Thursday 7 July 2016

Accidental minimalism

09:36 Posted by G No comments
I went to a connected home briefing for insurers earlier in the week, run by Jeremy Burgess of The Insurance Network.

I was pleasantly surprised that the room was filled with senior insurance bods from across the market, but then again that could have been the free full english at the top of the Gherkin that attracted them.  Or it could be that listening to my colleague Rob Moore (head of partnerships at Hiscox) talk about his thoughts on the connected home.

Rob gave a very interesting talk about our approach, and referenced the 2015 report that Hiscox produced called - What will the home of the future look like?  (link).  Rob talked around a few key themes :

Product - what will be selling, and who's problem are we fixing.  Historically we've been very good at selling insurance, but if the customer has a fully connected home, what do they want insured?  this is where the ‘accidental minimalism’ phrase turned up.  I'd not heard this before, but Rob and the report explains :

As even more of what we own becomes virtual (books, music, films, photographs), we will become ‘accidental minimalists’ – freeing up space previously allocated for bookshelves and placing even greater importance on the items we choose to display in the home.  Less cluttered houses, with less space devoted to storage, will facilitate even more flexible use.

What's interesting about this is that as we move our possessions to rent rather than buy, what are we insuring ?  Replacing a CD collection after a fire would be a huge and expensive undertaking, but if all your music is via Spotify / Deezer / Apple Music etc, there is nothing to replace (apart from the playback devices).  This is a very different world for us as insurers.

Rob also talked about distribution and partnerships; with the brave new world of IoT devices, it doesn't seem sensible (or credible) for insurance companies to be providers of IoT devices or platforms.  What makes much more sense is to become partners in a much wider group to build an 'ecosystem' of solutions that has greater relevance to the customer.

This is very much an emerging market, and it will be fascinating to see how it plays out...


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