Onlia Saves Ontarians Time and Money With Self-service Insurance Options

Whether they’re investing, buying a used car or listing their home for sale, the Internet has provided a range of self-service tools that save Canadians time and money.

 

Now one insurance provider is following the self-service trend, providing Ontario residents with an opportunity to save on home and car insurance by cutting out the broker and doing it themselves.

Founded in Toronto in 2018, Onlia provides an affordable and flexible insurance option for Canadians who are looking for quick and easy solutions for insurance.

“The majority of Canadian consumers feel they don’t need specific advice on coverages when choosing an insurance company and they want the freedom to do it themselves,” says Pieter Louter, CEO of Onlia. “When things are very complex, or you need a lot of advice because of your situation, then a broker can be useful.”

Louter (right) explains that while a more traditional approach to insurance works well for some, Ontarians now have an alternative option; one that often comes at a lower cost, and can be adjusted or cancelled at any time.

Onlia, however, doesn’t just save customers on commission fees.

Onlia’s online service also provides customers further opportunities to save. First off there are many discounts that one can benefit from including bundling home and car insurance, insuring multiple vehicles, renewing a policy, and even demonstrating safe driving behaviour. Drivers also see additional savings when adding winter tires to their car, avoiding at-fault claims, and using Onlia’s safe driving app.

“We give everyone a drive score and based on that score they can get up to $40 cashback every month,” says Louter. “If you demonstrate good driving behaviour you can get $480 in cash [per year], paid out on a monthly basis.”

Louter adds that the app is designed to ensure privacy, and that the company does not share customer data with third parties. It is also designed to be data efficient, and does not significantly impact mobile data usage.

The ability to go online and change or cancel coverage plans at any time can also go a long way in saving customers money they would otherwise spend to insure vehicles while they aren’t in use.

Those with a seasonal vehicle have the option of only insuring it for the period that it is being utilized, and customers can even pause their coverage when they leave town on extended trips.

“Normally, if people want to make a change [to their coverage] they call a call centre, they wait an hour, they discuss the change, and the change is implemented once they get the paperwork for a new contract,” says Louter. “With a self-service option like Onlia, people can go to their online account, implement the change themselves, see the impact immediately, and the next day it is implemented, so it saves a lot of time.”

Ontario residents can sign up for home, car, condo or tenant insurance at Onlia.ca. The online application will ask for some basic information, including driver’s license, driving history, and the car’s make and model for car insurance; or address and other residential information for home, condo and tenant insurance.

“In four minutes you can answer a few questions, and we will give you a quote based on the information provided,” says Louter. From there customers are asked to provide a down payment for their first month, while their driving history is confirmed with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s database. “We will then send you an email, and from the moment you confirm via email, you are insured the next day.”

Though the start-up is less than three years old it has the reputation and history of two major insurance providers to back it up. Onlia is a joint venture between Toronto-based Fairfax Financial and Achmea, a Netherland’s based insurance cooperative and one of the largest financial service providers in the country.

 

“Car insurance premiums are a significant expense for people, with that investment, you want to work with someone you trust,” says Louter. “You also need to believe that the company is there when you need it, so trust is very important to us.”

 

Onlia appears to be doing an effective job in gaining that trust, as the company has been growing at a staggering pace over the last two years. Their success is also a testament to the changing preferences and behaviours of Canadians customers, who have come to enjoy lower costs and greater convenience from digital self-service platforms.

 

 “I expect the trend towards digitalization to continue, and that it will bring further innovations, and more cost savings,” says Louter. “We hope we can continue helping more Ontarians feel safe and secure with a good insurance product.”

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Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon is an experienced journalist, writer and public speaker. He specializes in Business, Technology, Lending and FinTech industries in Canada and abroad. Jared is a regular contributor to Smarter Loans and top tier publications around the World, including Fortune Magazine, Fast Company, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, the Globe and Mail, and many more.

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