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Q&A: Travelers' Traverse Product Is Made For Millennials

Photography by Twenty20

The oldest insurance company in America wants younger, new clientele. Travelers’ customizable insurance product called Traverse, which launched in March, is the New York-based company’s answer to the growing number of insurance startups. Data shows that traditional insurance isn’t appealing to a digitally savvy demographic, so products like Traverse are tailored to the lives of people who might be more likely to travel than own assets. Below are emailed responses from Travelers’ Kelly Pugliares, second vice president of new product development for personal insurance.

What motivated you to launch Traverse in 2018? For how many months or years was the product in the works? Just about a year ago we began conducting research groups with millennials. We wanted to know what they were interested in, what they knew about insurance and what they wanted from their insurance. What we discovered is that the insurance industry as a whole is not doing a great job of explaining traditional insurance to consumers. And in many cases, traditional insurance is not meeting the needs of millennials, especially those living in cities. Based on those findings we started developing Traverse, and 8 months later we launched in New York.

What specific features differentiate this product from Travelers’ other renters insurance options? As we developed Traverse, it became clear that it was going to be a hybrid offering, an alternative to renters insurance. It has liability protection, which protects renters if someone falls and hurts themselves in their apartment and sues the renter. Most landlords require this type of liability coverage, so that’s included. Traverse also includes identity theft coverage as part of the base package. But it then protects specific things based on your needs, like mobile phones, laptops, musical instruments, jewelry and even some vacation experiences. You choose to protect just what matters to you and you choose the level of coverage. Traverse can also provide coverage for select types of travel, which we think is unique. It provides reimbursement if you have added costs due to transportation delays, flight cancellations or unsatisfactory home-sharing accommodations.
Traverse moves with you and it is customizable so you can purchase the coverage that fits your lifestyle, which is also different from renters insurance.

What trends or habits among the young adult urban demographic influenced this new product? Millennials are deferring asset ownership – they aren’t buying homes and cars the way other generations did. This type of consumer values experiences over things, yet they are savvy and want to protect what they are passionate about, like their smartphones, their laptops, their expensive handbags, and the trips they take. This shift in consumer behavior was what drove the development of Traverse.

How have consumers’ habits outside the insurance industry influenced features of Traverse? Millennials are demanding more from companies in all industries. They want better and faster services, no matter what they are shopping for. So we created Traverse with that in mind.

What specific features make Traverse easy to use? Traverse is completely digital. You can get a quote, subscribe, manage your policy, file a claim, all without ever having to pick up the phone.

Has consumer feedback consistently asked for a modification to Travelers renters insurance policies? Traverse was really created from the ground up. We created a completely new kind of insurance product based directly on what this consumer base told us they would benefit from.

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