CHAPEL HILL – As drones gain more acceptance worldwide for a growing variety of uses, from agriculture to surveillance and racing, a Triangle startup led by a former CEO of Raleigh-based drone firm PrecisionHawk and two other executives with drone experience is offering insurance for the people and companies operating them.

But drones are just one part of the portfolio at Chapel Hill-based REIN, which provides a database platform to create customized insurance products. And it is off to a flying start. REIN on Thursday announced it has raised $7.3 million in venture funding led by Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures and Kiplin Capital.

Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures is the venture capital arm of Liberty Mutual’s U.S. Consumer Markets business. Liberty Mutual is one of the largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S.

REIN photo

Jason Griswold

Other investors include Christopher Ellis, Managing Director at AvPro, Inc.; Bert Roberts, former CEO of MCI; Anderson Bell, Senior Executive, AvPro, Inc.; and individual  investors.

REIN Chief Operating Officer Jason Griswold and President Steve Rabbitt, who are veterans of the drone industry, formed the insurtech company in 2015. The company joins a growing number of insurtech startups that are, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, offering simpler products and streamlined customer experience targeting millennials.

The company is led by another drone industry veteran, Christopher Dean, cofounder and former CEO and president of PrecisionHawk, a commercial drone technology company based in Raleigh.

“REIN was constructed to unlock new, next-generation insurance product opportunities,” Dean says. “Our platform fills a gap by providing a tool set needed to better understand and deliver insurance solutions to our increasingly connected world. Those tools will then help deliver insurance products into large online ecosystems, turn a profit on usage-based products, and support insurtech products in IoT- [Internet of Things] related verticals.”

The company’s first product is

“Control your insurance online and on-demand,” the DroneInsurance website says.

“Schedule Flight Liability Coverage for as little as a day or as long as a year.”

The firm offers $1 million to $25 million of flight liability coverage, and coverage is scheduled “when you need it, for as little as a day or as long as a year,” the website explains. “You can even add coverage the same day, it’s in your hands.”

With the launch of the product, the company’s executives believe they are addressing a growing and unmet need within the drone industry, said Griswold.

REIN photo

Chris Dean

“We are solving a problem for commercial drone operators, providing them accessibility to coverage they can’t get elsewhere,” he explained. “Coverage that includes more episodic and hybrid choices.”

How does it work?

According to Griswold, the REIN platform allows insurance companies to collect disparate data and then output it in a way that allows an actuarial or underwriter to understand emerging trends in emerging risk markets.

With the launch of it, the company will continue to grow its operations.

“REIN is an insurtech company that creates new insurance products within  online ecosystems, mobility and robotics.

“REIN’s platform makes it possible – and practical to accelerate insurtech product development, so you can quickly deploy scalable, flexible solutions designed to better select risk, price risk and distribute product,” the company says at its website.

“We’ve assembled a passionate, empowered team of pioneers and experts from the technology and insurance industries. Together, they combine deep product insight with advanced implementation expertise.”

REIN gains investor and advisor confidence

 As one of the leading REIN investors, Liberty Mutual said it was attracted to REIN’s commitment to change.

“We are excited to support REIN as they reinvent traditional business models,” said Brendan Smyth, Senior Vice President, Global Risk Solutions at Liberty Mutual. “Understanding emerging technologies and seamlessly delivering innovative and comprehensive risk solutions to our customers is at the core of Liberty Mutual’s mission.”

Other investors and advisors include representatives form Lyft and AvPro Jets.

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