Much has happened since the Great Fire of London in 1666, which left more than 100,000 people homeless. As we already outlined in our chronology of the insurance sector, this 17th century disaster was key to making insurance become generally established, offering protection to those who were affected by losses or damage to their homes in particular.
The needs of households today are quite different, especially for those who have integrated smart devices into the space where they live. Home automation, the branch of technology that allows you to automate household tasks like communications, electrics and energy, is increasingly present. The global data from Statista show household penetration of 7.7% in 2019, and this is expected to reach 18.1% by 2023.
First, bringing products such as Amazon, Google or Apple speakers into houses marked a before and an after in the routines that we have in private. Voice assistants do not just play music or alert people to the weather forecast, but also facilitate access to consumer goods. Such basic tasks as a shopping list can be simplified with Alexa.
Also, a hyper-connected house already allows its owners to remotely control elements like heating, blinds and lighting. One of the greatest advantages of home automation is that it is customisable and, therefore, it is capable of being adapted to the particular needs of each user.
By automating housing and incorporating solutions that keep us connected with it, not only do we improve our quality of life, as explained by the Spanish Automation Systems Association (CEDOM), but we also contribute to energy savings, because household resources are better managed.
These products, linked to the Internet of Things (IoT), also require security measures because they can be vulnerable. Here, insurers have the challenge of protecting homes against problems like cyber attacks or data breaches. It is essential to keep devices up-to-date to avoid harm, as recommended by the Internet Users’ Security Office.
Initiatives such as Neos (UK) and SmartInsure (USA) are already focused on providing protection for smart houses and include devices such as cameras, biometric locks that can only be opened with a fingerprint, motion sensors, and smoke detectors. By means of an app, they allow the insured person to have control over all the home’s movements. The data that they collect from their customers are protected by encryption to guarantee their security.
At present we are facing increasingly disruptive changes when it comes to home automation and its ability to make households more comfortable, efficient and secure. So what about the future? People’s interest in smart homes will continue to grow and technology will keep moving forward. For this reason, insurers linked to startups in the insurtech sector face a challenge for the years to come: how to offer better and better solutions for increasingly connected homes.