A new, on-demand insurance platform has been launched in Australia, allowing users to insure a single item whenever they want for however long they need.
Crafted to capture Generation Y, the smartphone-only app Trov was developed by a San Francisco start-up and backed by insurance giant Suncorp, which wants to embrace and not be damaged by digital disruption.
With a swipe to the right, a Trov user can insure their $1800 Macbook Pro for 50 cents a day or $15 a month – depending on the level of excess – against accidental damage, loss or theft, and swipe left to end the cover.
“It’s for the emerging, digital generation that lives their life here,” said Trov founder Scott Walchek, as he pointed to his smartphone.
“They want to swipe to get food, buy clothes, and watch TV, all on-demand.”
He said the traditional insurance sector had long struggled to appeal to Generation Y – or Millennials, those who came to age around 2000 – because their products were based on the insurer having control, using archaic practices and legacy systems.
“A contents policy might cover your bicycle only when it sits in your garage, but it doesn’t cover the bicycle when it leaves the home, and yet it covers the couch you don’t care about,” he said.
“The perspective of ownership is completely different in the domain of the Millennial who says: ‘I should have control, not you’.”
He said traditional insurers had wasted millions of dollars on advertising targeting tech-savvy Generation Y, who were not brand loyal and happy to move around based on service.
He also said old-time insurers were reliant on legacy systems that were failing to keep up with rapidly changing technology, such as wearables and the Internet of Things.
Trov, which went live on Sunday, has snagged $US39 million in funding, including $US5 million from Australian insurance behemoth Suncorp, which owns brands AAMI, GIO and Bingle.
“Suncorp is showing it is staying ahead of the curve on digital disruption and using it to penetrate under-insured markets such as younger people through Trov,” Deutsche Bank analyst Kieren Chigdey said at a Suncorp investors meeting last Wednesday.
“While such disruption remains a threat to traditional insurer, Suncorp is well-positioned to try to limit the downside from these structural changes.”
Mr Walchek chose Australia to be Trov’s first stomping ground because of Suncorp’s support, the country’s single industry regulator and high smartphone penetration rate. It’s first offering coverage for electronics.
Trov will launch in the UK later this year, where it has partnered with AXA, and the US in 2017.
Trov users can build a digital inventory of their possessions, and when they want to protect an item – for example a pair of skis before a snow trip – can swipe right to begin the cover.
The claims process is facilitated by an automated bot and live chat, which means making a claim is as simple as sending a few texts.
“Millennials want an unbundled experience, on-demand micro items. Why buy an album when I want to buy a song, or why buy 200 channels of cable coverage when I want to watch Game of Thrones?” he said.
Consumer advocacy group Choice said while insuring items on the fly via an app appeared to be a new development, the unbundling of blanket policies was not.
“Personal item insurance for accidental damage, loss or theft of valuables like cameras, laptops, art and jewellery away from your home already exists in Australia and elsewhere, often as an add-on to these policies,” said Choice’s Tom Godfrey.
“You can also get miscellaneous personal item insurance that lets you insure valuables for a fixed maximum amount without specifying the item.”
Generation Y is the most under-insured generation, with a World Insurance Report showing only 36 per cent, compared to 52 per cent of others, reporting a positive experience with their insurer through a traditional channel in 2015.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald 2016