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Smart thermostats can revolutionize home emergency insurance

The array of smart thermostats now available on the market provide for an ever-more realistic view of a future in which insurers may be able to react instantly to or even pre-empt home emergency issues.

The sphere of home insurance is already being impacted by the disruptive and transformative force of the “internet of things.” Google-owned Nest partnered with insurers in 2015, offering customers an up to 5% premium discount and the device for free if one is installed. The device includes a smart thermostat, a security camera, and a smoke/carbon monoxide alarm.

While a powerful tool for home insurance in general, some of the greatest opportunities arise for home emergency policies – defined as cover to ensure immediate corrective action is taken to prevent (further) damage to the home.

Homeserve, partnering with tado°, is promoting a device that is able to provide a remote boiler check, pick up boiler error codes, and detect low water pressure, valve defects, or pump failure.

If implemented to their full potential, such services could allow for:

  • speedy identification of issues
  • a proactive customer service approach
  • greater peace of mind for the customer
  • ultimately, a pre-emption of or superior limitation to damage, saving on costs and improving safety

The market’s incumbents should take note of the provision of such services through new technology. British Gas, the home emergency cover market leader for central heating (used by 13% of respondents according to our most recent insurance survey) has its own hive device but is yet to connect technology to insurance policies, while Aviva (9% share of users) has not yet adopted any smart devices.

By Stewart Mcewan, Head of Content, UK General Insurance 

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