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Do Amazon and Google pose a threat to home insurers?

Insurance Forums Staff

Amazon has made no secret of its intent to disrupt virtually every industry on the planet, most recently announcing a partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to create an independent healthcare company. Reportedly, the retail giant has also begun to explore the idea of setting up an insurance price comparison site in the UK.

The formula is now clear. Amazon and other consumer-first digital disruptors like Google set their sights on a conventional industry with aging distribution and marketing channels, then things start to change rapidly. With an insurtech revolution already starting to brew in the home insurance marketplace, how long will it be before the likes of Amazon and Google enter the market in a serious way? And, if they do, will customers welcome them?

While industry incumbents like State Farm, Allstate and Progressive have begun to speculate on potential scenarios for this kind of digital disruption, J.D. Power’s P&C Insurance Industry Practice went right to the source – the consumer – to ask how real home insurance customers would feel about the presence of tech companies in this space.

Following were the key findings from the J.D. Power Pulse Survey:

20% of consumers would use Amazon or Google for home insurance

The data revealed that 20% of consumers would use Amazon or Google for their home insurance. Millennials showed even higher interest at 33% for Amazon and 23% for Google. Of those that indicated that they would be willing to switch, 80% currently have insurance with the large national carrier.

75% of consumers interested in home telematics

While most of the media’s attention has focused on the future of automation technology in automobiles, the disruption to your home experience – and by extension your home insurance – through smart home technologies is likely to have an equal or greater impact.

Smart home technologies are revolutionizing many areas of the home, from simple comfort features that can now turn lights on and off or access in-home entertainment by control of your phone to home security and emergency support with automatic shutoffs and alerts.

The insurance industry is taking notice and wants in on the action. Insurers see smart home technologies as an opportunity to deepen their relationships with customers, while at the same time improving home coverage options and underwriting. While leading home insurance carriers have begun to venture into these areas, not much research has been done to understand the consumer’s demand for as these features become available. Based on the J.D. Power Pulse Survey, following are insights into the current consumer appetite for this type of technology:

Top areas for insurtech disruption: Among consumers polled, following are the top area of their relationship with their home insurance provider that needs the greatest improvement:

  • Product Options/Coverages – 20%
  • Underwriting Sophistication – 15%
  • Claims – 14%

Top insurtech technologies: Among consumers polled, following are the top technologies consumers are most excited about coming to the insurance industry:

  • Cybersecurity – 36%
  • Blockchain – 25%
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – 24%

75.2% of consumers are interested in home telematics

  • While the bulk of talk on telematics has been focused in the automotive space, home insurance customers are overwhelmingly interested in getting discounts on their homeowners insurance for proper home maintenance and security.

46% of consumers would be willing to allow their home insurance company access to smart home sensor technology in appliances, such as refrigerators, air conditioner, to help prevent loss and malfunction (Smart Tech Loss Prevention)

  • 56% of consumers that currently have “smart” tech in their home would allow access

34% of consumers would likely switch to a home insurance company that offered smart home technology loss and protection options

  • Millennials: 57% would likely switch
  • 40% of consumers that currently have “smart” tech in their home would be likely to switch (64% of consumers reported have some sort of smart tech in their home, such as a smart thermostat, doorbell, etc.)

The J.D. Power Pulse Study on Home Insurtech Trends was authored by Tom Super, Director of the J.D. Power Property and Casualty Insurance Practice, drawing on insights from Insurtech leaders from across the country. The survey includes responses from 650 U.S. consumers, and was fielded in August 2018.



4 thoughts on “Do Amazon and Google pose a threat to home insurers?”

  1. Convenience for the end user – in my yelp example I wanted a soup place (Vietnamese pho soup). I found them on yelp and placed my delivery order on the same site. Saved me time. I am sure they made money off of the transaction.Seems like natural progression.

    Same with a policy right? People already google insurance all day long why not offer them a quote while they are at it and save them a step?

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