Data Driven Futures

Autonomous vehicle InsurTech raises $5m

Written by Peter Walker

Autonomous vehicle InsurTech firm Avinew has announced $5 million in seed funding, with investment led by Crosscut and additional participation from American Family Ventures, Draper Frontier and RPM Ventures.

Through Avinew’s proposed insurance solutions, consumers and fleets who own vehicles equipped with autonomous and semi-autonomous capabilities will have access to insurance that will reward them for using their vehicle’s safety features. Currently, selected vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes, Ford, GM, Nissan, Audi, Volvo and more will be eligible.

Industry research from Accenture and Stevens Institute of Technology forecasts that insurance coverage for autonomous vehicles will bring $81 billion in new premiums to the US auto insurance industry by the end of 2026.

Avinew aims to use vehicle data to recreate the actuarial framework, redefine the partner ecosystem and reinvent the business model in a driverless world.

“The automotive industry is moving full-steam ahead with adding semi-autonomous and autonomous features to vehicles – as a result, the insurance industry is ripe for reinvention,” commented Michael Stankard, automotive practice leader at Aon. “There is a tremendous opportunity for insurers to embrace this technology and create new insurance programs that reward vehicle owners in the autonomous era.”

Avinew’s insurance programs, which are expected to be available later this year in select US states, will be autonomous-usage-based. The company uses AI and telematics to detect and measure when semi-autonomous or autonomous features are responsibly engaged to determine premium discount eligibility.

The company has successfully completed proof-of-concept pilots with two insurers. A pilot using Tesla vehicles resulted in high driver satisfaction using Tesla’s Autopilot function in conjunction with Avinew’s beta mobile app.

“The cars we drive are changing, and there’s a huge opportunity for auto insurance to change as technology helps our cars and roads become safer,” said Dan Peate, founder and chief executive of Avinew. “We believe providing consumers with insurance solutions that incentivize them to use features like Autopilot, Super Cruise, Co-Pilot 360, and ProPILOT Assist will make the roads safer for all of us.”

Peate, who also founded InsurTech startup Hixme, has brought together a consortium of executives to serve as the leadership of Avinew.

Jeremy Snyder, a 10-year Tesla veteran who served as the company’s head of global business development and special projects, has been appointed to serve as chief operating officer.

He joins general counsel and co-founder Mike Cassanego - an insurance industry veteran, serving as senior vice president, secretary and general counsel of 21st Century Insurance Group - and chief technology officer Randy Adams - who has held CTO and CEO positions in eight venture-backed startups with five successful exits.