How Lemonade is Disrupting the Insurance Industry

Few startups have had a better 2017 than Manhattan-based, Lemonade. Now, after closing a new $120 million round of Series C funding, the insurance startup seems poised to have an even better 2018.

The Mission

According to Lemonade’s co-founder and CEO, Daniel Schrieber, the idea came from the fact that the insurance industry has such a reputation. “If you play the word association game with “insurance,” words like “paperwork,” “hassle,” and “fighting” present a pretty abysmal picture of the industry.” Knowing this, Schrieber and co-founder Shai Wininger, set out in April of 2015 to change all that.

The Plan

Traditionally when someone pays a monthly insurance premium, half of the money goes into a company fund to pay claims and the other half the company keeps for expenses and profit. With Lemonade, the amount the company keeps is only 20% and the other 80% of a premium goes into the company’s claim fund. At the end of each year, if there is money left in this fund (which there almost always is), that money is donated to charities of customer’s choosing. This idea of a company giving money to charity instead simply keeping it for themselves is novel to the insurance industry and seems to be resonating with the altruistic millennial generation; a generation who actively seek to support companies that contribute to the greater good. All of this has earned Lemonade the coveted B-Corp claims. Investors have also noticed.

In December 2015, Lemonade announced it had secured $13 million in seed round funding led by the Aleph and Sequoia Capital groups. Nine month after this, in August of 2016, Lemonade secured another $13 million in Series A funding led by these same groups. Four months later, Lemonade secured another $34 million in Series B funding as well. Then, one year later in December of 2017, Lemonade closed a substantial Series C fund worth $120 million, led by SoftBank. All told, Lemonade has secured $180 million in funding and the company’s financial stability has been rated A-exceptional by insurance financial stability organization, Demotech.

The Benefits

Perhaps the best benefit to customers however is the price. Renters insurance can be purchased seamlessly through the company’s app for only $5 a month. Home-owners insurance costs just $25. Along with the low costs, another advantage to Lemonade’s model is the speed at which claims are paid. In the past, one of the great hassles in dealing with insurance companies was the exorbitant lag time between submitting your claim and receiving your funds. Through advanced bot and machine learning technologies, Lemonade has reduced this wait time significantly, and most claims are paid within a matter of minutes.

The Results

According to Schrieber, out of the over 723,000 people with renters insurance in New York City alone, in just over two years in business Lemonade has captured more than 4.2% of that market. This figure also includes over 27% of NYC’s newly insured as well. These numbers easily put Lemonade among the top 10 largest insurance companies in New York. This is a remarkable achievement, especially in light of the fact that the average age for the other companies among this group is over 104 years old. All tremendous achievements indeed.

Going forward, what Lemonade hopes to achieve is no less than a full-sail shakeup of the culture of the $4.6 trillion insurance industry. How large a portion of that industry the team will transform remains to be known, but what is known is that they are taking their best shot. To both customers and investors alike, all of this makes this new insurance company as refreshing as a tall glass of Lemonade.

 

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