Bitesize InsurTech: Trov
June 4, 2016 Chris Sandilands
Last week Trov launched in Australia. The Trov offering is potentially, and we say this with due care, transformational.
Trov has been around for over a year and was founded by Mark Dowds and Scott Walchek, a serial entrepreneur with numerous success stories to tell. To date it has raised nearly $50m in seed funding, from recognised VCs as well as, interestingly, Guidewire and Suncorp.
Originally Trov was an app where users could digitally store an inventory of valuable possessions – a sort of personal asset register. Trov hopes to be able to offer a number of different services around this, and means to monetize them. These include a market to match asset sellers with buyers, the ability to collateralise your assets against a loan, and most relevantly to you, the ability to insure those assets on demand for as long as a user wants.
So how does it work? When a user inputs details of the asset (a smartphone, laptop, skis, surfboard etc.), Trov needs only the make and model to generate an instant price per second. If heading to the surf for two hours and the user wants the board insured he/she can simply turn on/off the insurance with a simple swipe. If the board is stolen on the way back the user simply swipes again, answers a few questions via a chat bot and Trov deals with the rest. It could hardly be more simple!
With a customer hat on this is outstanding – insurance only when you want it, arranged on your phone in a simple to use and transparent way. For millennials, wanting instant solutions delivered easily, I imagine this really hits the mark.
With an insurer hat on I am less sure. It is unclear to me how Suncorp, the carrier underwriting the cover in Australia, has addressed the risk of anti-selection. Some level of anti-selection will have been factored into the rates, however, the ability to fraud this offering must be high. Secondly, with insurance being provided for such limited periods of time, how long will it take Suncorp to reach a critical mass of premium, and how patient will it be?
As with everything, only time will tell whether the undoubted attraction of the model is sufficient to outweigh potential weaknesses in the underwriting and scaleability. Either way, I am grateful to Trov for bringing this offering to market – definitely a pathfinder for the insurance market.
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