A SCOTTISH businessman is on a mission to change the way people think about driving cars – booking insurance by the hour, on demand.
Freddy Macnamara grew up in rural Bonar Bridge in the Highlands where he was frequently stranded, with buses into town leaving only twice a day.
He became frustrated that despite the fact his family and friends all had cars close by sitting idle, he couldn’t drive them – unless he was forced to take out an expensive insurance policy..
The 27-year-old found how how complicated and it was to borrow the cars of family and friends. This came to a head when his sister broke her arm and he was unable to take her to the hospital in his father’s car.
He is behind an Insure-Tech company, Cuvva, who have launched a new app allowing people the opportunity to buy cheap comprehensive car insurance by the hour.
Backed by the Techstars Barclays Accelerator, it claims to be the first of its kind in the industry.
They have timed their campaign amidst Easter’s rail replacement work and train strikes to ensure that everyone gets home safely.
Freddy said: “Insurance is broken, and I believe I can help to fix it.
“We’ve turned a process that normally takes an hour, into a 10 second, on-demand service on your smartphone. What Uber have done for booking a taxi, we have now done for ‘getting Cuvva’d’ .”
He added: “The app reduces the complex, expensive and uncertain process of getting insured on a friends’ car and allows you to book hourly car insurance on demand.
“Users download the app, get verified, enter the car’s registration that they wish to be insured on. Booking car insurance is a three-steps process selecting the number of hours you need the car for and then your done. You’re insured.
“It’s been a huge learning process for me and my co-founder, James Billingham, but we’re fortunate to have had support from the Barclays Techstars Accelerator and some great advice from leading players in the insurance industry and investors’
“Easter is the perfect time for us to to roll out the service, true to the vision on Cuvva, it helps us play a part in helping people get home to their families for Easter.”
With major railway disruption scheduled on the London Paddington line, the Virgin West Coast and East Coast Line, and also the 250,000 people heading to the Boat Race likely to be affected, Freddy is keen to help ensure that his app helps everyone’s Easter plans run smoothly.
Cuvva insurance starts from £7 for the first hour - and gets proportionally cheaper for longer bookings.
The company estimate that there are 37 million driving licence holders who have a need to use the service for a total of 147 million journeys per annum.
The average car sits 23 hours per day and is currently in use only one hour per day.
Freddy added: “Setting up the business in rural Scotland gives a clear cost advantage with costs about a third of running a business in London.”
He said the running of a leaner cost base enabled him to iterate and experiment with various things before finding a model that worked.
Cuvva moved to the Edinburgh incubator, Codebase, with the founder Jamie Coleman helping with advice and introductions that led to the firm receiving over £500,000 of seed funding and being accepted on the Techstars Barclays accelerator.