Canadian Underwriter

“Mobile-first” insurtech may be coming to Canada

January 16, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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A San Francisco-based firm calling itself a “mobile-first” property and casualty insurance brokerage might start placing home and auto coverage in Canada.

Canadian Underwriter asked Karn Saroya, CEO of Cover Financial Inc., whether his insurtech plans to expand into Canada. “We do expect that we will be writing business, mostly likely the auto or home line business, over the course of the next couple of years,” replied Saroya, who is from Canada originally.

The question of whether, or when, Cover will expand into Canada is “a prioritization thing for us,” added Saroya, pointing out that the California insurance market is greater than the entire Canadian market.

Cover is licensed in the United States to place P&C insurance. Customers can download a mobile app for either Apple or Android devices. The customer can then talk to a broker through a messaging tool that is part of the Cover mobile app.

“Our agents sell almost 100% of our policies through messaging,” Saroya said.

Cover has relationships with about 30 insurers in the U.S. and places personal lines (auto, homeowners and renters) as well as commercial, including property, liability, errors and omissions, directors and officers liability, cyber liability and product liability. It also offers warranties and floaters for items such as jewelry.

“We collect a plethora of data around our customers that help us make informed decisions around where we place our customers,” he said. “Ultimately that manifests in superior loss ratios.”

Saroya attended both Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before founding Cover, Saroya built a fashion electronic commerce firm called Stylekick, which has since been acquired by Shopify.

Along with Saroya, Cover’s co-founders are Natalie Gray (Saroya’s fiance) and Anand Dhillon, with whom Saroya attended high school.

“None of us actually come from insurance,” Saroya said in an interview.  “We have been working together for six years building consumer-facing products.”

Most insurance brokers and carriers are not run by people who have built technology products, he said.

“Consumers want an exceptional on-boarding experience. They want an exceptional customer and product experience, and that’s just not something that most brokerages are tooled to do. They don’t offer engagement through apps. They don’t offer service through text message, they are not open 24-7 or on weekends.”

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