As our lives become ever more interconnected, the insurance industry is finding more and more ways that it can use the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve the lives of insurance policyholders. This is not limited to one section of the insurance market but affect all areas from health to car to home insurance.
The most obvious point of entry for health insurers into the IoT market is with wearables or “fit tech”. These devices allow insurers to get an accurate measure of how active you are and thus an idea of your general health. Two health funds in Australia have already pushed into this realm: GMHBA and Qantas Assure.
In May 2017, GMHBA announced that it would be launching a product in conjunction with AIA Australia called myOwn. The product will be a joint life and health insurance policy that allows members to save on their premiums by participating in healthy activities.
The exact discounts available for hitting your goals are yet to be announced, but to comply with the requirements for discounts in the PHI Act 2007 and the Private Health Insurance Complying Product Rules 2015, the discount can be no greater than 12%.
Qantas Assure offers a similar benefit to its members for staying healthy, but provides Qantas Frequent Flyer points in lieu of discounted premiums.
Outside of health insurance, the car and home insurance industries also have a vested interest in using data to provide a better customer experience. Car insurers such as Allianz can use telematics to access a customer’s driving record, which ideally means that insurers can offer good drivers lower premiums based on their driving behaviour.
In the car insurance space, telematics also theoretically means that your insurer can be immediately notified if you’re involved in an accident. Not only could this help if the driver is incapacitated and unable to call for help, but it could cut down on claims processing times, providing customers with a better service.
Insurers are also able to use weather data to improve services for both home and car insurance policyholders. In the case of home insurance, providers have the ability to warn homeowners of expected storms and potential flooding. Depending on whether you have a smart home, your insurer could also be able to detect a defective pipe and warn you before it bursts.
Car insurers can use weather data to alert policyholders of impending hailstorms and advise them to move their car undercover. And, if the policyholder doesn’t have a garage, insurers can tell their customers where the closest under-cover car park is located.
The breadth of the possibilities opened up by the IoT is endless and open to speculation. For example, what happens when your insurer is able to check the contents of your smart fridge to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet?
Deloitte data analytics actuary Basem Morris speculated about what it would be like if your telematics device could alert your insurer of an accident so that they would not only send out an assessor but also a hired car so that you could drive straight home. That might be something people can get behind.