The modern insurance industry isn’t just about processing damage claims—it’s about helping clients avoid them altogether. The Internet of Things (IoT) is reshaping the way insurance companies operate, with huge possibilities for the future, arming insurers with a smarter set of tools to better serve their customers.
In this article, I’ll diving into a few cutting-edge examples of IoT in action within an insurance organization and where I see the industry going.
Usage-based and parametric insurance
Usage-based insurance is already benefiting from the IoT by helping insurtechs offer more accurate and individualized policies based on customers’ behavior and use of the insured object. In the motor industry, Discovery Insure’s innovative Vitality Drive sensor is an example of such use-based insurance. With an integrated, low-power, non-intrusive wireless device attached to the windscreen, connected to a mobile phone app and able to transmit core driving metrics, Vitality Drive tracks driving behavior and allows Discovery Insure to offer incentives and rewards for better driving.
Unsurprisingly, the system has detected a strong correlation between better driving habits and fewer accidents and less severe insurance claims. By encouraging better driving by aligning insurance premiums with the lower probability of accident claims, this type of use-based insurance helps both insurer and customer and improves road safety in general.
Parametric insurance is described by the Center for Insurance Policy and Research as “a type of insurance contract that insures a policyholder against the occurrence of a specific event by paying a set amount based on the magnitude of the event, as opposed to the magnitude of losses in a traditional indemnity policy.” In other words, a parametric insurance policy insures against an event, rather than against loss or damage of assets. This helps to bypass – or at least greatly simplify – the process of calculating potential losses and making policy adjustments after a claim; meaning that parametric insurance claims are processed and compensated much faster than indemnity claims.
The advent and growth of parametric insurance has close links to the IoT, with more sophisticated devices and better connectivity allowing providers to both calculate and compensate more effectively. This is especially true in the case of natural disasters, which have long been notoriously tricky for insurers.
Wakam (former La Parisienne Assurances), another insurtech, makes full use of the IoT to improve customization and automation. Both tailoring parametric policies to their customers’ needs and automating the claims process benefit from the capabilities of these smart devices. Wakam has gone further and has introduced a private blockchain platform to process and manage parametric claims. The combination of IoT and blockchain technology allows parametric policies to be generated and managed intelligently, based on global, connected event data, rather than isolated public or private events.
See also: Despite COVID, Tech Investment Continues
Avoid damage claims with IoT
Today’s insurance industry isn’t just about processing damage claims. It’s about helping clients avoid them altogether. Insurers can use the power of data to create a more secure, connected world. The next generation of IoT-based smart security solutions overcomes the shortfalls of earlier technology to provide connectivity at a cost-efficient price.
The potential of modern IoT is almost limitless: protect homes and businesses with security alarms that aren’t susceptible to jamming; recover stolen vehicles with powerful, reliable tracking systems; and react quickly to emergencies in the home or business with connected smoke detectors and real-time water leak detection. The overlap with insurance is obvious – IoT data provides a smarter set of tools for the modern insurance landscape.
Discovery Insure, for example, uses IoT to tackle a major problem in South Africa, where 48,306 vehicles were stolen in 2019. Only one in five stolen vehicles were recovered. The process was usually slow enough that thieves had time to dismantle stolen cars or ship them to the other side of the world. Even if the car was found, insurers might refuse to compensate the victim if there was no physical evidence of a break-in. But IoT sensors allow cars to be found even when they are hidden in enclosed or underground locations.
The future of IoT in insurance
From 2019 to 2024, the IoT insurance market is expected to grow 60%. The number of use cases for IoT devices within insurance will grow along with it, with more electronic devices entering the consumer and business marketplaces year on year. Traditional insurers are looking to the future and working on digitizing their offerings to move forward faster and with greater agility. According to the Global Insurtech Market report published in 2020, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of industry, a driving force in the commercial introduction of IoT. Thanks to this IoT, insurance companies are being given more opportunities to revolutionize and grow than ever – but taking advantage of them will require forward thinking and adaptability.