Zurich Insurance partners with IoT start-up for smart home security

Zurich Insurance partners with IoT start-up for smart home security

Zurich Insurance and UK-based IoT start-up Cocoon has announced an exclusive partnership which could see insurance customers being offered discounted policies and cheaper smart home products.

As a result of the partnership, UK customers will be exclusively offered a 10 percent discount on a Zurich insurance policy if a Cocoon is installed in their home and a £50 (USD$66) discount off the £299 ($400) product in turn. Like many insurers, Zurich is looking to partner with start-ups to drive innovation and – in this case – to improve home security and significantly reduce the likelihood of paying out on home insurance claims.

Smart home security has arrived

Cocoon, which first launched on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo in November 2014, says that its smart home product boasts patented Subsound technology which offers ‘strong, acute and sophisticated’ home intelligence.

The device snoops out for subtle infrasound, vibrations of air caused by varying movement which continues to pass across rooms and multiple floors, allowing the monitoring of an entire home and not just a single section. Its machine-learning capabilities allow it to work out what is ‘normal’ for the home environment. By doing this, the system is able to differentiate, for example, between an adventurous cat, a break-in and a burst pipe.

Cocoon CEO and founder Sanjay Parenkh said in a statement: “Cocoon offers a simple, intelligent way to help everyone look after their homes.”

Whether an inner-city flat or a country house, one Cocoon is able to protect the whole home. In addition to this, the system uses geo-fencing to switch its alert mode on and off by the location of the owner and its phone. This is installed through an application on iOS or Android allowing the owner to check in on their home via a video link. With over 75 percent of burglar alarms going unmissed and 76 percent of Brits saying they have ignored a burglar alarm, both Zurich and Cocoon will hope such a system will reduce the overall risk to homeowners.

Zurich wants customers to reduce risk

This investment by Zurich is supposedly part of a wider plan by the company to continue to focus on innovation and potential future technologies, leveraging these to improve how it assesses and manages risk.

Helen Kales, head of innovation at Zurich, said in a statement: “Smart devices for the house have the ability to help customers understand and manage risks to their home much more easily and quickly than ever before.

“Many are easy to install, allow earlier detection of a problem, and can send a notification to your mobile phone meaning that even if you are away, you will be notified of an issue. This is an exciting time to be partnering with such a pioneering business and we look forward to hearing how our customers use them.”

At IoB’s Internet of Insurance summit, IoT start-ups Domotz, OSeven and Quantifyle talked of the difficulties of partnering with corporate companies – although Axa Insurance’s Clare Selway encouraged them to work with accelerators where possible. You can see our videos from the event here.

By Oliver Baxandall

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