In Tesla’s Q3 earnings call the other day, Elon Musk touched upon some of the most valuable business units within Tesla. One of those was Tesla Insurance. He said, “Obviously, insurance is substantial. So insurance could very well be, I don’t know, 30%, 40% of the value of the car business, frankly.”
With Tesla being the most valuable carmaker in the industry, this means that its insurance business will be pretty valuable. Value Penguin has a top 10 list of the most valuable auto insurance companies today. State Farm takes the #1 spot, with $42 billion and 17% market share. State Farm is followed by Geico ($33.1 billion) and Progressive ($27.1 billion).
How Much Is 30%?
Right now, Tesla’s insurance is only available in California, but eventually, it will roll out to other states. Back in July, Tesla’s value exceeded almost every company in the S&P 500. Tesla’s market cap is currently $391.95 billion. If Tesla Insurance was 30% of Tesla’s market cap today, that would be $117.6 billion. This would knock State Farm from its #1 spot (remember that its market cap is $42 billion).
Elon Musk explained some of Tesla’s opportunity in this arena on the conference call. “And as we’ve talked about before, with a much better feedback loop, instead of being statistical, it can be specific. And obviously, somebody does not have to choose our insurance. But I think a lot of people will. It’s going to cost less and be better, so why wouldn’t you?” The feedback loop is a key benefit of Tesla’s insurance. Tesla will be able to better examine the cost of repairing its vehicles. In the long run, this will save Tesla customers money while allowing Tesla to make any changes that it needs to make in order to bring the costs of common repairs down, or reduce the likelihood they’ll be needed.
Elon Musk also spoke about this during Tesla’s Q2 2020 earnings call. “This was actually very helpful for us to have a feedback loop to see what is driving insurance expense. A lot of it is just — it’s like a little fender bender, and the net fender bender, because of the way that the body collision repair is being done, costs like $15,000 or something crazy,” he said. “And then we can actually adjust the design of the car and adjust how the repair is done to actually have the fundamental cost of solving that problem be less. So this has helped us under a whole bunch of silly things that we were doing basically, without realizing it. But this is the problem, in general, with insurance. If insurance is, like, all you can eat, then the feedback loop for improvement is weak,” he said.
As for lower prices, Tesla’s Insurance has already cut the costs that several owners have been paying. Back in August, James Locke shared his story with me of how he recently switched from State Farm to Tesla for both of his family vehicles. With State Farm, he was paying $551.21 monthly for both vehicles. With Tesla, that number dropped to $193.25, which is a savings of 64.9% each month.
One way Tesla can improve its insurance, according to Locke, is with more flexible software for those who move around the country and between countries. “I was actually quite surprised how difficult it appears to be to move our Canadian accounts to the US and allow us to see and access the same features on the webpage as other Californians,” he said. He also noted that Tesla’s phone support was fast and had minimal hold times.
In Tesla’s Q3 call yesterday, Elon Musk also used insurance as an example of a product made by Tesla’s internal applications team. “Something like insurance is a good example of a product that’s basically made by our internal applications team. So, we made the insurance product and connect it to the car, look at the data, calculate the risk. This is all internally — basically internal software application.”
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