Branch Insurance, a startup offering bundled home and auto insurance, raised $ 50 million in a Series B financing round led by Anthemis Group.
Acrew, Cherry Creek Holdings and existing backers Greycroft, HSCM Bermuda, American Family Ventures, SignalFire, SCOR P&C Ventures, Foundation Capital and Tower IV also participated in the round. With this latest funding, the Columbus, Ohio-based office has raised a total of $ 82.5 million in funding since its inception in 2017.
With so many players in the insurtech sector, it can be difficult to differentiate between the different offers. Branch claims that it is unique in that with little information it can offer customers an “instant insurance quote” for bundled home and auto insurance “in seconds”.
Co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas began his career at Allstate where he worked in underwriting, technology and product management. He then built Esurance’s first online home insurance business.
But in the back of her mind, Lekas longed to find a way to make insurance more accessible to more people. And so he teamed up with Joe Emison and Branch was born.
“The industry is structurally flawed and harms consumers. Complicated policies, rising costs and marketing wars all contribute to a vicious circle that leads to overpriced insurance, ”said Lekas. “We’re a full-stack insurance company that is changing the way people think about their home and auto insurance.”
Branch, he claims, is the only insurance company he knows that can tie insurance through an API, and the only one that can bundle auto and home insurance into a single transaction.
Another special feature of Branch, according to Lekas, is that it can be embedded in the shopping experience. In other words, the company has partnered with companies like Rocket Mortgage and ADT to incorporate point of sale insurance into their products. For example, when a person closes a house, they have the option of taking out branch insurance at the same time.
“Every home or car insurance starts with a different transaction,” said Lekas. “Insurance is a product that only exists because of the other transaction. It has never been possible to embed in this primary purchase before. “
This sales model means that Branch spends less money on customer acquisition and can therefore offer rewards at a lower price than the competition.
“With just two clicks, a consumer can take out home and car insurance, or just at home, and we cancel the old insurance on the closing date and transfer all the data to their existing mortgage,” said Lekas.
Branch also offers its insurance direct to consumers and through agencies.
The company plans to use part of its new capital to accelerate its rollout in the US so it can sign more such partnerships in which to embed its offering. Branch currently has more than 30 partnerships of varying sizes and will be “adding more every week” as it launches in more states.
“It’s really hard to move fast,” said Lekas. “The system is built so that you move slowly. Each state supervisory authority must agree individually and independently with its own rules. “
Lekas predicts that Branch will be available in more than 80% of the US before the end of the year.
Branch has gained momentum since its $ 24 million Series A in July 2020.
Specifically, the startup says it has seen 435% growth in its partner channel, 660% growth in active policies, and an active premium increase of 734% less than a year after its last increase.
Ruth Foxe Blader, partner at Anthemis Group, notes that Branch is her company’s first investment from the new growth fund.
Blader says she has invested in insurance innovation over the past decade and is particularly drawn to insurtech companies that represent three things: major technology and data science innovations; major product innovation; and major cultural innovation.
“Branch lightly ticks these boxes,” Blader told TechCrunch. “Branch’s products are both embedded and bundled, making them cheaper, more convenient to purchase, and less likely for customers to have critical vulnerabilities.”
The startup, she added, is effectively combining data science and technology to create “unique, automated product packages.”
With a “built to save” structure, Branch says it has created discounts for networked houses and programs that reward members for making recommendations and practicing safe driving behavior, for example.
Branch also set up a nonprofit, SafetyNest, to help those who are uninsured or underinsured.