Home Startup Hippo to Sell Policies for Businesses, Groups

Hippo Enterprises Inc., the startup planning to merge with a blank-check company that counts LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman as a director, is expanding beyond home insurance into commercial coverage.

The company created a homeowners-association policy and is working on insurance for condominium associations, single-family rentals and other potential customers, Hippo said Thursday in a statement. The homeowners-association policy is available in Arizona, and Hippo plans to expand it to states including Nevada and Oregon.

Hippo, which was founded in 2015 and sells products in 37 states, has focused for years on selling home insurance to individuals, and recently built out a home-maintenance platform helped by the acquisition of Sheltr in 2019. The push into commercial insurance is a natural extension of the company’s focus on covering homeowners, according to Hippo President Rick McCathron.

“Homeownership is not just the physical walls where you live, but it’s also the community that you’re within,” McCathron said in an interview.

In March, Hippo agreed to a merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Z, in a transaction that values the combined entity at $5 billion. A shareholder meeting to vote on the agreement is set for July 29.

Hippo had been working on the commercial expansion before the deal with the blank-check company came together, according to McCathron. The startup hired JoAnne Artesani almost a year ago to help build out the business.

“Our target is to really deliver a better underwriting experience, which should result in superior risk selection,” Artesani, Hippo’s director of commercial lines, said in an interview. “Which, of course, is directly related to our ability to provide favorable pricing for those customers.”

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