Zenefits Takes On Utah Over Free Software, Insurance Disruption

The State of Utah--which mostly has a reputation of being friendly to high tech startups--is opposing a move into the state by startup Zenefits, according to the startup. Zenefits, which offers up free human resources software to companies, in exchange for the chance to sell those companies health insurance and other insurance products, says that Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd Kiser wants to shut down the startup in Utah, citing unfair competition for insurance brokers in the state. According to Zenefits, the startup has been asked by the Utah Insurance Department to start charging Utah businesses exorbitant rates for its service--and has handed the startup a pricing list to enforce--or shut down its service in the state. Zenefit says it plans to fight the order in court, and also appealed to Utah Governor Herbert to intervene. The firm said "Utah proudly touts itself as a great place for tech businesses, and Governor Herbert is working hard to attract tech companies" to the Silicon Slopes--but only when those businesses don't "disrupt existing businesses or tread on the toes of entrenched interest groups."