Three industry insiders give their views on this contentious issue.
Thomas McCourtie, Analyst, general insurance, Verdict Financial:
“Services such as Airbnb present more of an opportunity than a problem for insurers. Sharing is commonplace across all areas of personal finance, and I don’t see why insurance should be an exception. For home-sharing, a host insurance policy is required, and this type of cover isn’t covered by several mainstream providers.
Therefore the onus is on the insurer to keep pace with not only market developments but societal changes too, and adapt their products accordingly. Consumers now expect a more personalised product tailored to suit their needs. This is the only way the ‘gaps’ in service can be closed; otherwise, as consumers continue to change their attitudes and behaviours, more will appear. Product development and reinvention is key.”
Shane Leivers, Director of product & marketing, HomeProtect:
“The sharing economy is changing the way people use their homes; however, many homeowners don’t realise the risks that opening their homes up to paying guests can bring.
Airbnb’s Host Guarantee provides a useful back-up to home insurance, but some homeowners mistakenly believe this is a replacement. Personal liability and
protection for valuables is limited, and it’s becoming increasingly common for guests to sublet without permission.
Homeowners need more help to understand how they can protect themselves. If this is how modern homeowners live, then insurance providers need to adapt
to new insurance situations to help meet customer needs.”
Graeme Trudgill, Executive director, BIBA:
“The growth of Airbnb results in the need for a different home insurance model. Every sharing transaction has many stakeholders: the facilitating platform, the
property owner, and the user. Each must cover or transfer their liabilities and risks. Brokers are now providing innovative solutions for sharing economy participants.
Key to minimising risk is validation – the more information home sharers can obtain about their users the easier it will be to find appropriate insurance. Many can now arrange covers targeting the di erent parties in the sharing transaction for loss or damage through specialist covers or top-up policies that accompany existing policies.”