Peer-to-peer “crowdsurance” offers distributed coverage against bad dates
Imagine you go on a date and it doesn’t go well. Perhaps the other half of the encounter is miserable or your romantic dinner is disturbed by gangster rap from appetiser to dessert.
Dates are expensive. What if you could get a payout if it went poorly, like insurance for bad luck?
That’s the idea behind Fair, an app that offers not-quite-insurance via a distributed, peer-to-peer system, which the startup is unfortunately referring to as “crowdsurance”.
Sign up, decide what to insure, and if you have a run of bad luck, a randomly selected panel of your fellow Fair members will vote on whether to pay out. “Fair is an easy, fast and cheap way to cover your everyday life,” said co-founder Johannes Hirvaskoski, saying the insurance app will cover incidents that “conventional insurance doesn’t touch”.
That includes that gangster rap playing next to you during the one-month anniversary of your first Tindr hookup – although Hirvaskoski took pains to point out he has nothing against rap, he just believes it isn’t suitable for romantic dining. That said, he didn’t promise that example would lead to a payout. “Can you get cover? Go find out,” he said, as the decisions are down to Fair’s own members.
To join, you’ll pay a small membership fee between €0.70 and €1.90 a month per pool, which includes cars, smartphones, sporting equipment and bad luck. For the latter, you can’t claim for events affecting many people – such as rain at a festival – or if the service provider should be held responsible, so ask the waiter to turn off the terrible music first. You can be paid out a maximum of €100 in the bad-luck pool, though payouts vary, with compensation up to 90% of the claim. Nine members will be asked to vote on your claim, and you’ll need five approvals to get your payout.
Aside from insuring your dating life against losses, Hirvaskoski said there are other benefits to the distributed model. It’s faster, with claim decisions made by humans within minutes, and it’ll be cheaper, at half the price of conventional insurance, he claimed.
“These things are possible… because Fair is the world’s first peer-to-peer insurance platform,” he explained. And that’s perhaps the best benefit of all: there’s no insurance company involved at any stage.
None of this means you can cut insurers out of your life completely, though. Even Fair’s own founder said you’ll need standard coverage for the big things in life. “You will still need conventional insurance when your house burns down or there’s a total loss of your car,” he warned.
So far, Fair is only available in Finland and on iOS, so English-speaking and Android users will have to wait until next year. The startup has support from local operator Telia, and is actively looking for more partners. Perhaps Hirvaskoski can get Fair members to insure its next VC meeting in case it all goes tits up.