Just as Clearcover is sprouting upward as a company, employees are also experiencing that skyward growth: The company frequently promotes from within — including two members featured below — and encourages staff at every level to take initiative.
The insurance industry is archaic and offers much room for re-engineering. Kyle discusses how he is going about it.
Kyle Nakatsuji (Co-founder and CEO of Clearcover, Inc.) explained to Steve Grzanich how the whole idea of their car insurance company is to keep operating costs slim so customers can save money compared to other large industry players.
All he wanted was the same insurance coverage without the ridiculous cost. “I came across Clearcover, and they gave me a quote for the exact same insurance for $146,” he says.
We are constantly pushed to deliver the best customer experience on a tight budget. Even as we grow, we’ll always stick to the mantra of doing more with less, because the more we can save, the more our customers can save.
Using technology to file insurance claims is not new or unique. Getting two-thirds of your customers to use it is. That's what Kyle Nakatsuji has managed with his company, Clearcover.
This is Clearcover’s second round of funding, bringing its total amount of investments raised to $54.5 million. Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, which owns Kelly Blue Book, led the round.
Former American Family Insurance employees Kyle Nakatsuji and Derek Brigham are the cofounders of Clearcover, who saw a way to use technology to offer better customer service and lower prices when they founded the company in 2016.
Clearcover is focused specifically on the auto industry, and is aiming to make purchasing car insurance more efficient and less expensive.
“If you want accident forgiveness, you’ll pay for it in some way,” says Kyle Nakatsuji, CEO of auto insurance startup Clearcover, based in Chicago. Even with companies that don’t charge for it, “the cost is typically already baked into your insurance rates.”
Unlike Root, Clearcover doesn’t require customers to have their driving tracked and measured. Instead, the company saves money by ditching all the extras.
The Upstart 100 is CNBC's exclusive list of promising young start-ups, featuring a diverse group of companies that are building brands and breaking industry barriers on the path to becoming tomorrow's household names. And Clearcover made the list!
“The reality is that the insurer who can provide you the lowest-cost home insurance is most likely not the one who can offer you the lowest-cost auto insurance,” says Kyle Nakatsuji, CEO of Clearcover, an auto insurance startup.
"Selling auto insurance is a complex process. That’s why the industry has been relying on the same distribution methods for the last 30 years. Unfortunately, those methods have failed to keep up with rapidly changing consumer behaviors,” said Adam Fischer, VP of Product at Clearcover. “We designed our APIs with two goals in mind: help make the purchasing process easy and cost-effective for our customers, and help make the integration process seamless for our partners so they can easily tap into the $231 billion US auto insurance market."
As vehicle ownership and capabilities change, we need insurance technology that can change with it.
Kyle Nakatsuji, the CEO of Clearcover, another venture-backed car insurance startup in the Midwest, used to be a VC with American Family Insurance.
When my company, Clearcover, was just two people, we implemented a methodology centered on two principles: culture fit and superpower. And while our tactics evolve to fit our growing company, these same principles still drive our hiring.
Clearcover has developed an algorithm that helps it advertise to potential customers during what it calls “moments that matter” — when a consumer is shopping for a car or looking at ways to save money.
At Clearcover, we use an Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework for goal setting at every level -- from company strategy all the way down to weekly priorities.
The company began selling policies in California this last February and reached a premium run rate of over $16M in less than 90 days.
People have switched to Clearcover from just about every insurance company you can think of; Allstate, State Farm, Mercury, Farmers, Progressive and more.
When I compared my rates Clearcover was less than the competition and very close to what I was paying but for even more coverage. Right now the Chicago-based startup is offering car insurance in California with plans to expand to other states soon.
Midwestern states like Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois are fostering B2C upstarts....Clearcover and Root Insurance have managed to redesign the car insurance experience, each in its own way.
Kyle Nakatsuji, the CEO and co-founder of Clearcover, wants to change how car insurance is marketed and sold.
If you stick with the insurance company your parents use out of convenience, you might not get the best deal. “Just because an insurance company was good for your parents doesn’t mean it’s good for you,” said Nakatsuji.
“Insurance, for people with cars, is a compulsory product,” said Kyle Nakatsuji, chief executive officer of Clearcover, an auto insurance start-up. “And there are a bunch of people in the U.S. who are paying too much for car insurance and have no idea.”
