By Drew Knight
From automatic temperature control to fully decked-out entertainment systems, you probably already knew that smart home technologies could help you out around the house. But what would you say if we told you that smart home tech can also help you out with your home insurance?
Our guess is, “How?” or “Sign me up!”
Today, with the growth and usage of smart home technologies at an all-time high, many insurers in the market now believe smart homes can help prevent loss. And with the latest in home security, fire protection and leak detection now being included in new homes, it would be hard not to agree.
ROC-Connect, a national company that works with insurers to incorporate smart home devices and platforms on their plans, sat down with us to discuss this new and growing frontier. Below, Kevin Meagher, senior vice president at ROC-Connect, answers the common questions.
NHS: How can smart home products help homeowners with their insurance?
Meagher: Insurers are planning to leverage the The Internet of Things (IoT) to deploy products that help make homes safer by delivering some of the more traditional services, such as security, but they plan to use smart home technology to offer much more: monitoring for fire, frost or flooding. Equally important, they will offer support services to help if there is a problem. In the case of flooding, for example, they can provide instant links to tradesmen that can respond to help contain any problem and carry out repairs. These products and services help attract discounts for consumers and enable insurers to deliver more value with their policies while reducing the likelihood of claims.
NHS: What kind of products are being used and how do they work?
Meagher: Typically, we work with partners to pull together simple, affordable and scalable smart home solutions starting with entry-level kits that may include fire sensors, flood and security. Consumers can add a wide range of devices, including door locks, cameras, thermostats and other home automation devices.
NHS: How can these products help prevent loss?
Meagher: Studies have shown that smart home devices can reduce loss by as much as 60 percent. In the case of fire and flood, alerts reduce response times and limit potential damage.
NHS: How is this all changing homeowner-insurer relationships?
Meagher: This is game changing for the insurance industry. In addition to reducing claims, bundling these services with policies can reduce customer churn and increase customer satisfaction. For the first time, insurance companies now have the ability to offer their customers simple and affordable self-install solutions that make homes safer, more energy efficient and easier to manage. By offering the various monitoring services through a single, branded app, insurers become much more relevant in the consumer’s daily life.
NHS: How do insurance providers interact with their customers through these apps?
Meagher: Many of the services are automated with alarms and alerts sent directly to the consumer. Homeowners can monitor and manage their systems directly through the app. However, smart home systems allow issuers to move from being reactive to events to becoming proactive.
Flood and fire monitoring are good examples. Instead of waiting for the customer to call in to report a loss or claim, the insurer will be instantly aware that there is an issue and provide the customer with emergency services to help deal with the problem.
Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.