One year ago we launched our modern renters insurance offering to all Californians. I expected it would be a bit of a crazy and challenging year, but I didn’t think 2020 would be, well… 2020. Still, our work in building a cooperative that makes insurance fair and affordable resonated with thousands of Californians whom we were honored to serve as new Goodcover members. Importantly, since most of our members have never been insured before, we’re glad we could bring them some much-needed financial peace of mind amidst the chaos of the year.
Here’s a recap of a historic year.
COVID-19 + Shelter-at-Home + Tenant Rights
We implemented several measures to help our members hardest hit by the pandemic — extended late payments, adjusted documentation requirements, and stayed fully operational without disruption as we all went remote. We rewarded our frontline workers with free coverage for the calendar year and gathered resources for tenants around rent relief and eviction rights.
We prepared to adjust our claims expectations for the new reality, diving into the crime data gathered during shelter-at-home orders for a glimpse of what to expect. There we found that while overall crime was actually down, thefts and break-ins were moving closer to home. More home break-ins were being recorded, and car break-ins followed the cars -- moving out of the city center to surrounding neighborhoods.
Wildfires + Evacuations
A difficult year was exacerbated by a record-setting wildfire season across California. More than 4.2 million acres burned, destroying over 10,000 structures, with a tragic loss of 33 individuals.
Insurance is an essential service and Goodcover is there for folks in times of need. While thankfully none of our members’ places burned down, we did pay our fair share of evacuations and clean-ups -- which of course is what we’re here to do!
Unfortunately, more frequent and larger wildfires are expected to be the norm across the globe. 2020 not only contained the largest wildfire recorded in California (dubbed the first ‘gigafire’ by scorching more than 1m acres) but also 5 of the top 10 fires ever recorded. As an insurance provider and as parents who want our kids to live on a safe, clean planet, we at Goodcover are committed to playing our part to help fix this.
Undoubtedly to mitigate catastrophic climate change, we’ll need societal-level solutions, from local activism to international agreements. However, insurance has an important part to play in divesting from carbon-intensive companies that are making the situation worse. Investing in community-based mitigation strategies, and advocating for broader political change is not just in the insurers’ interest, but in their policyholders’ and society’s as well. More to come on this in 2021.
Dividend for our Members
After paying out claims, we had leftover money we returned to our members through our annual Member Dividend. This is at the root of our cooperative model that treats members fair and maintains our promise of never overcharging. We operate as a modern cooperative for the benefit of members, and we think it’s how all insurance businesses should run.
Series A + Team Hiring
We capped off the year welcoming new partners who invested $7.5 million in our vision. With funding secured, we’ve accelerated our growth and are hiring across all departments (if you don’t see a job posted don’t hesitate to ping us directly firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s not just Goodcover that grew a lot this year, my family personally welcomed our third child in the summer, and my co-founder Dan celebrated his third as well - all in a pandemic! Both of us are incredibly lucky to have supportive spouses and supportive colleagues who all tolerate our often inadequate attempts to do all the things.
I’ve had a great time connecting with other startup founder parents and mentoring soon-to-be founder parents - if you are reading this and want to talk as a founder/parent starting a family/startup, I’d love to.
2021 and Beyond
Our priority is expanding to new states to make Goodcover insurance accessible to more people. Within a year, we plan to reach over 50% of American renters. In our quest to be a modern USAA-for-All we’re here for the long haul and have ambitious product plans to get us there. Fitting to quote Box CEO Aaron Levie, who recently said:
Playing the long game is so important in startups. Tomorrow we’re entering a product category we’ve been thinking about for nearly 10 years, because the time is finally right.
I’m excited about what we’ve been able to build in our first year of service and am looking forward to the years ahead. Thank you to our members, partners, investors, and community for everything you’ve done for us and for the honor of serving you.
Co-founder & CEO
Goodcover is a modern, fair, cooperative renters insurance starting at $5/mo.
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