Meet the Insurtech: Lori

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HYLA Mobile, a mobile-device trade-in company, has launched Lori, a device protection product with the goal of extending the life cycle of mobile devices. Digital Insurance spoke with Joe Settimi, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Lori for a Q&A to learn more about the development and purpose of the new company. Along with the launch of Lori, Settimi shared that the company has also announced partnerships with insurance providers to incorporate mobile device protection.

DI: How did the idea for the company get started?
Settimi: The idea for our Lori device protection plans actually came about after a team member at HYLA broke their smartphone. Because the individual in question wasn’t able to purchase device protection for their older device, they had to pay an exorbitant sum in order to get their smartphone fixed.

Meanwhile, HYLA had developed its advanced diagnostics solution, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to remotely assess the condition of a mobile device—including the screen—to validate a trade-in for consumers. And the lightbulb moment struck when we realized that this very same technology could be used to offer mobile device protection, allowing consumers to protect their smartphones regardless of age or the condition of their device.

DI: What problem were you trying to solve in founding the company?
Settimi: While many consumers opt for device protection when they are purchasing a new smartphone, many don’t. And there are a number of reasons for this—whether it’s the added cost of insurance on top of a new monthly plan, or that the protection they were being offered covered too much or too little of what they were looking for.

With Lori, not only do we want to allow consumers to protect their smartphones regardless of what stage it is within its lifecycle, we want to give them the flexibility to purchase the protection that meets their specific concerns (like screen damage or water damage), instead of bundling coverage with protection they may not desire (such as lost or stolen). We also offer both monthly and annual plans so that consumers can choose how long they are protected for.

It’s also really important for us to ensure consumers have a fast and easy experience. When you break or lose a smartphone it can feel like a part of you is missing, so it’s important for us to get our customers back up and running as quickly as possible—and give them back their lifeline.

DI: What is the technology and how does it work? And how long did it take for development?
Settimi: We use advanced diagnostics AI technology to determine the condition of a smartphone, regardless of its age or its condition—it can even detect screen damage, which also helps to prevent fraudulent claims. We have been developing our diagnostics technology since 2016. And the beauty of AI is that it continues to be trained every day, meaning our technology is constantly getting smarter. Our technology has been granted patents in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

A customer uses the new iPhone 5 Siri function at a Telstra store on George Street in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg
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