The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home devices are two terms frequently mentioned when it comes to innovation in the insurance sector, and Neos is the latest company to develop an offering aimed at this space.
Insurtech start-up Neos is looking to bring a digital approach to the home insurance space by creating a mobile app connected to a host of specialist hardware, allowing the user to control the main energy supplies in a domestic property via IoT sensors.
One of the main issues within the insurance sector is the lack of touchpoints. Customers have little contact with their provider, and the moments of engagement are too infrequent. Customers are not getting value from insurance unless they need to make a claim. To counter this, Neos is aiming to create a proposition that is all encompassing for home insurance customers, whereby risks and damages are prevented or at least mitigated, while keeping the customer updated when they are away from the covered property for an extended period of time.
For example, a customer could be away on holiday when a leak occurs at their home, slowly filling the property with water. The customer would first receive a notification indicating there is a problem, after which they can choose to switch off the main water supply remotely via a selection of IoT-enabled smart home devices. The round-the-clock support service offered by Neos provides the user with the option to take secondary action, whether this is contacting a repairperson or emergency services or making a claim. This can all be done from a mobile phone.
The offering is clearly ambitious, and will ultimately skew towards tech-savvy individuals, which within the insurance markets is a considerably niche group. Therefore Neos must strive to develop the accessibility of the proposition and push its availability to the mass market and everyday customers. The smart home space is at the forefront of insurance innovation, but it remains confusing for insurers and consumers alike – especially with the range of different devices and protocols on the market.
Yet Neos’ offering should prove appealing. The group offers a more “connected” approach to covering a property, with most (if not all) activity performed and managed from the customer’s mobile phone. Currently, Neos’ proposition does not require the customer to pay an upfront fee unless they decide for the installation option, after which Neos installs its IoT sensor devices on their behalf.
The insurance cover is underwritten by Hiscox, in line with traditional home insurance premiums. This follows in the steps of Aviva, which is investing in the smart home trend through LeakBot, another water leak detection device designed to mitigate the risks and damages of a faulty water supply. This further underlines the appeal of smart home tech for insurers.
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By Thomas McCourtie, General Insurance Analyst