Taking out insurance cover has always been a pain. Bureaucracy and boring paperwork were the order of the day – but no more. The networked world and ubiquitous data are radically reshaping yet another industry.
Now insurance is linked in real-time to what you’re doing, with the level of cover changing dynamically to match your activity. So if you’re skiing down a steep and dangerous black slope, your cover is seamlessly hiked. But when you’re sitting in the pub having a beer afterwards, the cost automatically drops.
New sensors in the latest smartphones, and increasingly in clothing and other devices, are able to track what you’re doing and where, which has made “live insurance” – as opposed to “life insurance” – a reality.
And with the prevalence of the so-called “Internet of Things”, the same applies to your possessions. When your car is standing in a locked garage, it’s hardly at risk, so the level and cost of cover is minimal. But if you’re driving through heavy traffic in a thunderstorm, the opposite applies. So your insurance cover adjusts automatically, as the in-car sensors report their status.
“It works for just about everything,” says RealSure CEO Jason Bentall. “Think of expensive camera equipment, or sporting equipment, or tools, which spend most of their lives securely locked away in a storeroom… just costing you money. It makes sense to only pay for serious cover when such things are out and in use. All it takes is an inexpensive chip attached to the item, which tells us where it is and what it’s doing, and our systems do the rest.”
Claiming too has become automatic in most cases, with claims paid directly into bank accounts linked to your mobile phone, and based on automatic status reports. And the best news? For most people and businesses, insurance has actually become cheaper. The fluctuating rates bring savings throughout the value chain.