7 informative questions of a cycling CEO who had a costly bike accident

Seven informative questions of a cycling CEO who had a costly bike accident were asked and answered, as overviewed in the transcription below from a fantastic podcast interview. The original podcast guests were cycling industry icon Gary Fisher and BikeInsure CEO Buzzy Cohn.

Gary Fisher & BikeInsure CEO Buzzy Cohn on The Outspoken Cyclist Podcast

If you ride a bike, this interview may be a valuable source for informative bike insurance insights within our cycling lifestyle marketplace.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: We are back on The Outspoken Cyclist. Suppose you've had to file a claim on your homeowner's policy for anything beyond a catastrophic occurrence. In that case, you may have found that either A, your deductible was outrageous, or B, your insurance would either be canceled, or the rates would skyrocket.

So what's a cyclist to do? I ask the CEO of BikeInsure, Buzzy Cohn, who has some answers.

Hi, Buzzy. Welcome to The Outspoken Cyclist. Thanks for being my guest today. How is buzz?

[BikeInsure CEO]: Thank you. That's agreat question. I am very well. Thank you for inviting me to speak with your Outspoken Cyclist community.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Where are you?

[BikeInsure CEO]: I'm just outside of Washington, DC

BikeInsure CEO bike commuting in Washington DC on protected bike lanes

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Seems to be the place to be these days.

[BikeInsure CEO]: I'll tell you what: many cyclists ride nice bikes in the Washington, DC, area.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Yeah. And a lot of my guests seem to be there. So I want to know about Bike Insure. We've talked for years about bike insurance, and we've done a lot of estimates for people who have had their bikes, either stolen or damaged in a crash; all kinds of things. And so we know how insurance companies will depreciate a bicycle, thinking it's just a bike. It can't be worth much. Do you know? And when you build $10,000 bikes, which is what we do, you don't want it depreciated to acouple of hundred dollars. So I read about BikeInsure. I tried to find out more. Your tagline is "enjoy the ride. you're covered." Tell us about Bike Insure. What is it, how does it work, what it covers, etc.

BikeInsure | enjoy the ride. you're covered.

[BikeInsure CEO]: Excellent. Well, why don't I first introduce myself? My name is Buzzy cohn, and I am the CEO of BikeInsure. I like to think of myself as a cyclist, but I'm just a dad of two kids who rides a cool Trek Madone road bike. And what is BikeInsure? The best thing for me may be to reflect on my bike accident.

Trek Madone Project One | Campagnolo Super Record Groupset | Zipp Firecrest Wheelset

I am a cyclist that was out one Sunday with a group of five. Unfortunately, I accidentally rode over part of a commercial truck hubcap. And that was my bike accident.

In my aha moment, I experienced the nightmare of what homeowner's insurance profoundly was. Although to be clear, I did call my homeowner's insurance before I purchased my TREK Madone to do my due diligence and then bought my bike, rode it, enjoyed it, and had an accident.

Bike Accident

Post-accident. I called my homeowner's insurance four times. The first three times, agents initially advised me that my bike did not have insurance coverage. But I was very persistent. I called back a fourth time and left a message for the head insurance adjuster of the insurance carrier to please call me. I got a call back from the head adjuster of my homeowner's insurance organization, an A+ AM Best rated insurance carrier.

First, I was greeted with, "thanks for having pioneer-level status." I asked what that was and was told, "Mr. Cohn, You've had homeowner's insurance for over 20 years, and have never filed a claim." That got me a thank you. I was advised, regardless of my insurance status, that, yes, per the specimen policy, my bike was covered. I said, "Great, process the claim immediately."

My homeowner's insurance carrier said, "Before you say file the claim, let me clarify that we operate based on the industry standard." So I said, what's that? And I was told, "If we file this claim for your bike and you have a second claim within a five-year window, we're going to be forced to non-renew you?" I said cancel.

And the answer was, "YES, sir!". So polite, but yes, sir, that was the industry standard. I asked if my rates would increase too. And the response was, "rates are subject to rising upon renewal." With this bike claim, I got quite a homeowner's insurance lesson when I learned that, essentially, insurance industry experts advise thinking of today's homeowner's insurance as catastrophic loss protection only. So please keep it in good standing for when your roof blows off, or your house burns down. But if you have a specialty product like a bike, it's best to get a standalone bike insurance product.

