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Meet Dan Wallis of Motus Insurance in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Wallis.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started as a retail insurance agent that specialized in insurance for homeowner associations. I got a very fortunate (learning) opportunity in 2011-2012. State Farm had decided to non-renew most of their master earthquake insurance policies for condominiums with high-risk parking structures. I told State Farm agents that I could help them place these non-renewed policies while protecting the master fire policy that State Farm wished to keep. It was at that time that I realized that there were serious issues with the products being offered to condo boards and their individuals. Due to the trust I built with State Farm agents, I became one of the larger writers of master earthquake policies for condo associations in the state, yet, I knew that only 10% of condo associations were buying a master earthquake policy. Leaving over 32,000 condo associations with no insurance, and the unit owners of those associations did not have access to a product that could fully protect the equity in their homes. In 2016, I finally decided to begin the dialogue with some influential members of the earthquake insurance community to see if a new product was possible and four very long years later, Motus created and achieved deregulation of the traditional master earthquake policy. Paving the way for the first-ever “opt-in” master earthquake policy. That fastest-growing catastrophic product in California (and the country).

Has it been a smooth road?
Oh no, not at all! My team at Motus has heard more “no’s” or “that’s not possible” than anyone could ever imagine. Before we could even get to the department of insurance approval, which we were constantly told would be impossible, we had to convince large insurers and their reinsurers to be creative. Something they do not do easily! However, once we walked them through the distribution and product limitations of the traditional master policy, they got on board… And then, after two meetings with the department of insurance to better help them understand that a new product was desperately needed, they gave us the approval in November of 2017. Then we had the super-easy (sarcasm) job of figuring out the distribution of this new product and educating an entire industry of the benefits of the new product.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We specialize in earthquake insurance for condominiums (townhome and other CID) associations in California. Talk about a one-trick pony! What makes us different is we make a lot of sense for boards and our product, for the individuals who wish to buy earthquake insurance, we offer full coverage, no exclusions for common areas/foundations/garages and we are usually a fraction of the price. Allowing unit owners to access their pro-rated share of a master policy is a game-changer. The boards get all the benefits of a master earthquake policy without breaking their budget so they are happy too!

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
Without a doubt, getting the department of insurance approval. It was at the moment I knew I had something special. A product that would lower condo earthquake insurance premiums by 2-3 times. A product that removes all the ridiculous barriers in the market. We are reaffirmed that we did the right thing every time an HOA enrolls. The percentage of condo owners that bought earthquake insurance before Motus was 5%. The percentage of condo owners that buy earthquake insurance enrolled in Motus, is over 20%.

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