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Aviva is embracing IoT to differentiate its home insurance offering

Scott Carey | March 21, 2017
The insurer is harnessing IoT to keep its home insurance customers engaged and reduce the number of claims

"It makes sense to offer customers things that help them avoid bad things happening and whether they have adopted those themselves, or if we can offer it as a pack, that is something we are looking at," said Ayrdon.


HomeServe Labs

British company HomeServe has recently pivoted into IoT by spinning out a Labs division and developing the LeakBot, its leak-detecting sensor for homeowners, when it saw that existing leak sensors weren't fit for purpose.

The 20-year-old company's core business has traditionally been home callouts for home insurance emergencies and repairs.

The LeakBot itself is a small device which can be clipped to any pipe by a homeowner to detect leaks on the mains water supply. It then alerts customers via their smartphone to issues such as dripping taps, hidden leaks on pipes and taps being left running.

The value proposition speaks for itself, according to Craig Foster, managing director at HomeServe Labs.

"It can be mailed to a homeowner in the post and takes five minutes to install it: clip it to a pipe and push a button which connects to the internet," Foster said. "So it is cheap enough for the insurer to provide that to a homeowner for free and claim it back in reduced claims, and it keeps customers sticky by making the insurance policy tangible."

Earlier this month HomeServe announced that it is also partnering with insurer RSA, distributing the LeakBot to customers via its More Th>n brand.


IoT in insurance: risks

There are risks though. IoT devices are particularly susceptible to hacking, there are privacy and data protection issues and more recently there has been evidence that smart metres and similar IoT devices can make mistakes or even be manipulated, ending up with increased customer charges, rather than the promised savings.

Ayrdon is aware of the risks and believes transparency is key, especially with data as sensitive as that generated by a smart camera in someone's home. This is why the security of a product is a primary concern when Aviva is assessing partners in the IoT space. "If we start offering packages and recommended solutions the security of those solutions will be paramount," he said.

Foster from HomeServe Labs sees the same concerns. He recognises the concerns with IoT devices being harnessed by hackers, but says the LeakBot doest't have this issue.

"We use a wide area Sigfox network, so no open port to the cloud," he said. "It's almost a cellular network, so we don't have those same hacking risks that you get when connecting to the internet."


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