Participating in the sharing economy can literally be a risky experience these days. A woman on a Bird e-scooter recently blew through a stop sign, got hit by a car, and suffered severe head trauma. An investigation over the past few years found that hundreds of passengers have been sexually assaulted or abused by Uber and Lyft drivers. In early June, an Uber driver allegedly shot and killed a passenger in Denver.

Wayne Slavin sees all this hazard as an opportunity. The co-founder and CEO of Sure, a digital insurance brokerage, is creating a new market of niche insurance policies that cover everything from comic book collections to an Uber ride. "We come up with unique and novel types of insurance," says Slavin, who co-founded the Santa Monica, California-based company with Jarod Kolman in 2016. "Eventually, we want to be the everything insurance store."

On Sure's website and app, customers can get help finding policies for obscure items or activities that would be difficult to get insured through traditional agents. Sure's A.I.-powered platform tracks down the best policy from one of its 35 insurance partners, which include Nationwide and Chubb. Slavin says because the company is automated and doesn't employ insurance agents, historically less lucrative policies--like one-time coverage for ski trips or smartphone coverage--are Sure's bread and butter.

The 26-person startup also keeps a close eye on emerging behavioral trends--and then approaches its insurance partners to see if they are willing to underwrite that risk. The result is tens of thousands of new types of policies Sure sells every month. "Once there is a change in behavior, it changes the way people need to be insured," says Slavin, who has raised $10.6 million from FF VC, IA Capital Group, Menlo Ventures, Assurant, and Nationwide.

For example, this Thursday Sure announced its newest product, RideSafe. The policy, which costs $2.40, covers Uber and Lyft passengers for up to $100,000 for accidental death or dismemberment and up to $10,000 for medical expenses due to an injury. The new policy, which is underwritten by Chubb, is "episodic," meaning the insurance only lasts for a 24-hour period and only covers a person during a ride. (The insurance policy connects to Uber's or Lyft's API so claims can pull data from a customer's ride.)

Slavin says that as fewer people purchase cars and car insurance, this type of episodic insurance will be adapted to new transportation trends, like autonomous vehicles and car service subscriptions. "Insurance is changing from around the four wheels and the car itself to the person, the passenger," says Slavin.

Perhaps the most coveted micro-insurance on the horizon? Slavin says Sure will release e-scooter insurance for users of companies like Bird, now valued at $2 billion, before the end of 2018.

Published on: Jun 14, 2018