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Pay-as-you-groan: On-demand insurance that pays you $2K for a broken arm


Insurtech Flip is shaking up the insurance industry in Australia by launching the country's first on-demand injury cover.

The HCF-backed start-up doesn't work like a traditional health or life insurance policy – people only need to pay for cover when they feel at risk of injury.

A different kind of injury cover

There are 2 main cover options – a $6 day pass for a single day of protection, or an ongoing "Always On" subscription for $9 per week. There is no waiting period or cancellation fee and there are only ever 3 payout amounts.

"[W]e've tried to keep the payout structure as simple as possible," said co-chief officer Kathleen Weaver. "There are 3 tiers: $200, $2,000 and $20,000."

The "Always On" option comes with a "Boost" option which doubles the payout rate and costs $6 extra per day.

"The $200 tier is for minor injuries," says Weaver. This can include soft tissue, muscle strains, sprains and dental. If you were to take out hospital insurance, you generally wouldn't be able to claim for these types of injuries.

"The $2,000 is for when you need surgery and admission to hospital. So that and major dental stuff." This can include treatments like crown and bridge work, implants, dentures, splints, or root canal therapy.

The $20,000 is for "when something really serious happens", Weaver says – for example, permanent loss of hearing, sight or use of limbs.

Kathleen Weaver and Chris Borrett

"You can use the cash to do whatever you want"

"We've really tried hard to cover the most relevant injuries and activities that other insurers don't necessarily cover at the moment," added Weaver.

"There's no complicated claiming and reimbursement – showing up to your physio with your membership card and a HICAPS machine and just kind of guessing what you might have to pay or claim back," explained Weaver. "You can use the cash to do whatever you want."

Importantly, Flip customers don't need to receive treatment in a private hospital in order to be covered either.

"So maybe that's physio as part of your rehab or maybe you need a new bike as a result of your injury," says Weaver.

However, it can be used towards a private stay in a hospital as well; for example, it can go towards paying for a private surgeon.

Who is Flip for?

Most Australians are eligible to take out a policy with Flip; it can cover paragliding, hang gliding, BMX riding, boxing and horse riding, as well as regular gym-goers and other sports like football.

However, Weaver says there are certain situations where the $6 day pass may be particularly helpful – for example, if you're "out climbing a new site or diving for the first time".

"Otherwise, there's the 'Always On' weekly subscription, which is $9," says Weaver. "And that's maybe for people that are generally more active – cycling to work, surfing, running."

"Motorcycling is the big one for now that we don't cover"

However, not every activity is covered. "Motorcycling is the big one for now that we don't cover. It freaked out actuaries a bit too much at this early stage, but we're always looking to cut down the exclusions because it's something people hate."

Additionally, "we don't cover accidents if it's in the course of your paid employment. So people like Uber drivers or delivery riders, they're not covered for the moment."

"If something's got a little bit of a sketchy feel to it, they will follow up"

To prevent customers from taking out cover after they've been injured, Weaver says: "We do have fairly good claims investigation processes."

Our claims team is great at investigating when claims happen and following up on all the evidence.

But there are people that are following up in the background to make sure that if something's got a little bit of a sketchy feel to it, they will follow up," Weaver explains.

"Injuries are not fun"

That doesn't mean you won't be covered if you do something unsafe.

"If you are rock climbing at night in the rain, yes, we'll cover you. If you're paragliding during a lightning storm, yes. We'll also cover you," Weaver said, adding: "Please be safe though. Injuries are not fun – do things legally."

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