Standalone is the keyword here, I learned. So I researched standalone bike insurance. And at the time, there were only two offerings, one of which was not available in my state of residency, which is often an issue with those types of companies I've learned over the years. The other bike insurance offering asked so many questions. It took me about 10 minutes to get a quote. And the premium quote was almost as expensive as the fancy Audi SUV I was driving at the time.

So to ensure that no cyclists would ever have my exact aha moment, I knew that I could create the right solution for every adult that owns a bike in the United States. So therefore, I wrote a business plan for America's standardized standalone bike insurance product. It was critical that if I was going to bring this bike insurance solution to market, it needed to have three variables:

1) It had to be STANDARDIZED in the United States. Most people don't know what bike insurance is. Therefore, I believed the cycling marketplace would only embrace a simple, comprehensive bike insurance product.

2) It must be an easy subscription model to enable an inexpensive entry for bike insurance coverage for every cyclist in the United States.

3) And I required a legitimate insurance carrier that would underwrite a standardized offering that is one price for all bikes, and let's move on with our life.  

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Let me ask a question about that particular piece. I think there is a floor to the one-price thing in terms of replacement. Okay. So what is the floor? What would you say the minimum would make sense to have this standalone bike insurance policy, which I think has been a much-needed product for the market for a very longtime?

[BikeInsure CEO]: So it's easy for me to say, maybe we should wait until I break down what it is and what it covers so that you can judge yourself. However, I believe a minimum purchase price does not measure the importance of a bike to its owner. I will readdress the question further in a moment, okay?

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: And I'm going to add something to that when we get to that point. Let me reintroduce you first. We're speaking with Buzzy Cohn, CEO of BikeInsure. BikeInsure.com is the website. And we will get to that at the end of our conversation. But I think this is a really important aspect. As the price of bicycles continues to go up, the number of crashes continues to go up. So that said, let's move on.

[BikeInsure CEO]: Okay. So the second component was this product needed to strictly have monthly payments provided, like Nationwide's pet insurance product that I pay monthly installments for on my dog. I desired to remove the barriers to coverage for every cyclist in the United States to have access to standalone bike insurance.

And the third component had to be underwritten by a top-rated insurance carrier. Long story short. I pitched my business plan to Great American Insurance Company to underwrite the bicycle specialty insurance product for our cycling community. They are an AM BEST rated, A+ insurance carrier that Americans have trusted for over 150 years. Their world headquarters is the tower that overlooks the skyline in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thankfully, I finally crossed paths with a president of 30-plus years working for this company in the specialty product division and the vice president, who is in charge of building these types of products from the ground up for 20-plus years. And he is a true unicorn in the industry. And thankfully, I had an idea, a plan, market intelligence, and data derived from extensive due diligence. BikeInsure and Great American Insurance Company comprehensively vetted the bike insurance product for about six months. Together we developed a process that allows a cyclist to obtain BIKE COVERAGE with optional THEFT PROTECTION for a bicycle, as easy as it was for your smartphone in just a few minutes, all from the bikeInsure.com website. So when you ask the question, what is bike insure? BikeInsure is bike insurance, period! Coverage for the bike period.

Great American Insurance Group Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Okay. Let's talk about the bike itself, and then we'll talk about things like theft, accessories, transit, and some other things that appear on the website.

[BikeInsure CEO] Many people that come to BikeInsure for coverage have a bike that is not dissimilar to a custom-built home. Essentially. They've got their custom-built frame, and they've got their wheelset, and other components that make up their bike. The nice thing when you sign up on the BikeInsure.com website is a form to complete about the bike to get insurance. The make, the model, the bike purchase price, and the application will qualify the use. Please note BikeInsure does cover eBikes, which is brilliant. And also, accessories that are part of the bike may be listed. Listed accessories then become transcribed onto the unique bike insurance policy. For example, when I signed up for BikeInsure, I listed my GoPro Hero 10 video cameras, Garmin edge computer, Campagnolo Super Record Group Set, ZIPP Firecrest 303 wheelset, and Arundal carbon bottle cages. I've even got a Topeak carbon pump that is mounted on my bike that was listed. All of those listed accessories are now part of my BikeInsure plan policy. So if there is ever an issue and somebody logs into their secure BikeInsure.com account, then there's a link that takes them to the Great American Insurance claims department, and there's accountability on the backend for the bike that is listed.

