News & Analysis

US startup Trov to launch on-demand insurance app in Australia with Suncorp Group after US$25.5 million raise

- April 27, 2016 2 MIN READ

Californian insurance startup Trov has today announced the closing of a US$25.5 million Series C round led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from Australia’s Suncorp Group, Guidewire, and Anthemis Group, as well as the launch of its new on-demand insurance app into Australia next month.

Australia will be the first market for the Trov Protection app, which will allow users to buy insurance for individual items of value, such as cameras, laptops, bikes, or instruments, turning it on or off as they please, creating what Trov calls ‘micro-duration’ policies. Suncorp, which invested US$5 million into Trov, will be underwriting the startup’s insurance risk locally through AAI Limited.

The new app is as an extension of the existing Trov offering, which enables users to collect and record information about the value of their purchases and possessions and then send it to partner insurers, with the app also notifying users of changes in the value of items. Trov states it has helped users track over 1 million items, worth over US$8.5 billion.

Aimed at the millennial market, Trov first began working in Australia in 2014 after partnering with Suncorp to help users keep track of their belongings. It launched with an ad campaign urging users to take ‘stuffies’ rather than selfies – that is, photographs of their belongings – inspired by the Queensland floods of 2011, when people found they couldn’t remember everything they had lost.

Scott Walchek, founder and CEO of Trov, said the startup’s decision to launch the new on-demand app in Australia first is, for the most part, thanks to the support it has received from Suncorp.

“Of all the incumbents that we spoke to around the globe, Suncorp has the most disciplined approach to innovation and has adopted practices internally through their strategic innovation group that have really internalised their own disruption,” Walchek said.

“They look around technology’s corners to find what’s coming around so they’re prepared to encounter those moments and take advantage of them, and we didn’t find anything else like that in the insurance world.”

Michael Cameron, CEO of Suncorp Group, said of the company’s new investment in Trov, “Increasingly customers, particularly those in the millennial generation, are looking for new platforms to provide financial services in a flexible and engaging way. Trov is a great example of a new and innovative way for customers to protect what matters most to them.”

Walchek added that the Australian launch is also thanks to our regulatory environment, which he said is much more favourable than those found elsewhere, particularly in the US, and the high level of smartphone penetration among Australian consumers.

Trov’s on-demand app will work by having users either input information about their items manually, or connecting services such as email to Trov and allowing the app to scan for receipts entering the inbox.

It scrapes the information from these receipts and matches it with the metadata collected about each item. Trov’s algorithms work with information about the user, such as location, length of time they have been on Trov, and some other pieces of data that Walchek said “wouldn’t be considered highly personal”, to determine risk and in turn prices.

Users can then choose individual items to protect by swiping right on selected items. They are presented with a daily price or monthly price, and can use a slider to increase or decrease their excess.

Following its Australian launch next month, Trov’s on-demand app will be available in the UK, where it has partnered with AXA Insurance, later this year, and in the US in 2017.

Image: Scott Walchek. Source: Trov.