ITA Spotlight: Kin Insurance
Monday, December 16, 2019
Posted by: Abbey Kwiat
Ruth Awad, Content Director, Kin Insurance
Meet Kin Insurance, the insurance company that thrives on empathy – and good ideas
In 25 words or less, what is Kin all about?
Kin Insurance is an insurtech startup and licensed insurance carrier that is fixing home insurance through intuitive tech, affordable pricing, and world-class customer service.
What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
Home insurance has a pretty bad reputation for being expensive, complicated, and outdated – we think it should be affordable, easy, and serve the real needs of today’s homeowners. By leveraging thousands of publicly available data points, Kin can recommend the appropriate coverage at affordable prices for homeowners – even those in catastrophe-prone regions that the insurance industry largely neglects.
How did you get started?
Our co-founders Sean Harper and Lucas Ward launched Kin in 2016 after asking themselves: what would homeowners insurance look like if a company truly served the customer? We’ve grown from a four-person team to 82 in a few short years. Though we started as an insurance provider in Florida, we are now a Florida home insurance carrier. That means we can create new products quickly and fully optimize the customer experience.
How has your company culture evolved as Kin has grown?
Some things about our culture haven’t changed since the beginning. Our motto is still: “Run through walls, but be chill about it.” In other words, take risks, be bold, learn what can be done better, but not at the expense of others. People will always be our first priority.
We also still believe in a simple governing practice: autonomy is key to job satisfaction. That’s why we say the person closest to the problem should solve it.
But as our startup has grown, the need to problem solve across departments has amplified, so collaboration has become a cornerstone of our culture. We have company-wide all hands meetings once a week where we discuss company progress and needs so everyone can get involved and offer up ideas, no matter their role.
Where do you see Kin in two years? Ten?
In two years, we’ll be available to homeowners in all states. We intend for Kin to be a brand that people know so well (in 10 years, hopefully) that it becomes an eponym for home insurance.
What’s the No. 1 thing on your to-do list?
We are growing rapidly – and that means we’re hiring. We’re looking for self-directed, bright, creative folks to join our sales and dev teams. We’re a good fit for you if you want to work for a startup that will empower you to effect real change in the insurance industry.
Why does Kin call Chicago its home?
Chicago, in our opinion, is the perfect place for an insurtech startup. The funding ecosystem is strong; six percent of the Chicago workforce is part of the financial ecosystem; its talent pool is top notch, especially when it comes to STEM graduates; it’s more affordable than Silicon Valley; and it has that Midwestern grit. Chicago forever.
What do you do to encourage constant growth and change for your employees?
We cultivate a culture of constant learning. Because the insurance industry is stuck in the last century, we’re innovating in a space largely untouched by tech. That means we have a lot of freedom to experiment and see what works – and what doesn’t. We encourage our team to pursue new ideas and to take on challenges.
We also give employees the resources and support they need to develop their skills through continuing education and to advance their careers within the company. We even let folks field test new roles in the company to see if it’s a good fit for everyone involved. Several of our employees have transitioned to roles in completely different departments this way.
What is the top reason employees would say they love working for Kin?
We reward hard work and good ideas and we treat each other like family.
What’s the coolest perk Kin’s office has?
Aside from the flexible vacation time, excellent health benefits, and continuing education support? Our employees really love the Bevi machine that supplies endless flavor combinations of sparkling water. You can even pick the intensity of the flavor! We take our food pretty seriously, too, and offer company-provided lunches once a month and regularly host potlucks so our team can flex their culinary skills.