AXA partners with Silicon Valley startup Trov to launch insurance ‘as simple as Tinder’ for British millennials

By  for Business Insider

California-based Trov lets people buy flexible insurance for single items through their smartphones. If, for example, you have got an expensive camera sitting in your cupboard that you only occasionally use, you can use Trov to get temporary insurance for the times when you do actually take it out and use it.

Scott Walchek, the founder and CEO of Trov, told Business Insider that the startup makes insurance “as simple as Tinder and as beautiful as Airbnb.”

After registering items in the app, which pulls live valuation data from its database, people can “swipe” to turn insurance on or off on that item, like they would swipe on dating app Tinder. Prices are charged by the day and customers are billed at the end of the month for whatever coverage they’ve used. Claims are also handled by a “chatbot” — an artificially intelligent chat system — in the app.

Trov, founded in 2012, has built the technology that makes all this possible but does not provide insurance itself. The company partners with established insurers to provide the underwriting and has linked up with AXA for its UK launch.

Walchek told BI that millennials pose an “existential risk” for insurers due to their love for on-demand services and mobile-first products.

He told BI: “If they can’t innovate rapidly enough then that next generation, which has an entirely new frame around ownership, which has very little connection with brands — just look what’s happened with entertainment and banking services.

“The big change in the world is the generation that lives their life on the supercomputer in their pocket is in control of the narrative between them and their products and services. We give them [insurers] a bridge to this emerging generation with zero technological integration required.”

Gareth Howell, managing director at AXA Insurance, says in an emailed statement: “The launch of Trov in the UK heralds a new age of insurance, which will see millennials, the most underinsured generation ever, introduced to a way of insuring their belongings that fits with their lifestyle. We are proud to partner with Trov in the UK to be able to better reach the emerging generations.”

Scott Walchek TrovTrov founder and CEO Scott Walchek. Trov

The deal represents a major coup for Trov, which has only been operational for a few months. French-headquartered AXA has a market capitalisation of €53.1 billion.

Walchek told BI: “You’ve really got to find a partner that will innovate with you. They’ve got to learn with us as we go.”

Britain is the second market where Trov has launched, following a roll-out in Australia in May this year. Walchek says Trov chose Australia over the US to launch because of the “engagement of the partner, which we’ve also found here with AXA, and regulatory. In the US, there’s 51 regulatory authorities. Every state is like a different country.”

Walchek says 65% of all items insured so far in Australia are mobile phones and the average value of items being protected is A$1,400 (£826).

Trov’s launches in Britain for iPhone and Android on Tuesday. Customers will initially be able to insurer consumer electronics such as phones and laptops, as well as camera equipment.

Trov employs 70 people around the world, the majority of whom are engineers. The company has raised around $40 million (£32 million) to date and plans to launch in the US next year.

Walchek was an early investor in Baidu, often known as China’s Google, and built DebtMarket, a trading platform sold to InterContinental Exchange (ICE).

First appeared at BI