When a CEO makes his cell number readily available to customers, you know there’s a level of trust within the company. When California was hit with one of the most destructive fire seasons in history last year, Hippo Insurance CEO, Assaf Wand, shared his personal email and phone number to customers, so the homeowners knew that he, and his company, were there for them and ready to help.
Insurance companies aren’t typically known for such a close connection. It’s something the Israel-born Wand doesn’t get when it comes to business and making sure your customers know you are there for them every step of the way—even if it means literally by cell phone.
Launched in 2015 by Wand and Eyal Navon, Hippo is a $1 billion homeowners insurance startup that offers modern, automated coverage covering homes, possessions, and more. This July, the company raised $100 million pushing it into “unicorn” (startup valued at $1 billion or more) status with backing from investors like Comcast, Bond, and Lennar.
Hippo’s modern approach to insurance is also a factor in its success. Customers can purchase insurance anyway they’d like—whether mobile phone, live chat or phone. The company also pays close attention to individual claims with a 24-hour concierge service, which will set up customers in a hotel, hire cleaning crews, or any other services needed following whatever emergency impacts their home.
One thing that sets Hippo apart from other home insurance companies is that they have “customers,” not “policy holders,” which Wand made clear in a recent Fortune interview.
The company is currently active in 20 states and wants to expand to 50 by the end of 2021, according to Wand. Being proactive is more important than being reactive when it comes to giving customers valuable, home protection. Hippo also gives all customers a Smart Home Monitoring System with a motion and smoke sensors and provides an annual check up including cleaning gutters, checking air filters, and other monitoring to identify any risks and prevent future issues.
When asked how he plans to keep business moving past competitor Lemonade, Wand simply believes it all comes down to determination. “It's not the people with the biggest pockets that are actually winning,” he said. “It's the people with the most passion.”