Beam, a company that developed an Internet-connected toothbrush, is partnering with Renaissance Dental insurance to more closely integrate its device with the insurance business.
The Beam dental plan, available as a PPO to employers, provides standard dental insurance coverage, says CEO Alex Frommeyer. Where the plan differentiates is through the add-on Beam Perks, through which employers can offer their enrolled employees a Beam brush and subscription to specialized brush heads and toothpaste.
Policyholders can use the brush and corresponding mobile app which connect via Bluetooth -- to get information on their own oral hygiene. Using that data, customers can opt in for specialized products in their Beam subscription. At the same time, they are covered for dental care through a network of 20,000 dentists.
“We ask if you have sensitive teeth or not -- we can send you a special toothpaste in your next subscription and we can provide triggers toward consistent high utilization,” Frommeyer says. “Our vision is that the app will helps us understand your dental habits and needs, similar to a FitBit for your dental care.”
Beam will also use the population data to provide feedback to employers about dental hygiene at large within their organizations, and what kinds of programs they can gear toward their employees to improve the group’s oral health. It’s all part of the promise of the Internet of Things.
“Insurance companies for a hundred years have been some of the original data organizations. They take info from their clients and try to determine through the actuarial process what the risk is,” Frommeyer says. “These fundamentals don’t change in this era. But I do think because of the drastic lowering in prices of hardware and sensors and the cost of analyzing, storing and creating data, insurance can be meaningfully affected by these dynamics.”
The plan follows Beam’s original attempt at getting its foot in the door, the StarCard, which offered discounts at dental providers that went up or down depending on how well the cardholder hit dental health targets with the Beam brush. However, getting into insurance proper offers Beam the ability to have a deeper impact on the dental industry overall, Frommeyer asserts.
“We are not worried about becoming just an insurance company -- over time we’re going to see a tighter loop in the ecosystem,” he says. “Today we’ve got toothbrushes and floss and insurance and the StarCard, as we’re deepening our product features, and adding more things to our app, that integration is getting tighter.”
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