NNT Data Study: Homeowners Want Out of Home Insurance

By Chrissie Cluney March 01, 2017

Are you satisfied with your homeowner insurance company? If you answered ‘no’ it seems like you’re not alone.

According to a study by NTT DATA Inc., a business and IT services provider, 2 out of 3 U.S. homeowners insurance customers would be willing to change insurance companies to get policy discounts for using smart home devices, including smart thermostats, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and garage door openers.

“Our study found that there is a large distinct group of homeowners insurance customers – 64% of survey respondents – who are willing to invest in smart home technology. However, these “Seekers” are less loyal to their current carrier,” said Normand Lepine, Senior Director, Data and Analytics, Insurance, NTT DATA. “Seekers are the most important customer segment for insurers to pay attention to as they pose both a sizable opportunity for growth and a potential risk for disruption.”

In 2016, the company surveyed 1,006 U.S. consumers and 101 U.S. insurers online to answer four key questions: Are consumers ready for smart home technology? Will consumers share data to reduce risk and save money? Are insurance carriers ready for the Internet of Things? What are the barriers, threats, and opportunities for the insurance industry?

The study found that non-traditional players pose a threat to traditional insurance carriers. 53 percent of homeowners would trust a non-traditional provider such as Google or Apple for insurance coverage. The top three reasons why U.S. consumers buy smart home devices are the same reasons they buy homeowners insurance, which are for safety, security and cost savings. About 80 percent of U.S. consumers are concerned about security of information and 73 percent are concerned about privacy when it comes to sharing data from these devices, but discounted pricing alleviates consumers’ privacy and security concerns. Customers are comfortable sharing data from their smart home devices when insurance companies agree to reduce their policy premiums. Homeowners are more willing to share data, but their comfort level depends on how personal the data and from which device.

The study also found that insurance carriers have made strong progress leveraging smart home technology to improve products. Carriers realize that the IoT creates opportunities to extend services and value propositions to customers and change the way insurance is delivered. The study found 77% of carriers are ramping up IoT initiatives and 59 percent say they have made strong progress leveraging smart home technology to improve products.

It also found that uncertainty creates an opportunity for disruption. The role insurers will play in the IoT ecosystem and how they will gain access to the data from customers’ smart home devices is yet to be determined.

Competitor segments that insurers believe are best positioned to be major players in the evolving smart home ecosystem include: Major technology firms at 72 percent, 50 percent for home appliance manufacturers, Telecommunication firms at 36 percent. 37 percent of customers would take their business to InsurTech companies and 25 percent believe that insurers are going to evolve in the ecosystem. Utilities/cable received 19 percent.

“The IoT ecosystem is disrupting the insurance industry, inviting new competitors, potential partners and changing how products and services can be delivered,” said Lepine. “Accessing the data that comes from smart home devices and being ready to leverage it will be key to carrier success. NTT DATA recommends insurance companies prioritize the development of partnerships with the smart home gateway firms who will control the flow of this data. Don’t get shut out.”

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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