Openly provides home insurance to high-value properties using a technological approach similar to that of UK insurtech Uinsure

Openly founders CEO Ty Harris (left) and CTO Matt Wielbut (right) (Credit: Openly)

Boston-based insurtech start-up Openly has received $7.65m in seed funding to expand the reach of its AI web platform for quoting home insurance for high-value properties.

The start-up acts as an intermediary between customers looking to find insurance for a high-value home and its underwriting partner Rock Ridge Insurance Company, which provides the capacity to settle claims.

Openly also bucks the trend of insurtechs looking to save money by cutting insurance agents out of the loop — instead aiming to use them as a sales funnel and providing the tools to offer more accurate quotes.

Openly CEO and co-founder Ty Harris said: “Some people in the tech world think the term ‘insurance agent’ refers to a relic of the past — but they’re wrong.

“At Openly, we know agents add value by delivering objective advice and options to their clients, so our goal is to help agents as they work to modernise their businesses.

“We let them offer their customers better, faster and more economical products with comprehensive insurance protection for a wide range of needs.”

high-value home insurance
Gradient partner Zachary Bratun-Glennon (Credit: Gradient)

The investment came from Google’s AI-focused venture capital fund Gradient, as well as fellow early-stage investors Greenlight Re and PJC.

Gradient partner Zachary Bratun-Glennon said: “The expertise that Ty and Matt share makes them the perfect team to tackle the challenge of modernising home insurance.

“Openly offers a combination of pricing sophistication, cutting-edge technology, insurance expertise, and innovation that is unparalleled in the industry.”


Expanding coverage into 7 new states

Openly currently sells insurance to homeowners in Illinois and Arizona using a network of agents. 

But with the new funding, it hopes to expand coverage to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee in the next few months — along with four additional states in the near future.

Openly coverage enables a guaranteed replacement cost on homes up to $5 million, endorsements to cover home-sharing and optional coverage to insure losses arising from cyber bullying.

Flood and umbrella liability insurance are two optional additions the start-up hopes to include in its home insurance policies in the future.

Technology behind Openly high-value home insurance

Openly uses a network of insurance agents to sell coverage, giving each access to a quoting platform that chief marketing officer Steve Chauby claimed reduces the risk-assessment process from an industry-based average of roughly 50 questions to just three.

He said: “With three pieces of information — name, date of birth and property address — we’re able to pull from many different vendors and partners to capture a lot of the information agents would usually get from that long application process.”

high-value home insurance
The AI technology behind Openly aggregates satellite imagery on risk factors such as roof type (Credit: PxHere)

Similarly to UK insurtech Uinsure, which recently joined-up with disruptive mortgage start-up Mojo Mortgages, Openly collects the rest of the information on an applicant and their property from a range of public information sources and third-party services that collect satellite imagery.

All of this information is fed into a machine learning model, which calculates the risk of an applicant and outputs a price.

The ability to automate the quoting process — which Openly claimed takes less than 20 seconds — allows it to be “pretty competitive on pricing”, according to Chauby.