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How do you protect your delivery income from deactivation or worse?

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Hey Courier Nation! I'm really excited about this interview today. I've got Leah Chasser with Kover.ai. Now Kover is spelled K.O.V.E.R. and actually I think I was originally trying to pronounce it KOH-ver just because of the way it's spelled.

Pronounced like Cover actually makes more sense because it's spelled like cover with a C. That's a lot of what they do is they provide some coverage for independent contractors especially in the Gig Economy.

I'm a football geek - protection to me means an offensive line. How are you protecting your income against things like deactivation from apps like Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, or from accidents or hospitalizations?
I'm a football geek – protection to me means an offensive line. How are you protecting your income against things like deactivation from apps like Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, or from accidents or hospitalizations?

Last week if you listened to our interview with Bryant Greenling of LegalRideshare, Bryant mentioned Kover and he talked about how it's something every independent contractor should be thinking about.

I first found out about Kover as part of a trial run of our 31 Day MBA Course. One of our participants asked if I'd heard of these guys. I said no I hadn't. I looked them up and really found it was pretty interesting.

There's a fantastic service that they're providing

I'm pretty excited to get them on here today and talk about what they're doing. I think that as independent contractors, the thing is, we are on our own. We are completely on our own. I think a lot of independent contractors don't even realize that we are on our own.

There are a lot of things you can do to protect yourself. But, sometimes Murphy moves in. You know, Murphy from Murphy's Law kinda moves in and things happen that you don't have any control over. I've been really impressed by what they have to offer.

I'm glad to have Leah Chasser on to talk about Kover. Leah is the strategic campaign manager and an integral part of the organization. So, I'm glad to have Leah on. Leah, welcome and, can you give me kind of an overview? Tell me, you can probably explain Kover a lot better than I can. Tell me, what do you guys do?

Leah

Yes. Thanks for having me, Ron

EntreCourier

Absolutely

Leah

So, first off, really we're a benefits company. We're looking to disrupt markets that are underserved and one of the best ones is the gig economy. We replace lost income during times of emergency.

Specifically, we offer income protection during deactivation, if you are hospitalized, and if you experience a car accident and your car is being repaired. Obviously during those times you have no way of making an income with those gig apps.

So, we're here to help keep your income flow coming and making sure that you're able to have all the necessities of your daily life. When these things happen, you're not going into a downward spiral.

EntreCourier

Absolutely. You know, that's the thing, now more than ever with a lot of people moving into things like deliver work. Rideshare maybe not as much especially during the pandemic because it seems to have taken a drop. But delivery has picked way up.

And, you've got a lot more people who are actually relying very heavily on this income. Especially now that a lot of the extra unemployment benefits have gone away, something that would stop you from being able to deliver would really be a huge hit. Having a protection like this is, I think it's huge.

Tell me, how did you guys get started? How did you choose gig economy protection?

Leah

Yeah. So, our founders had this idea about two and a half y ears ago. They were accepted into Tech Stars. After they graduated from that program, they launched initially just a product for rideshare.

Then, you know, Covid hit, and rideshare obviously wasn't doing to hot and they realized, hey, we need to re-evaluate this. They decided that they needed to open up these products and benefits to all gig workers. So, that's where we are today and we were able to offer our services to Doordash, Instacart, Postmates, Grubhub, Winolo, Shipt, Amazon Flex, Caviar and Uber. We're always looking to add new platforms every day.

EntreCourier

Okay. All of those seem to be delivery or rideshare. Have you had any people subscribe yet who are in a gig economy type of thing that maybe outside of those areas yet? Is that something that's maybe a future possibility?

Leah

We have had people who are interested who use different types of Gig apps that you know, we don't currently service. But, I can say that is something that is currently in the works. We're constantly trying to move forward so we can offer what, you know, is obviously needed so we can offer what's needed, which is benefits to all Gig workers.

EntreCourier.

Okay. As you mention, you're a benefit company. I think what I'd like to do is, I notice on your website that you list a number of benefits. So maybe let's kind of explore some of those and kind of explain what some of those are.

The first one that I notice that stands out right away, and you've mentioned a little of it, is income guarantee. This is kind of a big one, especially if we don't have any other insurance. How does that income guarantee work? What do you do in that situation?

Leah

Sure. So, the income guarantee is, Kover replaces your lost income after an accident or an emergency. There's three different crises that we can help with.

