Both old-fashion carriers and InsurTech startups alike are increasingly turning to apps in order to engage their customers. Sean Harper is going the opposite direction for Kin, the MGA and insurance company startup he co-founded and runs as CEO.“We’re entirely online [and] we don’t have an app,” Harper told Carrier Management during an interview at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association annual meeting in Boston on Oct. 21. “I don’t think that people actually want more apps on their phone, so we have a really, really good mobile web experience” instead.
Harper explained that Kin interacts with customers via text message, by email, over the website and by phone.
“Insurance is complicated enough that not everyone wants to deal with a bot or ‘frequently asked questions’,” Harper said.
Harper launched Chicago-based Kin in 2016 along with Chief Technology Officer Lucas Ward, initially as an MGA and brokerage. Now, the company also has its own home insurance company, operated as a reciprocal exchange and called Kin Interinsurance Network. Domiciled in Florida, that portion of the company is owned by policy holders and managed by Kin Insurance Inc., which handles the technology and intellectual property, customer acquisition and expenses. It targets homeowners insurance customers in disaster prone areas.
The company operates entirely online using what it bills as “intuitive tech, affordable pricing and world-class customer service” made possible by “leveraging thousands of publicly available data points.”
To date, the company has raised $67 million Harper said. That includes $47 million in August 2019, most of which helped launch Kin Interinsurance Network.
Harper said that Kin Interinsurance Network is profitable already, though its holding company is not yet. Growth plans are ongoing, including a planned expansion of the company’s insurance products into more states beyond where it currently operates in Florida, Texas, Alabama and Georgia. Approximately 83 people work for Kin, and growing.
[For More on Kin, Watch “What Is Kin?”]
As the company grows, don’t expect an app to be added to the equation anytime soon.
“We want to do things the way the user wants it and I think you’ll find a lot of insurance companies have an app that [is hard] to get folks to download and it doesn’t really do anything,” Harper said.
He argued that homeowners insurance customers don’t really want an app for what they do, and they can get stellar service through the web, telephone or text just as easily.
“We don’t like making tech for tech’s sake,” Harper said. “We want to do stuff that makes the user’s life easier and communicates with them the way they want to communicate.”