Travelers' Traverse targets millennials with new coverages and mobile distribution

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Insurers need to consider more than just how they sell their product when examining the disruptive impacts of macro trends. An example comes from multiline P&C insurer Travelers, which is launching a new product, Traverse, in the New York market.

Traverse's goal is to target millennials who are deferring traditional asset ownership in favor of renting and investing in experiences, says Beth Maerz, VP of customer experience and innovation for Travelers personal insurance. Traditional rental insurance products didn't meet these customers' needs, she explains.

"The goal was to build a product targeting millennials, understand what their needs are, and whether traditional insurance products are speaking to those needs," Maerz explains. "They don't buy expensive furniture or things like that. When you talk about what's really important to them, there are some general themes: electronics, sporting goods, bikes and musical equipment: the things that they buy to experience and enjoy life."

The policies are sold online, optimized so that the entire policy lifecycle can be handled via mobile, Maerz says. Travelers assembled a small, agile team with technologists and business-side members to bring the concept to market in eight months.

"The team was integrated and iterative, creating hypotheses around the product and testing as they went along," she says. "We wanted an experience that was transparent about what they're buying, and could be serviced entirely on a mobile device."

Policies, which cost between $8 and $32 per month, cover "stuff" -- not the furniture and appliance coverage of traditional products, but the electronics and equipment the team identified as crucial to the market place -- or "experiences" -- vacation delays or home-sharing mishaps -- or both, along with liability coverage required by some landlords.

"We looked at it and saw many [millennials] are upwardly mobile, they have financial assets, and they need to understand the liability coverage," Maerz notes.

She adds that Traverse is an early indication of how Travelers is navigating the changing insurance market, which is buffeted by disruptions of all kinds. The new offering comes soon after Travelers launched a new home insurance product, Quantum Home 2.0, aimed at helping agents and individual consumers bind coverages using a new quoting tool that simplifies language on policy documents. The company also is piloting a do-it-yourself home inspection tool for homeowners and has launched two new website tools: Home Central, which connects homeowners with tips about buying, selling and renovating a home; and OpenHouse, created in partnership with data aggregator BuildFax, which allows consumers to search for addresses and receive a snapshot of the work that has been done to the property. It also is in discussions with multiple vendors to distribute smart devices to policyholders in exchange for sensor data.

"There's the consumer-driven trends, there's changes going on with the assets we insure, there's changes in the home with the Internet of Things, and there's new technologies that are available to change the experience for our customers and agents," Maerz concludes. "What's great is that there are many things to take advantage of."

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Mobile technology Digital distribution Travelers