Canadian Underwriter

How to sell insurance to a solo entrepreneur in under a week

June 14, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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A major pain point for gig-economy entrepreneurs is the traditional process of getting commercial coverage, a Vancouver insurtech CEO suggests.

“It is tough being a solo entrepreneur, especially now,” said Jeff McCann, CEO Apollo Insurance Solutions Ltd.  “These people are busy. They might want to [buy insurance] at ten 0’clock at night when [brokerage and insurer] offices are closed.”

McCann made the comment in an interview about a deal Apollo announced June 10 with Calgary-based Virtual Gurus. Virtual Gurus matches organizations looking for help with independent contractors in Canada and the United States.

Indpendent contractors who are placed with Virtual Gurus clients do not become employees of either Virtual Gurus or its clients. Instead, those workers, or “gurus,” are sub-contractors of Virtual Gurus. Those sub-contractors do a variety of tasks for Virtual Gurus’ corporate clients, such as general administration, bookkeeping, legal assistance, medical assistance and data entry, among others.

“If you are [a contractor] getting placed [with a corporate client] tomorrow, you need that insurance today,” McCann said of the contractors looking for placements with Virtual Gurus.

Both clients and independent contractors of Virtual Gurus can go to a link on the Virtual Gurus website, from which they can purchase their insurance online. This is one result of the deal announced by Apollo, which is a managing general agent that underwrites the coverage, be it for commercial general liability, professional liability or contents.

Apollo is calling the service “embedded digital insurance.” Instead of going through the traditional paper-based steps of buying commercial coverage, Virtual Gurus’ users can instead get quotes, agree to buy insurance, and pay for it online.

Buying commercial coverage the traditional way can sometimes take weeks, suggested McCann.

In addition to being an MGA, Apollo operates the Apollo Exchange, which lets insurance agents and their customers purchase and pay for policies online.

With the Virtual Gurus deal, Apollo is underwriting the products and using its technology.

Apollo aims to cut down the amount of time it takes a broker to process an application.

Apollo announced in April it has coverholder status with Lloyd’s of London. As a coverholder, Apollo is offering three packages – an office insurance package, another for building maintenance and renovation contractors, and a third for car detailing and accessories installation – through the Lloyd’s market and over the Apollo Exchange.

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