Technology has revolutionized our lives, from the way we communicate with each other to the way we conduct business, it permeates our lives at home, in the car, everywhere. With the advent of smartphones , personal computing technology has is faster, smarter, and more pervasive than you think. From black boxes in cars, tracking software in phones, technology firms incorporate privacy invaders in cars, weather stations, and now homes. With the huge popularity of Google Home and Amazon Echo, devices that engage with users to do tasks at their bidding, many aspects of our daily lives are being recorded for various benign and, less than benign reasons. Simple tasks like checking the weather, turning on and off lights, or locking your car, speeding down the local street, all leave electronic trails, some more clear than others. According to the Seattle Times, “in a bid to spread the gospel of home automation, Amazon.com has rolled out free consultations from in-house experts that help customers build out a connected home. The Smart Home Consultation advisers come to consumers’ homes to demonstrate smart home products, and make personalized recommendations on what gadgets to buy.” The “smart home” sales grew 57% from 2015 to 2016, showing the explosive popularity, but how often do you consider the other side of the data– the intrusion into your personal space. These machines, particularly Google Home, know everything about you.
For example, in homes, control panels regulate shade controls, televisions, temperature, security systems, lighting, speakers, music, and countless other functions. The control panel collects data which may actually track the occupant’s comings and goings, especially if the smart appliances are activated by voice control. Much of the time the automation of daily life functions means that homes are more efficient and cheaper to manage, energy-wise, because it’s easier to quantify and control your usage.
But, have you considered the impact of this data on insurance claims? According to the Claims Journal, data collected from smart devices will improve first notice of loss, settlement and subrogation – several steps of claims processing. Yes, at some level, an insurance company for a smart home equipped property, could look at each stage of the insurance value chain, beginning with customer engagement all the way through pricing and underwriting, and ultimately, claim settlement, the data from connected home devices has the potential to improve each stage.