Insurer jumps into house sharing

Australia’s biggest insurer has thrown some weight behind the sharing economy, launching a new specialist product for people using online accommodation share services.

Last week, IAG’s innovation-focused Labs division launched ShareCover, an insurance product aimed at providing personal liability and other cover for customers listing their houses or rooms through online marketplaces like Airbnb and Stayz.

Former CGU head Peter Harmer heads the Labs division and says the product is recognition that the shared economy is here to stay.

“It’s transformed the way we use our assets, now and in the future,” he says.

“ShareCover is designed to be used in conjunction with standard home policies and adds the protection home owners need for peace of mind when they chose to host paying guests in their homes.”

IAG research found almost two-thirds of hosts were worried about property damage or theft.

The new product is available on short-term bases and covers theft, damage, personal liability, identity theft and loss of rental income.

Insurance is increasingly emerging as a battleground in the sharing economy, with the taxi industry choosing it as a key arena for its battle against Uber.

The sharing economy was also in firm focus at the NIBA Convention last week, where keynote speaker Rachel Botsman arguing that a transformation of the world of commerce was underway, as people traded trust in institutions for trust in peers.

Keep an eye out for the October-November issue of IRP magazine for an in-depth exploration of the opportunities and challenges presented by the sharing economy.