Recreational vehicle rental marketplace Outdoorsy said it will use some of the $120 million it recently raised to expand its digital managing general agency that sells insurance to RV owners and renters in the U.S. and Europe.
Austin, Texas-based Outdoorsy, which calls itself the “Airbnb of RVs,” said the additional capital will also help it scale up its rental operations now that the U.S. economy and international economies are reopening. Outdoorsy, founded in 2015, has offices in the U.S, Canada, Australia, France and the UK.
Roamly Insurance Group is a managing general agent offering digital insurance products for travelers and owners of recreational vehicles. The company said it eliminates the commercial insurance use exclusion clause that prohibits online listing, allowing it to insure RVs and campers as “rent ready.”
Reinsurer SiriusPoint is partnering with Outdoorsy on the launch of its Roamly division.
Outdoorsy’s new financing includes a $90 million private placement equity round led by Moore Strategic Ventures, ADAR1 Partners, Monashee Capital, SiriusPoint Ltd, and Convivialite Ventures, the corporate venture group of Pernod Ricard. Existing investors Altos Ventures, iAngels, and Greenspring Associates also participated, and Pacific Western Bank provided the $30 million debt facility.
Outdoorsy co-founder and CEO Jeff Cavins said that Roamly’s digital annual insurance products recently came out of beta in the U.S. They will be marketed to Outdoorsy’s customers and new and existing purchasers of recreational vehicles.
The company is in the midst of building out fleets to keep up with expanding renter demand, using Roamly as the key component of their business development strategies.
Outdoorsy and its insurance component were featured in a recent Insurance Journal report on sharing economy firms, Why Sharing Economy Firms Just Might Be the Best Insurance Customers. The article covered a Lloyd’s of London webinar that highlighted Outdoorsy and other sharing economy firms that see insurance as integral parts of their businesses and as revenue builders.
Colin Gardiner, chief revenue officer, spoke about how Outdoorsy has evolved to become a full RV insurance provider, selling insurance for its members not only when they are renting but also when they are outside of their rental period.
“I focus on all things growth and monetization and I think that’s a different approach,” he said. “We don’t view insurance as a cost center. We view it as a strategic advantage so we really use it to our advantage.”
For Outdoorsy, its emphasis on insurance is part of an overall philosophy of concentrating on the customer experience. “What are the things that differentiate you and really give you control?” is the question Gardiner asks. One answer is insurance, in his view.
He cites an example of someone who rents out an RV having an accident. That owner must take the RV offline and can’t rent it while the claim is being taken care of and the vehicle repaired. Everyone loses income the longer that claim takes. If Outdoorsy can help expedite the claim, everyone wins. That, he explained, is how insurance helps improve the customer experience.
Control over the user experience is also key– that’s why Outdoorsy has also invested in its own in-house claims company, which Gardiner said also helps it control costs.
Gardiner said Outdoorsy has more information about its hosts, their behaviors and vehicles than any insurance company. One reason is it has this information is because it provides personal and commercial insurance for them even outside of their rental season. It knows how many days they’re renting it, when their vehicle has had maintenance, and more.
“One of the great parts about collecting all this data is that we’re able to quote very quickly. We already know all of their information by their vehicles, things like that,” said Gardiner.
In addition to data helping to optimize the user experience, it is also helpful in running the business. “As a platform, we care a lot about retaining our users and so we want to use that data to deliver the best low cost products so they don’t go anywhere else. We want to be a one-stop-shop,” he said.
“We’re the experts on RVs, but we’re not actually the experts on picking insurance for those RVs,” Gardiner added. He said collaboration with his insurance broker at Lloyd’s is useful for digging deeper into the data and together understanding the rating factors.
Outdoorsy is also focused on risk mitigation. It has invested in machine learning models and data points to go beyond traditional metrics like driver’s checks. “People have driving records, but they’re not necessarily RV driving records. So for us, trying to build a rating model for people before they rent is really important,” Gardiner said.
The model helps Outdoorsy decide what to charge, whether to have a higher deductible or a higher security deposit. “I think the more data you have, the better products you can deliver and the better expectation you can set for your users as well,” he said.
Top Photo: Outdoorsy customers enjoying their RV trip. Photo from Outdoorsy.
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