At a time when unemployment is soaring, Ensurem, a Clearwater insurance brokerage, is hiring.
The insurtech has 145 total employees, including 88 agents. It plans to have 150 agents by October, said Dave Rich, founder and CEO.
Ensurem is among a handful of tech-enabled companies that are growing their employee base during the downturn, including InsideOut in St. Petersburg, KnowBe4 in Clearwater and BeniComp Health Solutions in Tampa.
Ensurem sells several types of insurance online, including Medicare Advantage policies and Medicare supplements. Rich, with 40 years of insurance industry experience, founded Ensurem in 2015 because he felt there was a better way to operate.
“The industry remains relatively antiquated on how it distributes product and how it communicates with customers. And also, the products have been around a long time, they haven’t changed much, and there’s not much digital activity in those products,” Rich said. “I felt we could build a company that could help fundamentally change the industry … and help the industry understand how people are searching for product. You don’t need an agent in all situations. A lot people want to buy digitally on their computer.”
While Covid-19 coronavirus was still years away when Ensurem launched, its business model has served it well during the pandemic.
The company takes an omni-channel approach, working with a variety of insurance companies on digital solutions, including marketing and product development. Ensurem has predictive analytic tools that help insurers with underwriting decisions and allow consumers to buy policies online at any time.
Ensurem is tapping an increasingly tech-savvy pool of retired and soon-to-retire seniors who are doing online searches for health insurance. Demand has been high, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“It’s difficult for (traditional) agents to go into a senior’s home because of the situation we’re in now, so we’re finding more people are searching online. Our contact rates are better because people are at home and they’re inquisitive. So you still have the same number of people that need to buy, but for part of the distribution and support arm – local agents – it’s more difficult for them to meet with people, so we’re finding success right now,” Rich said.
One challenge for Ensurem is the regulatory environment. “A core discipline we have is understanding what the [Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services] requires, making sure we are compliant, and also making sure it is compelling so someone clicks on it,” Rich said.
The company is aggressively recruiting for new agents and other employees using a virtual recruiting process, screening through online tools like Zoom, Rich said.
Most current employees are working from home, so Ensurem’s Clearwater office is available for training the new workers. Ensurem is limiting classes to 10 trainees at a time, seated eight to 10 feet apart in order to maintain safety.
In addition to agents, Ensurem employs full-stack coders, programmers, developers and other technologists, as well as compliance and administrative workers.
Ensurem plans to maintain its Clearwater presence while expanding throughout the area. The company will open a 28,000-square foot office at Ulmerton and Starkey roads in Largo by September that will serve as a home office, Rich said. It also plans a 12,000-square-foot contact center in New Port Richey.