Brazilian digital insurance company Pier is now issuing its own policies following a $14.5 million Series A round of funding.
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The company started with insurance for auto and smartphones and that provides coverage without a grace period or deductible costs and that can be contracted entirely online, Igor Mascarenhas, co-founder and CEO, told Crunchbase News.
“In Brazil, people don’t usually have insurance, but we believe that people can love insurance,” Mascarenhas said. “When something happens, though, when they read their contract, they find they are not covered for that instance. In our case, we changed the product to be transparent and show what they are buying. There is also a better experience with the claims so it is fast and easy.”
Marcos de Toledo Leite, managing partner and co-founder of Canary, said in an interview that Canary was one of Pier’s early investors, typically being one of the first to invest institutional money in a company while they are often still pre-operational.
“We knew Igor from the whole ecosystem here and knew he had a team researching the insurance industry for a long time,” he said. “We had not seen anything insurtech yet, so we set to invest in Pier. We are interested in founders focused on solving big problems in Brazil, and Igor attracted a strong team and is tackling one of those sectors.”
The average time to receive claims is 24 hours, but can be as low as minutes. He went on to say that buying a smartphone in Brazil is an investment–it can cost thousands of dollars to purchase a phone–and there is a high potential that your phone could be stolen, according to Statista.
Pier was authorized in October by Brazil’s private insurance agency, Susep, through Sandbox, a program created to bring modernization, technology and data intelligence to the insurance market in the country. Now Pier can write its own policies and launch new products.
The smartphone market is big in Brazil. Statista estimates that 45.5 million units were shipped in the county in 2019. Pier now has more than 16,000 members, as well as 100,000 more on the waiting list for smartphone and car insurance, Mascarenhas said.
Pier will put the new funding to work on hiring more talent, technology development, marketing and underwriting risk.
“We are still an emerging country, and there are only 30 percent of people with car insurance, 10 percent with home insurance, and 2 percent with life insurance,” Mascarenhas said. “Insurance is 3.8 percent of GDP, while it is 11 percent in the United States. We have a huge opportunity to increase the penetration and believe our great experience will be responsible for that.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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