Like before, I said that if your car is in an accident and it needs repaired, we cover your lost income during that time. If you're sick and you have to stay in a hospital and also if you are ever deactivated from your platform, we also cover your income during those times.

It's income protection for those three crises that can and sometimes do happen in a gig worker's life.

EntreCourier

Okay, so let's say something like that happens. Let's say somebody is deactivated. It seems like there's a wave of that happening lately. What kind of coverage do you provide and how does that work? How long does that work, how do people get that protection then?

Leah

Sure. So, specifically for the deactivation part of our benefits, we replace 80% of your lost income when you become deactivated.

In addition to that benefit, there's also a perk that we offer. Our legal help. In that legal help you receive a deactivation letter. We have partnered with LegalRideshare and they have been able to provide us and our members with a legal letter.

Now, what happens is if you become deactivated and you want to have a bigger say in what happens, you can go in and request a legal letter. You will be able to go in and say what happened and give us a background of the situation. That is sent in, they will reach back out, you get to talk with them about what happened. They will write up a letter to these gig platforms.

The hopes in this is that if you were to do this on your own, these big app companies are used to seeing people refute deactivations all the time. It kinda becomes just white noise. But, when you have a letter from a legal firm going out, it brings more attention to your case. We've actually been very pleased to have seen many of our members be reactivated because of these letters.

It's not a guarantee, but we feel it's very valuable, and just offers peace of mind to all of our members.

EntreCourier.

Yeah, absolutely. That's the ideal, is if you can get your income back in that situation. I do want to stress there's not a guarantee but it definitely gives you a little more power than what you had before. I think that's a part of the problem is you see something like that happen, and you think I can probably take them to court over this, but do you have the resources? Is it even worth the time with an attorney, not to mention what the expense would be, and would it work anyway?

So, this could be huge. I think it could be really huge. Like you said, it's not a guarantee, but I think that's where your income guarantee kinda helps out too.

Leah

Exaclty

EntreCourier

Because, it provides you some income to at least make up the difference, I think it's up to two weeks, isn't it? And that at least gives you some time to make some other arrangements so that you can maybe pick up something else in its place.

Leah

Right. And that's why we're really happy to be able to offer the income protection for them as well, you also receive that perk of that legal letter and consultation through our partners with LegalRideshare.

EntreCourier

Sure. I think that's just one reason right there, and I think you've got three different levels that people can sign up for. There's full time, there's a part time, and then there's I think what do you call it, the side hustle? Where it's kinda like you know, you just do a little bit, the casual.

Leah.

Yeah, yeah. So there's the Casual plan at $7 a month. Part time is $19 and the full time is $49. With each one of those plans they cover different time periods and up to differend amounts. So, we just offer these plans because we know not everyone is full time who is a gig worker.

For those who are full time, we've got that option, we've also got more of a casual part time option for those who are, you know, not going 24/7 with gig work.

EntreCourier

Have you noticed a lot… I know you've made this pivot during the pandemic, so you're kind of right in the the thick of it when you made this change and expanded to delivery. Have you noticed a lot of people having to get some assistance because of either people getting Covid or maybe being in quarantine because of it or anything like that?

Leah

As far as Covid type related issues go, I guess I'm not quite sure. I can say for another one of our benefits is hospitalization. So, let's say you, even if you were to fall down the steps at home even if you weren't using your app, and you end up being hospitalized because of it, you would still be able to apply for your income protection through Kover.

EntreCourier

So it doesn't have to be work related?

Leah

No. That's something I felt was pretty cool.

And also as far as Covid goes, this is kind of your question, if somebody needs to be hospitalized because of Covid, can they request a hospitalization payout? And the answer to that question is yes. It doesn't matter why you were hospitalized. If you were hospitalized, you can request a payout for that hospitalization through Kover.

EntreCourier

Okay. But it doesn't necessarily cover if someone is quarantined.

Leah

No, it does not. Not in quarantine.

EntreCourier.

But in those instances with a lot of those gig companies, if you ‘ve got a doctor's letter and you submit to them, they will provide coverage based on the average on, I think a lot of them say on their last three months' average.

You also provide something along those lines where you mention something about telehealth consultations. What does that provide and what does it not provide?

Leah

Sure. So our telehealth perk is through Phonemed. It's an opportunity for our members and their immediate family to speak to a health professional 24/7. This is not a healthcare plan but it is a chance for all of our members to seek medical advice whenever they need it.

