Argo Insurance is planning to launch a new pilot program with insurtech startup Kinetic, a maker of wearable devices, aimed at preventing back injuries and corresponding injury claims from its restaurant, supermarket and retail clients.

Kinetic’s technology, developed by a team of biomechanical engineers, vibrates to alert employees when they are lifting heavy objects incorrectly. Kinetic’s analytical dashboard also enables managers to assess the risk profiles of their workforce. The startup claims its wearable technology reduces unsafe postures and injuries in the workplace by up to 84%.

Rooney Gleason, Argo Insurance
Rooney Gleason, Argo Insurance

“I saw their demo, and after 10 minutes, I asked how quickly we could put it into pilot,” said Rooney Gleason, president of Argo’s U.S. grocery & retail business. “I’m lining up a team now, and we should launch a pilot at the end of the first quarter.”

The move would advance Argo’s current tech strategy around deploying Internet of Things technologies to thwart workers’ compensation and general liability claims. Partnerships aimed at distributing smart devices also are gaining popularity in several lines of insurance this year, as carriers look to add value to their services by providing real-time feedback to customers that can help them reduce risky behaviors or habits.

The company recently began implementing sensors developed by Gleason’s own tech company, GleasonTech, for its food clients that stream for temperature and wet spots in order to prevent slips and falls—supermarket and restaurant businesses’ No. 1 claim category. More than 25,000 people a day are impacted by slip-and-fall accidents, Gleason told Digital Insurance in an interview last year.

Argo worked directly with national food chains to address inherent risks. But it took a while for legacy clients to get on board with leveraging the IoT. Others just refused to adapt, Gleason says. Its sensors incorporate basic R Code programming language, near field communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to offer real-time feedback upon manual inspection by staff using handheld devices. Time and data stamps recorded when the reading of a device occurs also creates a log for companies to keep in lieu of any legal proceedings.

Also see: How Argo Group approaches AI integration

“When we solve, and receive some good data back for premises safety, we will have actuarial support in data to change the dynamic of how restaurants look at risk,” says Gleason.

Thanks to a new Power BI tool from Microsoft, Argo is now able to take captured information from clients and break down data by location using data visualization. Findings can range from common hazards found in select stores to identifying appliances, most commonly freezers, in need of maintenance, Gleason notes.

When claims do come in, commercial businesses will soon be able to file losses in Argo’s new claims portal. The platform underwent a soft launch in December, but is expected to be fully pushed out by the end of March. Argo Claims Portal was developed by internal staff, and delivers policy documents to brokers and billing information to clients. An online chat feature with claims adjusters is also available.

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