State Farm to Provide Customers Technology to Mitigate Electrical Fire Risks

Ting monitors the electrical network of a home using a smart plug-in sensor to help detect hazards, so they can be fixed before they have a chance to ignite.

(Image source: Whisker Labs.)

State Farm (Bloomington, Ill.) has announced an initiative to provide its policyholders with technology to mitigate electrical fire risk—a hazard responsible for 13 percent of all home fires at a cost of $1.3 billion in annual home damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association 2019 Survey. The insurer has invested in Whisker Labs (Germantown, Md.), and will offer the company’s Ting sensor to its customers. This sensor technology helps mitigate electrical fire hazards in the home before a fire occurs, providing what State Farm calls a different way of complementing insurance with a proactive instead of reactive solution.

Chris Schell, SVP, Property & Casualty, State Farm.

In 2020, Labs @State Farm, the insurers innovation organization, began partnering with Whisker Labs and offering Ting devices to eligible customers in Arizona, California and Texas. As a result, over 40,000 devices were provided to customers resulting in numerous success stories and, in many cases, fire loss prevention, according to the insurer. Some of these preventive detections included sensing clear arcing signals isolated to a chandelier in a master bathroom, identifying a missing neutral connection in a sub-panel, and detecting arcing signals consistent with water interaction with an electrical system.

Building on the experience of the initial rollout, State Farm said it is now beginning to expand the offering of Ting to a broader set of State Farm customers. Through 2021 and 2022, State Farm says it will begin offering an additional 100,000 Ting devices to non-tenant homeowner policyholders in more states. The insurer will begin marketing to qualified policyholders in Ohio today, May 18, with additional states and dates are yet to be determined, while Ting continues to be available in Arizona, California and Texas)

Qualified customers who enroll will receive the following, according to State Farm:

Functionality of Ting App. (Click to enlarge.)

  • Free Ting sensor with mobile app access
  • Pay no annual service fees for three years (fees paid by State Farm)
  • Receive $1,000 credit toward remediation of electrical fire hazards (provided by Whisker Labs)

The insurer says eligible policyholders will receive a targeted marketing email from their State Farm agent when the opportunity is available to participate in the Ting program.

“State Farm is committed to fire safety and providing customers the newest fire safety technology,” says Chris Schell, SVP, Property & Casualty, State Farm. “We’re excited about the expansion of the Ting sensor program. Now, even more homeowners can have the peace of mind that they’re doing everything possible to protect one of their most valuable assets. We have found our customers love how simple it is to install and really appreciate the app keeping them informed.”

How Ting Works

Bob Marshall, Co-Founder & CEO, Whisker Labs.

Ting monitors the electrical network of a home using a smart plug-in sensor to help detect hazards, so they can be fixed before they have a chance to ignite a fire. The main precursors to electrical fires, micro-arcs and sparks that develop, happen in faulty wires, loose connections and faulty appliances or devices. These signs usually develop over weeks and months, so Ting is designed to provide you with advanced warnings to address these hazards prior to the hazard starting an electrical fire.

Ting may also help detect electrical faults in the utility grid that could damage a home and potentially trigger wildfires.

“The Whisker Labs Ting team is very proud to support State Farm Insurance in this important initiative,” comments Bob Marshall, Co-Founder & CEO, Whisker Labs. “We are committed to helping protect State Farm customers by monitoring the electricity that we all rely on for virtually everything in our lives today. It is incredibly gratifying each time Ting helps identify an electrical fault, mitigate the hazard and prevent a fire from developing.

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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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