Technology

Mobile app Trov takes a swipe at disrupting travel insurance market

Posted by Ben Ireland on
Mobile app Trov takes a swipe at disrupting travel insurance market

Swiping left and right for instant results is something usually associated with a well-known mobile dating app, but now the method is being used to insure popular travel items.

On-demand insurance app Trov went live in the UK in November, has been rolled out in Australia and is heading for the United States.

Users can upload their items to the mobile app, choose their level of cover and insure it within seconds of swiping right, paying daily rates for as many or as few items as they want to protect.

To stop your cover, at any time with no opt-out penalties, swipe left.

When making a claim, Trov users swipe right again and engage in a text conversation with an artificial intelligence-led computer called ‘The Claim Bot’ and humans only step in if there’s a dispute or an unrecognisable picture uploaded.

Scott Walcheck, founder and chief executive of Silicon Valley-based Trov, said it was set up following a disruption in the market that has seen customers start to demand what they want.

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He told Travolution: “The target that we are servicing is the emerging generation who live their lives and demand their products to be used on mobile devices.

“Think of Trov as a digital depository of the things you care about.

“We are aiming Trov at people who live untethered lives, people who are on the go. The things that they take with them are the things that power their experiences, education or connectivity.”

These things include computers, mobile devices and photography equipment. Browsing Trov, you can insure a MacBook 12 for between 39p and 53p per day, a Canon EOS-5D MK III for between 92p and £1.25 daily or Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 for between 18p and 23p a day.

Customers can use a sliding scale to reduce excess in exchange for higher premiums, or vice versa, and all protection covers loss, damage and theft.

And although the device is currently mobile-only, trov.com has an emulator on which you can claim for your smart phone if needed.

Underwritten by Axa in the UK, Trov has four principle values:

  • It’s on-demand
  • You can insure single items
  • Customers are not locked-in to contracts
  • Disintermediation (a reduction in talking to human customer services)

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Walcheck said the company – which has had almost US$40 million in investment so far and has Google’s head of search growth and analytics Ken Rudin on its board of directors – had changed the face of insurance by offering personalised cover.

He said travel was Trov’s key market but hopes to delve into ‘mobility’ (anything from cars and lorries to bikes and skateboards) and home in the future.

“It seems so rational,” he added. “What iTunes did to the album, we are doing to cover. In the same way you might only be interested in two songs on an album, you only care about insuring two products – maybe your phone and an expensive set of headphones.”

Adding ‘micro-duration’, Walcheck says, also means people can insure their items only when they need to.

“My family is very active,” he said. “We always wondered why can’t we just cover our skis during the winter and our surfboards during the summer. Why can’t I just protect the things I love when I need them covered and not when I don’t need them covered… and why can’t that happen without it being under complicated conditions I don’t really understand?”

For regular travellers, Trov will track your location – for example, an airport – and if you opted in for cover there before, it will prompt you to cover that item again on your next visit.

The company employs 72 full-time staff, 58 of which work in product development. One of its key target markets is the 18-24 group, of which Trov research suggests 87% don’t have cover because they only care enough about a few items.

Trov believes the future of travel insurance is at your fingertips, but will consumers swipe right or left?

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