Suncorp-backed startup looks to disrupt with on-demand insurance to Australian consumers

Insurance group's investment into disruptive technology seen as key to ongoing customer engagement and innovation

Suncorp Group-backed startup, Trov, is looking to shake up the ways insurers engage with consumers with a new on-demand mobile app that allows customers to choose the products they want to cover.

US-based Trov provides a mobile app that that enables consumers to turn insurance on or off on specific items using their phone. The claims process employs an automated bot and live chat to review claims quickly and enable consumers to activate insurance.

Initially, consumers will be able to cover consumer electronics goods, with further categories coming online later this year. The app also allows user to create a digital inventory of things they own, backed up in the cloud.

To insure an item, users then swipe right on an item to secure protection, or left to turn it off. The app is free to download, with insurance initially available to Apple device users.

The product is launching first in Australia thanks to the partnership with Suncorp, followed by the UK later this year in partnership with AXA. The company then plans to expand into the US and other regions in 2017. Suncorp is underwriting the insurance offering via its AAI Limited subsidiary.

Trov founder and CEO, Scott Walchek, said the app was built to address the problem of younger consumers being underinsured for theft, loss and damage of their property.

“Millennials are the most underinsured generation ever,” he said in a statement. “It is the generation for whom almost everything of importance is channelled through the smartphone.

“The team has built a beautiful user experience that is designed to make protecting your stuff as simple as swiping right.”

Suncorp Group CEO of customer platforms, Gary Dransfield, said the decision to launch in Australia first was driven by his company’s focus on innovating the insurance space.

“Trov Protection will help transform the way people interact with insurance,” he said. “Suncorp is focused on providing our customers with a flexible platform that empowers them to protect what matters most. In years to come, this will be viewed as a landmark event in the insurance industry.”

In April, Trov announced it had secured US$25.5 million further in investment, including a cash injection from Suncorp Group, bringing its total funding to US$39m to date. The company kicked off as an app providing consumers with the ability to backup and organise more than one million items.

During its investor day last week, Dransfield highlighted Suncorp’s ongoing investment into customer-led platforms as key to sustainable growth.

“The feeling we want to create with customers is not about a product push, it’s about customers pulling things from us,” he said.

Walchek, who also spoke at Suncorp’s investor day, said Suncorp had embraced its technology from the top down as a business, despite the fact that it could disrupt current business models.

“It was quite surprising actually –it wasn’t just the leadership, but the culture that is embracing us in ways we hadn’t seen before,” he said. “That’s super important to us to enable us to navigate the insurance world.

“What Suncorp said was ‘we will be, no matter where it takes us, where the consumer wants to be’. That dedication to consumers, even if it disrupts the current business, was idiomatic of where the whole approach has been and has given us a lot of confidence to move forward.”

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