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Small business insurance provider AssureStart to open in Texas, plans national reach in coming years

Internet-based startup funded by American Family Insurance

Madison, Wis. (Nov. 4, 2013) – American Family Insurance announced today its partnership with AssureStart, a Seattle-based start-up direct company that sells small business insurance on the Internet. AssureStart will begin operations in mid-November in Texas and plans to enter three more states – Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington – in the near future.

"There is tremendous opportunity for directly distributing general liability insurance and property insurance to small business owners," said Peter Gunder, an executive vice president at American Family. "AssureStart was developed with a strong sense of that specific market's preferences."

AssureStart offers products that meet the general liability insurance and property insurance coverage needs of small businesses, and will later expand its offerings to include workers compensation insurance and commercial automobile insurance policies. The new company appeals to small business operators who prefer to do business online and is not expected to significantly overlap with American Family's commercial insurance sales.

"We're excited to partner with American Family to serve this developing and basically untapped market," said Mike LaRocco, chief executive officer at AssureStart. "We have aggressive growth plans to be in 50 states in the coming years and are confident we'll be able to achieve our goals. There's a real need in the market, especially for those technology savvy entrepreneurs."

AssureStart will focus on innovating in the product development and distribution areas while managing efficiency by being paperless. AssureStart has contracted with a variety of best-in-class vendors to fulfill operational functions such as sales and service support and claims handling, LaRocco said. Today's announcement is the latest step in the American Family Insurance Group's geographic and risk diversification.

American Family purchased direct non-standard auto insurer Permanent General Companies ("The General") in 2012 and is in the process of closing the sale on Homesite Group Inc., a leading direct response writer of homeowners insurance. Like The General and Homesite, AssureStart will operate as a separate entity and brand from American Family.

AssureStart serves as the managing general agent for policies underwritten by Midvale Indemnity Company, a new American Family company.

About American Family:

American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 393rd on the Fortune 500 list. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam; YouTube: www.youtube.com/amfam.

At the end of 2012, American Family reported policyholder equity of $6.1 billion, with assets of $17.9 billion. The company employs 7,000 people, and sells its products through 3,500 exclusive independent contractor agents.

About AssureStart:

Based in Seattle, Wash., AssureStart provides business owner's insurance policies directly to small business owners with less than 25 employees via its website, www.assurestart.com, which features a proprietary, easy-to-use recommendation engine and the ability to bind coverage online and conveniently download a certificate of insurance. AssureStart serves as the managing general agent for policies underwritten by Midvale Indemnity Company, a subsidiary of Madison, Wis.-based American Family Insurance.