Guest blog: How insurers are helping to protect their customers, and homes

Where are customers moving in terms of connected devices in the home? Our insight is that customers want to control and protect their environment – think smart lighting, security devices and thermostats.

While the technology is still mainly used by early adopters, it’s fundamental that we understand the barriers to uptake.

Price is one, with most technology currently quite expensive. We must also understand value – why would customers want this technology in their home? It’s about talking to them using a language that resonates.

What does it mean for you? It depends on your business ambitions and how innovative you want to be. How far do you want your role to go in your customers’ homes? And how far do they want you in that space? The reality is that customers won’t want us to have all their data, so initially we need to establish how to use the data that’s available, and then build customers’ trust.

There are a number of things we need to get right to deliver this. Understanding how to use the data and technology and getting the right culture in your organisation is key.

Insurers have a unique proposition in a way that utility companies and retailers don’t. We are protecting their home and customers see us as having the right to do that.

By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices globally, according to Cisco, and 21% of people will consider replacing current devices with connected products once they wear out. This presents a growing opportunity for us as insurers. But before we start creating models and investing in technology – we need to understand the objective. And this, is the customer. How can we help them receive better products and services by better understanding them through data?

Jenny Truman, Direct Line Group