ve … integrated with many industry solutions.”
Most of these platforms have a digital marketplace, and TrustLayer is on it, so users can “simply push a button and … connect your industry vertical software with TrustLayer,” Fohr said.
Training is an option, and TrustLayer deploys its customer success team as needed, but Fohr said that integrations with customers are “pretty easy,” with other options including open APIs that help get the job done more directly.
“We have an open API structure where that can synchronize with counterparties that [clients] work with – vendors, borrowers, etc., and TrustLayer, so they can stay in sync,” Fohr said.