Smart insurers love smart homes

country house with a blue door

Las Vegas played host to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this January, where global innovators and tech companies showcased the latest in consumer technology. Attendees marvelled at exhibitions on everything from smartphones to self-driving cars.

One exhibitor even showcased a smart bed that can analyse your vitals while sleeping and may be able to detect breathing difficulties or abnormal heartbeat patterns, like sleep apnoea or a heart attack, and alert emergency services for you. With rapid technological advancements changing the way we live, CES showed us the vast technology available to us now and what may be possible in the future.

In a world where we have an app for everything, Smart Home technology has brought new and innovative ways to control our homes from our phones and tablets. Companies are now even expanding this smart controlling into everyday appliances such as smart TV’s, washing machines, ovens and fridges. The Samsung smart fridge range can monitor expiry dates and levels of stock within your fridge while playing music and displaying a recipe on screen while you cook your favourite meal.

Google Assistant and Amazon Echo’s Alexa are finding their way into all of our home devices and appliances to make your day a little easier, bringing you the weather, latest news and information about your day including meetings and to do lists. All very interesting perhaps, but are there any positive implications of such smart technological advancements for the Irish Insurance industry. The short answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes’. Smart insurers are looking at such innovation to determine what positive outputs there may be for an industry who has at it’s core a desire to predict both future risks and the actions that can be taken to reduce those risks.

Smart Security

Have you ever arrived at the airport for a family holiday and suddenly thought ‘did I turn the alarm on’ in your rush to make the flight? Modern technology such as Samsung’s Smartthings range allows you to monitor and control your home alarm system on your smart device. You can set up an entire home security system, adding everything from window and door sensors to moisture gauges so you can detect possible leaks in your home.

Controlled by WiFi, LED lightbulbs such as Philips Hue and Lifx allow you to control the lighting in your home through an easy phone or tablet app. You can switch on your lights while you’re out and about or even set the timer for them to come on at different times during the day. If you know you will be away for a few days or if you won’t be home until late in the evening, you can set your lights to automatically switch on from your phone. Some also have a flicker effect which can be set to give the appearance that there is movement in the home behind curtains or blinds. This can be great for unoccupied properties to deter burglaries or arson.

Safety

Nest Protect smoke alarm is a revolutionary safety feature for homes. The system is the first home alarm that you can silence from your smart device without needing any extra hardware. It can tell you where exactly smoke is detected in your home and a friendly voice gives you an early warning to let you know if the alarm is about to sound. If you have just burnt toast in the kitchen you can switch off the alarm before waking up the whole house or if a fire has broken out you will know where to investigate. If your home also has Nest Thermostat, the smoke alarm will instruct your thermostat to switch off in the event of an emergency to prevent the danger from spreading.

Research from Nest states that in the 1970s, it would take about 30 minutes for a fire to take over a room while today, it can take less than 5. Having technology like Nest can save lives and prevent devastating damage to houses. Benefits for Insurance This smart technology gives people greater control of their homes and allows them to instantly react to risk management issues, even whilst away from the property. So the next time Ireland experiences a big freeze, even if you’re lying on a beach in sunny Tenerife, you can sit back, relax and adjust the thermostat on your smart device so you don’t return home to a potentially devastating mess.

Really smart insurers are already recognising the benefits of insuring smart homes. For a quote or for further information contact Kate O’Connor on 01 664 0003 or message