“Don’t touch the thermostat. I know it’s 32° outside, but the house doesn’t need to be more than 55° — put on a sweater.”
Does this sound familiar? For many, this is what household temperature control was like until recently. Old-school technology controlled the temperature in our homes, but it was manual, hard-wired and often parent-managed. Today’s technology has changed this, and just about everything else in our lives — including insurance.
Some of the same technologies that make it possible for you to sign in to your thermostat from your phone and defy your parents’ strict “don’t touch” orders are being used to power your auto insurance. That’s right, today’s auto insurance is not the same as your parents’ generation, and the benefits it brings can be both personally rewarding and make a difference in the world.
Three game-changing insurance technology trends to watch
Internet of things (IoT)
The internet of things: It seems most people think of a “smart home” when they think about IoT. Products like nest and Sonos have embraced the power of IoT technology to control the temperature of our home and give us a new way to enjoy music — all from our phones. Nest even learns your home temperature patterns and preferences, and automatically adjusts for your comfort and added energy efficiency.
While these are the things we think about every day, the technologies that make IoT possible have come a long way, with applications ranging from starting up and moving your Tesla to warding off trespassers.
As technology evolves, and as more auto manufacturers jump on board, new “smart cars” will start talking to one another. As cars begin talking, they will be better able to reduce accidents. As reported by NuWire, this auto-to-auto communication will help reduce the number of accidents and provide deep analytics on driving habits, helping to assess risk, which can help safe drivers get better rates.
As more and more drivers embrace technology and apps that enable insurance companies to view driving behavior, the better they will be able to assess risk and put the driver in control of their price. Based on the type of driver you are, there are two different models using this technology to create unique insurance coverage that may make sense for you:
- Usage-based insurance (UBI) policies, where customers pay rates based on how much they drive. Designed for those who travel less, you pay only for the miles you drive. So, you pay a fixed base insurance rate per month plus a cents-per-mile calculation based on actual driving data recorded as you drive.
- Behavior-based models, like HiRoad, look at a driver’s unique driving habits and rewards them for their smart choices on the road. This approach focuses on “how” you drive using the sensors in your phone to measure and recognize your positive choices on the road. At HiRoad you can earn monthly rewards for your good driving, which can reduce your premium up to 50 percent.
We all have preferences about how we like to conduct our personal business — some like face-to-face, some prefer phone calls, and more often, many people are choosing the internet. Trends in automation have made business that used to involve appointments and phone calls much easier.
Take the role of automation between you, your doctor and your pharmacy as an example. Not too long ago, if a doctor prescribed you medicine they’d pull out the trusty RX pad and scribble out the details. You’d take that piece of paper to the pharmacy, wait in line, hand it to the pharmacist and then wait for it to be filled. Today, through your doctor’s electronic health record (EHR) system, your doctor can help you skip all of that by sending the order directly to the pharmacy of your choosing. What’s more, the pharmacy software can predict when you’ll run out of the medicine, get a doctor’s approval if needed, refill it automatically and even ship it to your house. It’s quick, easy and helps us avoid appointments, long hold times and lines.
With HiRoad, we use automation with our quote system, making it possible to get an insurance quote in five minutes. It’s quick, simple and doesn’t require picking up the phone or waiting on hold. For those who prefer to shop for insurance when and where it’s most convenient, automated technology is making the process quick and painless.
Technology is changing the way we live, and while we think of these changes as affecting the products we use in our homes every day, the impact is far-reaching.
Insurance, like every industry, is looking at technology innovation and trends in user behavior to find new ways to make products better and customers happier and safer.
Perhaps best of all, insurers are now beginning to understand that customers have many levels of comfort with technology. So, if you fall into the manual thermostat control group, like possibly your parents, there’s still a phone number you can call to get help. But if you’ve got a higher level of tech-comfort, there’s an insurance company with a website and an app for that.