Changing Commercial Insurance

David McFarland

We officially launched Coterie via our first channel partnership with HOMEE! Having been a part of many product launches I can say that this one is special. 

This launch fundamentally changes how commercial insurance works. Today, 99% of commercial insurance (a $250B+ industry in the US) is distributed through agents. That means that in a day where we can "grocery shop" from a lounge chair at the pool and have our produce show up at our house right when we get home, most people still have to drive to a physical location and spend an inordinate amount of time filling out forms with an insurance agent.

While insurance agents are an extremely valuable part of the insurance space, there isn’t a good reason for them to sell certain micro and small business policies. It takes too much time for the agent and the customer. For example, independent contractors need insurance but they shouldn’t spend an hour with an agent to buy a $500 annual policy when a job is only going to take them less than 4 hours. Similarly, the money the agent makes on these small policies is hardly worth their time. 

So how does Coterie work? The short answer is “how it should”. Let’s take HOMEE, for example. HOMEE is an on-demand home services platform that instantly connects customers with electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and handymen from the convenience of their smartphones. Let’s say your toilet breaks and you need a plumber, download the HOMEE On Demand app and find someone available to fix it. Making sure that the HOMEE professionals have liability insurance is a very important part of the vetting process because it means that if things somehow go wrong during a project, let’s say that while fixing the toilet the plumber accidentally created a leak that ended up causing thousands of dollars in water damage, you can be confident that you’ll be made whole because the plumber has an adequate general liability policy to cover the necessary repairs. Unfortunately, many independent home services professionals today do not have adequate (or any!) liability coverage. This is where Coterie comes in. If a HOMEE pro does not currently have coverage they will have the option to instantly add insurance to any job they do through HOMEE. In other words, they get to buy an insurance policy for a few bucks, for a job they know they have, instead of having to fork over several hundred dollars for an annual policy. This can all happen instantly, without ever having to leave the HOMEE On Demand app (let alone drive to an insurance agent’s office)!

How can we do this? Because we are building a technology-first company. We’ve built a fully-automated process that integrates right into our partners’ experience.  No one wants to spend a bunch of time shopping for business insurance or filling out complicated applications. The tools and marketplaces you are already using (like HOMEE) have all the data that we need to make an underwriting decision, so we’re integrating with them to make insurance a seamless part of how you run your business. 

So, to recap:

  • Coterie can be fully integrated into our partners' experiences (i.e. you can get Coterie insurance right from the tools you’re already using to run your business).
  • We have flexible duration policies (you don’t have to buy an annual policy if you don’t need one).
  • You don’t have to spend hours figuring out answers to complicated insurance applications (we pull the data we need from the tools you’re using so that you just have to “press a button” to get a quote).
  • You can get a quote and bind (buy) an insurance policy, instantly, through our partners’ apps

Increasingly, freelancers and small businesses are using digital tools and talent marketplaces to launch and scale. Our coterie believes in supporting this new economy by making insurance an efficient and seamless part of it. There are amazing changes happening to the labor and business market that can positively impact our society for decades to come, but we won’t be able to reach new heights if the fundamental infrastructure isn’t there to support these developments. That’s why we’re here. We’re changing how commercial insurance is done. Making it better to make something greater.

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