Munich Re has partnered with Roomer Travel (Roomer), an Israeli/US start-up, to develop Flex, a new cancellation protection policy that allows online travel agencies (OTA) and travellers to make their non-refundable bookings refundable.


Image: Munich Re’s office building. Photo: Courtesy of Munich Re.

Roomer has developed a marketplace for reselling and booking non-refundable hotel rooms. Based on this experience the start-up has identified travellers’ need for flexibility.

Flex allows travellers to change their travel plans without risking the whole booking value. With the new policy, travellers can cancel their booking, up to 24 hours before check-in and get a refund, without any questions being asked.

The new solution is based on a machine learning algorithm which evaluates and prices every single protection request from OTA partners in real-time considering the probability of reselling.

The artificial intelligence-driven approach helps Roomer to consider additional parameters, which are claimed to have not been accounted for at the time of booking until now.

The insurance protects Roomer against large unexpected payouts, which may not be predictable even by a machine learning algorithm, such as severe weather conditions. Munich Re will be the primary insurance carrier for the insurance.

Munich Re New Tech and IoT Underwriting head Andre Knoerchen said: “The partnership between Roomer and Munich Re delivers a solution to one of the biggest challenges of the travel industry – cancellations.”

With the insurance solution, Roomer aims to scale up its operations globally, focusing on technology to further improve customer experience.

Roomer CEO and co-founder Gon Ben-David said: “We found at Munich Re an agile and open-minded team that understands our unique needs.

“I am convinced that now after giving flexibility to almost 150,000 travelers worldwide, this cooperation will enable Roomer to further expand its business globally. There are many more verticals within the travel industry that face similar unsolved challenges.

“We are excited to continue the partnership and to further explore opportunities to protect travelers and create value for the entire travel industry.”

Munich Re is a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and insurance-related risk solutions. The group includes the reinsurance and ERGO business segments, as well as the capital investment company MEAG.