What opportunity did you see when you were deciding to start Trov?
Trov was started with the idea that there is enormous value in the information about the things people own, and Trov exists to help people unlock that value for their own benefit. This remains the heart of the business today and is how we’re able to offer an innovative, data-driven insurance product.
Early on, we figured if we could keep people in contact with, and in control of, the information about their things, we could potentially disrupt multiple big markets: insurance, e-commerce, the sharing economy, retail, advertising, finance and credit. That is what we initially set out to do; we wanted to help people collect information that had previously been hard to gather and then solve the corresponding problems people face when trying to collect this type of information (while also keeping this process fresh, of course).
Recently, there has been a huge change in the attitudes toward and behaviors of one of the most difficult demographics to market to: millennials. We identified a gap in the insurance market here. Most millennials are very unlikely to have any type of content insurance, and yet no one in the insurance space was tapping into this demographic. No one was innovating or thinking outside the traditional box of the industry.
The key opportunity for us was to provide a new, transparent and simple insurance that resonated with this audience. Enabling people, through their smartphone, to protect what they want, when they want, for whatever duration they need, was unheard of in the market. Ultimately, the product had to be ready for the various demands of the tech-savvy, time-poor consumer. It had to be accessible on a mobile device and harness the “nowness” of people’s lives. It couldn’t bog them down with 24-month contracts or archaic customs.
The traditional insurance model means insurers engage with a consumer twice in one year: once when they’ve sold the insurance and again when they ask the consumer to renew. These consumers might engage in the meantime by putting forward a claim, but there are millions of people paying for insurance for time periods when they just don’t need it. Ultimately, it had to be on-demand and it had to be “micro-duration.”
Our policies combined with the technology that supports the app allow us to measure and run a price risk analysis, meaning you pay only for what you use, literally up to the second. This is specifically for the generation that says, “Don’t lock me into any long periods of time; give it to me when I need it. I have to be able to engage with insurance only when it suits me and through my mobile device.”
The on-demand aspect is what we’re especially proud of. It is one of the most important features of our platform and the key opportunity we harnessed and delivered on.
Thankfully, Trov is now at a stage where people can insure an item for just a few minutes with the functionality of the on/off button, which allows insurance to be turned active or inactive. This provides so many possibilities. It removes the restraints of long contracts and the necessity for printed documents; something that’s becoming ever more redundant in the digital age.
How is on-demand insurance changing the industry? How will it?
The ability to effectively switch on and off insurance for any item at will has disrupted the industry in its own way by allowing freedom and accessibility on a platform that’s reliable, simple and attractive for our audience. It provides a level of assurance that is easy to understand and access. The insurance industry was always perceived to be lagging behind. It seemed complicated and inaccessible, and we wanted to change that.
Most millennials are put off by lengthy contracts and “signing their lives away.” They will continue to be unless the industry evolves and keeps up with today’s technological advancements. The ability to simply grab an app and switch insurance on and off for any item at will is exactly what people should want and expect from an insurance product.
The big change, which is of particular relevance, is the meta-narrative under which this all fits: that life and risk hasn’t changed over the last 300 years. People still get up in the morning and care about their things and not losing them. They want to have resilience and know that they can recover from financial or catastrophic loss.
What has changed is the ability to measure life in ever smaller increments. This is only the beginning of what will certainly be a massive disruption.
Are there challenges that make the U.S. more difficult than Australia and the U.K.?
The common challenge with launching any app in the U.S. is the process of going through each state’s submission procedure and sign-off. Every state in the U.S. now has a different set of requirements before you are approved, which can be extremely time consuming. We are making great progress though, working closely with each state regulator.
The U.K. and Australia were much simpler. There is just a single national regulatory body.
In how many U.S. states do you anticipate launching this year? Next year? Where?
We’ve already been approved in 23 states and hope to raise that number significantly by the end of 2017. We’re also looking to launch in Canada and Germany in 2018. We actually have an interactive map at trov.com/map, where you can follow the launch state-by-state and be notified when it is approved.