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The Fresh, No-Buzzword Promise of Jetty Renters Insurance

Forgetting your phone in an Uber needn’t ruin your day.

Luke Cohler/Photography by Jetty

New-York based insurance company Jetty asks customers a single question to get them a quote: “What’s your address?” The company, founded in 2016, has a tech focus and offers property protection for issues like bed bugs and liability coverage for Airbnb hosting. The company’s Passport Lease also helps prospective renters who can’t meet a property’s salary requirements and don’t have a co-signer or guarantor. Quiddity talked with Luke Cohler, Jetty’s co-founder and president, about power-ups, the freedoms of young companies, and getting reliable financial institutions on your side.

For young, urban single people or couples, what are the most important things about your renters insurance policy to know?
We’re one of the easiest, cheapest and fastest renters insurance policies in the country. It's really hard to beat us on price, speed and ease of signing up. You can get a quote literally with a single question: what's your address? Jetty Renters Insurance features liability coverage and even protects your stuff when you're outside the home or abroad. Additionally, we’re especially proud of our innovative bed bug coverage, which helps alleviate the cost associated with a bed bugs infestation. Our customers also appreciate our Personal Electronics Power-Up, which allows users to extend renters insurance to protect a smartphone, tablet and laptop from drops and breaks, spills, or leaving it in an Uber.

How would you describe the long-term value of protecting yourself with renters insurance versus the short-term value?
One way to think about value is the different features of the policy. Dropping and breaking your phone and having a screen shatter is really painful and sucks, but it's really a short-term issue. It's not something years later that haunts you. The liability coverage is more of a long-term protection. If you are negligent, accidentally leave your stove on, start a fire, and you're sued for damages to your apartment complex, you might have to declare bankruptcy. That will have a long-term effect on your financial health. Your liability coverage will cover you in that case.__

How is your company working to dispel common myths about renter’s insurance?
The really big focus for us is providing tons of transparency, clarity and communication about how insurance works, the benefits of the product=, and the meaning of different definitions of coverage. If you go through our website, we have a rich FAQ section, an Insurance 101 section about our insurance products and insurance products in general.

Are there any U.S. markets you’re focusing on in terms of promoting renter’s insurance? Why? Not specifically. We’re in 45 states. Obviously markets that have a lot of renters like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are an important part of our membership and customer base. In addition to Jetty Renters Insurance, we offer two other awesome products for renters, Passport Deposit and Passport Lease. They essentially replace the need to find a guarantor or cosigner on your lease one and a security deposit replacement. We have deals with some of the largest property managers in the country to include these products, and many more are coming online soon.

Is there any emerging technology that’s helping your company better connect with consumers?
I wouldn't necessarily highlight any specific emerging technology. There are some buzzwords that get thrown around in newer companies like “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence.” To be honest, that’s just a lot of smoke and mirrors. What really matters is a great customer experiences and meeting consumers wherever they are. When we think about technology, were obviously using a best-in-class technology staff; our CTO was a former CTO at Squarespace. But, technology is core to our DNA and delivering the easiest experience possible. For example, we use data associated with an street address to help build a policy for the customer. A legacy company might ask, “What is your building made of?” We can look that information up and not burden customers to answer those questions.

There are some buzzwords that get thrown around in newer companies like 'machine learning' and 'artificial intelligence.' To be honest, that’s just a lot of smoke and mirrors.

What’s one way you recently revised your renters insurance to reflect broader market trends?
From the outset, we've said it's really important to look at ways modern consumers are living their lives and make sure features of the policy reflect that. For example, bed bugs coverage and the electronics power-up. We also offer an AirBnb host protection feature. If you're a victim of theft during a hosting experience, normally renters insurance wouldn’t cover you (and Airbnb also won't cover you because it's not an issue that was directly caused by them). We offer an additional power-up to protect you when you're acting as an AirBnb host.

What specific features make your renters insurance easy to access? How about to renew?
It's our focus on technology. We’re prebuilt for mobile and web apps, no matter what kind of device you're on. We offer customers the ability to check a box to auto-renew a plan, which is a huge convenience.

How are you thinking about needs of pet owners in your renters insurance policy? Thinking about pet owners is very modern, and it’s growing in popularity to have a pet these days. It's definitely something for us to think about over the long run. When you're checking out, we have a section where you can learn more about how the policy works for pet owners, to what extent they are covered or not covered.

How are you thinking about needs of people who work from home or have frequent guests?
Renters insurance by design covers personal property, but doesn't necessarily cover work property. If you work from home, there's this interesting way in which some of your stuff might be professional equipment. We’re not specifically thinking about it in the context of renters insurance because of the way renters insurance is designed to work, but we’re always thinking about how folks are living today. Working from home definitely isn’t going away, so it's something for us to think about as Jetty grows.

What classic renters insurance drawbacks are you able to avoid?
We have the benefit as a new company coming at this problem with a fresh pair of eyes, and look at needs of modern renters. When we started, we took a step back and said, what are the specific changes to this policy that consumers want? Second, we decidedly have an advantage in terms of technology. The legacy players and incumbents are unfortunately burdened down by technology stacks that are literally decades out of date. When you’re a giant company, transitioning to a cloud stack is a long, massive, and extremely expensive endeavor. We’re able to do it from scratch.

How are you ensuring renters insurance consumers that they can trust an online outlet without much history?
Trust comes from communicating in a way that says to the customer, “we know who you are and we understand you.” The way we present ourselves, through our marketing materials, brand voice, website, and by providing explanations about how products work, inspires a lot of trust. Trust comes from knowing the company you're dealing with is reliable financially. In that sense we’re really proud of our relationship with State National an A-rated insurance carrier, as well as Munich Re. The whole company is backed by enormous preeminent financial institutions.

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