Ty Sagalow has been called the Godfather of Insurtech. Today. Innovation Insurance Group provides consulting, underwriting and management services to a number of InsurTech companies. Mr. Sagalow is currently the Co-Founder & Chief Insurance Officer of Insurtech MGA/Broker Assurely. He also holds board, senior advisory or partnership positions with a number of other insurtech ventures including RELM Insurance Ltd, Evertas, Invictus Underwriters and Insurmedix.
Ty recently discussed Assurely in a December 2021 Insurtech Leadership podcast:
However, Ty’s love of InsurTech, and its love of him. all began in May of 2015 with Lemonade. Mr. Sagalow is a founding member and the founding Chief Insurance Officer of Lemonade (as well as founding Chief Executive Officer of Lemonade Insurance Company). Lemonade, the first insurance carrier InsurTech company, has been called the “Uber of Insurance” and is credited by many with starting the InsurTech revolution in the United States. He continued on the board of Lemonade Insurance Company until the expiration of his term in September 2019.
The Lemonade Story
In May of 2015, two entrepreneurs named Daniel Schreiber, the former President of Powermat, and Shai Wininger, the CEO and Founder of Fiverr, wanted to create a new type of insurance company. Based on cutting edge artificial intelligence and new theories of behavioral economics, this “new type of insurance company” would completely disrupt the current insurance industry.
The problem was that neither of them knew anything about insurance.
So, they needed an insurance expert with decades of experience but one that could think out of the box. They found Ty Sagalow and Innovation Insurance Group.
Backed by the largest seed investment in Israel’s history from VC powerhouse Sequoia Capital (the money behind Apple, Instragram, Paypal, among many others) along with Aleph, Lemonade was born, hoping to prove that when it comes to insurance, when “Life gives you Lemons, You Create Lemonade”, turning insurance from a necessary evil back to a social good.
Taking a new enterprise not associated with any existing insurance carrier from a concept on a white board to an actual licensed and functioning insurance carrier was no easy task. In fact, it had never been done.
As the newly chosen Chief Insurance Officer, Mr. Sagalow had to:
- Staff the company (underwriting, claims, finance, legal etc.)
- Find and execute the proper reinsurance
- Work the CTO (a co-founder) in making sure the technology used for underwriting, claims, back office administration etc worked from multiple perspectives
- Negotiate with insurance regulators all over the country and ultimately obtain licenses to operate throughout the country.
Each of these tasks had substantial challenges. For example, how do you find, and then convince, seasoned insurance professionals to leave their cozy traditional insurance companies and work for a startup? How do you convince reinsurers and additional investors to trust and join in the “lemonade experiment”? How do you convince insurance regulators to give a brand new insurance carrier a license to operate?
Yet it was all done.
In less than a year, Lemonade was staffed with seasoned insurance professionals, along with the the world’s top coders and technology professionals, obtained high quality reinsurance from the some of the best reinsurers in the world, obtained an A rating, and, most importantly, was provided a license to operate in its first state, New York, a state historically known to be among the toughest insurance regulators in the country.
Then came Illinois and California, and more than a dozen more states. One year after getting its license in New York, Lemonade was licensed in states representing more than half of the U.S. population. Operating now in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas and California, Lemonade now adds 2,000+ new policyholders ever week to its homeowner’s insurance business. And, according to google, has captured more than 1% of the NY renters market in 9 months.
In September 2020, Lemonade went public on the New York Stock Exchange in what was the largest tech IPO of the year.
So Now What?
With the job of going from “zero to one” firmly done, Ty Sagalow went back into the life he loved before Lemonade, consulting. Soon enough, his next adventure arose and in late 2017 he co-founded with David Carpentier, Assurely, an Insurtech MGA/Broker which provides underwriting and brokerage services specializing in emerging risks. Today, Assurely is the MGA for several insurance carriers in the financial, real estate and collectibles space.
In addition, Mr. Sagalow assists other InsurTech companies in his role as a board member, senior partner or special advisor like Relm Insurance Ltd. (a Bermuda based insurance carrier specializing in difficult to place risks and emerging exposures), Evertas (a crypto-currency insurance company), Insurmedix (an Israeli based heathcare company providing insurance backed fertility services) and Invictus Underwriters (an MGA insuring accident and health insurance for professional jockeys, among others great (and to be great) companies.
- “The Making of Lemonade” Book by Ty Sagalow
- Relm Insurance Ltd
- Invictus Underwriters