Insurify Launches to Take the Hassle Out of Comparing Car Insurance Quotes

All it takes is texting a photo of your license plate to Evia, an intelligent virtual agent.

Insurify Quotes

Insurify Quotes. Image provided.

Finding the best car insurance is now as simple as snapping a photo of your license plate, thanks to MIT spinout Insurify.

The startup launched out of beta Thursday with $2 million in seed funding for its online marketplace that allows consumers to compare quotes from more than 80 insurance carriers, including Travelers, The General, and Nationwide. The real magic, however, is what’s under the hood.

“What looks like a simple user interface is powered by analytics,” says Insurify cofounder and former MIT Sloan Fellow Snejina Zacharia. “And then there’s Evia.”

Evia is a virtual insurance agent customers can communicate with in real-time. Simply send a photo of your license plate and Evia, built on machine learning and natural language processing, will respond via text message with the most affordable quotes and packages, based on your driving history, risk profile, and specific needs—and without all the technical insurance jargon.

It’s a tool Zacharia, the former director of business development at Gartner, wished she’d had during her final days at MIT Sloan in 2013. It was then she experienced a significant premium increase and started researching new carriers.

“I was shocked by how completely dysfunctional the shopping experience was,” Zacharia says. “I had to compare quotes from different sites and talk with multiple agents.”

She spent a year building relationships in the industry, trying to educate insurance companies on Insurify’s business model. Rather than serve as an agent or lead generator, Zacharia posed the tool as a technology or marketing partner.

“We’re far more sophisticated than the other companies in the marketplace,” Zacharia claims. “The reason for that is that we’re coming to the industry as a technology company. We’re not a company that is trying to build technology but is founded by insurance people.”

Zacharia likens the Insurify experience to how you might search for a hotel on Boston-based sites Kayak or TripAdvisor—and the team she assembled reflects that. Her head of engineering comes from TripAdvisor, and her board of directors includes the chief technology officer of Kayak.

With the company’s $2 million in seed funding, led by Rationalwave Capital Partners, Insurify will be focused on building additional back-end features to the site, as well as optimizing Evia “to make it this super powerful insurance agent.”

“We’re trying to bring insurance to the next level,” Zacharia says. “We have an amazing opportunity to leverage what we know other industries have built, and want to create a big brand that’s able to bring every carrier under the same roof.”