It does not provide, I believe it does not provide any pharmacy type services, prescriptions anything like that. It's a chance for you to be able to speak to somebody before you need to make that decision: Do I need to go to the hospital, do I need to go to the doctor? Do I need to go to urgent care?

And again, it is 24/7 and it is offered to our members immediate family as well.

EntreCourier

So that's something that, gosh, how many times has it felt like something has seemed a little off, and how much time do you spend on WebMD cuz you don't want to call the doctor yet or something like that.

Leah

Right

EntreCourier

And here's somebody you can actually talk to, that can walk you through, and sometimes I think just help you with your next steps, and figure out where to go from there.

Leah

Exactly

EntreCourier

You mentioned your relationship with LegalRideshare. I know in the episode last week, Bryant had mentioned that, I'll give you the quote, that “Kover is a really great company, it's something that every gig worker should be aware of.”

So, you mentioned that you've had some good success with that, and I think that's a really important thing. Have you noticed anything with those deactivations while I'm mentioning that, have you guys noticed any trends or patterns? Does it seem like it's happening more lately or anything like that?

Leah

I can't say that I know personally of any trends that are happening. But, I do know that we have seen a very large response to these deactivation letters. Our members see the value of having that protection, so we have seen, I'm not sure how these trends go, as far as has there been a wide use of the deactivation letter perk? And the answer is yes, because they see the value of having that protection, that extra voice that's gonna bring light to their case more than if it wasn't there.

EntreCourier

Yeah, I mean for me it's been more than two and a half years of doing deliveries and being active in a lot of forums, Facebook groups, different things like that. Normally you kind of see those trends. It's just been interesting because you know I've never seen anything quite like this, because just a lot of people have been reporting.

Sometimes it seems like it's for the silliest reasons or they're not given a reason at all. So that's why I wondered. I'm not sure what that's about. I don't know if it's just because they hired so heavily to keep up with the demand and now that a lot of this aid money has run out, there's not as much demand and they've gotta find a way to scale down? I don't know.

Anyway, that's a different matter, probably a different issue, or maybe a different episode. Is there anything that you could offer maybe from your experience and seeing what's happened, maybe seeing some of the reasons that are maybe offered to drivers that might help them maybe avoid termination? Anything maybe to look for ouside of the obvious like don't steal the food, don't get into a fight with the customer.

Leah

This is probably obvious to all gig workers, but definitely having a camera of sorts. So that you have evidence of what you did, what they did, and you can just let the story play out on its own. That's just my suggestion

EntreCourier.

No, absolutely. You know, documentation, documentation is huge. I do things now, I just put in a dash cam myself. I've got a recorder on my phone that records everything that happens so I can see anything that happens, any of the notes that pop up. Almost overboard but

Leah

But you're prepared

Entrecourier

Being able to show that you didn't do what they say you did. The problem is a lot of times they don't even tell you what you did, and how do you find the documentation? That's hard.

If that legal letter is unsuccessful, do you have any suggestions? Is there anything that they can do next that you know of?

Leah

At the moment I don't have a suggestion for that. If I was in that place I would definitely have more than one app. I would not depend on just one gig app. In case something like this does happen and for whatever reason you are not able to be reactivated. You still have multiple ways of maintaining an income. I just think that would be wise.

EntreCourier.

Sure. I totally agree. And here's the thing. Guys, as independent contractors we're running a business. And this is something I say a lot of times, because we are contracted as a business it's the people that you contract with that are actually your customers. And that means Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats.

Any of these companies are actually our customers. And any business that is relying on just one customer is setting themselves up for trouble, because you could lose that one customer. That's kind of what happens here.

One other question related to some of the benefits. I think you have on your page something about a tax benefit. Tell me a little about that.

Leah

Sure. So, our tax benefit is through an app called Hurdlr. Hurlr tracks all of your mileage, your expense, your income streams, your tax deductions in real time. So whenever you sign up with Kover, whatever plan you do, you can do casual, you can do part time, you can do full time. Any of those plans come with a free Hurdlr premium account. So that is one of our perks, and that is offered to all of our members.

EntreCourier

And guys, Hurdlr is, I've just recently started to play with that. Right now if there was one app that I would recommend for your expense and income tracking and for your mileage tracking, Hurdlr tops the list. They run circles around some of the others, including in my opinion, I think they're far better than Quickbooks Self Employed. I've done some reviews on the Quickbooks Self Employed program and Hurdlr is much more flexible, and it's better priced for what it does.

