Check Founder Launches Next Insurance to Insure Small Businesses

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / schankzIt’s no secret insurance is difficult for consumers to understand, and small business insurance is even more complicated than personal insurance.

The founders of Check (formerly Pageonce) announced today they are taking on this problem with a startup called Next Insurance. Pageonce launched in 2007 to help consumers keep track of their financial lives, and changed its name to Check in 2013 when it introduced payment capabilities.

Those payment capabilities proved to be important — despite revenue of just $15 million, Check sold for $400 million to Intuit in 2014, and was folded into its Mint personal financial management product.

CEO and co-founder of Pageonce/Check, Guy Goldstein, along with company veterans Nissim Tapiro and Alon Huri, are now taking their startup skills to the small business space. Goldstein told Bank Innovation that while the personal insurance market has seen a wave of startups recently, the commercial side is “wide open — there’s not much new there.”

Next Insurance will launch “in the spring,” Goldstein said, but did not share a specific date. The company will target small to medium businesses, up to about 30 employees, and has $13 million in seed funding to get started.

The lack of innovation so far may be due to the insurance needs of businesses being quite disparate. “If you’re a lawyer in New York, a barber in Arkansas, or an architect in San Francisco, your needs are different,” Goldstein said. The common denominator, unfortunately, is complexity, and this is precisely what Next intends to take on. Businesses often need to purchase several different kinds of insurance, and deductibles and limits are anything but clear. The second major problem is that nothing is online — the business is dominated by agents and getting transparent quotes is near-impossible.

Next Insurance will not be a marketplace, Goldstein said. It will recommend specific products rather than asking users to compare, because comparison is an exercise in futility because of the lack of transparency in all aspects of the business. “It is nearly impossible to compare between different options, beside price,” Goldstein said.

Initially the company will launch with a licensed insurer as partner. “The journey is starting with partnerships,” Goldstein said, “but eventually we would like to own the end-to-end customer experience ourselves. We might underwrite, later.”

He is not intimidated by the recent boom in insurtech — just the opposite. “Yes, there are a lot of startups in the space,” he said. “But it’s great, we’re each attacking a different problem. We’re competing with the agents, with the old way of doing things, not with each other.”

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