The CEO of Cycleplan has told CI.N that sales of insurance products to new cyclists almost perfectly mirror the bike sales spike seen during the initial wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sales are up 315% on the back of Covid,” started CEO Paul Williams “and whereas 18 months ago we had electric bikes representing around 10% of our policies taken, that tally is now closer to 19%. This buying profile has altered our typical customer base and we’re learning a lot from that.”
A divergence in price points has been flagged as the electric bike market evolves, with Williams noting that e-bikes are getting cheaper on many fronts, but that the higher end is likewise maturing and becoming very attractive to new customers. The vast majority, he says, weigh in at between £1,000 and £2,000 on a policy, much thanks to the majority of brands contesting these price points.
The Cycleplan team, in having listened to both customer requests and analysed data on how theft patterns are evolving, have made steady adjustments, in particular on policies relating to electric bikes.
One such change is building separate battery cover into the package in order that customers are covered should the thief take a shine to what are typically very expensive to replace batteries. In such instances the thief may simply be seeking to immobilise the bike in the hope the bike will remain in a location until they can return with tools.
“We also find that the types of buyer buying e-bikes are slightly more affluent than average bike buyer,” adds Williams. “That’s not surprising, as the average values are higher. We do see buying behaviours are different. For example, it is 23% more likely an e-bike policy will be taken out versus policy on a pedal cycle. That could be down to value, age, wealth, all sorts of factors; we’re looking very closely at the data to help improve our offering.”
Another snippet from Cycleplan‘s analysis of the pandemic found that that more damage claims were being made versus theft claims. Williams attributes this to less commuters leaving bikes poorly locked at train stations, alongside more leisure and enthusiast users making use of their bikes for fun and exercise as was permitted throughout the lockdown.
“People are generally getting better at securing their bikes and are coming to understand that a policy on a bike worth many thousands will be invalidated by a £9 lock off eBay. Sold Secure remains the standard. We can’t blame the e-bike customer for not thinking about battery security and so that’s a learning we’ve now factored in, among others.”
Williams concludes by reminding people not to advertise their bikes in open garages, or on roof racks.
“Locking one bike to another is not as good as locking to a fixed anchor; very often two bikes will be stolen instead of one. The less you do to advertise the bike to a thief and the more you do to secure it to an anchored point the better for you and your insurance claim.”
For the bike retailer it is worth noting that insurance policies are very often sold at the point of purchase with electric bikes, although Williams does concede that by its very nature “insurance is a product where people shop around” when not happy to sign off on impulse.
To convert more customers Cycleplan has invested in creating video content explaining its product benefits, rather than rely on heavy reading of policy documents which can be a consumer turn off.
Further analysis of what consumers look for in cycling insurance policies can be found here.