French Uber rival Blablacar has fetched a billion-dollar-plus valuation by attracting some 50 million drivers and passengers to its ride-sharing app. Now it’s exploring whether to step on insurers’ toes to cash in on that crowd.
A team of 10 at Blablacar’s Paris headquarters is experimenting with an insurance brokerage business that would sell packages tailored to ride-sharing, as the company expects more and more drivers and riders to seek additional protection for individual trips, over and above the cost of insuring a vehicle. Blablacar has collected large volumes of data from about 10 years of connecting drivers and passengers, including peer reviews, route information and identity checks.
“The long-term vision is that we could become an insurance broker based on driver ratings and other data we collect about travel routes,” co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Brusson said in an interview. “We could become a new distribution channel for insurance on the Blablacar user platform. It’s a side business that could dominate revenue.”
Blablacar is experimenting with several ways to leverage its user base. It has a partnership with carmaker Opel and ALD Automotive to offer leasing packages to drivers who have achieved “ambassador” status – based on number of rides and ratings among other criteria – on the Blablacar platform.
For insurers, Blablacar’s move is part of a broader debate on whether people will keep buying their own cars or shift instead to alternatives like ride-sharing, car-pooling and “robotaxis”. To adapt, Axa SA has forged links with companies from Uber Technologies Inc. to Deliveroo and has a unit called Axa Partners dedicated to growing revenue from such partnerships. It has a deal with Blablacar, and Axa’s protection is included in every trip booked in France, the U.K., and elsewhere in Europe.
Read more here