Nest Labs is part of the Alphabet Inc group of companies of which Google is the best known member. Nest was founded in 2010 to revolutionize the home. Specifically, IoT enabled and sensor-driven thermostats, smoke detectors (Nest Protect), and other security systems (Nest Cam) which ultimately help improve the energy efficiency, security and the cost of home ownership. One outcome of Nest Labs’ products is the potential for property insurers to lower loss ratios through sensors that can detect property destruction in real time in addition to incentivising policyholders to take preventative measures which lowers risk and thus premiums.
It’s important to note that Google has just launched Google Home, an always-on device that can answer queries, check schedules and work with third-party smart home devices such as those from Nest. These recent announcements from Google means that smart homes are no longer a dot on the horizon, rather, the era of IoT is here and insurers are actively looking to partner with pioneers in the field.
Two U.S insurers, LibertyMutual and American Family Insurance, have already partnered with Nest to help provide policyholders with complimentary Nest Protect (smoke and carbon monoxide detectors) and other smart home devices through their Safe Home Reward programmes.
Ultimately, digital insurers in the property market will need to continue to broaden their IoT partnerships in order to gain a slice of the growing IoT market. Although such partnerships may seem a risky move (as the ownership of customers is held by the hardware manufacturers as opposed to the insurer), this path seems an inevitable evolution of the property insurance industry, and one that insurers certainly can’t afford to ignore.