Can the insurance industry support one more entrant into the 'insure-a-thing' category?

Sure, one of the latest entrants into the “insure-a-thing” vertical, announced this week that it raised $8 million in Series A funding, which the New York City- and Los Angeles-based InsurTech startup intends to use to grow its product and marketing outreach.

Run predominantly through a mobile app and website, Sure’s business model involves partnering with insurance industry incumbents to bring a digital solution to consumers who are interested in protecting individual purchases such as flights, baggage and weddings. The product is currently available nationwide.

This latest funding is earmarked to grow Sure’s smartphone-only insurance policy.

Sure CEO Wayne Slavin told PC360 this week during a telephone interview that a certain segment of today’s consumers is either disinterested in or unable to secure smartphone coverage through their wireless service provider — either because it’s too costly, or because their mobile device is dated.

“The biggest growing market in cell phone sales is actually used or aftermarket phones,” Slavin said. “We’ve created something that opens up a new opportunity for those consumers.”

The vast majority of Americans (95%) now use a cellular phone, and most of them (77%) are using a smart phone, according to January 2017 research from the Pew Research Center.

What’s more, Wired magazine reported in late 2015 that the widespread adoption of cell phones and smart phones spurred a robust secondhand market fot those devices — a phenomon that smart phone manufacturers tend to embrace because when older phones hold resale value, that can incourage tech-savvy conumers to repurchase the device in the latest, greatest model, and then sell their old one.

Sure worked with Warrantech to devise technology that allows the company to perform quick smartphone diagnostic tests before extending insurance coverage for that device.

Sure stands ready to serve both the secondhand market as well as those consumers with a desire to find or enhance insurance protection for their high-value mobile devices.

Property Casualty 360
Sure CEO Wayne Slavin hopes to distinguish his company from the crowded InsurTech field by working with, rather than against, industry incumbents, many of which are struggling to digitize the customer experience. (Photo: iStock)

InsurTech in general may seem like a crowded investor field these days, but Slavin argues that Sure it taking a unique approach to innovation.

“When you look at the InsurTech space,” he said, “some folks are saying, ‘We are here to reinvent, or we are here to disrupt insurance.’ We are not. We are here to redistribute product through partnerships with existing carriers. We are here to enable existing carriers, that may have been around 110 or 130 years, to move into the digital space, and not to disrupt them.”

He added that Sure also aspires to provider a faster, more streamlined claims process than what most consumers expect from their umbrella policies.

“Let’s say you break your phone,” Slavin said. “You can take it to an Apple store, get it repaired, send us the information about that repair, and we will reimburse you within 24 hours for whatever money you were charged to either replace or repair your phone. That way, you can get back to their life.”

Because, Slavin added, today’s consumers need two things to survive each day: “You need oxygen, and you need your iPhone” or Android device.

This latest fundraising round was led by IA Capital with participation from Menlo Ventures, FF Venture Capital, Nationwide Ventures, Assurant and AmTrust.

“Sure offers best-in-class technology for insurance companies seeking to modernize their distribution strategy,” Alex Maffeo, the principal at IA Capital, said in a press release about Sure’s latest funding milestone. “Consumer purchasing behavior in the insurance industry is changing rapidly and Sure offers a turn-key mobile distribution solution for its customers. We are extremely excited about the company’s future.”

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