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5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things

Smart devices are poised to alter policyholders' lives — and the way they are insured.
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Anthony O'Donnell also contributed to this article.

When I&T sister site InformationWeek went to this year's Consumer Electronics Show, a major theme was the "internet of things" — a big jump in the number of networked devices.

Intel's CTO talked about wearable technology, while Cisco's CTO of emerging technologies noted that "the marginal incremental cost to adding connecting or computing power is getting smaller and smaller."

While some remain skeptical about if this massive increase in connectivity truly serves the public, insurance industry observers see it as an opportunity to get a clearer picture of risk.

"Everything in the world is becoming instrumented and connected," says SMA partner Mark Breading. "The potential to gather real-time data from these trillions of points around the world and make them useful to the insurance industry is huge."

Following are several examples of the kind of connected devices that insurers might explore down the road:


1. Appliances

You may know Samsung as Apple's mobile phone nemesis, but this year it moved more into competition with companies like GE with its T9000 refrigerator. Though the limitations of the product were snarkily noted, a "killer app" for a smart fridge could include health insurance discounts for storing healthy food at home or business insurance breaks for knowing early on if it was about to fail and spoil its contents.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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Rob Cornwell
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Rob Cornwell,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2014 | 5:11:11 PM
re: 5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things
IoE has tremendous potential for impact in the insurance industry through Connected Homes, Connected Vehicles, Connected People... Much of today's topics have to do with risk avoidance or loss mitigation which are important to insurance, but the eventual impact on business process and customer experience will be even greater!
Responder2
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Responder2,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/20/2013 | 8:03:02 PM
re: 5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things
If the "smart" components are all made in China, don't expect the appliance to have a long response life.
bclausen017
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bclausen017,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/5/2013 | 2:48:51 PM
re: 5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things
You are very welcome Nathan. Your articles are always interesting, insightful and thought provoking. If there is anything we can do to help provide any information for future articles, we'd be honored to help.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
2/4/2013 | 10:50:24 PM
re: 5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things
Thanks for this point. Bank Systems & Technology follows payment technology pretty closely and I've been looking for opportunities to report on it in insurance as well.
bclausen017
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bclausen017,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/4/2013 | 9:24:46 PM
re: 5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things
With smart technology, even claim payments could be facilitated via the appliance. After running a remote diagnostic, the carrier determines the claim is sufficient to provide an advance immediately. The carrier sends data that creates a QR code on the fridge display. The claimant holds up her cell phone, scans the QR code and gets funds transferred to her account immediately. -Might sound crazy, but the technology can make this real. We are at the forefront of embracing disruptive technologies to make issuing payments better, faster and cheaper for our insurance clients. Feel free to continue the dialogue on our blog too at http://info.preludesoftware.co...
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
2/4/2013 | 4:22:33 PM
re: 5 Insurance Impacts of the Internet of Things
It will be interesting if insurers' tech partners going forward will be the companies that produce these appliances/tools, more than the traditional software companies.
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