MADISON, Wis.–Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance Mutual Holding Company (American Family) today continued its innovative and collaborative approach to serving customers, this time focusing on small businesses with the acquisition of insurtech company Bold Penguin.
Bold Penguin, based in Columbus, Ohio, is a technology company that simplifies and quickens the often complicated and time-consuming process of obtaining small business insurance. The Bold Penguin digital exchange is used by insurance agents, brokers and other distributors to match, quote and bind policies from a range of insurers to meet customer needs.
Bold Penguin will become a subsidiary of the American Family Insurance group, pending regulatory approval and closing. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Bold Penguin will maintain its name and business model, operating with a relentless commitment to neutrality and confidentiality with its insurer, broker and agent customers.
“We welcome Bold Penguin’s incredibly talented, nimble and customer-driven team,” said Bill Westrate, American Family president and CEO-elect. “Like American Family, they believe that innovating and collaborating with others is the best way to meet customers’ wide-ranging needs.”
“Bold Penguin shares our commitment to strong relationships built on the principles of exceptional service, integrity and value,” said Fabian Fondriest, president of the American Family Direct companies that sell products online and through partners. “As another member of our family, Bold Penguin will have the autonomy and support to fulfill its important roles with small businesses and partners.”
Ilya Bodner, Bold Penguin founder and CEO, Ben Clarke, co-founder and chief data officer, as well as other leaders and employees will remain with the company.
Why is American Family acquiring Bold Penguin?
American Family is the country’s 13th largest P/C insurance group with $11.5 billion in direct written premium at the end of 2019. Auto and home insurance make up most of its sales, followed by commercial insurance, with a strong focus on protection for small- and mid-sized business and rental property owners.
“Ultimately, this is about small business customers and their communities,” said Westrate. “We recognize the importance of small businesses and we want to do our part to support them.
“Bold Penguin reduces the complexity of small business insurance for customers, for us and our industry. It enables insurers to reach more business owners with protection they need to safeguard their livelihoods and pursue their dreams to serve and employ people in their communities.”
Bold Penguin’s culture of closely working with its partners will remain as it is today, as will its platform of providing options from multiple insurers, which it expects to grow. Additionally, American Family agency owners will use the platform with a suite of products available specifically to them.
“Our partnership with Bold Penguin is another investment in our American Family agency owners,” Westrate said. “They are trusted insurance advisors, and especially with small businesses, which require a broad product suite and tailored solutions. The Bold Penguin platform will take our agency owners’ ability to fulfill that role to the next level.”