Start the Revolution
Slice Labs is already licensed to sell insurance in 45 states and is headed to all
50, according to Attia. Slice is working
with insurance commissioners in those
states on approval of the new product,
which the company plans to introduce
within the next few months.
“In this on-demand world you can
be a person one second and a business
the next and then back to being a person
again,” says Attia. “That doesn’t fit within
either the commercial lines or personal
lines towers. We had to build our own
product to meet the ride-share and the
home-share environment. We’re provid-
ing primary coverage for their property
and liability for their business.”
Research shows the average annual
Airbnb revenue in California is $4,000
and that a commercial lines policy for
such a business could cost up to $4,000.
“It’s not practical to buy those policies. We definitely are going after what
we see as the underserved,” says Attia.
“The on-demand economy is growing
and that’s another angle to our benefit.
Lastly, people working in the on-demand
economy are innovative. They remove
Ticking time bomb
Attia has described the on-demand economy as a ticking time bomb because people
who rush into the Airbnb or Uber business
don’t always realize there are some real
gaps in their risk. Beyond that, they find
insurance to be confusing and opaque.
“There is a perception of coverage,
which is dangerous because policyholders
don’t find out how their insurance works
until something bad happens,” he says.
Insurance is in the world of probability, according to Attia, but even more
worrisome is for the first time in his
experience with the insurance industry
the name of the insurance coverage is
actually what is not covered.
“When people say they have a
rideshare policy—and there are a few
carriers out there with them—rideshare
means the insurer does not cover them
for the ridesharing, which is confusing
even for experts in our industry,” says
Attia. “Insurers exclude coverage for
ridesharing, but it is called a rideshare
policy. The industry left a gap and to re-
spond we needed literally a new product
that understands you are a business one
second and a person the next second.”
One day there will be multiple events
and bad things will happen with the host
and the guest and the only recourse is if the
host is insured. The old insurance platform
will say they are independent contractors.
Attia says observers are just waiting for
something bad to happen and then people
will discover the gaps in their coverage.
“There are bad things happening to
good people,” says Attia. “The insurance
platforms are saying that’s not their issue.”
With Airbnb, a homeowner could be tak-
ing on $6 million in liability. A $3,000 property
loss for an Uber driver could be catastrophic
and, worst-case scenario, an accident could
wipe out any wealth the individual has.
“That’s why we’re changing the insurance
model,” says Attia. “We want to protect the
worker, the guest, and the passenger.”
Slice Labs built its platform to remove
friction and change the process with the
simple goal to make it as easy as possible
to purchase a policy. Because of the
background of the Slice principals, they
built the system from the ground up, understanding some insurers have trouble
issuing an annual policy, much less one
that is per-use and lasts for a short time.
“You can’t buy an off-the-shelf system
to do what we are doing,” says Attia.
So Slice Labs has its own policy, billing, and claims system and designed the
product using their own actuarial and
“We’ve been around technology for
a while and even technology from three
years ago wouldn’t have allowed us to
do what we are doing today,” says Attia.
“Any technology we would have looked
The New Economy
at or started building three years ago
would be out of date today. There has
been a real shift.”
The on-demand economy got ahead of
traditional restraints—regulation, the
legal system, insurance—so now companies such as Slice Labs look to fill the
coverage gaps. Attia believes the industry
will begin to normalize as regulators
catch up to the demands of new customers. As well as the insurance industry as
“The nature of work is changing,”
he says. “We think the infrastructure,
regulatory demands, and legal issues will
catch up and those operating in the new
economy will need new infrastructure.”
That is why Slice Labs is going to jump
into all the segments of the on-demand
economy, not just Airbnb and Uber. It
doesn’t hurt that this also is a global issue.
“It’s not a U.S.-only phenomenon,”
With the new economy that Attia
speaks of, five years is two lifetimes, so
predicting the future remains dicey.
“We have to move fast—that’s a requirement,” says Attia. “We are cautious
because we don’t want to get into any
regulatory issues or challenges, but if we
come up with a new way to do insurance with the new economy and do a
good job with it, can we move it to other
areas? That’s not on our immediate road-map, but it may be in our future.”
So where did the name Slice Labs come
from? According to Attia, people were
throwing out names and Slice Labs just
stuck with Hursh, Baserman, and Attia
because the company was going to be
on-demand for a “slice” or a period of time.
As for the Labs portion, many insurers
have used labs, but Slice doesn’t think of it as
an afterthought; rather it is a core concept.
“Technology is going to be different in
three years so for us the lab will always be
about building new technology,” says Attia.
“Slice will never stop building new technology.”