Italian insurer Intesa Sanpaolo Assicura has been quick to recognize the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). The company has signed a deal with high-flying internet firm Airbnb that will give homeowners who use its online rental accommodation service greater peace of mind when they let their property to strangers.
Intesa Sanpaolo is not only providing Airbnb renters with insurance cover to protect them from damage caused by their guests. It’s also offering them a smart device that keeps a watch on their home. Bundled with the insurance product, the “aCasaConMe” monitor automatically alerts the homeowner if it detects flooding, fire or unauthorized entry into the property. Fellow Italian insurers Aviva and Groupama, as well as State Farm and Liberty Mutual in the U.S., have launched similar services. Their smart boxes alert homeowners to a variety of potential hazards. Some of these insurers offer premium discounts to customers who install these smart home automation systems. Also worthwhile to notice some markets (like eg Italy or the US) seem to move faster than other and so do some companies, as we often see Axa, or Generali in the European headlines…
These innovative insurance companies are among the digital pioneers that are starting to recognize the huge potential of the IoT. The latest edition of the Accenture Innovation Series identifies the IoT as one of major trends sweeping the global insurance industry – alongside extended ecosystems, the culture of sharing, new market opportunities, and the customer and user experience.
This is the first time the IoT appears on the survey. The Accenture Innovation Series is published every six months and scans innovation across the global insurance industry. The emergence of the IoT on the survey shows it’s rapidly becoming a key focus for many innovative insurers.
The integration of insurance products and processes with connected smart devices enables insurers to measure, collect and analyze an increasing range of data about the behavior of their customers. Such data is invaluable. It helps insurers improve the efficiency and accuracy of their products, strengthens their relations with customers, and allows them to tailor new solutions closely aligned to the changing needs of consumers.
The Accenture Innovation Series identifies several other innovative insurers that have grasped the potential of the IoT. They include:
Beam Technologies – The U.S. firm launched a smart toothbrush two years ago and has now introduced a dental insurance plan for its customers. The company reduces the premiums of its insurance customers if their smart toothbrushes indicate good oral hygiene.
VSP Global – The largest provider of vision-care insurance in the U.S. is prototyping smart optical frames that will track the health of the company’s customers. Developed by VSP’s innovation lab, the smart frames contain a sensor that tracks the wearer’s steps, calories burned, activity time and distance travelled.
Sureify – A U.S. insurer targeting tech-savvy Millennials uses online gamification to attract, educate and retain customers. It provides a Fitbit wearable device with each of its policies. Customers can reduce their premiums if they maintain a healthy lifestyle.
AXA – The French financial services group has launched a mobile app that allows its customers to monitor and improve their driving. The application, which is also available on the Apple Watch, records acceleration, braking and wheel-turning, and then generates an assessment of the driver’s performance
It’s clear that the IoT has already begun to transform the insurance industry. Its influence will escalate as more carriers harness its potential to develop new products and expand into fresh markets.
In my next blog I’ll examine how some smart insurers are creating new opportunities by forging partnerships that extend their digital ecosystems and capitalize on the growing culture of sharing.