CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Launching Today, Emerging InsurTech Innovator Obie unveiled its new insurance offer, specifically targeting lessors and owners of investment property. Obie’s instant quote platform for homeowners, the first of its kind, delivers the coverage these small businesses need through a vastly improved, data-rich process. The company’s innovative technology and approach enables Obie policyholders to save up to 25-30% on their existing insurance premiums. Starting today, Obie’s property and casualty insurance is now available in all 50 states.
In addition, Obie revealed that it raised $10.7 million in Series A funding to fuel rapid growth. The round was led by global investment firm Battery Ventures, with general partner Michael Brown joining Obie’s board. Thomvest Ventures (the Thomson family’s investment management firm) also joined the round, in addition to previous investors Funders Club, MetaProp and Second Century Ventures. The funding comes as Obie secured insurance for more than $3 billion worth of property over the past year.
“The number of small hobby homeowners and real estate investors is growing at an impressive rate, but nothing exists in this space to provide them with the quality insurance coverage they need to protect their investments,” Brown said. “When we saw what Obie’s team had built, we were immediately struck by how their technology didn’t just slap a band-aid on traditional approaches to insurance coverage; it brings intelligence and simplicity to the process to match each policy request to the ideal carrier for the respective risk factors. This translates into a victory for all parties.
Better options for a rapidly growing market segment
Obie was created to provide a simple, affordable and seamless insurance experience for clients and their investment properties, with a particular focus on the 11 million small and mid-size apartment owners who own single-family rentals and/or taller apartment buildings. Based on their work in real estate private equity and insurance, Obie co-founders Aaron and Ryan Letzeiser recognized that despite being the largest class of real estate investors in the United States States, this group is significantly underserved. They are too small for large brokerages, while smaller independent insurance agencies are generalists with only limited carrier partners who specialize in this type of risk. As a result, homeowners are getting poor prices and limited coverage, after enduring a long and outdated application process.
Obie remedy this by offering a user-friendly approach adapted to the expectations of the digital world. The company replaces an opaque email-based insurance acquisition process, where owners are forced to fill out PDFs and spreadsheets before waiting more than a week to even receive a quote, with a short questionnaire in line. Property owners and investors can then obtain the coverage that matches their specific needs in less than five minutes.
“The impact of insurance premiums on the bottom line of real estate investors and overall asset value is significant, but the process of getting adequate coverage has always been a bit of a black hole,” said the Obie co-founder and COO Aaron Letzeiser. . “Obie is changing that. We’ve built technology that makes buying insurance the least of a homeowner’s worries. Now buying insurance is quick, easy and extremely cost effective, and with the support of Battery we can scale even faster to meet the needs of this growing market.
Leveraging technology to reinvent insurance
When property owners and investors come Obie, the platform guides them through a short series of questions and provides an instant quote which, once accepted, can be immediately subscribed. Obie is able to do this by extracting a few key data points from client responses, which his technology then enriches with dozens of available public and private data points to eliminate the constant back and forth that normally occurs between a real estate investor and an insurance agent. Obie’s platform analyzes over 50 new and unique underwriting data points, which include things like owner’s proximity to property, as this is often a great indicator of proactive and preventative maintenance. as well as attention to tenant issues.
Once Obie runs its analysis, the platform uses a proprietary algorithm to match an application to carriers based on the risk appetite profiles that carriers have at any given time. For example, this could include things like writing properties in hurricane zones or excluding those who don’t want to write policies this quarter for properties built before 1980. By targeting carriers accordingly, Obie is able to provide the right level of coverage for a significantly lower cost than other brokerages, which is especially important for landlords who have been impacted by rental uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had been using the same brokerage for years, but by managing my portfolio on Obie, I was able to easily request new quotes which saved me more than I expected on my existing premium – what my old brokerage firm couldn’t do,” said Doug Hirsh, a Obie customer. “This type of instant savings dramatically increases IRR and cash-on-cash returns. Using Obie was a no brainer. I couldn’t be happier with the overall experience and level of coverage.
To use Obie to make sure you’re covered and your investment is protected, go to www.obierisk.com.
Obie’s mission is to provide a simple, affordable and seamless experience for clients and their investment properties. Its technology guarantees the best rates in the industry for the P&C insurance plans that are suitable for customers, thus guaranteeing their protection and that of their investments. Obie is now available to homeowners and real estate investors in all 50 states. Learn more about www.obierisk.com.