Exclusive: Car sharing marketplace Turo has credited the unique insurance product for its successful UK launch last Tuesday.
The underwriting and capacity partnership between Aon Affinity and Allianz means that global users of Turo’s peer-to-peer marketplace will be able to drive in the UK without a UK driving licence.
This was critical for the San Francisco-based company, as outside of the US, London is the platform’s most popular search destination for ride rentals, according to its CEO Andre Haddad, pictured.
The commercial policy covers both owner ‘hosts’ and their driver ‘guests’. It activates at the beginning of a trip and finishes when the vehicle is returned. Liability and physical damage coverage covers up to £20m, while vehicles on the platform can have a value of up to £75,000.
Martyn Denney, managing director of Aon Affinity, said: “Turo’s disruptive technology has been a game changer in peer-to-peer car sharing in the US. At Aon, we are strong advocates of innovation and disruption and are proud to be able to help bring this exciting service to the UK.”
Allianz UK head of technical motor Jonathan Dye told Post: “The sharing economy is growing rapidly and we believe that the insurance industry can play an important role in supporting this growth, by providing tailored insurance cover for the peer-to-peer community. This is an exciting opportunity for Allianz, as we aim to use our expertise in this area to help customers manage risks in the long term.”
Turo’s entrance into the UK market follows growth in the US, Canada and Germany. It has seen whirlwind expansion since the firm began doing business seven years ago, with 10 million users signed up. The average US-based Turo host earns $600 (£420) net of fees, renting their car out for around 11 days a month.
Its mission, according to CEO Haddad, is to “put the world’s 1.2 billion cars to better use.”
Speaking to Post, Haddad said: “Cars are incredibly important parts of people’s lives, but they’ve traditionally been a really terrible asset to own. They depreciate rapidly, they cost a lot of money on a monthly basis. It’s a really big budget item. You’ve got to pay for your car loan, you’ve got to pay for your insurance, you’ve got to pay for parking, you’ve got to pay for maintenance.
“And in general cars are incredibly underutilised. According to the US stats they are idle 90% of the time. So it’s a very foolish investment. Especially new cars, especially in big cities, where all of these costs – insurance and parking – are even higher. ”
The company built on its data and experience from the US market to convince its underwriter to make it possible for its global drivers to use the service. However, Haddad accepts that differences in the markets mean that the firm and its insurers will benefit further as more localised data is collected.
He said: “Even though we have a lot of data on the US market, the UK market is different. The economics of auto policies in the UK have been particularly challenging over the past few years. It’s a different environment than in the US, where it has been highly profitable.
“Even in Europe the situation is very different between the UK and continental Europe, in particular between the UK and Germany and France. So we have come to our conversations with our insurance partners always with the mindset that it is good that we now have data, but we need to adjust and adapt for the local market and make sure we have the very best coverage for our local customers and are working with the very best local partners. That’s what has governed our approach to date.”
With six million days-worth of trips booked in total, the firm also has experience of and data on “thousands” of claims. It has built an in-house team to deal with these before passing them on to its insurance partners.
Not always easy
It was not always easy for the company to find insurers willing to take a bet on the sharing economy. When it launched in the US in 2011, Turo’s unusual model meant it was reliant on business to business-focused insurers, which meant consumers were not always familiar with the brand, according to Haddad.
He added: “Seven, eight years ago putting this together was very challenging. It is an entirely new idea. There is no precedence for this kind of insurance product. There is no precedent for Turo and the notion that you can earn money from your car by giving your keys to a traveler that might drive it for a few house or a few days. That just didn’t exist before.
“It was very challenging for us to convince at the time our insurance partners that this is something that you guys should be interested in underwriting. This is something you should learn about. This is something that’s is going to grow. You want to innovate in this area. Seven years later it’s a lot easier now, because we have a lot more data about the business.”
It now partners with Intact in Canada, Allianz in Germany and Liberty Mutual in the US.
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