On-demand insurance set to hit Australia

2 May 2016 | Trov is set to make its debut in Australia, providing single-item insurance.

On and off insurance

Trov, a US start-up that offers on-demand insurance for individual items, will launch operations in Australia as a testing ground.

The company, set to launch in mid-May, claims to be a "world first" which will allow customers to "turn insurance on or off for individual items, like a laptop, camera or bicycle, and insure only the things that matter to them". 

Insurance through an app

Aimed at millennials, Trov's insurance product will be offered wholly through a smartphone app. The app allows consumers to keep records of, and upload receipts for, products they have purchased, as well as providing a valuation. Consumers will then be able to turn insurance on and off instantly when they want it and make claims through the app.

It's difficult to assess the benefits and risks of the insurance product offered by Trov as it hasn't yet made its terms and conditions available. As with all insurance products, reading the PDS and knowing when and what you're covered for is critical.

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Trov's website says it provides cover against "accidental damage, loss and theft". While the company plans to expand the list of insurable items, at this stage it appears it will offer cover for: phones, laptops, TVs and monitors, tablets, appliances, headphones and speakers, sports equipment, musical instruments, cameras and gaming equipment.

So far, Trov has raised $39 million in funding, with local insurer Suncorp as one of its backers. Suncorp CEO Michael Cameron said Trov is a response to customers who are "looking for new platforms to provide financial services in a flexible and engaging way".

Is it really new?

The unbundling of blanket policies such as home and contents insurance isn't necessarily new. Personal item insurance for accidental damage, loss or theft of valuables like cameras, laptops, art and jewellery away from your home already exists in Australia and elsewhere, often as an add-on to these policies. You can also get miscellaneous personal item insurance that lets you insure valuables for a fixed maximum amount without specifying the item.

Insuring items on the fly via an app, however, appears to be a new development.

Trov's CEO Scott Walchek said that people will be able to turn the insurance on and off instantly. This could be useful, for example, if you wanted to insure your skis in the winter but not in the spring, he said in an interview with ABC RN. The attraction for millennials here, according to Walchek, is that this provides them with more control and convenience.

Australia will be the first place that Trov launches, however it is set to start up in the UK later in the year, and in the US in 2017.