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In our latest episode of Insurance 2.0, we catch up with Rob Coon, the co-founder of NZ's first digital insurance company, Cove. We discuss starting Cove, limitations that traditional insurers experience, the biggest opportunities for insurtech right now, and more.

Catch the video or full transcript below.

- Kia ora everyone. I'm Rob Coon co-founder and head of product at Cove.

- You know, for most people that don't know, you started this business with your brother. Can you tell me a bit about what even led to you to starting Cove? What was the moment where you and Andy said, "yep let's do this"?

- So I grew up in an insurance household. I remember having piles of numbers lying around the house and strangely enough this didn't draw me into insurance instantly. My passion is technology, specifically product development and data driven optimization, so when the rise of Fintech disruption started sweeping through the world with new customer-centric business models, I jumped in to see what could be done in insurance, which is well over due for a refresh.

- So you just touched on the fact that you've got a quite extensive tech background and now you're jumping into insurance. What are some of the problems that you're seeing?

- I think at the moment consumer behaviour's been changing. Consumers are used to services like Uber, Netflix and Spotify and the likes. The love the ease of experience, seeing a response instantly and being empowered to make decisions with a few button clicks without having to go through a call-center or learn a bunch of jargon.

- What's the main thing consumers are wanting that typical insurance just doesn't offer?

- What they don't want is being stuck in a call-center and just not knowing how it works, what they're covered for. I think a lot of more modern services just make things just very simple and empowering for a customer just to use things on their terms, on their time, can just do what they want.

- What do you think's the main barrier to making insurance much more customer-centric?

- I think there's lots. I think for the incumbent insurers one of the biggest barriers I see for them is just the series of old systems that they have. It's hard to build new technology when you're still struggling with the old stuff. And to actually achieve a customer-centric solution is pretty hard if your old systems are set up to be policy centric as well.

- Yeah, absolutely. And, if we think about the customer journey, excuse the pun, what part of that journey do you think has the most potential for a revolutionary change?

- I think there's lots. I think the power of connected devices has enormous potential to change the way insurance contracts work, as can allow risk to be priced in realtime with dynamic premiums, which can be more fairly charged in certain applications. One example of this is road share or short-term car rental whether through your phone or telematics. Not only does this deliver a fair apportionment of premiums but ultimately can help improve behaviour as the financial incentive is very apparent. Another call application for better connecting devices and systems is to streamline the claims process. Instead of being left in the dark waiting for your updates of when your car or house maybe repaired. You should be alerted instantly and aware of what's going on.

- How do you think New Zealand stacks up against the rest of the world when in comes to Insurtech?

- Obviously it's a much smaller market here compared to the likes of the States and Europe, so there's not quite as many Insurtech companies, and with that the opportunity to disrupt different parts of the value chain are smaller and less enticing for global insure tech investors but in saying that Kiwi's have a great track record for embracing new ideas and innovations like Eftpos and the likes, like Eftpos and the likes, so I like to think we punch above our weight. The insure tech events here, as you're well aware, get a good turn out so there's lots of good people and some really interesting companies and projects that are happening here within the space.

- What have been some of the biggest struggles in starting one of New Zealand's first , if not actually the first, New Zealand digital insurance company?

- Sure, biggest struggles, lot's of challenges, different day, different challenge. Developing technology has a lot of head scratching moments as I'm sure you've experienced.

- Yeah, absolutely.

- Regulation that comes can become pretty uninteresting, pretty quick too. What helps getting past this is definitely working with a great team with a shared vision and passion to innovate the insurance experience. That just makes every day worthwhile and definitely makes it a lot easier to tackle.

- Awesome, well, I mean for all those out there that are watching this, if you haven't heard about Cove go check them out at www.cove.co.nz and get your next car insurance policy through them. Cheers for your time today, Rob. Awesome chatting to you, man. And catch up in person soon.

- Fantastic, thanks a lot everyone. Cheers, Mike.

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