Earlier this year, Richard Trezza, co-founder of Swyfft, moved into a new house and set out to buy homeowners insurance. The process took nearly two weeks.
That kind of delay wouldn't be tolerated in most other industries these days; in fact, it'd be deemed downright archaic. Yet it's still par for the course in the conventional home insurance marketplace. Trezza and his co-founder, Sean Maher, are determined to change that.
Together, they've created Swyfft, a data-driven home insurance company that's changing the way people search for and obtain homeowners insurance, with its primary business running via its network of independent insurance agents and brokers. The company was funded nearly three years ago after raising its seed round in a whopping 45 minutes. Since then, Swyfft has gone on to become highly profitable - to the tune of a 400 percent growth rate over the past six months.
"All of that growth did not come through all sorts of fancy sales and marketing," says Maher. "This has definitely been a [case of], 'Build a great product; tell the world.'" Here's how that product is making big waves.
How Swyfft Is Disrupting the Home Insurance Industry
As more and more consumers expect one-click convenience and a more streamlined user experience overall, Swyfft's goal is to bring the home insurance industry up to speed with other markets.
They're achieving that thanks largely to the power of a unique set of analytics dubbed LIDAR (light detection and ranging data), which uses lasers to remotely sense and generate 3D information about the natural and human-made environments in a specific area. When this data is applied to Swyfft's patented models, the team is able to assess potential risks at a specific address-;down to a level of precision that doesn't exist in the predictive models utilized by other insurance companies.
How does this data transform the user experience? Because its models enable Swyfft to precisely assess the risks at a given address in a matter of moments, this allows the company to (ahem) swiftly offer a bindable price quote to anyone shopping for home insurance. All it takes is an address and less than one minute. No filling out lengthy questionnaires about square footage, electrical updates, or the family dog. It's purely about where your house is located and how that location diminishes or escalates the risk of disaster.
Here's another way that users benefit: In many (though not all) cases, Swyfft's quotes are lower than those issued by more cumbersome assessment models. In fact, Swyfft's co-founders estimate nearly half of U.S. homeowners could save between 10 and 20 percent each year with Swyfft. "With all of the new data sources... available, pricing can get better," says Maher.
That's especially true for people residing in coastal areas, where hurricane risks can vary from house to house. "A lot of our proprietary analytics are better at predicting hurricane risks," says Maher. "Everyone else is gonna charge $3,000 for a section of homes in Miami. But some of those could be paying less while others pay more."
Maher is so confident in Swyfft's capacity for precisely determining risk that his company is (to Maher's knowledge) the only one in its industry to offer a Guaranteed Replacement Cost endorsement, meaning Swyftt takes responsibility for the full cost in the event that a home suffers damage. That's in contrast to most conventional insurance policies, which tend to have a coverage limit-;regardless of whether expenses exceed that limit.
"When people are buying insurance and paying their premiums every year, they don't expect to come up with extra [money] when they go to submit a claim," says Maher. "We're the professionals. We can estimate the replacement cost on a house better than the homeowner can. If we're wrong about it, we eat it."
All told, Swyfft's advanced underwriting capabilities are a boon both for users and Swyfft as a company. By employing unique data to provide a better user experience, Swyfft is able to attract a large volume of customers. And by utilizing a more foolproof underwriting process, the company is able to underwrite and price properly so it remains in the black. Meanwhile, homeowners benefit from fast quoting and potentially lower premiums-;making it easier than ever to shop for a policy that's in their best interests.