Jumpstart Insurance Solutions Inc. is on the move in the earthquake-prone West – and the company is now partnering with insurance agents.
Jumpstart, a licensed redundant line insurance broker utilizing Lloyd's capacity, began offering earthquake insurance in California in the form of a parametric product just over two years ago, with payments linked to a formula and based on earthquake measurements from the US Geological Survey.
Kate Stillwell, founder and CEO of California-based Jumpstart, announced this week that the company is now offering their products in Washington and Oregon.
Jumpstart began operating in the two states in early December, but waited until now to let the public know. Since the announcement of the availability of the products on Tuesday, several new customers have signed up.
"Now we have a few dozen policies," Stillwell said of the three-day results of mostly word of mouth in Oregon and Washington.
Customers can register for the product online Jumpstart & # 39; s website, and policies are underwritten and managed by AmWINS Group Inc. Policyholders pay a monthly fee and are automatically paid a certain amount if an earthquake occurs in their area.
The website praises what the company says is a straightforward process: "Earthquake insurance. Simplified." Several keywords on the site's homepage lead to a similar message: "No paperwork. No adjusters. No delays."
After an earthquake of a pre-specified intensity as measured by the USGS, Jumpstart will automatically send a text message to every customer in the affected region. Customers must respond to the text to confirm loss or damage, and a predetermined payment amount will be automatically authorized for direct deposit to the customer's bank accounts.
Premiums are risk-based and reflect the underlying likelihood that the activation intensity of the shake will be reached at a particular location. Premiums differ per zip code.
The average monthly cost in California is $ 20 a month, the Washington average is $ 13, and in Oregon it's $ 8 a month for a $ 10,000 payout, according to Jumpstart. The prizes are double for a $ 20,000 payout.
Jumpstart's product is available to renters, homeowners and businesses.
“I would say about 40% of our clients are tenants,” said Stillwell.
According to her, about half are homeowners and the rest are businesses.
The product is often bought by people who are relocating or have recently moved, or otherwise purchase other insurance, she said.
“Most of our homeowners are very early on in their equity position,” said Stillwell.
Policy was initially available only through the Jumpstart website, so agents were unaware at the start.
Since then, Jumpstart has partnered with a handful of agents.
They are currently working with Acrisure and their partners.
"We have a mechanism for working with agents," Stillwell said. "We have a nomination process and agents can absolutely sell Jumpstart to their customers."
Stillwell is a former fabricator and earthquake risk advisor. In 2010, she was an earthquake product manager at EQECAT Inc., a disaster risk modeling company acquired in late 2013 by California-based data and analytics company Corelogic.
Jumpstart's website promises customers "fast, easy payments" instead of the traditional claims handling process with the parametric product, which does not compensate for the pure loss, but makes a payment upon the occurrence of a trigger event.
Stillwell said the affordability of the product is part of the rationale that drives customers to buy it, but that's not their biggest motivation.
"It ends negotiations with the insurance company when a claim is made," she said.
She said she keeps the Jumpstart team lean by keeping as many functions as fully automated as possible. Currently only eight people work under her.
That has not stopped their expansion.
Launched in a month through a local New Zealand broker, she said.
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