Business & Economy

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 09:19

SafeHomes – Smart insurance for a world increasingly reliant on the IoT

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SafeHomes, a new homeowners insurance solution from GENRIC Insurance Company, is embracing the internet of things (IoT) to connect home devices to its insurance offering and in turn, providing insured customers with significant financial savings through improved risk mitigation and personalised premiums which are representative of each client’s risk profile. 

SafeHomes allows for seamless, real-time customer transactions, policy and claims administration and broker engagement via an online customer portal, as well as highly personalised underwriting that is based on the needs, behaviour and risk profile of each customer. This not only makes homeowners insurance more flexible and accessible, but there are also significant financial savings to be realised by embracing the IoT and its mitigating impact on risk and the cost of insurance.   

“SafeHomes creates an environment where consumers get to engage with their brokers and insurance products through a seamless suite of multiple digital service channels, providing quick and easy access to their product portfolio, policy documents, endorsements, claims and so on, and at the same time facilitating a high level of personal service and advice from their broker.  Policy holders get to actively manage not only their insurance portfolio, but all the related home technology services in their own time, from any connected device. Essentially, by linking the IoT to insurance, we’re empowering the insured party to take greater control of their risk mitigation measures, which has a material impact of the cost of their insurance,” explains Cornel Schoeman, Chief Operating Officer of GENRIC. 

How does Safe Homes work?

The introduction of utility, security and emergency management tools, interfaced to a self-service portal is at the core of the SafeHomes promise.  Insured customers get to enjoy the benefits of real risk mitigation and avoidance of loss and resultant damage, self-determination, and they experience real savings through greater efficiency and smarter utility management such as electricity and water usage. 

How does it work?

  • SafeHomes – Smart Geyser Energy Management:  The electric geyser is by far the most energy-hungry device in a household, accounting for anywhere between 30-50% of total household electricity consumption.  A ‘Geasy’ is a smart device that curbs this usage by allowing you to optimally schedule and remotely switch your geyser on/off via a web app. The use of this technology can save up to 30% of an average household electricity bill. On a buildings or contents insurance policy with a minimum monthly premium of R350, GENRIC will supply the policyholder with a Geasy energy management device for the term of the policy.  On a monthly premium of R850 or more, the customer qualifies for two Geasy devices, if required.  The savings on electricity usage almost amortise the entire cost of the monthly insurance premium. The Geasy is fully integrated into the client’s web portal – so you can switch the geyser on in instances where you need a quick boost to heat up water, or switch it off when no one is home.

  • SafeHomes Burst Geyser Detection:  The Geasy drip tray sensor helps reduce the risk of geyser bursts or leaks—and the resultant losses associated with such events - by detecting water in the geyser’s drip tray and generating early warning notifications before further damage or loss occurs.  Typically, geysers do not usually burst violently. Rather, they’re likely to wear out over time and fail from the corrosion experienced when the sacrificial anode isn’t serviced for years, allowing for gradual leakage.  This leakage ends up in the drip tray which, when installed correctly, is harmless and merely an indicator of an ageing geyser.  With the Geasy early warning notification, the problem can be addressed early and the resultant damage that typically follows a major burst can be avoided.

  • SafeHomes Water Metering:  this provides early detection of excessive water usage. The technology interfaces with existing water meters and can detect high water flow rates or events that otherwise could easily go undetected, such as pipe bursts, underground leaks, taps left running and so on.  These events not only lead to large water losses, but significant resultant damages to property as well as huge financial costs.  Should the system detect abnormal usage or high flow rates, an SMS or email alert is sent to call for early intervention to address the problem.

  • SafeHomes Emergency Services:  With the app installed on your cell phone, the emergency panic button will automatically dial up the closest, contracted security provider when activated, sending your location details based on your phone’s position to the security provider for assistance. In addition, the call can be routed to receive emergency medical attention as part of the solution offering.  Further enhancements are also underway to allow for CCTV integration and enhanced home security and emergency options under the SafeHomes offering.

  • SafeHomes Property Valuation:  GENRIC is able to provide an immediate assessment of a client’s property value using spatial and geo-technologies and mapping this back to deed’s office information regarding property values in the area.  The technology is also used to provide property evaluations based on statistical-actuarial data and historical sales data to determine current values. SafeHomes customers receive a bi-annual property valuation report which they can use to ensure that their property is correctly insured and avoid the risks of under-insurance in the event of a catastrophic loss.  

Transforming the customer insurance journey

“The IoT, spatial mapping technology, mobile technology and connected devices have drastically increased the data insurers can leverage across the value chain and put to work for the benefit of consumers, as well as reducing their insurance losses, all of which has a fundamental impact on the cost of insurance.

“Sensor technology has already made a big impact in the life industry if you consider how smart watches linked to health apps have driven healthier lifestyle habits, and in turn what this means for life insurance premiums, rewards programmes and customer loyalty.  Telematics in vehicles has impacted driving patterns and enhanced driving behaviour.  Now IoT in the home is being deployed to manage utility costs and at the same time drive down insurance pricing and claims on common perils such as burst water pipes, geysers and burglaries. 

With SafeHomes leveraging the Internet of Things, we’re able to use advanced analytics to deliver more granular individual risk profiles, and that’s good news for consumers looking to streamline their costs and take ownership of their risks. We believe in leveraging transformative tech that matters to customers and adds value to their lifestyles and puts savings back in their pocket,” concludes Cornel.

For more information go to www.safehomes.co.za

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