Tampa startup Slide is buying policies for 91,400 homeowners from UPC Insurance

A fast-growing Tampa insurance technology company has acquired more than 91,400 Florida homeowners insurance policies from St. Petersburg-based UPC Insurance, which last summer decided to pull out of the Florida market.

Slide, founded in 2021 by a former executive of Tampa’s Heritage Insurance, will assume $272 million in annual premiums, bringing the value of all premiums to $560 million.

UPC, which is owned by United Insurance Holdings Corp., said it would cancel policies for 72,000 homeowners on Wednesday, with Slide immediately issuing replacement policies. Slide CEO and co-founder Bruce Lucas said the remaining policies are due to expire in March and April and will be renewed then.

“It’s essentially an identical policy, that’s how we’ve structured it,” Lucas said. “It’s the same premium, it’s the same coverages, it’s the same deductibles. We use the approved UPC forms until your natural renewal date. And then when you renew, you’ll get a renewal quote from Slide using our forms and our rates. For the moment, for those we are taking on today, there is really no change.”

Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

The acquisition is similar to one last year when Slide acquired $400 million in premiums covering between 120,000 and 150,000 policyholders of Orlando’s St. Johns Insurance Co.

Lucas said changes to the state’s insurance laws passed by the Legislature in December led company leaders to believe it was a safe time to expand their presence in Florida. The changes include a $1 billion fund to help struggling insurers and limits on policyholders’ ability to sue them.

The UPC deal includes the company’s intellectual property, including risk and underwriting data on more than $1 trillion of insured value and years of claims information. Data is key to Slide’s business model, which uses it to build personalized policies.

“It helps us understand the portfolio at a more granular and accurate level, which helps us better underwrite policies and select policies that will have an acceptable profit margin,” Lucas said. “We’ve already incorporated that data and are already using it.”

United said it plans to withdraw policies for homeowners in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and New York after its rating was downgraded from ‘A’ by financial analysis firm Demotech. Slide’s Demotech rating is currently “A.” The company attributed about $36.5 million in losses to tropical storms, including Hurricane Ian, in the quarter ending in September, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lucas said Slide “probably posted profitability, or a small loss, or a small profit,” during the quarter Ian was successful in, given the lower policy load. And it’s still full of money. In late 2021, the company closed a $105 million Series A funding round, followed by a $30 million follow-up round.

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“We really don’t need to raise money even to support this transaction,” he said. “We are in discussions with several private equity firms for a much larger deal and partnership. But until something is done, it’s talk.

Slide now has more than 100 employees, and Lucas said the company could add about 50 more after this deal, potentially including some from United who may be out of a job.

“We are working with UPC to identify displaced employees so we can give them a new home at Slide,” he said. “So it’s certainly good for our local economy.”

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