The impact of smart home devices on the insurance market has been on the industry's radar for some time, but applications traditionally have been limited to certain niches. But now, some of the country's largest general market home insurers are taking a big leap.
Liberty Mutual announced it has joined Nest Safety Rewards, a partnership between Nest, perhaps the most visible provider of connected home technologies, and insurance companies to give policyholders discounts based on their Nest device data.
In Nest Safety Rewards, homeowners authorize their device to tell Liberty Mutual once a month if Nest Protect's batteries are charged, its sensors are working and its Wi-Fi connection is good. The insurer also offers additional discounts for customers who choose to electronically share that their smart home safety devices are functioning properly.
"These technologies provide the opportunity for consumers to reduce the chance of harm to their family and home by detecting events that trigger alerts on their smartphones, wherever they may be," says Michael Robon, senior vice president and Property Product Manager, Liberty Mutual Insurance. "We believe customers seeking to monitor their homes with devices like Nest Protect demonstrate responsible behavior. As a result, we will be offering these customers reduced pricing on their home insurance policy."
The program will roll out in Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Maine and Wisconsin on June 22, Liberty Mutual says. American Family Insurance also offers discounts through the program to its policyholders in Minnesota.
Smart devices of all kinds are gaining traction across insurance lines as potential avenues to a better customer experience. Earlier this year, John Hancock launched a life insurance product that's tied to results from the wearable technology FitBit.
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