HSB Introduces ‘Turnkey’ Internet of Things Service

A Church Mutual pilot that saved over $500,000 is an early example of how HSB works with insurers to install sensors that continuously monitor equipment and conditions at customer locations.

(Detail of the façade of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Photo credit: Kripaks.)

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB, a Munich Re subsidiary based in Hartford) has introduced what it calls an Internet of Things-based turnkey service to help insurers manage risk. The service is designed to give insurers access to data to intervene in problems before they cause property insurance losses and their related costs and inconveniences to both insurers and policyholders.

Greg Barats, CEO, HSB.

Greg Barats, CEO, HSB.

“The rapid advances of new technologies are increasing the demand for value-added services that are included with insurance coverage,” comments Greg Barats, president and CEO, Hartford Steam Boiler. “HSB has used its extensive equipment data and experience with IoT-based systems to develop an early warning system for insurers and customers.”

HSB works with insurers to install sensors that continuously monitor equipment and conditions at customer locations. The company then analyzes the data and sends alerts to policyholders via email, cell phone, or text when an issue needs attention or could result in a breakdown or property damage.

HSB reports that Church Mutual Insurance Company has piloted the new service, saving more than $500,000 by avoiding property losses from frozen pipe leaks. Church Mutual has plans to expand the service to thousands of additional houses of worship that the carrier insures.

Embracing Innovation

Richard Poirier, President and CEO, Church Mutual.

Richard Poirier, President and CEO, Church Mutual.

“At Church Mutual, we embrace innovation,” comments Richard Poirier, the carrier’s president and CEO. “We want our customers to thrive, and partnering with leaders such as HSB in advancing technology helps us help our customers.”

HSB reports that it continues to develop its IoT service offerings targeted at insurers, installing sensors at commercial locations insured by its client insurance companies to monitor conditions that pose potential risks. The new program is customized for each insurer to reflect the types of businesses it covers and can focus on the challenging classes of business in its portfolio, according to an HSB statement.

HSB identifies a market opportunity based on widespread interest and experimentation in the IoT that is yet to result in commercially viable programs. Many insurers exploring the use of sensors and related technologies to identify exposures and interpret the data for policyholders, and 60 percent of insurance companies have piloted or considered IoT programs, according to HSB. However, only 15 percent have launched IoT-based solutions which require specialized technology skills and knowledge.

Building Deep Technical Expertise

“HSB is building on its deep technical expertise and transforming itself toward a new value proposition that shields its clients and partners from the complexity and churn of the technology world, to power Munich Re’s efforts to lead the disruption of insurance from IoT,” comments Peter Röder, member of the Board of Management, Munich Re.

Q&A: HSB CEO Greg Barats on the Engineering-Focused Insurer’s investment in the Internet of Things

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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