On-demand insurance and assistance are becoming more widespread. What are the benefits of such products? Why are they popular among consumers? How can they cater to the various ways of managing risk?

On-demand services: being there as soon as you need them

Emergencies are rarely easy to predict. In the everything-on-demand era, assistance services are also becoming more adaptable thanks to new information and communication technologies. It is now possible to submit a repair or a breakdown recovery request online from a mobile app or a website – for a car or a washing machine – and then get someone at the site of the accident or breakdown extremely quickly – generally in under 30 minutes. 

Over the last few years, on-demand renovation and repair services have emerged. Some of the better-known services include Handy and Taskrabbit for home repairs and tasks, MesDépanneurs by Engie and  IZY by EDF for breakdown and renovation, and then there is Jumper for car breakdown assistance. Their distinctive feature? No subscription is required and you don't have to take out cover: the client only pays for the task or repair carried out. If your car has broken down, you only pay to have it towed or repaired; if your computer stops working, you just pay for the technician’s time and any spare parts which might be needed. 

These interventions can also be made easier by webapps, as well as artificial intelligence and real-time geo-positioning. Innovations which mean that the online on-demand global home automation service market is looking extremely promising for the years ahead: according to a study conducted by UK consultancy service Technavio, its value could increase by US$4.75 billion by 2026

Since breakdown assistance and repair companies very often have to provide rapid intervention services, the increase in the numbers of on-demand service platforms means that they can create useful offerings in addition to more traditional insurance products (annual coverage). Indeed, annual policies are still popular among many consumers, and on-demand repair platforms often utilise networks of insurance players that have been established on the market for a long time.  

If on-demand services are popular, it is above all because consumers now want more agile services – services that enable them to adapt their insurance spending based on their actual needs. Digital interfaces and on-demand services give them the control that they are looking for. 

So being able to geo-locate the repair person in real time, having fixed intervention costs, being able to make an appointment online and rate the service providers, having online chat features and getting real-time notifications are all functions that are appreciated by the users of on-demand service platforms and applications, according to a survey conducted by OpinionWay for Mazars focusing on the French and the insurance services of the future, and the fifth edition of the chatbot survey conducted by conversational software company Dydu.  

On-demand insurance provides far-sighted clients with flexibility and peace of mind

Insurance coverage is something else which is benefiting from the on-demand revolution. On-demand insurance is a digital insurance model that potential clients can easily activate and then deactivate. They only pay when they feel as though they might need coverage – when the item in question is being used and is “at risk”. Whether you call your insurance company to take out this type of policy or go via the company's dedicated app… there is no difference. Users can then take out different insurance policies for each one of their possessions – and for periods of time that they themselves can determine. A revolution in terms of the package's flexibility and adaptability.

And this adaptability does not stop there: travelling, healthcare, car insurance… You can now tailor your cover based on precise requirements (based on your usage) and time. On-demand insurance is not designed to replace traditional insurance. Instead, it supplements it – it provides temporary coverage that the client can activate or deactivate depending on when they need it. 

Imagine that a client is travelling and is afraid that their camera might be stolen or get broken. They can take out on-demand insurance cover for the duration of the trip and set off with complete peace of mind. Similarly, there are now modular healthcare insurance products designed to meet people's needs at any given moment. A number of other on-demand insurance services have emerged over the last years, including micro-insurance and various types to do with the gig economy​ ​(to cater to the needs of new work models, such as Uber and Airbnb, as well as car sharing platforms). Pay-as-you-use insurance coverage and pay-as-you-go usage (for a rental car, for example, when the insurance that you purchase is based on the number of kilometres that you travel) are also models that have become increasingly popular over the last few years. 

Insurance companies want to enhance the client experience

Pay-as-you-go type on-demand insurance coverage and micro-insurance enhance the client experience in numerous ways. They tend to be more flexible than traditional policies: consumers can purchase coverage for a limited period of time or for specific requirements – rather than committing to periods of 12 months or more. Micro-insurance or micro-policies are designed to meet very specific requirements – such as overseas travel, sports events and leisure activities. With pay-as-you-go policies, consumers pay an amount that is proportional to their usage of the insured object.  

So people can take out a policy for a short period of time or to meet a specific requirement. That way, they don't have to pay for a policy that they do not use. Thanks to their flexibility and adaptability, these various insurance products sit alongside traditional policies: and the whole client experience is enhanced as a result.