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HustleCover offers safety net to hard-struck gig workers

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Insurtech Coverhero says its income protection product HustleCover is extending a timely lifeline to vulnerable gig-economy workers who have been hit hard by COVID-19.

The pandemic has revealed the extent to which casual workers are exposed to income risks and the Sydney-based insurtech says HustleCover, launched in the months before the coronavirus struck, meets the needs of freelance and gig economy workers like no other insurance product.

“It’s targeted at entrepreneurs rather than an age group,” founder Naby Mariyam tells insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Entrepreneurship can go from 18 to 60 years old. The products are designed more around the expected earnings for this segment.”

The coverage on offer will be updated next month to add to more levels than the current plans for up to $500 a week earnings in tier one, and up to $1,000 in tier two.

“This is based on feedback that there are people earning higher income that are also part of the contingent workforce. People are earning up to $5,000 a week but still looking for this kind of coverage,” Ms Mariyam says.

Coverhero is seeking $5 million to fund its next expansion phase and a larger product portfolio for the self-employed and gig worker, who have long struggled to gain access to mainstream financial products and services because of inconsistent cash flow and a lack of substantial credit history.

Now, they are emerging as one of the hardest-hit groups from the coronavirus pandemic, as demand for their services plummets under lockdown, cutting work hours and pay, while their contractor status locks them out of workplace benefits.

The sector continues to grow as the conventional job market contracts and Coverhero cites estimates they will represent almost half the workforce by 2025.

“Until now, anyone self-employed or in the gig economy has had to forego income protection and just hope they don’t get sick,” Ms Mariyam says.

“We’re covering COVID-19, making it possible for the Australian casualised and contingent workforce to self-isolate and recover without worrying about the impact on their earnings.”