So there is one bike coverage plan, which applies from casual to competitive rides with up to $10,000 in coverage annually per bicycle. The BikeInsure BIKE COVERAGE has only a hundred dollars deductible per occurrence. Furthermore, coverage may extend to Theft with optional THEFT PROTECTION. It has a $10,000 annual aggregate limit and a low $250 deductible. That's the long and short of BikeInsure.

BikeInsure Standarized | Standalone | Primary | Bike Insurance

And now, the most critical aspect to understand is that it's the only standardized bike insurance product in the United States. So every individual adult that owns a bike in the United States will have access to a bike insurance plan. So regardless of your state of residency, even in Alaska or Hawaii, you can go to BikeInsure.com and secure coverage.

If you have three bikes and you want coverage for all three bikes, go ahead, and sign up for three bikes.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: If you already have homeowners insurance and / or automobile insurance, do you have to go to them first, or does this policy standalone, meaning if you have it and something happens to your bike, then the standalone policy provides the coverage?

[BikeInsure CEO]: That's an excellent question. So standalone is that keyword that you mentioned. No, to answer your question specifically. You do not have to go to your homeowner's insurance and say, I am getting a bike, and I'm going to sign up for BikeInsure. BikeInsure is a cost-effective, standalone, primary insurance solution for your bike. The BikeInsure smart alternative provides protection you need without compromising your homeowners insurance.

Many insurance experts advise you to consider today's homeowner's insurance as catastrophic loss protection, homeowner's policies often have high deductibles, and I've got data for you. Multiple claims may lead to cancellation, or non-renewal often has higher limits on certain individual items, and a claim can cause your premium to jump significantly.  

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Okay. Last question.This standalone bike insurance product is strictly about the bike and its listed accessories. It is not about medical or uninsured other people. Correct?

[BikeInsure CEO]: You are correct. The BikeInsure plan covers the bike and the corresponding listed accessories. The BikeInsure solution reimburses you for repairs to your bicycle due to accidents when riding an insured new or used bike powered by human pedaling on land within the United States, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Coverage is also provided during transit of the scheduled bike. The insurance extends to if the bike is stolen when optional theft protection is selected.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: And I think that's what a lot of people worry about. Well, it sounds like you have all the bases covered. I think my listeners are going to be very interested. So we'll see how it goes. Once again, BikeInsure.com is the URL for the website.

We've been speaking with Buzzy Cohn. He is the CEO of BikeInsure. Just like it sounds, BikeInsure.com, you can get your bike, accessories, and transit insured for one price, $16.99 a month. You can add $8 a month for Theft, which seems to me for $24.99 a month, for the people who listen to this podcast, it is an inexpensive price to pay not to tap your homeowners, which we all know triggers another whole cascade of issues. And that you can get your bike replaced. I think that's really important. Thank you for talking with me.

[BikeInsure CEO]: I thank you for having me. You sound like a perfect advocate.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Well, you know, It makes sense. Since owning a bike shop for so many years and having written estimates to have insurance companies come back to us and say, what do you meanin the old days? Even a $2,500 bike was a lot of money, but today you're looking at, you know, 2, 3, 4 times that these insurance adjusters go crazy.

I have one other question that never occurred to me till this moment. What happens with this insurance if somebody is involved in a crash that is not their fault, and that bike becomes covered by another insurance company? It shouldn't have to kick in because we're talking double dipping here. So I'm wondering if that is ever an issue.

[BikeInsure CEO]: So there is no double dipping in the insurance industry. Everything is highly regulated. Great American Insurance Company handles the BikeInsure plan claims. Their claims administration department is experts in qualifying and cooperatively working with the client to navigate through. There are rules and regulations for everything to define, so the variables are already pre-mapped out.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Okay. Answers are asked and answered as they say.

[BikeInsure CEO]: And most things, as I suggest, are qualified in the FAQ on the website, and everything is defined in the specimen policy as well.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: Buzzy, thank you so much for talking with me. Good luck. It sounds like a really important product.

On that note, I hope you have a great riding season. And we'll talk again.

[BikeInsure CEO]: Thank you. Enjoy the ride.

[The Outspoken Cyclist]: My thanks to Buzzy Cohn for joining me.

Thank you The Outspoken Cyclist for hosting and sharing a fantastic podcast with our cycling community.

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