Clearcover uses a proprietary distribution platform that targets consumers in the “moments that matter,” such as when you’re buying a car, shopping for better rates, or researching ways to save money. This moment-centric distribution strategy allows the start-up to save money on marketing, and funnel the savings back into the auto insurance product in the form of lower rates, Nakatsuji explained.
Today, we launched Clearcover car insurance in California. We started here because you really deserve a better option. There are 26 million licensed drivers in California (the most out of any state) and by our math, 80% of you could be overpaying for your car insurance. What’s worse? It’s not your fault.
Insurance companies that thrive won’t necessarily be the companies that start the earliest — there’s still too much uncertainty on what the future holds. Instead, the winners will be the companies that can adapt their organizations most quickly to capitalize on new realities as they become clear.
Venture capitalists typically start looking at businesses' and business owners' online presence before the first meeting to prepare, and continue to do so throughout the entire process, as they learn more about the networks of people and companies surrounding the company they're evaluating.
By no means is intentional contrarianism a new concept for investors (it was an important part of my investment philosophy as a VC at American Family Insurance.) However, I rarely find it in the typical entrepreneur's toolkit. And I believe that, when applied correctly, it can provide important guidance on building, pitching and growing a business. In fact, this risk vs. avoidance mindset framed my decision-making process for founding Clearcover.
The greatest advantage start-ups have is their agility and the absence of legacy,” explained Kyle Nakatsuji, co-founder and CEO of Clearcover, a new data-driven auto insurance start-up. “Incumbent carriers are constrained in a different way to start-ups. They have a lot of people and money to explore new avenues, but it’s much harder for them to stop doing something old [displacing their legacy] to drive innovation.
With its API-based integration system, Nakatsuji claims the process of onboarding partners interested in selling Clearcover’s insurance is cheaper and faster than its competitors. “The time it takes to get them setup to actually start selling our product is days, maybe weeks,” he said.
Clearcover is a data-driven auto insurance company built to provide customers with more affordable coverage. They are launching in January and have already raised over $11M in funding. They are more than ready to disrupt the auto insurance industry.
Clearcover is a startup focused on lowering car insurance costs by cutting past all the unnecessary charges that Big insurance companies may straddle you with. Nakatsuji’s startup is off to a hot start. They have raised over $11 million in its first year.
Kyle is the founder and CEO of Clearcover, an auto insurance startup that combines a data-driven platform with a minimalist customer acquisition approach to offer drastically reduced premiums. Instead of running expensive brand awareness campaigns (Howdy, gecko), Clearcover will only market to potential customers during highly-targeted windows.
Clearcover uses a data-driven platform to integrate insurance “with moments when it matters” and applies modern technology to improve efficiency, saving customers up to 50 percent on car insurance, according to the company.
“The biggest problem with the insurance industry isn’t a bad user experience, but that the big companies have failed to acknowledge how people feel about insurance, and that costs their customers billions. Most people want to think about insurance and their insurance companies less, not more.” The insurance industry spends more than $5 billion a year on advertising. Insurance Business Magazine reported that 'Advertising budgets among the nation’s auto carriers are particularly sizable and have helped push the insurance industry to the top of the 10 biggest US industries when it comes to growth in ad spending.' It said GEICO spent $6 of every $100 in premiums on advertising. Premiums pay for all that advertising."
Launched in November 2016 by insurance veterans Kyle Nakatsuji, who helped start the venture capital team at American Family Insurance, and Derek Brigham, who has more than 25 years of industry experience, Clearcover uses a data-driven platform and a minimalist approach to offer drastically reduced premiums. Unlike Geico, Progressive and other leading auto insurance companies, Clearcover plans to avoid costly advertising campaigns and only market to potential customers during targeted windows.
Nakatsuji is betting that consumers, especially millennials, don't want to shop for insurance. They just want price and convenience, pointing to products like lending platform Affirm or mobile-payments service Venmo. "Insurance is boring," Nakatsuji said. "People don't want to think about insurance, so Clearcover's goal is to make it so easy to purchase so that people don't have to think about insurance.
