Smart home product positioning can’t seem to keep up with the tech. Smart home technology availability has soared as major corporations, startups and tech companies develop and fine-tune connected devices. In fact, the global smart home market is forecasted to grow to more than $53 billion by 2022. Increased adoption of smart home technology can benefit insurers. It provided them with a vast mine of data and helps them deliver more accurate pricing, premium discounts and additional services. Insurers can also mitigate risk when policyholders have smart home devices since the devices send near-real-time alerts to prevent damage and reduce major claims events.

Yet a recent report from Corporate Insight (CI) has found that, while many P&C firms offer policyholders a premium discount for having smart home devices, few actually promote the technology on their websites. The opportunity for effective smart home product positioning from insurers is wide open.

COVID sparked an uptick in smart home adoption

Smart home adoption took off during COVID, as more consumers stayed at home and had more time to transform their living environments into home offices, workout rooms and leisure spaces. A study from January 2021 by Xiaomi, a global smart home device provider, found that since March 2020, 70% of consumers reported that they used their time at home during the pandemic to make home improvements. And 51% of those purchased at least one smart device. According to the study, consumers have purchased an average of two new smart home devices since March 2020. Gen Z consumers purchased an average of three new devices, indicating a higher rate of adoption compared to older generations.

Another study from SafeWise supports the trend of increased spending on smart home technology over the past year. The study also found that consumers spent more on home automation rather than security, purchasing devices like smart TVs, speakers, lighting and plugs.

Our survey reveals increased smart home device ownership in the past two years, especially among younger generations

CI’s P&C Insurance Monitor fielded a March 2021 consumer survey of over 1,400 U.S. property and casualty insurance policyholders. Results indicated increased smart home technology adoption, especially among the Gen Z and Millennial generations. When we contrasted the 2021 results with those from our 2019 survey, we observed a 35% decrease in the number of consumers who indicated they do not own any type of smart home device. We saw the highest percent change (115%) in the number of respondents who own smart hubs or controllers from 2019 to 2021.

Gen Z and Millennials had the lowest percentage of respondents selecting that they do not own any smart home devices (6% and 17%, respectively), far below the average for all respondents. The younger generations also showed a higher adoption rate in every category.

 

Percentage of respondents owning smart home products from 2019 to 2021

Smart home product positioning and device ownership graph

Smart home product positioning, premium reductions and device discounts can incentivize policyholders

Our May 2021 P&C Insurance Monitor report found that slightly more than half (57%) of the 15 featured insurers offer policyholders a premium discount for having smart home devices. But only about a third (36%) promote smart home technology online. Insurers should clearly explain the types of smart home technology, outline the benefits of installing preventive devices and promote any third-party partnerships that offer discounts to encourage policyholders to purchase devices. Most insurers (80%) in the report partner with at least one smart home device vendor, and 40% partner with two or more vendors. American Family stands out by providing a public site Smart Home section with detailed resources and offering its own smart home device packages through the Hedge microsite.

Insurers can supplement online smart home content by highlighting their smart home technology discounts within their homeowners insurance quote tools. Liberty Mutual includes a Save Big with a Safe Home step in its quote tool that gives options for specific device brands for Theft Protection, Fire Protection and Water Protection. Prospects with qualifying devices can enroll in the insurer’s Verified Smart Home program, which provides a doubled home monitoring system discount if policyholders share home monitoring system data. Liberty Mutual also includes an additional Smart Home Discount in the final quote price.

Liberty Mutual smart home product positioning
Liberty Mutual Home Insurance Quote Flow – Save Big with a Safe Home Step

Hippo Insurance takes an innovative approach to smart home technology by integrating products into its homeowners insurance policies. The insurtech offers premium discounts for home protection devices and includes a complimentary smart home monitoring system with new policies. Policyholders can also choose to enroll in Hippo Home Care to receive help with home repairs and maintenance. The smart home monitoring kits feature devices built by Notion, SimpliSafe and Kangaroo. They operate through the different branded mobile apps but arrive in a Hippo-branded box. In February 2021, the insurtech partnered with ADT to provide discounted smart home device installation and professional monitoring to its home insurance customers. One month later, the insurtech went public through Reinvent Technology Partners Z, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Hippo Insurance smart home product positioning
Hippo Insurance Public Site Smart Home Page (Truncated)

Subscribers can access the full smart home product positioning report from the client portal. For access, or for more competitive intelligence on the user experience that insurers provide to their policyholders, check out Corporate Insight’s P&C Insurance Monitor research service offerings.

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