Chatbot aims to insure Facebook Marketplace transactions

28 Mar 2017

Buying on Facebook Marketplace is meant to be easy. But what if the product you receive is a fake or a misrepresentation? Kevin to the rescue — a simple program that insures products.

Insurance for e-commerce transactions is nothing new – EBay has offered it for ages. But Kevin is interesting for Facebook Marketplace users because it’s offered as a chatbot. You message Kevin with the nature and size of the transaction, Kevin validates the identities of both parties, then insures the transaction against the blockchain. (It involves buying and selling $10 bitcoins – more at Kevinsured.

Right now Kevin works through its own website (and covers not just Marketplace but any buy and sell site). But given that Facebook Marketplace relies on Messenger for concluding a deal, it would be a nifty addition to the growing Facebook chatbot ecosystem.

Kevin is a cooperation between a Spanish startup, Traity, and Australian insurer Suncorp. It offers insurance for free for items under $100, with plans to charge a fee to cover larger sales — laptops, cameras, game consoles — the kind of items that are more likely to be fraudulent in the first place.

The Kevinsured site has an amusing Game of Thrones parody video to demonstrate how it works involving a dragon egg and a crown.

Well maybe too clever: The video and website’s lighthearted approach and tongue-in-cheek marketing copy doesn’t project a serious company. Language like “If both of you agree to my conditions, I shall generate a magical receipt for your coverage” and ”I shall cover all the nefarious betrayals that happen online” had us wondering whether Kevin was legit after all.

Even if it’s not, it points to another hole that’s bound to be plugged (by Facebook or a third party) in the world of Facebook Marketplace — EBay-like guarantees against scams.

For now, be wary of buying and selling those dragon eggs.


Brian Blum

Brian Blum covers the U.S., Canada and Israel for Classified Intelligence Report, and contributes to our special reports and research projects. Originally from San Francisco and now based in Jerusalem, he has been with the AIM Group since 2004. He is the president of Blum Interactive Media, specializing in writing and multimedia content development for online, print, video and audio. His clients include newspapers, universities and non-profits. He is currently working on a book about the billion-dollar bankruptcy of a once high-flying Israeli startup.