Autonomous tech / Business / Hiring / Robotics / Startups

Why Koop Technologies launched an insurance product for off-road automation tech

Since the automation of machines typically used in warehouses, on farms and on construction sites has become more commonly used, new risks that go with the technology are emerging. That's where the North Side startup comes in.

Koop cofounders (L to R) Kamron Khodjaev, Zak Gazizov and Sergey Litvinenko. (Courtesy photo)

After a summer of finalizing details, Koop Technologies has unveiled its Robotics Errors & Omissions Insurance Product. The North Side-based insurance technology company specializing in autonomous vehicles and robotics risks is calling it an industry first.

Kamron Khodjaev, the RealLIST Startups 2022 honoree’s chief commercial officer and cofounder, told that since off-road automation — meaning machines typically used in warehouses, on farms and on construction sites — has become more commonly used, the risks that go with the technology are emerging, too. So now is the time to start selling the errors and omissions insurance product, a form of insurance designed to apply to incidents involving machines and not just people to save companies money in potentially costly lawsuits.

“These companies are facing new forms of risks, and they need to be educated about that,” Khodjaev said. “And sometimes a company might not consider it, and then a certain claim event happens and there is a chance that that can put the company out of business, lawsuits are expensive. When costs are expensive, and a lot of standardized, computer-generated insurance policies are really not meant for that risk.”

According to the 2021 Industrial Robotics report, more than 3 million industrial robots are in use, with more on the way in the coming years, as more workplaces have opted to use robots for labor. Still, not all companies will use robots for the same purposes, so the coverage Koop Technologies is offering will be tailored to each company by offering a risk assessment designed by Koop. As it stands, the company already offers the Singularity Platform, a single-source functionality toolset for autonomous vehicle sharing, underwriting and claims handling.

We're building an insurance team, we're building a sales team, and we're expanding our network of insurance brokers across the country.

The new insurance is being rolled out in partnership with CJ Coleman and Lloyd’s of London syndicates. The product will be available in 30 states thanks to partnerships with agencies to be announced at a later date.

Khodjaev added that offering this form of insurance marked the beginning of “automation as a class” since Koop Technologies is offering insurance for off-road and on-road automation use cases to meet the unique needs of the industry.

Currently the company employs between 10 and 15 people, but Khodjaev said that moving forward, the company plans to hire more insurance brokers and members of its sales teams to accommodate new customers in different states. Koop closed a seed funding round of $2.5 million led by Palo Alto-based Ubiquity Ventures back in August 2021, which was used partly for expanding its team.

“We’re building an insurance team, we’re building a sales team, and we’re expanding our network of insurance brokers across the country,” Khodjaev said.

As noted at the time of the company’s seed round announcement, Koop’s choice of a Pittsburgh headquarters is unsurprising, given that three of its four cofounders attended the University of Pittsburgh. But Khodjaev said at the time that he and his team were also attracted to the overall affordability of the city and its heavy autonomous vehicle presence. Furthermore, Khodjaey said, there’s no better place for Koop Technologies than a city that’s an up-and-coming robotics cluster in the country.

“Being closer to our clients, being closer to our partners is very valuable,” the CCO said then, emphasizing the ease of communication that comes with that proximity. “We love the fact that we can have all of this, while at the same time keeping our costs relatively low.”

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Koop Technologies

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