Redefining the Point of Sale for Small Business Insurance
Bunker, a San Francisco-based insurance technology startup, announced today the US launch of its platform. Their initial private beta program labeled ‘Project Greenbrier’ is changing the way insurance is distributed to independent contractors and small businesses.
Bunker is the first ever contract-related insurance marketplace, providing tangible value beyond existing online or brick & mortar business insurance offerings. First, the Bunker platform helps enterprises better understand how to link insurance requirements for independent contractors, suppliers, and partners to the actual financial exposure. Second, it makes it easier for gig workers, contractors, and small businesses to affordably fulfill those requirements (providing insurance products). Finally, Bunker simplifies communication and management of complicated insurance requirements, even for insurance products not purchased through their platform. Organizations interested in joining the beta can reach out directly to the team at buildbunker.com.
“We started this journey over a year-and-a-half ago. At that point, we knew it was a problem, but underestimated the scope,” explains Chad Nitschke, Co-Founder and CEO of Bunker.
“Between then and now, we’ve talked to and built relationships with hundreds of extremely passionate enterprise brands, small businesses and independent contractors to understand both sides of the market. We’re very grateful to those companies and individuals that have helped us, by literally allowing us to work alongside them in breaking the existing process down and building from scratch how it should work. Each of them has influenced every step of our progress,” says Nitschke.
This initial beta program is focusing on the 1099/independent contractor industry, which accounts for nearly a third (29-32%) of today’s total workforce and is expected to grow to anywhere from 45%-50% by the end of 2017 (Ardent Partners). Through discovery and alpha-testing, three initial areas have emerged as massive pain points in this vertical:
- Insurance Requirements: In 2015, $792 billion of revenue was generated in the US from contingent work (Staffing Industry Analysts). The insurance requirements for this workforce are often passed down from requirements set decades ago, regardless of the service being provided or scope of the contract. The companies leveraging the contingent workforce need a better way to understand and apply appropriate levels of insurance to this unique and growing workforce.
- Insurance Process Management: There were 44 million contingent workers in the US in 2015 (Staffing Industry Analysts). Imagine trying to onboard, manage, audit, and communicate with all of them regarding their insurance requirements. Everyone involved needs greater clarity defining the steps in the process and concrete measures to gauge progress, communicate roadblocks, and speed the engagement process.
- Compliance Management: Nearly 60% of all contingent labor is unaccounted for in financial planning, forecasting, and budgeting within the average company (Ardent Partners), and those that are accounted for often fall short of insurance requirements. Contingent workforce managers need more transparency into their contractor’s insurance procurement, coverage, and policy duration.
In addition to providing software for organizations that require and manage insurance, Bunker is a licensed insurance broker & MGA. This allows them to deliver small business products from leading insurance carriers, in addition to building entirely new insurance products tailored more specifically to certain buyer’s needs.
“Our message is simple – if you find the process of insurance requirements painful and frustrating, we’re here to help,” Nitschke explains. “We’re changing the point of sale for commercial insurance products, reducing friction, confusion – and ultimately delivering the exact policy at the moment it’s needed. Insurance shouldn’t be this hard.”
Any company that manages a large contingent workforce is encouraged to subscribe to the Bunker newsletter at buildbunker.com for product updates, ideas on reducing corporate compliance risk, and contract-related insurance best practices.