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Ascend redefining the way insurance is bought and sold

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Ascend, the California-based insurance payments platform, has announced a $250-million lending commitment to finance insurance premium loans through its platform facilitated by Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd, doing its re/insurance business as HSCM Bermuda.

HSCM Ltd is an investment adviser that specialises in re/insurance, insurtech and transportation investments.

Ascend also announced that it raised a $30-million Series A in equity funding, bringing total funding raised to $39 million.

Ascend said HSCM Bermuda was among the new participants in the Series A funding, which was led by Index Ventures with participation from other new investors such as Distributed Ventures and its anchor limited partner, NFP, the tenth-largest property and casualty insurance brokerage globally, as well as XYZ Ventures and a series of strategic angel investors.

Among those investors, Ascend said, is Nathaniel Manning, the co-founder of Bermudian-based Kettle Insurance.

Also participating were existing investors First Round Capital, Susa Ventures and FirstMark Capital.

Ascend's payments APIs and no-code products automate insurance payments end to end — from an online point of sale with buy-now-pay-later financing to the distribution of commissions and carrier payables.

The company said this enables insurance brokers, MGAs and carriers to sell more policies by eliminating labour-intensive, expensive processes while providing customers with the great online checkout and financing experience they have come to expect.

"We've seen an enormous surge in demand over the last six months since we launched. Our payment software greatly reduces purchase friction for customers buying insurance while simultaneously reducing or eliminating traditionally labour-intensive operational processes for brokerages, MGAs and carriers," Praveen Chekuri, co-CEO and co-founder at Ascend, said.

"With this new funding, we can meet that demand and help more customers use Ascend's embedded payments and buy-now-pay-later offering. We're excited to have the backing and financial support of these investors to help insurance distributors and carriers sell their products more effectively and build out the future of the insurance infrastructure."

Mark Goldberg, partner at Index Ventures, said: "Buying commercial insurance is shockingly complicated. I've seen this pain point first-hand from our investments in companies like Coverwallet, Vouch, Coalition and Newfront Insurance.

"Building a modern checkout experience that feels more Shopify and less like filing tax forms is the biggest opportunity in the insurance market today. There's an immediate need for the type of verticalised and embedded end-to-end payments product that spans brokers, MGAs and carriers.

"Ascend will redefine how insurance is bought and sold for the coming decade and we're excited to see this team execute and grow so quickly."

Praveen Chekuri, co-CEO, and co-founder at Ascend
Mark Goldberg, partner at Index Ventures

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Published January 27, 2022 at 5:09 pm (Updated January 27, 2022 at 8:49 pm)

Ascend redefining the way insurance is bought and sold

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