From e-scooters to self-driving shuttles, to ride-hailing and car-sharing, auto companies and startups are testing any number of mobility services.
While the long-term viability of some of these services remains unclear, one factor surrounding them is certain: The need for comprehensive insurance coverage for users. And that may present an opportunity for a new kind of insurance policy, one that could be on demand, for example.
PSA North America's Free2Move short-term rental fleet in Washington, D.C., uses coverage through mobility insurance provider Trov. Insurance premiums are adjusted based on data Trov receives in real time from Free2Move's connected vehicles.
Ian Sweeney, Trov's general manager of mobility and sharing economy, told Automotive News that when a trip begins with a covered vehicle, the insurance company constantly tracks the vehicle's level of risk.
For example, a scooter driving less than a mile presents a far lower risk than a scooter traveling several miles and would thus require less coverage. Likewise, a ride-hail vehicle that's parked presents a lesser risk, and would require lesser coverage, than a ride-hail vehicle en route.
Trov automatically adjusts premiums to match the new risk associated with the vehicle as it travels, based on distance, type of vehicle and other analytics. Once the trip is over and the vehicle is parked and no longer poses a risk, Trov's platform is notified and adjusts the policy.
Sweeney said Trov can see patterns and understand the risk of driving to a greater level of detail with data collected in real time, then provide insights to the service operator, such as PSA or Waymo, also a Trov customer.
PSA North America CEO Larry Dominique said in an Automotive News podcast interview last year that technology insurance companies such as Trov can address concerns over short-term rental fleets that operate on low margins.
"Most car fleets are operating at less than 10 percent utilization, so you're sitting there with 90 percent of your vehicles sitting there, not moving at any given one time, not generating revenue," he said. "We deployed usage-based insurance, so we pay a certain amount for the insurance while the vehicles are moving. We pay a lower rate when they're static."