Hippo Partners with Xfinity to Expand Reach Across the U.S.
Comcast Ventures invests resources into portfolio companies by providing access to innovative partnership opportunities
Traditional home insurance carriers often provide overpriced coverage that is difficult to buy and becomes outdated quickly. This is not because of the well-meaning people driving the industry, but because of the blunt legacy technology that has been used to underpin these businesses.
Hippo, a California-based insurance technology company, is attempting to remake the industry by providing homeowners with better, more affordable, modern home insurance that leverages smart home technology, modern data analytics, and a maniacal focus on customer service.
Comcast Ventures backs extraordinary teams with innovative ideas to transform industries.
In 2017, we led Hippo’s Series B financing round. We also invested resources to help the company launch a strategic partnership with Xfinity. This case study examines the challenges faced, opportunities for innovation, and the results of this unique partnership.
Outdated approach for modern customers
Many traditional home insurers’ coverage doesn’t match the needs of consumers today; for example, they provide an over-abundance of coverage for antiquated possessions and not enough for the modern consumer’s gadgets (you are likely covered for paper stock certificates and pewter, yet your smart TV is likely underinsured). Policies haven’t changed because they’ve been profitable to insurance companies.
In 2015, Assaf Wand and Eyal Navon co-founded Hippo with the goal to fundamentally redesign home insurance. Navon is a veteran CTO with an extensive background in software engineering and R&D while Wand comes from a financial background but also says that he was inspired by his father’s career in insurance to create Hippo. Assaf and Eyal discovered that 60% of U.S. homeowners are underinsured and set out to create a solution. As they examined the home insurance industry closer, they found the industry was extremely outdated with business model constraints, legacy technology, and poor user experiences and customer service.
Hippo first considered relying on off-the-shelf insurance policy management software to buttress the business, but quickly determined existing solutions weren’t flexible enough to support a re-imagined business. By building from the ground up, Hippo has been able to completely modernize the buying experience. Moreover, post-purchase, they have led the industry by leveraging trusted public data sources and offer customers smart home technology solutions to mitigate losses, always-on underwriting technology to proactively update the product to meet consumer needs, and pioneered a claims concierge team, which vastly improves upon the claims process.
“Insurance has typically been a static product, with a set-it-and-forget-it mindset for customers,” says Wand. “We’re evolving home insurance into a responsive product that customers can rely on regularly to better protect their homes and families’ possessions. Leading with smart home integrations and protective services for our customers, Hippo homeowners are better protected and insured.”
Buying home insurance online or over the phone has been complex and time-consuming in the past, requiring a lot of your time answering 60+ questions about your house that you likely do not know the answers to. Hippo revolutionizes the application as well as the underwriting, policy, and claims process. The result is a better customer experience and what we believe will be a significantly more profitable business model with savings passed on to the homeowner.
Here’s where and how Hippo innovates:
Leveraging trusted public data sources — Hippo taps into third-party data sources to streamline the application process and provide more accurate underwriting. For example, the common “What is your roof material?” insurance application question can be omitted because Hippo already has the data through third-party data sources. The 60 questions your incumbent carrier asks have been reduced to only a few questions.
Loss mitigation — Hippo’s customer-first focus orients the team to think about loss mitigation from the start. Policyholders receive a complimentary smart home kit, which helps detect water leaks and smoke alarms. These increasingly effective tools give consumers peace of mind and help protect what is often their most valuable asset. Moreover, Hippo’s control center is always monitoring and alerting the customer base for unique risks.
During last year’s California Camp Fire disaster, the Hippo team was communicating with customers well in advance to advise and ensure everyone was safe. For those whose properties were in the blaze’s path, Hippo was taking care of things like lodging.
Proactively monitoring and managing homes — Hippo uses sources like satellite imagery to proactively analyze roof conditions every 6–12 months instead of every five years to understand potential damage or heat leakage — and provide homeowners affordable solutions and associated risks. Similarly, Hippo can understand whether you’ve installed a pool in your yard and how that event impacts a customer’s profile.
Better user experience — Hippo truncates the traditionally long application (frequently 60+ questions) to a few simple questions because Hippo leverages existing data. The result: Hippo customers can receive an initial, accurate quote in 60 seconds and complete their purchase in less than 5 minutes. Furthermore, through the proactive monitoring, users benefit from a lower cost policy to the tune of up to 25% in savings.
Where home insurance and Xfinity come together
In 2013, Comcast first entered the Smart Home market with their home security product, Xfinity Home. Subsequently, over the past several years, the company has seen increased adoption of smart home devices by their customers. As smart home automation continued to rise, it started to become apparent to David Wechsler, Executive Director of Business and Channel Partnerships at Xfinity, that there was a convergence of insurance and the connected smart home.
“Insurance is the ideal use case for the smart home,” says Wechsler. “Smart home technologies can help alert you to traditional home losses caused by leaks, fires, and thefts before they cause damage. Insurance companies ultimately want the consumers to have peace of mind, which is the same goal of the smart home. The synergy is so strong that insurance companies will now pay for consumers to have smart home technologies.”
Why partner with an insurance provider like Hippo
Given Xfinity’s existing role in millions of homes, Wechsler saw the tremendous opportunity for Xfinity to become a partner in the insurance ecosystem.
Xfinity saw many benefits of teaming up with Hippo including savings of up to 25% on home insurance costs for Xfinity customers. Additionally, Xfinity customers could receive even more value from the smart home technologies like sensors, cameras, smoke alarms, and water-leak detection devices in their homes; and in doing so, reduce losses caused by fire and water damage.
The smart home insurance partnership: Xfinity and Hippo
Hippo and Xfinity launched a jointly developed product and co-marketing program to bring all the benefits of modern insurance to Xfinity customers in 2018. With messaging targeted to smart home enthusiasts, Hippo is currently marketed to Xfinity customers in overlapping footprints across 15 states via direct mail, email, and the Xfinity Home mobile app.
In addition, commercials for Hippo and the Hippo + Xfinity Partnership ran through Forecast Labs, which is Comcast Ventures’ program to help portfolio companies drive awareness using our media reach.
“The differentiated distribution is significant because it gives Hippo unique access to promotional channels and tactics that nobody can easily buy,” says Sam Landman, Managing Director at Comcast Ventures. “Forecast Labs has unique assets that have proven to accelerate the growth of many of Comcast Ventures’ portfolio companies. We believe and have since validated that these assets could give Hippo a unique advantage in the market.”
Results of partnership
Xfinity customers who buy insurance through the Hippo partnership are highly engaged customers who recognize that smart home is the future.
There are initial indications that this partnership is working:
- Higher NPS among Xfinity customers who purchase a Hippo policy
- Xfinity/Hippo customers are adopting the smart home kits at a 10% higher adoption rate than the remaining Hippo customers
- Increased value of Xfinity, as premium discount is exclusive to subscribers
“The partnership gives customers who want to try smart home an opportunity to test IoT devices while rewarding customers already with smart homes. Ultimately, it’s the customer who is the beneficiary of this partnership,” says Wechsler.
Looking to the future
“We’re just scratching the surface of how customers can use smart home technology to save money. Giving customers control of the Smart Home is the future and we’re excited to be part of this significant change that is impacting insurance and the way we live,” adds Wechsler.