Insurance startup Cove has officially launched to the public, with car and phone insurance now available to purchase through its Facebook messenger chatbot.
The launch marks the culmination of 18 months of developing a service that allows Kiwis to quote, buy and manage insurance policies from their smartphone, with the startup having been in private beta for several months prior to launch.
According to chief product officer Rob Coon, customers have shown a strong preference for flexible monthly subscriptions as opposed to hefty lump sum payments, and Cove policies will be able to be altered or cancelled at any time.
“People have loved the ease and functionality that comes with Facebook Messenger,” said Coon. “We brought some beta customers into our offices and let them insure their phones and cars, just to watch and see how easily they made it through, and we’ve had some really good feedback.”
“During our beta period, our early customers have purchased a number of policies and sent over 10,000 messages to the Cove chatbot,” explained CEO Andy Coon. “Our mission is to make insurance in New Zealand simpler, friendlier and a whole heap smarter.”
The beta version was tested by just over a thousand participants, approximately 65% of whom were in the under-30s category. Rob Coon says the chatbot has yielded some great results, and that a web version is also being developed which will have the same offering and functionality.
Cove will also be offering contents policies in the near future, and will then further expand into various other single items such as cameras and laptops.
“We’ve found that many people don’t want to insure every single thing they own, from their laptops right down to their bedding and shoes, as is the case with a traditional contents policy,” said Rob Coon. “Many people just want to insure the one or two products they value most, and we’ve found this will typically include their mobile phone, laptop and camera.”
“Cove will offer a monthly subscription option with payments via credit card, not too different from popular services such as Netflix,” Rob Coon added.