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OFF BEAT: Hiscox's 'Leap Year' renewed for second season

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While other television advertisers have watched their viewing audiences nosedive thanks to recording capabilities and online streaming services, Hiscox Inc. has found an innovative way to promote its small business insurance to fast-forward-happy viewers.

The Bermuda-based specialty insurer has renewed its acclaimed comedy “Leap Year,” which follows five friends who have founded a tech startup, for a second season.

More than 5 million viewers logged on to watch the series’ first season, which recently was awarded the Digital Luminary Award for Best Branded Entertainment Series by the National Assn. of Television Program Executives. The “big series about small business” was created and produced for Hiscox in collaboration with CJP Digital Media and Happy Little Guillotine Films.

After being laid off by their downsizing company in the first season, the second season will focus on Aaron, Bryn, Derek, Olivia and Jack as they set off to launch their holographic web conferencing device while avoiding sabotage from a competing startup.

“Hiscox’s ‘Leap Year’ chronicles the trials and successes that our small-business customers experience every day,” said Kevin Kerridge, a small business insurance expert at Hiscox. “The ups and downs in this series will resonate with small-business owners, as well as make them laugh.”

The second series, which begins filming in San Francisco on March 5, will air on a variety of online platforms, including Hulu, Hulu Plus and Mashable, with Netflix and Amazon Prime planning to add the series to its lineup this year.