Insurance For Natural Disasters
Jumpstart offers insurance coverage for natural disasters.
It’s the first company offering what’s known as “parametric insurance.” This consists of a lump sum paid to each customer immediately after an insurable event.
Rather than spending time filling out paperwork and waiting weeks for financial assistance, victims of natural disasters can receive payment immediately.
The company is led by Founder Kate Stillwell, who has 20 years expertise studying the science and risk of natural disasters, particularly earthquakes.
She was a fellow at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the former President of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California.
More than 40 million Americans live in an earthquake zone. Another 50 million are exposed to natural disasters like floods. Worldwide, the opportunity for insuring those living in these high-risk areas is $180 billion.
California alone represents a $6 billion opportunity. This is Jumpstart’s initial target market. Earthquakes aren’t typically covered under traditional insurance policies. In fact, 9 out of 10 people lack this coverage.
Furthermore, a majority of Americans don’t have enough to cover a $500 surprise expense. Even 40% of those with high annual incomes — more than $100,000 — have less than $1,000 in savings.
When a natural disaster strikes, the majority of people aren’t ready for the financial destruction that occurs. Jumpstart offers a solution to this problem.
The company provides a financial cushion, i.e., a “jumpstart,” after the shock of a natural disaster. Here’s how it works:
Users sign up for a Jumpstart policy through its website or mobile platform, and pay a monthly premium of around $20.
In the event of an earthquake, the company uses data from the U.S. Geological Survey to determine which customers fall under what’s called the “red zone.” Those customers are automatically contacted by Jumpstart and told they’re eligible for an insurance payout.
Once the customer verifies their eligibility, they receive a payment directly into their bank account.
Payments are made by Lloyd’s of London, an insurance company. Jumpstart retains 20% to 30% of customers’ monthly premiums as commission, and remits the remainder of the funds to Lloyd’s. This company bears 100% of responsibility to make post-disaster payouts to customers.
Jumpstart has raised more than $1 million from investors, including InsureTech Gateway, an incubator for early-stage companies, and Berkeley Angel Network.
The company began selling its product direct to consumers in October 2018. And 60% of its sales growth comes from word-of-mouth referrals. The company has top customer reviews on Yelp and Clearsurance. For example:
Molly, a renter in Napa, California, said of Jumpstart, “It’s a no-brainer.” And Kathy, a homeowner in Brentwood, California, said “There is no catch.”
While the majority of its initial customers are individuals, Jumpstart will start focusing on business-to-business channels. Potential customer pipelines include employers (who could offer the service to employees), real estate companies, insurance companies, and financial services companies.
Jumpstart’s future plans also include expanding into countries like Chile and Japan.
Kate has 20 years of experience researching the science and risk of earthquakes.
She is the co-founder of the U.S. Resiliency Council, an organization dedicated to promoting adequate building construction design, and co-founder of the Global Earthquake Model Foundation.
She is a licensed structural engineer, and a registered Disaster Service Worker in California.
During her career, Kate has served as President of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California, and a fellow at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s in Civil Engineering from Stanford, and an MBA from University of California, Berkeley.
Before joining Jumpstart, Sally worked for nearly nine years at Swiss Re (OTCMKTS: SSREF), a global insurance company.
While there, she held roles including client manager, senior client manager, and sales leader.
Christine spent seven years as a web developer for Snake Charmer Media, a San Francisco-based online media company.
She was a freelance full stack developer for four years, developing websites for businesses and non-profits across multiple industries.
She earned an Associate’s degree in Computer Science from College of San Mateo, and studied at The University of Texas at Austin.
A group of angel investors consisting of alumni and faculty of UC Berkeley.
An incubator program for technology startups focused on the insurance industry.