ROC-Connect Wooing Insurers With Smart-Home Service

The smart-home platform provider envisions benefits for insurers and policyholders alike.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

At present, Meagher says, homeowners view insurance as a commodity. "We deal with them once or twice a year when we pay our premiums," he explains, "and then we hope we won't talk to each other again until the next payment—because if we do, that means there's a claim."

This also means insurers must spend significant resources to retain policyholders and prevent them from simply shopping for the best deal each time their policy comes up for renewal. Meagher thinks connecting with policyholders through a smart-home platform will make the insurer more valuable to consumers. And as with auto insurance, he adds, the data collection that home insurers will be able to access via the smart-home platform is hugely valuable in terms of showing usage trends and informing their actuary knowledge bases.

Without disclosing the names of the participating insurers, Meagher says ROC-Connected is involved in a few field trials of the ROC-Master offering.

The ROC-Connect hub connects any standard ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth device to the company's cloud-based servers. (In South America, ROC-Connect also sells the Ozom brand of smart-home security cameras, thermostats and other connected devices, through home-improvement retailer Sodimac.)

ROC-Connect is offering the hardware components for $150 or less, per policy. Insurers may choose to resell the firm's hub and smart-home devices to policyholders, or to provide them as an extra incentive. The insurer would then pay ROC-Connect a management fee for the connectivity and branded app, Meagher says.

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