Last updated November 25th 2018

Israeli-founded insurtech startup Hippo, which uses modern tech to provide proactive and comprehensive homeowners insurance, announced late last week that it raised a $70 million funding round co-led by Felicis Ventures and Lennar Corporation, the nation’s leading homebuilder, with participation from existing investors including Horizon Ventures, Comcast Ventures, and Fifth Wall.

Hippo allows homeowners to get a quote and purchase home insurance online in a minute or less, save up to 25 percent on premiums, and obtain smarter coverage for household goods like appliances and consumer electronics. Founded in January 2015, Hippo is led by Israeli-born CEO Assaf Wand, and CTO Eyal Navon. It made its debut in the insurance marketplace in April 2017, and has raised $109 million to date to reinvent home insurance.

Amid the growth round, the Mountain View, California-based company has also been reaching out to its clients in Northern California who have been affected by the devastating wildfires that started 10 days ago, and which have so far claimed the lives of over 70 people with more than 1,300 unaccounted for. The Camp Fire, as it is called, started on November 8 and has destroyed some 10,000 homes and torched 233 square miles (603 square kilometers), according to the latest reports.

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Forbes reported on Wednesday that, using maps and artificial intelligence, Hippo “canvased all 14 million home in California to develop a specific fire zone footprint against the current wildfire,” and “with the wildfires spreading quickly and changing direction at any time, Hippo wanted to ensure its customers had enough time to evacuate.”

“Instead of waiting for the claims to pour in, agents at the company contacted 100 percent of its customers in active wildfire areas over the weekend to offer help from booking hotels to covering temporary living expenses. It was also able to preemptively file claims for more than 80 percent of its impacted customers before they reached out to Hippo. The response from customers, not surprisingly, was appreciation and relief, all the things insurance is supposed to provide but hasn’t for scores of people impacted by natural disasters and other calamities,” according to the report.

USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations team deployed after the Camp Fire swept through nearby communities including Paradise, Magalia and Concow in Northern California. Forest Service photo by Tanner Hembree <a href="" target="_blank">via Flickr</a>

USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations team deployed after the Camp Fire swept through nearby communities including Paradise, Magalia and Concow in Northern California. Forest Service photo by Tanner Hembree via Flickr

Hippo said in a statement on Wednesday that it will use the new funding to expand product footprint, accelerate North America adoption, and launch new services to transform customer experiences. The company claims its services are accessible to more than 50 percent of the US homeowner population, and expects that number to grow to more than 60 percent by the end of the year.

“Our heavy focus on customer experience for every client, from first-time homeowners to home insurance experts, has been one of the keys to our success,” said Wand in a company statement. “From a client’s first interaction with us, to our regular coverage tracking, we always keep their needs in mind. We’re eager to expand our footprint, launch new products and bring our incredible customer service to clients nationwide.”

“Hippo has set the bar for the future of insurance with its fully automated, proprietary policy management and proactive underwriting,” said Victoria Treyger, managing director at Felicis Ventures and member of the Hippo Board of Directors. “The company leverages thousands of data points to underwrite customers in minutes and proactively monitors and alerts homeowners when key repairs or weather protection is needed to safeguard their most important asset. Insurance is in the early stages of undergoing the dramatic transformation of customer experience and improved risk management enabled by access to real-time data. We see Hippo’s current growth rate and powerful automated policy management system as the foundation to driving this transformation.”

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Eric Feder, senior Lennar executive, said “Hippo has clearly captured the direct to consumer home insurance market with their efficient product, modern coverage and customer friendly approach. This investment marks the beginning of our relationship with Hippo and reflects our enthusiasm for exploring opportunities to streamline and improve the insurance process for our home buyers.”

Feder will also join the Hippo Board of Directors.

Brendan Wallace, co-founder and managing partner at Fifth Wall, said “homebuying is the engine of the American economy, but the process for acquiring homeowners insurance – a requirement for most homeowners – has been predominantly analog, arduous and inefficient. This game-changing partnership is a great example of how a real estate incumbent like Lennar can influence innovation cycles in the market – by integrating with a best-in-class startup to move the industry forward.”