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Insurance Industry Tackles “Sharing” Economy

Insurance Industry Tackles Sharing Economy | Brown & Joseph, LLC

From home-sharing to ridesharing, it seems like the U.S. population is sharing everything now, as companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb continue to grow.

Many predict that in a few years, most people won’t own cars and will rent them for their commute from companies like Zipcar or use a ridesharing app.

Instead of owning cars and having them sit idle during the day, they’ll just be rented for a specific trip.

As for home-sharing, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has big plans for the future.

“I want to make sure—and we’re certainly on that path—that we are not just a home-sharing company. That we can take big bets and be an end-to-end travel company,” said Chesky in a recent Fast Company article.

He envisions Airbnb to be an app that people use every day, not just when they’re traveling.

But, according to a Morgan Stanley survey, safety concerns about home-sharing are growing – 13% of non-Airbnb users cite safety as their reason for not using the app.

Others are wary of the possible damage that could be inflicted upon their home.

This growing sharing economy is prompting the insurance industry to take action.

Enter Slice, a cloud-based insurance company launched in 2016.

The insurtech startup was a hot topic at the National Association for Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Commercial Lines Seminar this year.

Marc Saulsbury of Hartford Steam Boiler/Munich Re gave an informative speech about how the insurance industry will evolve from being product-centric to service-centric, which is the case for Slice.

Slice was one of the first insurance companies to offer policies exclusively for home-sharing and ridesharing, with the goal of re-imagining insurance through design, data and technology.

The insurtech startup offers an on-demand insurance platform to support today’s on-demand economy. The platform allows participants to easily purchase insurance policies when they need it without committing to any annual plans.

This is especially useful for Uber and Lyft drivers, who can get a pay-per-use policy through Slice that covers drivers from the time they turn on the app until they turn it off.

Other companies like Liberty Mutual, Progressive and Allstate also rolled out new policies to cover home-sharing and ridesharing, but Slice claims it’s different from its competitors.

Slice’s website states that it is “changing insurance by making it easy, affordable, accommodating and usage-based.”

The company also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect policy information instead of asking for it, saving valuable time for insureds.

Similar to Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, Slice also offers a homeshare policy for renters, which includes $2 million in commercial liability, full replacement costs and 18 additional coverages.

Directly addressing a majority of Airbnb customers’ pain points, Slice even offers coverage for water damage to neighbors, cyber risk, infestation and more.

Although there are still gaps in coverage and regulatory issues (much like with autonomous cars), the insurance industry marches on, continuously adapting and evolving to keep up with rapidly advancing technology.

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