How America’s Oldest Insurance Company Is Catering to the Youngs
Consumers want quality quotes at Amazon speeds.
Travelers’ Insurance mixes experience with innovation. While it’s America’s oldest insurance company, the company launched an inventive new product, Traverse, to cater to an increasingly millennial clientele. The leadership team at Travelers recognizes how the growth of e-commerce is affecting the way consumers shop for insurance, and they are working to adapt digitally. For less than $20 a month, Travelers consumers can acquire coverage for losses, additional living expenses, and more. Quiddity talked with Angi Orbann, Travelers’ vice president of personal insurance product, about the 24/7 claims experience, Amazon’s effect on the insurance industry, and assessing responsibility between tenant and landlord.
For young, urban single people or couples, what are the most important things about your renters insurance policy to know?
Renters insurance is interesting for that group, just to make sure they understand their risk and what insurance can protect them for. When they are thinking of renters insurance, that age group—when they are new to insurance or being on own—they typically understand it covers their personal possessions. People typically think of clothes and laptops. But also, when they're thinking about insurance amount, they should consider furniture, TVs, etcetera. It’s understanding if there was truly a total loss to all your possessions in a major event. There’s also liability protection. If someone is injured in their apartment or house, they can often be found liable for that. The landlord’s policy typically will not cover liability for the tenant. The renter insurance provides them protection for loss of use as well. If there is a loss that has them [consumers] outside their apartment or home for a significant period of time, the additional living expense will help pay for the difference, for usual expenses like a hotel bill.
How would you describe the long-term value of protecting yourself with renters insurance versus the short-term value?
The long-term value is around the protection beyond just your possessions, such as replacing your laptop or cellphone or something that may be stolen out of your car. But the long-term benefit is protecting you against liability, and any legal defense costs that will protect your current and future assets
How is your company working to dispel common myths about renter’s insurance?
We’re trying to do more education, putting more content up on our website, to talk about about the need for renters insurance through an education campaign. We’re making sure consumers , when they have questions about insurance, have answers to what is covered and what is not. And what is the landlord’s responsibility versus what is their responsibility.
Is there any emerging technology that’s helping your company better connect with consumers?
From a product perspective, we’re in the midst of launching a new property product which includes homeowners, condos and also renters insurance. From a renter’s perspective, we reduced the numbers of questions you need to capture and the amount of time it would need to take a consumer to get a quote and to issue a tenant policy. Really simplifying the process to make it easier for the consumer. I would also mention our Traverse product, which is focused on the millennial renters market as well.
Did consumer feedback or something else motivate that decision to cut back?
Overall being consumers ourselves, we understand the consumer mindset is not only being driven by the insurance industry, but beyond the insurance industry. How simple it is to buy things on Amazon or online. There’s a certain expectation that we at Travelers want to make sure we’re keeping up with, to make sure we’re balancing the consumer experience, the efficiency we have while, at the same time, giving them a quality quote, a competitive quote.
What’s one way you recently revised your renters insurance to reflect broader market trends?
The Traverse product is the biggest thing we’ve done as a company to really respond to trends and think about renters insurance differently. To think about how consumers want to interact, how they want to purchase insurance and interact with their insurance carrier.
We want to make sure we’re balancing the consumer experience, while, at the same time, giving them a competitive quote.
What specific features make your renters insurance easy to access? How about to renew?
The tenant policy process is pretty simple as far as the number of questions to complete, the amount of information you need to provide. It's usually the most simple property product. Similar to any other property or homeowners product, it automatically renews unless they take action to cancel that insurance. What I’d encourage renters to do is review that coverage every year. You might have minimal contents when you first go out on your own or first move in together or first start a family. Over time, those contents tend to build. Make sure they’re tweaking or evaluating their coverage to make sure they have the right amount year to year.
How are you making some of the decisions around monthly cost at Travelers?
The average renters policy is less than $200 per year, and there's not a lot of rate differential within the renters product compared to full homeowners product. A typical renters policy will consider amount of coverage limits requested, prior losses, and consumer specifics like Insurance Score to understand the risk and cost for each policy. We also have discounts for security systems, smart or mobile devices for security, such as smoke alarms, water sensors, and theft alarms that send alerts to a mobile device, beyond standard ADT system, and if they haven’t had previous losses.
How are you thinking about needs of people who work from home or have frequent guests?
If it's rare customer traffic to the home or apartment, that’s an acceptable exposure. That's what liability coverage is there for. If it becomes commercial exposure, with a lot of traffic coming in and out, that’s something we'd have to look at on a case-by-case basis to understand if it's eligible or should be insured more under a business policy. Especially with the electronic business going on nowadays, or bloggers, there’s not a lot of customer traffic coming into the home.
What are your biggest advantages as a legacy company? Biggest disadvantages?
The greatest advantage is experience, knowledge, and providing the best claim experience as one of top in industry. Our 24/7 claims experience is consistently at the top of consumer ratings. The ability to really be there when the customer needs us the most, at the time when there is a loss, we’re proven in that area. With experience comes an ability to reply to any other needs and evolve to consumer demands. We’re proving with the Traverse products and other technical advances with our products that larger companies can leverage their experience and adapt to changing customer demands.
Writer & journalist based in NY.