Recently, Buckle made an acquisition that helps it expand in interesting ways.
Buckle, a digital seller of rideshare insurance, bought Gateway Insurance Company from carrier Atlas Financial Holding as a way to support the Atlas managing general agency Anchor Group Management Inc. The deal enables Buckle to work with Atlas to sell auto insurance to the commercial auto market for clients such as part-time rideshare and delivery drivers, full-time taxicab and limousine drivers, and more. Buckle’s commercial auto coverage capacity can expand as a result.
Buckle co-founder Marty Young explains further details behind the deal below.
Q: Why did you make the Gateway acquisition?
Young: It was a logical next step in our evolution. As a digital managing general agent (MGA), we controlled distribution, underwriting and claims. So, taking on the responsibility and risk management of a carrier made perfect sense.
Q: Doesn’t this connect you to a more old-fashioned distribution system? Why not a digital approach for these clients?
Young: We intend to run our carrier as a “digital front” and not become a normal-way “full-stack” insurance carrier. We have been inspired by State National, Clear Blue and others that have enabled businesses like Buckle through their various fronting models and think that’s how every insurance company should operate their carriers. We plan to do the same but in a digital model.
Q: You still sell insurance digitally, right? What are the benefits and pitfalls of both delivery models?
Young: We do both. Through our partner AGMI, we sell traditional taxi/limo through typical B2B2B MGA/agency distribution models. We sell insurance through Lyft in a B2B2C model, and we sell it directly to rideshare drivers in a B2C model.
Q: Will you be making other acquisitions? If so, what kind?
Young: Yes, we are interested in carriers, MGAs, TPAs and agencies but have some very specific focuses that are part of our broader strategies. We are also happy to partner instead of acquire, which is generally our preference. We like to do creative deal constructs where everyone wins and can focus along core competencies and create value for themselves, such as what we have done with our partner, Atlas Financial.