In fact, Hurdlr, I think, if you do the month to month on the premium, is like, I think it's like $7.99 a month or something like that. So it actually costs more than the lower level plan that you've got.

Leah

That's actually right, that's correct. It's more affordable to get the casual plan than it is to get the Hurdlr premium on your own. You want Hurdlr Premium and you want benefits and perks? Get Kover.

EntreCourier

Oh, absolutely. I think that is just, it's kind of right there, it makes it so worth it. For any of the levels that you do.

Anything else that you've got in the works that you can tell about that you guys are ready to tell anyone about?

Leah

I don't have anything to disclose at the moment. Like I said earlier that we are constantly in talks, reaching out, trying to get more and more of these gig apps, to be able to service everyone who's using all sorts of gig apps. We are in the works with multiple things, but nothing that I can disclose at the moment.

EntreCourier

Okay. That's fine. This, to me, especially if you are full time, if you rely almost exclusively on or even exclusively on your income from doing delivery or rideshare or anything like that, folks this just seems like a no brainer to me. Especially for a full timer.

But, Leah, what about part time drivers? Does it make as much sense for maybe somebody that does it 15-20 hours a week, or maybe even for the person who, you know, they'll go out maybe on a weekend and maybe just a few hours to earn some extra money for whatever? Where does that person fit in?

Leah

I think it's up to every individual what the value they see of their hard work, their time, and their income that they make. That's where we've been able to offer the three different plans, so there's the casual, the full time, the part time.

For those who fall more into the casual and part time plans, I still see a very big need for protection. And it's not just the income that's being protected, you're also seeing all the different perks as well, so you're still getting the telehealth, you're having your income protected, you're getting the free Hurdlr premium, you've got your deactivation letter, it just goes on and on.

So to me, even if I'm not working full time I'm doing gig work, I still have so many avenues of protection and I see the value in having a benefits program like Kover to be able to have peace of mind. Also, just so I know, if anything does go wrong, it's okay. And it's affordable.

EntreCourier.

Absolutely. And really, it's a form of insurance, really. Probably not technically insurance. I've been trying to figure out where I would put it on my tax form. I think it kind of probably fits best under things like memberships or something like that.

It really is, it's just for as low as $7 a month, it's a no brainer. Tell me a little bit about how does somebody get started with Kover if they want to get into this?

Leah

Sure. So, if you're interested in Kover, actually I think, Ron, we have a one month free deal that Ron, you are able to provide for your listeners. So what you want to do is, you want to go to Kover, you'll click get a quote, you'll be walked through the process there, you'll be able to see what type of packages you would like to choose from, and that will start the process. We will reach out to you and let you know when your membership is live, and from there you'll want to link any of your gig apps. That way if something happens, you are going to be covered for all of your gig income, not just one app.

And that's another thing, you don't need multiple Kover memberships, so “oh, I do Doordash, Instacart and Postmates so I just need three.” Nope, you just need one. Just link all of those so that if you ever need to request a payout, you'll be able to be covered for all of your lost income, not just one app.

EntreCourier

And here's the thing folks, it's like, you can, and this is great that you're offering that to all of our listeners here, you can do the first month for free. You get a chance to find out just what it is. If nothing else it gives you a chance to play with the Hurdlr app and get a feel for that as well as just be covered.

Then you can decide after that, do I keep going? Or maybe this isn't for me and that's okay too. But I think once you get onto it, it starts to make sense.

We'll have a link in the shownotes that you can go to.

You can go to Entrecourier.com/kover. In fact if you misspell it and do it as cover, I think I've got it set up to handle that as well. We've got on the episode page, Entrecourier.com/95 for episode 95, it's got the transcript of everything we said there, we'll have the link there as well.

It's a few different ways you can get to that and take advantage of that. There's no commitment required. You can try it out for a month and then decide, does this make sense or not? And then you can go from there.

One thing I would tell people, I signed up for this awhile ago, I will admit, probably the first time I signed up it kind of freaked me out a bit because I had to log in to my different accounts. I know a lot of people are afraid of stuff like fraud. These guys are legitimate. There's nothing to worry about there, they're not going to steal your money out of your account or anything like that.

