Filed Under:Markets, Personal Lines

Insurify raises $2 million to create virtual agent for Auto insurance hopes to make buying Auto insurance as easy as texting a photo of a license plate. (Photo: iStock) hopes to make buying Auto insurance as easy as texting a photo of a license plate. (Photo: iStock)

A startup at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hopes to replace insurance agents with artificial intelligence and make buying auto insurance as easy as texting a photo of your license plate.

Cambridge, Mass-based startup Insurify Inc. launched an online marketplace last week that uses predictive modeling and advanced analytics with the hope of changing the experience of comparison shopping for car insurance. The recommendation engine allows drivers to quickly and easily find and compare the cheapest insurance policies that best fit their needs, the company said.

“The purpose of Insurify is to create a database to help consumers make decisions on their own, based on the data that they provide and based on the algorithms and analytics that we have built in our platform to be able to help them make the right choices for themselves,” said CEO Snejina Zacharia, the person behind Insurify.

The MIT Sloan fellow and former director of business development at Stamford, Conn.-based IT research and advisory company Gartner told PropertyCasualty360, “We are launching with a car insurance comparison platform that is augmented with a powerful recommendation engine that allows consumers to understand the right set of coverage for their needs, as well as provide a qualitative access in their consumer experience, by allowing consumers to select areas that are specific to their personal profile.”

She added that the company is building the intelligence behind the superagent into the platform, so not only does it compare insurance rates, it recommends the insurance carrier and policy that best fits the consumer.

The company has raised seed funding of $2 million from Rationalwave Capital Partners to fund the limited public beta release of Evia (short for expert virtual insurance agent), the artificially intelligent virtual insurance agent that runs the platform.

Here's how it is supposed to work:

    • By using license plate photo, Evia scours millions of records to verify personal information and driving history in order to deliver policy quotes and recommendations via text message.
    • If a potential customer doesn't have a license plate to text to Evia, it can use other information, such as the specific make and model of the car.
    • Evia verifies a customer's identity from the answers provided to its questions, which include whether the car will be owned or leased, then searches participating insurance carrier sites to come up with quotes.
    • Evia also simplifies insurance terms for customers and can connect them to a live person if it can't answer a question.
    • A live agent completes the deal after the best insurance fit is found. 

“All the major companies are shifting towards building artificially intelligent platforms, whether they are tech-based or messaging-based,” said Zacharia. She said the goal is to create texting platforms that can replace the need for the regular browser search.

Insurify spent two years developing RateRank, a proprietary software that analyzes patterns and matches each user’s risk profile with the best and most affordable insurance carriers and packages for their needs. The company said it recognizes that although price is one the most important drivers for switching insurance, people also care about reviews, discounts, customer service and benefits. Insurify’s platform is designed to help consumers make qualitative and quantitative insurance decisions, the company said.

Insurify said it currently serves 30 states, and has partnered with 82 insurance carriers, such as Progressive, Nationwide, MetLife and AAA.

“We are currently negotiating with some of the other remaining large call-center operations because our key priority right now is to continue to expand the distribution network, to be able to bring every area under our roof,” said Zacharia.

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