Wayne Slavin, CEO of the insurtech Sure, doesn't think that insurance startups can always do a better job of underwriting coverage than incumbent carriers. The goal of his startup is to complement what insurers do.

“What startups and insurers do well is not antagonistic. It’s compatible,” Slavin says. “Startups make tech and insurers are good at risk and staying around a long time.”

Founded in 2014, Sure offers a mobile distribution platform to carriers whose legacy systems impede business modernization and make it hard to attract new customers. Its tech relies on machine learning for risk analysis to a small degree, but it is its distribution engine that is at the forefront, Slavin says.

Upon signup, users are geo-located to determine what coverages are offered in their state. A few questions later, customers are provided with three insurance plans. Sure’s carrier partners, including Chubb, Nationwide and MetLife, provide policy fulfillment documents after purchase. The insurtech has secured 20 insurance partnerships in the last 18 months.

More on: Nationwide’s partnership with Sure

About 20 engineers make up Sure’s staff, which sells travel, baggage, used smartphone and renters’ insurance for carriers. The company will soon add life insurance to the mix.

“We are on march to launch all lines except health [insurance],” said Slavin, adding Sure first sold travel insurance to prove itself to future partners. “Travel is a low-cost product to customers that is sold at the same rate no matter the age.”

The strategy provided Sure with a better understanding of risk and real-market data to pitch insurers.

“They were impressed we already had sown results,” said Slavin. “We went to them with data, saying 'This is how people want to buy this product, and how your offerings will look on our mobile app.'”

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