What that does is it gives them some documentation. It gives them the information so if the worst thing should happen, if you need to rely on them, you lose your money from Doordash because they deactivated you unfairly or your car gets wrecked and you can't drive until it gets fixed, they already have the information they need to be able to say okay, this is how much we'll be able to pay you. It really makes it turn around so much faster.

Anything out that you maybe might want to throw out there as we wrap this up?

Leah

As you know, the gig economy is just exploding, really. There's just so many more deliveries, so many more shoppers, so many more, even the gig apps like Winolo, Warehouse Workers, truck drivers, there's so many different types.

It's really important to have coverage for that income, especially because this economy is just growing and I really don't see it stopping any time soon. Even myself, I've used more of these apps than I've ever in my lifetime during these past months.

I think it's really important that the gig workers think, do I have a rainy day fund? Most people don't. We recognize that, we see the need, and that's why we're here. We're kind of at the forefront of this problem and we're working hard to be able to solve it. And, offer it to as many gig workers as possible.

We're really excited to see how things are going to be going. We're growing every day and really looking forward to being able to offer this security. The benefits that really every person deserves.

EntreCourier

That's the thing, folks, you're running a business. Whether you planned to be or whether you think you are, you are being taxed like you are, and you are on your own like a business. If something happens, there's nobody stepping in, there's no benefits that are going to kick in like if you were an employee. Really it's up to you to kind of take care of yourself on these things.

The thing is there are maybe some similar options, I've never really looked into it a whole lot, there might be some business insurance you can get, but it's going to be super expensive compared to what we're looking at here. Just from my perspective, I think you've got to really look into this, folks. I think it is just, for what it costs the level of protection that it gives you if the unthinkable happens is huge.

Leah

Exactly.

EntreCourier

Leah, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us.

Leah

Well, thank you so much for having me, Ron, and I hope your listeners have gained some insight into what we do here and we're looking forward to being able to assist every gig worker in this ever growing economy.

EntreCourier

Absolutely. It is really taking off. I don't expect it to change unless there are laws like like AB5 in California that force it to change. But I'm hoping at least in my perspective that doesn't happen because I think it just provides that much more flexibility for everybody.

Leah

Yeah, and I can say we are able to fast, much faster than any type of competition or the big apps. That's another thing we're very proud of, our turnaround is very quick.

EntreCourier

And a lot of that I think is because you've already got the information

Leah

Exactly.

EntreCourier

That's huge.

Alright, well, thank you Leah, I really appreciate you coming on and you have a great day.

Leah

Thank you, Ron. You too.

Wrapup.

So what did you think, Courier Nation? Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment below.

Here's the thing. Less than a week from when we record this, the California polls will decide whether or not in California these delivery companies will be allowed to use independent contractors, or whether they should have to hire employees.

You know what? I could make some strong arguments on either side of that one. But one thing about being an independent contractor is, you are on your own. You're running a business. Nobody's protecting you like an employer would, you know?

That means you've got the responsibility to protect yourself.

Now Kover is A way to do that. It's not the only way. One thing that I stress is you should be building a fund yourself. You should be building an emergency fund and setting aside money. Create an emergency fund so that you don't have to rely on something else.

The big advantage of a fund like that is, if you don't need it, you've still got the money. That's a huge advantage.

Now, I've got the emergency fund. But I've also decided to go ahead and subscribe. Now, because I have that fund in place, I”m more comfortable with that mid level package. But the thing is that they offer some things that an emergency fund doesn't.

Just make sure you're protecting yourself some way.

But the deal is, whether you get an emergency fund, whether you use Kover, whether you use some other form of business insurance or any combination of any of that, the big thing is if you rely at all on your business income, you should be protecting it, you should be protecting yourself.

You can check Kover out at Entrecourier.com/Kover. Now, full disclosure is that is an affiliate link and what that means is if you buy from that link, I do get a commission. That helps me keep this website and this podcast going.

At the same time, I'm not going to be hurt if you don't use that. If you decide that there's a different way or a better way to take care of yourself, I'm okay with that. I WILL be disappointed if you're not protecting yourself in some way shape or form.

Wrapping up, I mentioned that one of the disadvantages of being an employee is you don't have the protection. That said, personally I prefer being an independent contractor. I prefer being able to take care of my own protections, you know?

Ultimately, that's what it comes down to right now. Because you are a business owner it's up to you to make your own business decisions. Decide what fits you the best, and be the boss.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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