Google wants to partner with insurers on connected tech

Google wants to partner with insurers on connected tech

The French arm of Google is looking to team up with insurance firms in France in a bid to integrate its connected technologies.

According to a report by Fortune, the tech giant is trying to get insurers to show an interest in Nest and blend hardware with insurance.

Partnering with insurers like AXA and Allianz, the report claims, could help the company expand and diversify its sales. This comes as the Nest team has seen a lot of restructuring and revenue challenges.

Lucrative partnerships for Google

Nest, the Google-owned division that makes connected tech products for the home, has already formed a plethora of lucrative partnerships this year. Just this August, billing firm South California Edison began offering discounts to Nest users.

Many in the industry see potential for IoT devices to aid insurance. With Nest in mind, its smoke detectors can alert owners if there’s a fire in their house. They can then notify the nearest fire department to ensure damage is minimal.

While this is the case, Google isn’t actually planning on moving into the insurance industry directly. Nick Leeder, managing director of Google France, explained that his firm will only be seeking partnerships to aid Google products.

The Google France boss recently took part in a panel discussion in Monte Carlo. Fortune reported him saying: “With some of the things we have done around Nest, we have been working with insurers in France like AXA and Allianz to develop bundles of products which blend technology and hardware with insurance.

“We’re clearer about the role that we can play and what we can add, and we are looking for partners. We are not a company that uses the word ‘never’ much, so it’s difficult to rule things in or out. I think there are things that we are good at and things we are not good at.”

Related: Insurers urged to adopt IoT technologies

Adopting IoT a must for insurers

A report from McKinsey and Company says insurers need to adopt the Internet of Things as soon as possible, or they risk falling behind. Areas of interest include car, home, health and commercial lines.

Naresh Govindarajan, director of insurance UK at Virtusa, said IoT offers insurers masses of potential although firms need to overcome a plethora of challenges.

“IoT is really all about the data; the challenge for insurers is being able to access and verify this data. Big players are already testing out digital insurance premiums, whereby customers can get reduced premiums for good behaviour by using data from apps,” he said.

“Mobile apps, such as those that monitor driving behaviour or fitbit-type apps in the health insurance sector, are available – however, the user decides when to turn these on. Moving forward, insurers are going to need to find ways to get that data direct from the device.

“For example, it is likely that we will see insurers and car manufacturers teaming up to create IoT dashboards with data transmitted direct to insurers to determine motor insurance premiums.

He added: “Beyond this, in the commercial insurer space, there is technology already available to geospatially locate assets. For example, if you are insuring a large building or piece of real estate, you will need to conduct a lot of tests on the site to determine the insurance premium.

“However, telecoms, rail operators, utilities companies and so on already use satellite recognition to locate their assets – so the data insurers need is already out there. The challenge once again becomes one of access.”

Google has previously been continually asked about its involvement in the insurance industry, with many insurers worried that the search giant would enter and decimate the market.

Speaking at last year’s ITC conference, Google financial services executive Tore Dimmestol said:

“Google isn’t an insurer and I can’t see us becoming an insurer. It’s a data-driven company. We are a disruptor, that’s what we do.”

Taking place on 27-28 September in New York, the Internet of Insurance is exploring the profound impact of IoT on insurance business models and customer relationships. Featuring case studies from USAA, Progressive, Liberty Mutual and more – email [email protected] for more information

Related: Dell launches IoT insurance accelerator