The past few years have been dominated by talk about how new technology trends will change the insurance industry. We look at some examples of how those technologies have been utilised, as insurers and InsurTechs put words to action.
Insurers have long been obsessed with data – analysing it, collecting it and putting it to use in their underwriting and claims processes. Collection of data is possibly the most important step – since the quality of the data will dictate the accuracy of the result. This is why more insurers are stepping into the hardware game, with many offering telematics devices, wearables, and even cameras.
One such example is Neos Ventures, a UK-based insurer that uses smart technology to enhance its home insurance offering. It offers alarm systems, indoor security cameras, smoke detection and fire prevention alarms and flood and leak detectors. The company also provides 24/7 monitoring and emergency assistance services. In addition, it offers an iOS mobile application to control the monitoring systems and detect leaks.
The idea is that if Neos can provide technology that makes gas leaks, water damage and home intrusions less likely, then they’ll be able to pass along those savings in the form of lower premiums to their customers.
Aviva agreed to acquire a majority stake in the company in November of last year, building on Aviva’s existing relationship with Neos. The insurer, through its corporate capital venture fund, Aviva Ventures, announced a strategic investment in Neos in 2017.
Buying insurance with a selfie
In January 2017, US-based life insurance start-up Lapetus Solutions made a splash when it offered a service for people to buy life insurance just by using a selfie. Habits such as smoking cigarettes are strong predictors of lifespan, and Lapetus can use facial analysis in their Chronos technology rapidly to assign risk scores without a lengthy or time-consuming medical examination. The company explains their SMILe (smoker indication and lifestyle estimation) approach on their website:
- Individual surveys collect images, video, demographic and health data;
- Collections use Institutional Review Board approved protocol with standardised equipment; and
- Data collection teams will be engaged for global markets.
They also note that multiple points of data on each participant are captured, using a combination of still images and video.
Lapetus co-founder and chief data scientist Karl Ricanek said in an interview with USA Today, that there is a unique story for every face.
“Smoking is going to be written on your face,” Mr Ricanek said. “Even if you stopped smoking, once it’s written, it’s there.”
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