Scott Walchek has seen the future. As CEO of Trov, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s world view is one of next-generation disintermediation, and it involves putting smartphone technology in play to give the customer control over insurance for single items of their personal property. Presenting his company’s technology for the first time at the Insurance Analytics 2016 Summit in Chicago this week, Walchek told the group that the future of the insurance industry is “on-demand.”
The idea that insurers monetize the value placed on individual items isn’t a new one. Since the 1920s, Lloyds of London has been selling one-off specialty policies that provide continuous coverage for certain body parts of value ($1.6 million for Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards’ hands; $1 million for Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety Troy Polamalu’s hair, or even $5.5 million on singer Bruce Springsteen’s vocal chords).
The differences are many, notes Walchek, who calls the Trov app and its associated platform the world’s first on-demand insurance for single items. It features micro-premiums, micro-duration policies, and disintermediated claims – via the use of a smartphone. “This “streaming insurance” enables the policyholder to automatically turn on protection based on date, time, location, and event,” he says.
Trov’s approach, notes Walchek, is to use smartphone technology to simplify the collection and updating of information about the things that are important to the consumer – as he/she acquires them.
“The consumer is then given the option to easily swipe-to-protect the items that are most important to you and then easily swipe-to-unprotect items that you may have discarded, sold or have lost value to you,” he said.
Trov’s plan, in the works for the past four years of the company’s existence, is to offer major insurers the opportunity to become “silent” partners, allowing Trov to sidestep the state-by-state licensing and regulatory issues that insurers already consider part of their business. The entire experience to the consumer will be entirely Trov, notes Walchek.
“It’s a hybrid,” Walchek says, “and we are evaluating now based on low risk/low control, high risk/high control scenarios.”
Aside from the many yet-to-be answered questions about how this will affect the distribution channel, including captive agents, there will be other issues the company will face, but Walchek says Trov’s current partners are in agreement on the need to get out of the milieu of the weight and burden of how old insurance is sold and processed.
The company is already in partnership with a large, yet-to-be-named Australian insurer and will soon be in production with another carrier in the UK. Walchek expects the Trov app to be available in the App store in April.
“If we are successful here with our on-demand solution, those smartphone swipes will help us build the “inventory of everyone,” which means mapping the global ownership graph,” Walchek says. “If we can do that, we can take this and make a big impact to the sharing economy, advertising, finance and credit sectors.”
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