Technology start-up plans for state expansion, product enhancements and new partnerships
CHICAGO, Jan. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clearcover, the smarter car insurance choice, announced today a Series B financing round of $43M led by Cox Enterprises, the media, communications and automotive services company. Additional investors include American Family Ventures, IA Capital Group, Lightbank, and Hyde Park Angels, while Silicon Valley Bank provided debt financing. Clearcover’s technology-driven approach, including its industry-first API platform, has enabled the company to provide high-quality, affordable car insurance to thousands of drivers since launching in early 2018.
“It’s gratifying to see our customer-focused, technology-driven business model resonating with the market and we’re excited to partner with Cox Enterprises on our mission to provide millions of drivers across the US with better insurance experiences and lower prices,” said Kyle Nakatsuji, CEO of Clearcover. “We’ll use the funding to further invest in our API platform, launch new states, integrate new distribution partners and hire more than fifty people across our Engineering, Data Science and Customer Advocate teams.”
“Cox Enterprises is proud to take a leading role in accelerating and supporting innovation within the car insurance industry. With the rise of new digital platforms, drivers can now find better, non-traditional insurance options and Clearcover is positioned to make a huge impact in a roughly $250 billion market,” said Spencer Boice, Senior Director of Strategy and Corporate Development at Cox Enterprises. “Clearcover shares our vision of using data and technology to drive smarter connections and more convenience online.”
Since launching in California in February 2018, Clearcover has rapidly grown its API platform relationships, sold thousands of policies, and helped drivers collectively save millions of dollars on car insurance. The company has integrated with a variety of distribution partners across the automotive, insurance and financial services industry, including Cars.com, The Zebra, and Chime, and will be rapidly expanding both its state footprint and partnerships in 2019.
To learn more about Clearcover, visit: https://clearcover.com.
To learn more about partnering with Clearcover, visit: https://clearcover.com/api/
To see Clearcover’s open positions, visit: https://clearcover.com/careers
Clearcover is the smarter car insurance choice, offering better coverage for less money. The company combines modern technology with a customer-focused mindset to deliver a convenient experience, reliable service and affordable prices. Backed by one of the world’s biggest reinsurers and built for the modern world, Clearcover makes it easy to save money and get insured in minutes.
Read SMARTER, the Clearcover blog: https://blog.clearcover.com
Follow Clearcover on Twitter: https://twitter.com/clearcover
Connect with Clearcover on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Clearcoverinc
Director of Communications & PR
Making high-quality, affordable car insurance available anywhere
CHICAGO, Sept. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clearcover, the smarter car insurance choice, today announced the expansion of its API offerings. Companies such as automotive shopping sites, car manufacturers, price comparison engines, online retailers, financial service providers and relevant consumer technology platforms can now complement their offerings with the addition of Clearcover car insurance. Customers will enjoy the ease of purchasing a Clearcover policy online, competitive pricing, reliable service and claims support, and helpful mobile app.
“Selling auto insurance is a complex process. That’s why the industry has been relying on the same distribution methods for the last 30 years. Unfortunately, those methods have failed to keep up with rapidly changing consumer behaviors,” said Adam Fischer, VP of Product at Clearcover. “We designed our APIs with two goals in mind: help make the purchasing process easy and cost-effective for our customers, and help make the integration process seamless for our partners so they can easily tap into the $231 billion US auto insurance market.”
The expanded API offerings are the latest example of Clearcover’s smart technology making car insurance more convenient and affordable. The Clearcover API platform dynamically automates key portions of the insurance process including the data collection, price viewing and changes to coverage elections. The API options in order of integration depth include:
Earlier this year, Clearcover first tested Quote API before launching SmartLink and Lead API. The company is currently working with twenty various types of partners across the automotive, insurance and financial services industry.
To learn more about the Clearcover API offerings, visit: https://clearcover.com/api/
Clearcover is the smarter car insurance choice, offering better coverage for less money. Clearcover’s API-first approach enables customers to have great insurance at affordable rates. The company’s powerful technology coupled with their dedicated Customer Advocate team ensures a quality experience. Backed by one of the world’s biggest reinsurers and built for modern drivers, Clearcover makes it easy to get reliable car insurance in minutes.
Director of Communications & PR
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