Thimble, the insurtech startup that helps small businesses succeed on their own terms, has been selected to the Lloyd’s Lab innovation accelerator program, where it will develop solutions to support the market to respond to COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, many small businesses have learned that their business interruption insurance does not cover losses related to COVID-19. This has resulted in severe blowback on the industry, along with multiple lawsuits pitting small and midsize businesses against their insurers.
As part of Lloyd’s Lab, Thimble will tackle this issue head on. The startup, known for its instant insurance policies of flexible duration, will develop low-limit parametric contingent business interruption coverage to protect businesses from COVID-19 and future pandemics. By doing so, Thimble will position insurance as a “first line of defence” that pays small businesses immediately if specific criteria are met– essentially providing an “instant stimulus” while governments figure out the rest.
“Traditional insurance policies do not work for pandemics because most policies will pay out at the same time,” said Jay Bregman, CEO and Founder of Thimble.
“No private company can maintain a balance sheet big enough to pay those claims and survive. We can, however, sell smaller policies with lower limits, that would pay out programmatically and instantly if criteria are met– for example, if all the businesses within a certain zip code are forced to close. We’re thrilled to have the support of Lloyd’s on this vitally important program, as we chart the course for recovery and renewed confidence for our small business partners.”
More than 140 applications were received from across the world for the fifth cohort of the Lloyd’s Lab, which begins on September 7, 2020. Thimble’s selection to Lloyd’s Lab follows a series of major innovations from the insurtech startup, including Thimble Monthly, which enables small businesses to “cut the cord” from annual policies via rolling monthly coverage; Thimble Pause, allowing businesses to place a hold on policies without penalty and without needing to cancel; and major partnerships with Hiscox and Angie’s List.
If a small 1-10 person business can get parametric payouts that cover wages, rents and other key overheads, that’s great. We still see a degree of complexity when approaching some small companies that can remote locate their workers or some stock, like say a logistics, components or software company, or perhaps a PR/ad agency, compared to a restaurant or sole trader retailer where the premises either open, or they don’t.
Defining what is and isn’t covered in circumstances where a sub-branch CAN operate, as another closes, and yet calculate the correct payout, could be challenging.
Founded by Jay Bregman and Eugene Hertz, Thimble is based in New York City and has raised over $29 million in funding from IAC and other top firms. All General Liability and Professional Liability policies are underwritten by Markel Insurance Company. For more information, visit www.thimble.com.