Home Telematics Consortium aims to speed product development

Roost, a company that makes smart-home devices like water-leak sensors and internet connected batteries, is trying to launch a Home Telematics Consortium of insurers to aggregate and analyze smart-device data for insurance use.

The company teamed up with Willis Towers Watson on the effort. Insurers who join the Consortium will get 10,000 Roost technology kits, each including two water-leak sensors and one battery, to distribute to selected policyholders. Willis will then run analytics on the data to identify opportunities for insurance product enhancement.

"With 10,000 households, that only gives you so much data, to be statistically relevant you need to get 50,000 to 100,000 data years," says Roel Peeters, Roost founder. "With a limited investment, insurers are able to get access to that in a short period of time" by joining the organization, he adds.

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Peeters says that the benefit to Roost is that customer adoption of its products will be faster thanks to the third-party assistance of insurance partners. He says that cost pressures are currently preventing the scale needed for smart devices to truly impact insurance, and this is a way to accelerate the process.

"You go back to the smartphone -- how did we get our first one? From the phone company for signing up for a data plan," he explains. "So I'm looking at who's going to be the third party, and with insurers, you have a company incentivized to avoid peril."

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