Last fall in New York City, two CEOs met to discuss the future of RV rental insurance. Jeff Cavins, founder and CEO of community-driven RV rental company Outdoorsy, flew to the offices of National General Holdings. There he met with Barry Karfunkel. Despite being in his 30s, or perhaps because of it, Karfunkel was made CEO of the multi-billion dollar insurance company earlier in 2016.
He has his pulse on what Millennials are doing. What they want. Together, Cavins and Karfunkel would convince all 50 states to remove a business exclusion clause preventing RV owners to rent out their vehicles while maintaining industry low costs. National General partnered with Outdoorsy, one such sharing platform that RVers could use.
As of yesterday, in 26 states, RVs will be eligible to be put in a marketplace economy, whether using Outdoorsy or a rental dealership using Outdoorsy’s RV fleet management software Wheelbase.
“Now it’s 360-degree, surround-sound RV insurance for pros, dealers, and owners,” Cavins said in an exclusive interview with RV PRO. “Nothing like this has ever been done. It’s an industry first.”
People that own RVs, Cavins told Karfunkel, want to put them into rental fleets or manage them on their own as a rental unit. Current insurance policies, which date back to 1970s, have a business exclusion clause prohibiting such rental purposes for RVs. Cavins then cited how the average RV user hits the road infrequently. “The average RV owner leaves their car idle 355 days out of the year.”
Consider today’s marketplace trends, and a partnership between two companies like National General and Outdoorsy was bound to happen. New ventures in the sharing economy pop-up every day, while older ones (Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Getaround) seek new ways to attract more people. Making changes to insurance policies, as National General has, can assure that. But it took perseverance. The policy change required footwork across all 50 states to get enacted.
This change, said Cavins, avails owners and dealers to new possibilities: competitive rates and coverage. Not even Uber, Lyft, Turo, or Zipp can offer such a policy.
“A lot of this comes from the vision of Barry Karfunkel,” said Cavins. “We had a really good meeting of the minds in terms of vision because recreational travel is exploding. Ninety-two million Millennials crave experiential travel.”
Baby Boomers and Millennials, recent studies have shown, are driving this surge in the RV industry.
Cavins and Karfunkel had the vision to address the insurance needs of this trend. “We said there’s a need for a better, more comprehensive personal lines policy for individuals and small rental dealerships that either consign their fleets from private owners or own their own fleets. Their needs are not being met by those who perform personal insurance,” said Cavins.
“We are seeing the growing passion among consumers for recreational travel,” Barry Karfunkel stated in a press release, “and felt it was time for an improved insurance product that was designed specifically for owners of recreational vehicles.”
The new insurance policy will reach the rest of the remaining U.S. states and two territories over the next two weeks.
“We’re trying to bring new insurance solutions to the industry because commercial and personal insurance are such big parts of it. Till now they been rather old and legacy,” said Cavins. “Our commercial insurance product are underwritten by Lloyd’s of London and W.R. Berkley – two companies that have never been involved with the RV industry until us.”
Small RV rental dealerships will also reap the benefits as new RV owners consider other options than Geico, USAA, Progressive, and other companies that don’t currently offer similar coverage for business usage. As stated by Karfunkel, it lays down “the ground work for a vibrant marketplace economy.”