Insurify ramps it up a notch this month with two major announcements
Cambridge-based Insurify has had a busy week. Besides launching the first official U.S. Car Insurance comparison service on Facebook Messenger, the company also simultaneously announced that it had raised an additional $4.6 million in funding.
Insurify says its extraordinary growth has made it the largest “meta-agency” or “virtual insurance agency” in the U.S. Now available in all 50 states, the online platform partners with about 100 carriers and relies on an agency network of over 800 agents.
What the new Facebook Messenger Insurance Comparison Service is exactly
“Our Facebook Messenger virtual agent experience is faster than any website or mobile app, and easier to use than any online form. It’s a powerful example of how our technology will work on all other messaging services,” said Snejina Zacharia, Insurify’s founder and CEO. “Our vision is to continue to enhance the artificial intelligence and data integrations behind our virtual agent and train the algorithms to pass the insurance licensing exam.”
Using its patent-pending virtual agent, “Evia,” the company says that it can now offer Facebook Messenger users the ability to shop and compare insurance quotes by messaging. This includes advising users on driver discounts and the best coverage and companies for a specific users’ needs.
Why Insurify is betting on Facebook Messenger for insurance
In speaking with Agency Checklists, Insurify Founder and CEO, Snejina Zacharia, says that messaging is the future for communicating with the youngest generations. Per the website Statista, Facebook Messenger has approximately 120 million users in the U.S. alone and close to a one billion worldwide. And as Generation Z, those people with birth years that range from the mid-1990s to early 2000s, comes into its own, explains Ms. Zacharia, this number will only grow.
“By 2020, [or] in three years, 40% of the U.S. population will be Generation Z,” says Ms. Zacharia. “These kids are searching and learning online. They are happy to chat online … and they’re happy to chat with humans, but they don’t want to pick up the phone and actually talk to humans. They don’t even talk to their friends. They message them.”
“So, enabling the types of interactions, and the communications, and the technology to be able to help people with the channels the type of the communications that they already prefer, is what we are doing,” adds Ms. Zacharia. “Everybody is talking about millennials. Well, millennials are already old people. They are already over 30. It’s the Generation Z that we have to be thinking about. Because these are the guys that are graduating college…They’re the ones who will be buying their first or second car and potentially renting, and potentially buying their homes in the future, and so forth. So it’s no longer the millennials. Millennials are already homeowners.”
“We have people 80 plus years old that have hearing loss and they are saying, ‘I can chat on your platform and I would like to buy my insurance through chat or email. But I really cannot hear you guys on the phone, so can you please serve me on chat?” – Snejina Zacharia
Not forcing consumers into a specific channel
While the insurtech start-up has been increasingly focusing their efforts on messaging, it is just one of many channels that the MIT spin-out is focusing on. Ultimately, the Facebook Messenger tool is part of the company’s goal of reaching out to customers where they are most comfortable doing business. “We are not forcing them into a specific channel” explained Ms. Zacharia. “We are enabling them to get what they need through the channel that they are already using. So it’s why we are on mobile and why our website is 100% mobile optimized. It’s actually doing even better in terms of online flow, than on the desktop, which is fantastic. And that’s why we are on chat.”
For example, Ms. Zacharia notes that the spike in mobile inquiries on the Insurify platform is the highest at 9 p. m. in the evening, local time. So, she argues, if a traditional agent closes at 6 p.m. that means they would have closed before customer inquiries begin to spike. “It’s a bit of a curve. Beginning at 9 p. m. until it then goes down until 11 p. m.” she points out. “So, it is quite eye-opening especially considering that on platforms like ours, more than 50% of the users are mobile users.”
And while Insurify is focusing on Generation Z, she notes that the messaging app can be useful for any individual no matter what their age. “We have people 80 plus years old that have hearing loss and they are saying, ‘I can chat on your platform and I would like to buy my insurance through chat or email. But I really cannot hear you guys on the phone, so can you please serve me on chat?”
MassMutual and Nationwide add $4.6 million in funding for Insurify to grow
Besides launching the first-of-its kind comparison tool on Facebook Messenger, the company also announced this week it had closed an additional $4.6 million funding round, led by MassMutual Ventures and Nationwide Ventures.
Since its official launch in January 2016, Insurify says, over 1.5 million consumers have used the Insurify platform to compare auto insurance quotes. During the last 15 months, the company has seen 40% month-over-month growth in the number of actual consumers purchasing their insurance policies on its platform. As for 2017, the company says it is on track to double that volume.