Startup Offers Remodeling Insurance to Brooklyn Homeowners

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    A startup called Bolster is offering something we’ve never heard of before, starting today: remodeling insurance. We get a lot of pitches to cover real estate related startups, which we mostly ignore, but we thought this one would definitely interest Brownstoner readers.

    The cost is between 3 to 5 percent of the project’s value. The insurance is available in New York City only starting today.

    Homeowners and contractors can apply online, and Bolster vets the contractors for their financial strength, technical competence, and management abilities (based on their project history). Eventually, the company will create a vetted and underwritten network of contractors. The company is also working with architects and has partnered with the AIA. Eventually, Bolster plans to roll out the insurance across the U.S.

    “Bolster creates a level playing field for the contractors,” founder and chief executive officer Fraser Patterson told us. “It lets homeowners receive bids knowing the contractor will fulfill them,” vs. contractors promising lower prices but not being able to deliver.

    The insurance protects homeowners against mistakes, unnecessary delays, poor quality workmanship, missing advances, and other problems.

    Patterson has been a contractor himself for nearly a decade and created Mexico’s first home renovation insurance in partnership with mortgage lender Infonavit and others. Bolster has been testing its program with a few construction projects in Manhattan starting in the summer of 2012, he said.

    The company has raised $2 million in financing from individuals in banking and insurance. It has seven employees and is based in New York.

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