Ahoy!, a digital MGA offering insurance coverage and products for boaters, has launched a new wave of technology that proactively detects and mitigates boating risks.
The insurtech’s founders and executive team consist of veteran naval officers, insurance leaders and technology experts – to help its customers protect and track their vessels, Ahoy! leverages its founders’ impressive boating backgrounds and knowledge with innovative tools and software.
CEO and co-founder Amit Nisenbaum describes the policies and products offered through Ahoy! as “high-touch” insurance – meaning that the company is committed to offering continuous risk-reducing services.
“We accompany you after you buy insurance from us,” Nisenbaum explains. “We don’t say goodbye and pray that there won’t be a claim. We make sure all that we can that there won’t be…and that your experience will be as enriched as possible.”
Nisenbaum, previously an Israeli naval officer and CEO of two startups, brings decades of business consulting and leadership experience to the company, as well as a love of boating.
“We’re high-touch insurance, not only because we want to reduce risk, but because we want to make our ‘crew mates’ – our customers – experience the best while they’re boating, because boating is coming from the heart,” Nisenbaum states. “It’s something more akin to a pet than to a home or car.”
When Nisenbaum reconnected with some of his friends from the Israeli navy, who had all chosen career paths in the insurance or technology industries, they noted that the boating insurance industry could use a more involved approach in mitigating boating-related risks and providing excellent customer service in the event of a claim. The friends formed a team of industry leaders and technology experts, and thus, Ahoy! was born.
Along with their insurance policies, Ahoy! customers receive a physical welcome kit that includes a recovery assistance tag, which can be used to track boats in cases of theft. This feature is only accessed when you want; Ahoy! will not use it to track customers’ whereabouts or store that information. Customers will also receive access to proactive digital software available through their mobile app, including a safety navigation feature, automatic trip detection and stolen boat retrieval assistance available with the tracking tag.
Ahoy’s safety navigation feature marries data from a cell phone’s GPS – which includes location, speed and direction – with information on a boat’s dimensions that is gathered during the underwriting process. This information is used during boat rides, along with data on water levels and the direction and strength of wind and currents, to notify a customer of obstacles or safety concerns that they may encounter on the water. The data is updated in real-time, and notifies customers immediately of any risks or dangers.
As boating is most often a noisy environment, the alerts can come in a variety of ways according to the customer’s preference; a loud alarm, vibrations or visual notifications through a cell phone. Alerts can also intervene with the boat’s AV system, using Bluetooth, to notify a customer with a loud alarm.
“We’re maximizing the probability that you will actually pay attention to this alert,” notes Nisenbaum. “Nobody else is taking all of that information and creating, using algorithms, that calculation that allows us to alert about something that really is of danger.”
The mobile app also includes a “phone overboard” protection feature. “It’s actually an insurance feature, but it’s driven by technology,” Nisenbaum explains. When installed, the app uses a minimal amount of battery to calculate location – without tracking or storing information – and if a cell phone is lost while boating, this feature will ping the last time the phone was used or detected to ensure that it was lost in the water. Ahoy! will then cover part of the cost of a new phone.
Nisenbaum notes that more features will be available in the coming months, including an accurate weather feature, integrated with the safety navigation app, that both alerts customers of weather risks and provides recommendations specific to a vessel.
“We’re overlaying it with the knowledge that we have about what kind of boat you have and what kind of activities you do with the boat,” says Nisenbaum. “If we know that you have a powerboat, and you are going wakeboarding with it, we will provide you with recommendations. We’ll say, ‘We know that the coming weather is great for wakeboarding – go to the water.’”
Ahoy! offers coverage in Illinois, Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Minneapolis and Minnesota. The company plans to expand across the U.S. in the near future.
“It’s about creating memories with family and friends – those are the things that boats mean to our customers,” says Nisenbaum.