Bunker, a startup digital insurance broker focused on independent contractors and small businesses, has raised $6 million in Series A funding that will help fuel product development and expansion. Hiscox and American Family are among the backers.
Omidyar Network, a venture capital firm, led the round. New and previous investors including Comcast Ventures and Route 66 Ventures also participated, along with Hiscox and American Family. Additionally, Omidyar Network’s Rob Veres has joined Bunker’s board of directors.
Bunker disclosed a $2 million seed funding round in June, co-led by Comcast Ventures and Router 66 Ventures, and Hiscox and American Family’s venture arms also participated in the round.
Plans call for using the cash infusion “to create new and specialized insurance products for our customers, in addition to accelerating platform features and growth,” Bunker co-founder and CEO Chat Nitschke told Carrier Management via email.
The company will also add staff at its headquarters in San Francisco and its Madison, Wisconsin office.
Bunker disclosed the beta launch of its first product last October. It calls its free digital platform the first contract-related insurance marketplace, enabling it to deliver the exact business insurance policies at the moment they’re needed.
The company’s technology is designed to make it easier for gig workers, contractors and small businesses to be able to obtain the required insurance products they need in an affordable way. According to Bunker, the platform is structured to help simplify communication and management of complicated insurance requirements, even for insurance products not purchased through the platform.
In October, Nitschke described Bunker as “a modern digital broker/MGA …. That is hidden behind an enterprise Saas [Software as a Service] platform which automates the management of the insurance requirement process.”
Bunker, through its wholly owned subsidiary Bunker Protect Inc., is a licensed insurance broker in all 50 states. It also works with major insurance carriers “in building new and unique products,” the company said.
The small business digital selling space is attracting lots of attention, with some ventures pitched to niches and others serving broader audiences.
Last week, Next Insurance, a digital insurance broker for small to medium businesses, announced it had raised $29 million in a Series A funding round led by Munich Re/HSB Ventures along with Markel, Nationwide and other existing investors. Last December, Next partnered with Munich Re to launch a product targeting commercial photographers, who can pay for insurance on a monthly subscription basis. In January, Next partnered with specialty insurer Markel Corp. to offer tailored coverage for personal trainers.
Online agency CoverHound, which counts Chubb and American Family among its backers, began selling small business insurance online last September.
A number of insurers, including Starr and Berkshire Hathaway, have launched online small commercial insurance venues as well, while giant Allstate introduced a hi-tech business insurance quoting platform that it says makes it possible for small business owners to buy a policy in about five minutes.
American International Group Inc. and Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd. have plans to launch a U.S. small to medium commercial insurance market site.
A number of carriers have also joined the TrustedChoice.com online commercial insurance platform backed by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (Big “I”) to sell small business insurance.
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