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Technology and Insurance: Evolving Together

Man snow blowing his walk.

Think about it for a minute: drones and what’s commonly being referred to as the “sharing economy” is changing what insurance covers and how it is sold. Insurance is catching up with technology, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Internet, social media, smartphones and mobile apps have dramatically transformed old business models in several industries, from travel and newspaper production to movie rentals and more.

Insurance is based on information. And the more information you have, you could be better protected. You can look at it another way, too: technology is information, and the more information you have could help you prevent a potential loss. In other words, is there an app for that? Yes, there is. Check out some helpful tools to help promote safe behaviors in your households:

Home Security Systems

Home security apps provide a variety of services that can help protect the home, according to SafeWise. For example, some apps allow you to connect to your home security system; you get real time alerts on your smartphone if there’s a security breach or any suspicious movement in the house. Others apps allow you to manage and track your home’s energy use, air quality, and temperature. Finally, there are apps that turn your home computer into a surveillance camera; you can watch streaming video of your home as well as take time-stamped snapshots. Whether you’re at work, vacationing, or just want to check in to make sure the new puppy isn’t tearing apart the furniture, there’s a home security app that has your back.

Distracted Driving Apps

You know you shouldn’t be texting and driving, but sometimes your smartphone’s chirping sound is too much to resist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes in 2012. With your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds each time you are sending a text message, it can add up quickly and could be fatal. Thanks to an emerging market, there are innovative apps designed to help prevent distracted driving. There are distracted driving apps that limit where and when texts can be received. Others can disable call, email, and messaging functions on smartphones, or put devices in “safe mode” when it detects that a vehicle is in motion. Some popular distracted driving apps include TXtBlocker, TeenSafer and The Vehawk.

Telematics

Getting feedback either in the form of a report card in school or formal review at work can help you gain insight into how you can improve. The insurance industry has adapted this model with the introduction of telematics devices. Telematics includes all of the technology inside of our cars such as Bluetooth calling, touch screens, and GPS navigation. In the insurance industry, companies are using telematics devices to provide feedback on customer’s driving to provide them with an appropriate premium for their risk. This practice has been in place in the insurance industry for several years now, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and may increase in use over the next couple of years as insurance companies gather more information about driving habits and analyze trends. The NAIC say that these devices could help insurance companies learn more about accidents for example. As a consumer, learning about your own driving habits, and being rewarded or punished for your actions, is one way telematics can help drivers practice safe driving.

Technology continues to change the world we live in. With the introduction of driverless cars, connected cars, and countless apps, insurance and technology can work hand and hand to provide helpful tools for their customers that promote safe habits.

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