Business News: USAA, Pie Insurance, Root Insurance

January 25, 2019

USAA, a national property/casualty insurer serving more than 12.6 million active and former military members and their families, has joined the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC), an insurance industry consortium spearheaded by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

The GIC combines the technical expertise of advanced digital aerial and terrestrial imaging company Vexcel Imaging and geospatial mapping tech leader Esri’s geographic information systems to provide the tools and analytics to help insurers make fast, accurate and cost-efficient decisions when writing a policy and when dealing with claims following a disaster.
The GIC provides the highest resolution aerial images available both before and after catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, hailstorms and wildfires.

Founded in 2017, the GIC is committed to mapping the entire United States each year with high-resolution images and providing ultra-high-resolution images for the 100 largest metropolitan areas. This includes 45-degree oblique images that can be processed to allow a rotatable 3-D image of any property.
In the hours and days after a disaster, the GIC fleet of aircraft will fly over the impacted areas to capture and assess

damage to provide members with unprecedented images and data on impacted properties.

The NICB, working with law enforcement and disaster scene commanders, has provided the GIC with access to disaster areas as soon as it is safe to fly and the GIC is able to provide images and data to members within 24-36 hours of the aircraft touching down. The imagery is also provided free of charge to first responders and emergency personnel to allow them to better assess the extent of damages and to coordinate their response.

The information will also provide valuable evidence to help the NICB fight fraudulent claims, which are a frequent problem after catastrophes.

Pie Insurance Expands

Pie Insurance has begun selling workers’ compensation insurance to small businesses in New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Nebraska. These five states join Pie’s coverage area, which also includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

In 2017, Pie attracted $4.3 million in seed funding from Sirius Group, Moxley Holdings, and Elefund. In 2018, Greycroft and Aspect Ventures joined existing investors to bolster geographic expansion and scale operations as part of Pie’s $11 million Series A Funding round.

Pie operates as a managing general agency for Sirius America Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Sirius Group, offering A.M. Best A rated workers’ compensation insurance.

Root Announces Expansion

Root Insurance, a car insurance company that prices every policy primarily on actual driving behavior, announced plans for continued expansion into additional states in 2019 to advance the goal of Root being nationwide by 2020.

Over the course of 2019, Root also expects to increase its workforce by 150 percent to add over 350 employees, which advances the overall Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy goal to create more than 150,000 net new jobs by 2020.

In 2018, Root expanded its offering from 10 to 22 states (launching in Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, Maryland, Oregon, Nebraska, South Carolina), grew direct written premiums to more than $100MM (+2600% compared to 2017); and made rapid advances in the way good drivers money by recognizing unusual phone patterns such as when and how frequently someone is engaging with their smartphone while driving. To encourage safe driving behavior, Root now offers a discount to drivers that avoid using their mobile phones while driving.

In addition, Root closed a $51-million Series C funding round in March 2018 led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners also participating in the round. Later in the year, Root also announced $100 million in Series D funding, led by Tiger Global Management. This raises Root’s valuation to $1 billion and provides capital to expand into new states, fuel hiring plans and bring systems to scale.

The insurer is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio and is currently available to drivers in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

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