Smart home technology is increasingly helping consumers monitor and anticipate problems around the home and escape of water is one of those worrying issues.
Leakbot is one of the best examples of this technology that we’ve seen and certainly the best packaged and branded solution that is currently available. Many of the alternatives that are marketed as ‘smart’ technology that detect leaks are comparatively primitive in their design, function and practicality.
Solutions are typically white plastic devices placed on the floor close to pipes or outlets that have a simple sensor that can detect if water comes into contact with it – not exactly ground-breaking. Where the Leakbot could do more in the future is to take things a step further and shut off the water supply.
In the past we’ve been critical of insurance companies failing to recognise the value that smart home technology can have in securing and protecting our most valuable asset. Pro-active security systems with smart cameras that can identify and ward off a potential intruder before they enter the property are deserving of a reduction in premium.
Any new technology to help prevent escape of water claims is likely to involve a level of disruption during the installation process. This disruption combined with a cost likely to be around £500 or more for the device may make the adoption of this technology prohibitive to both the insurer and homeowner – particularly when a customer has not experienced an EOW loss.
We are supportive of all technology which makes a difference. Fortunately, when a suitable product is developed at a reasonable cost we at Auger will be in a position where our engineers could install a device during the course of attending a water claim. Insurers and customers could eliminate call out fees and leverage our presence at site by sharing in reduced installation costs. Following a subsidised installation, premiums could be reduced over time on a sliding scale to help increase the retention for the insurer and strengthen their relationship.
Indeed, the ability to integrate with third party services could take the products to another level. Smart thermostats are able to recognise that you’re away from home – connecting the two devices could enable the leak detection system to notify an emergency contact in the event of an issue. Alternatively, the system could be set to shut off the water altogether whilst one holiday for example.
The industry needs to embrace the opportunities presented by smart tech but take them a step further and embed them into the product offer highlighting the benefits of adoption by the consumer with clarity. Whilst we can see advantages in being able to install this tech we won’t be doing it until such time as the technology is mature and we’re providing a clear and tangible benefit for our clients and customers.